Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Hams (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 71679 40056


MALBOROUGH SX 74 SW 5/35 Yarde Farmhouse 26.1.67 G.V. I

Farmhouse, formerly manor house. Earliest dateable fabric is late C16 or early C17 but the house may date back further. It had a large front range added in 1718. Little altered in C19 or C20 although some parts have become disused and deteriorated in condition. Slatestone rubble construction, roughly coursed to C18 front block. This has a hipped slate roof. The ranges to the rear have gable ended slate roofs. 2 C18 brick axial stacks to the front block. Brick lateral stack at rear of middle range, rendered rubble stack at gable end of kitchen wing and a further stack at gable end of bakehouse wing. Plan: complex pattern of development, its original plan unclear. It now consists of a symmetrical single-depth 2 room front block with central stairhall, behind which a wing extends down the hill. At its higher end is a small room with larger heated room beyond and at the end of that a through-passage from front to back of the wing. An axial passage extends from this cross passage, in front of the 2 rooms up to the front range. Behind the smaller room is a 2 storey porch facing what is now the side of the house. Beyond the cross passage is a room which has probably always been a kitchen. In a wing to the front of it are a pantry and a dairy. Behind the kitchen is an L-shaped plan range which forms an enclosed rear courtyard. The purpose of the room adjoining the kitchen is unclear as it is now ruinous and has been reduced in height. At right angles to it is a wing which has a bakehouse at the lower end, with fireplace in the gable wall. A passage (directly facing the main through passage) divides it from the other room in this wing. The core of the old house seems to be centred around this rear courtyard which has various features of the late C16 and early C17 but there are problems of interpretation. The position of the 2 storey porch is problematic since it bears no relation to the through passage (which must be a C17 feature judging from its doorframes). If it were not for the porch, then this wing could be interpreted as a conventional 3-room-and-through-passage plan, with the inner room rebuilt as a new front in 1718 and the hall subdivided at the same date. One thing which seems certain is that before the 1718 range was built, the house had extended further that way, as it would be very unusual for a porch to be built at one end of a house. In the second half of the C17 the lower end of the house was remodelled and the kitchen realigned as part of a service wing with a pantry and dairy projecting in front of it. In 1718 an attempt was made to update the house (as was being done to many houses in the area) by the building of a smart new front block of 4 storeys. It is curiously oldfashioned for that date, however, resembling more the type of building done around 1700, although to high standards with a good quality of craftmanship. Since the C18 little major work has been done to the house and rather than being improved parts of it fell into disuse, became dilapidated and two of the older parts of the house have been reduced in height. Exterior: C18 front block is 4 storeys, including cellar and attic. Symmetrical 5 window front, virtually unaltered since it was built. Wooden 2-light mullion and transom windows with leaded panes, all original apart from a C19 replacement to the right on the ground floor. The ground floor windows have flat voussoir arches over them with projecting keystones each carved with a number, combining to read 1718. The central doorway has its original flat hood over, supported on wooden brackets. Heavy double panelled doors. 2 small gabled dormer windows. Flat stringcourse between storeys. Coved plaster eaves cornice. The left-hand end wall has had its windows blocked on the first floor, and on the ground floor to the right. The opposite end wall retains an original window on the first floor to the right, that to its left has been blocked and the 2 below are C19 facsimiles. At the basement level on this wall are two 2-light hollow-chamfered granite mullion windows with hoodmoulds. There is another single granite-framed light at the same level on the rear wall, next to an ovolo-moulded doorframe which houses an elaborate panelled and studded door. These features are normally associated with an early - mid C17 date, and it may be that they have been re-used from a demolished part of the house, or even that this range is built on the foundations of an earlier range. However, other early C18 houses in Devon also have older windows to their basements and it may be that this was just a fairly standard feature of construction in the early C18. Above on the rear wall is an C18 mullion and transom stair window, above which is a single light transom window to left and right. To the north of the C18 block an older wing extends down the hill. On its east face it has a very tall early C19 sash window to the