Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

West Devon (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 69714 88924



3/55 Lower Withecombe Farmhouse

20.2.52 - II House, former farmhouse. Probably C16 or C17 origins but thoroughly refurbished and much rebuilt in early C18, modernised in C19. Plastered granite stone rubble; granite stacks with plastered chimney shafts; thatch roof, slate to outshots. Plan: long block built down a slope and facing south-west. It has a 3-room plan; a kitchen terraced into the hillside at the right (north-west) end, dining room in the centre and parlour at the left (south-eastern) end. The main stair lies between parlour and dining room. Both parlour and dining rooms have rear lateral stacks and the kitchen has an end stack. A service stair alongside the dining room stack is now disused and replaced by a stair in the secondary (or rebuilt) outshot across the back of the kitchen and dining room. There is an extra first floor chamber at the left end built on top of the terrace. Secondary single storey service block projecting at right angles in front of the original kitchen. The layout of the house suggests that it may have developed from a late medieval 3-room-and-through-passage plan with the main stair in the position of the original passage and the dining room in the original open hall. It may even have been a Dartmoor longhouse with a shippon where there is now the parlour. However there is no apparent evidence of any fabric earlier than the early C18. Main house is 2 storeys. Exterior: 5-window front. The 3-window section at the right end is symmetrically arranged around the main door (to the main stair). It contains a C19 6-panel door and overlight with glazing bars and a probably lte C19-early C20 gabled granite rubble porch. This is flanked by sash windows; a late C19 horned 4-pane sash to right and an early C19 16-pane sash to left. Further left is a C20 oculus. All the first floor windows are C19 casements with glazing bars. There are 2 old metal insurance plaques fixed to the wall alongside the window over the porch. Roof is hipped to right and gable-ended to left. Because of the rise of the slope there is a doorway to a loft in the roof space at the left end. Interior was modernised in the C19 but this appears to have been superficial and most of the early C18 fabric survives intact along with a great deal of contemporary detail. The best room is the parlour. Here the windows, door and chimneypiece have replaced but the panelling and ornamental plaster ceiling are early C18. The panelling is fielded and in 2 heights with a moulded dado. It includes a round- headed shell cupboard. The chimneypiece is flanked by fluted Doric pilasters with a frieze of tryglyths and guttae. Box cornice around the room. Very good ornamental plaster ceiling. It has a square frame enriched with egg and dart and contains a moulded rib enriched with 2 rows of oak leaves. The corners are filled with trailing fruiting plants and small birds moulded in high relief. The centre is divided into 4 truncated cone-shaped panels defined by moulded ribs enriched with a single row of oak leaves and each contains a moulded vase of flowers. Early C18 ornamental plasterwork such as this represents the end of the tradition of Devonshire plasterwork and C18 examples are much rarer than C17 examples. The main stair is a straight flight turning at the top and dividing to the 2 principal chambers. The risers are decorated by horizontal strips of shallow mouldings. The hall fireplace was rebuilt in the C20 but the disused stair alongside still has a fielded 2-panel door. Elsewhere on the ground floor the joinery detail in C19 but, on the first floor, all the doors are early C18 fielded 2-panel doors. The secondary stair reuses the top couple of steps from the early C18 service stair. The roof structure is early C18; a series of A-frame trusses with pegged lap-jointed collars. Although the plan form suggests earlier origins nothing earlier than the early C18 shows. The house contains an important example of early C18 ornamental plasterwork, one of the latest which is still firmly in the indigenous Devon tradition.

Listing NGR: SX6971488924


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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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.

End of official listing

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Date: 10 Feb 2003
Reference: IOE01/11442/19
Rights: © Mr Peter Read. Source: Historic England Archive
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