left, which straddles 2 floors. To the right of it is an early C19 16-pane sash on the ground floor set in an opening which was once wider and has a stone drip over. A long wing projects from the lower right-hand end and in the angle is a flat roofed, probably C20 2 storey porch. Behind it is a C17 ovolo-moulded wooden door frame with contemporary studded door. The wing has an unglazed 2-light C18 mullion window on ground floor to the left. The end of this wing (over the dairy) has been reduced to single storey height and has a C17 3-light ovolo-moulded wooden mullion window on its end wall. On the west side of the house the wing running back from the C18 block has a C17 2 storey gabled porch at its higher end with a roundheaded South Hams type voussoir arch. Below the porch is an enclosed courtyard, its higher end bounded by a wall with slate capping and doorway with hoodmould. This connects the 2 storey porch to the bakehouse range opposite the main part of the house. Within the courtyard this has a wide doorway to right of centre with chamfered wooden jambs. To its right is an empty window opening. To its left on each floor is an unglazed 4-light chamfered wooden mullion window. The range to its right has been reduced in height and is very dilapidated but it preserves a C17 ovolo-moulded wooden mullion window at the centre on the ground floor. The eastern range in the courtyard (running down from C18 block) has a Cl7 moulded wooden doorframe with C19 plank door to left above which is a late C18 horizontal sliding sash window. Below to the right is an early C19 sash window. The outer face of the bakehouse range also has original wooden mullion windows, the ground floor one has ovolo-moulding, the left-hand first floor window is of 2 lights with slightly arched heads. The lower (northern) elevation of the house is 3 windows wide. Early C19 (date 1806 scratched on glass inside) tripartite sash window on first floor right of centre. To its left are 2 C17 ovolo-moulded wooden mullion windows. Below are two 2-light mullion and transomed windows. To their right is a similar 5-light window with its top lights now blocked. Lower wing extending to the right (connecting main house to bakehouse) has a wide doorway reached by steps with a chamfered wooden doorframe and studded door. Interior: front block has original bolection moulded wooden fireplaces in most of its principal rooms, including the attic. On the first floor the right-hand room has a moulded plaster cornice and fielded 2-panel door to closet at rear. The room opposite it has similar doors to its two closets. The ground-floor right- hand room has an original china cupboard with arched head and a painted ceiling in the design of a rose. The opposite ground-floor room has complete fielded panelling incorporating a chimneypiece cupboard and panelled shutters. The moulded wooden cornice had a similar plaster cornice over the top of it. Early C18 dog-leg staircase rises up to the attic at the centre of this block. It has a closed string, square newels with moulded caps, pendent finials and heavy turned balusters. From the stairhall a passage leads down obliquely to the older part of the house and its walls are partly lined with an unusual painted canvas depicting a hunting scene in a wood with hounds and a man on foot, a house in the background behind him. From the way it has been painted it appears to have been designed expressly for this location, but it may date back earlier and have been adapted to fit. Where the passage runs through the older part of the house there is a section of circa mid C17 panelling, either side of a panelled door with fluted pilasters and modillion cornice. This passage has an C18 moulded plaster cornice. At its lower end is a C17 chamfered doorframe. The kitchen, pantry and dairy have plastered beams and flagstone floors. Two C17 studded plank doors lead out of the kitchen, one to the pantry and one to the stairs. At the top of the stairs are 2 C17 ovolo-moulded wooden doorframes. A small room off the stairs has some more C17 panelling. The bakehouse range across the courtyard has a massive fireplace in its gable end wall with stone voussoir arch. Stone oven in right-hand side. At the back in this corner is a large rounded recess with corbelled roof and small flue, in its floor is a circular stone-lined pit reputedly constructed for brewing ale. The other end of this wing has chamfered ceiling beams. Over this wing is an C18 pegged roof with collars halved into the principals. The C18 block retains its original roof but over the rest of the house the roofspace is inaccessible so it is not known whether it has an early roof. This is a very complex house which cannot be properly understood without a detailed survey but its importance is self-evident as a house at the top end of the vernacular range which is very complete, with some unusual features and basically unaltered since the C18.

Listing NGR: SX7167940056


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

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