Westabrook Farm and threshing barn


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Westabrook, Ilsington, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9RT


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Statutory Address:
Westabrook, Ilsington, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9RT

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

Teignbridge (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:


Farmhouse with attached workshop and animal pens, with origins in C14/C15; altered C16 and later, including extensions in the C19 and reroofing in the 1920s. Threshing barn dating from the late C17 with later alterations.

Reasons for Designation

Westabrook Farm and threshing barn are listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for the retained C14/C15 open-hall manor house plan and associated features; * as the C16 features, particularly the hooded fireplaces, add to the architectural quality of the house; * for the survival of the late-C17 threshing barn.

Historic interest:

* for its association with the development of the manor of Bagtor, which may date back to the C11; * the C16 and later alterations and additions reflect the changes in domestic requirements and changing use of the house and farm.


The parish of Ilsington is located on the east side of Dartmoor National Park with the prominent granite summits of Haytor and Rippon Tor to the west, and Bag Tor below. Historically it comprised the manors of Ilsington, Bagtor, Sigford and Horridge which were combined to form the current parish. Westabrook would have been within Bagtor manor but is not specifically mentioned within Domesday under Bagtor; the first known mention of the name is from the Tithe survey of 1838 (and undoubtedly so-called as it lies west of a brook). However, land-size areas recorded in Domesday appear to match with those around Westabrook Farm, for example demesne land is recorded as 30 acres; the Tithe area for Westabrook is 30 acres, which is also the current land area cultivated today (Pidgeon, see Sources). Similarly the pasture land recorded in Domesday is 1.5 leagues, the same as the Tithe area plus the present Bagtor Common. The land owned by Bagtor Barton (late C16, Grade II-listed) and Bagtor House (C16, Grade II*-listed), located 400m to the north-east of Westabrook, and understandably presumed to be the place referred to in Domesday, is in comparison recorded as being 130 acres in the Domesday and Tithe records. There is, therefore, a possibility that Westabrook is the original Bagtor manor house. In the early C16 Bagtor was purchased by the Forde family. Bagtor Barton was then the manor farm, but the family rebuilt it and it became the mansion, reducing Westabrook from a house of status to a working farmstead.

Westabrook Farm comprises a house with attached barn and animal pens, and a separate threshing barn; there are no piggeries or linhay (an open fronted building with a loft for keeping cattle) which may be found elsewhere on Dartmoor farmsteads. The building fabric, particularly the jettied solar, guardrobe and newel mural stair and as it is also planned on a two-feet metrology, places its construction in the early part of the C15 at the latest; it represents a small open-hall manor or court house. From the early-C16 the hall was ceiled and various other works undertaken, including the insertion of corbelled hooded fireplaces. A threshing barn was constructed to the south of the farmhouse in the late C17.

Little is known about the farm, outside of the evidence provided by the fabric, until the C19. The 1838 Tithe map shows the farmhouse and barn in much the same configuration as today (2019) complete with extensions. At this date the land was owned by Lord Cranstown of Scotland (who occasionally lived at Bagtor House, formerly owned by the Beares and the Fordes) and was occupied by William Winsor. At some point in the C19 there was a fire at the house and in 1923 there was a second major fire; either or both probably caused the loss of the wind-brace roof and thatched covering. The roof height was raised when it was subsequently re-roofed in slate. In the 1960/70s the house was subdivided, a new staircase added, and the internal walls clad in plasterboard.

The house remains in the same family ownership as in 1923, and currently (2019) is undergoing restoration which has revealed many of the C14/C15 features.


Farmhouse with attached workshop and animal pens, with origins in C14/C15; altered C16 and later, including extensions in the C19 and reroofing in the 1920s. Threshing barn dating from the late-C17 with later alterations.

MATERIALS: the house is constructed of granite block and rubble, rendered on the south elevation, with a C20 pitched slate roof (originally thatched). The barn and ancillary buildings are also granite and have corrugated iron roof coverings.

PLAN: the farmhouse is two storeys, three bays east to west, rectangular in plan, and takes the form of an open hall house with a hall (now with inserted first floor) with lateral stack, solar wing and cross passage. Double-height workshop and animal pens attached to the east. Single storey lean-to extensions to rear (north) of house and workshop; and to the front (south) of the workshop. The barn is rectangular in plan with lean-to extensions on its north side.

The principal elevation of the house faces south and is of three window bays; that on the west side of the first floor is corbelled at the window head and marks the position of a guardrobe. On the ground floor the eastern bay is obscured by a C20 porch which runs into a C19 extension on the south front of the workshop. The raised roof to the house is marked by a disproportionate gap between the window heads and eaves. On the west gable-end there is a chimney stack, expressed on the west elevation by a C17 extension to the flue. The earlier roof-height can also be seen here in the stonework. A lateral stack (rendered) is centrally-placed on the north elevation, below which is a single-storey C19 extension with a pitched roof with C20 roof lights. There is a further flat-roofed extension and lean-to on the north elevation of the workshop, where there is also a covered yard with a corrugated-iron roof. The east elevation of the house is tile-hung above the workshop roof. The east elevation of the latter has a high-level window opening with a row of pigeon holes above.

The farmhouse is entered centrally on the south side into a cross passage and has a granite screen to the east with a C19 timber door giving access to the workshop. To the west, the hall is screened from the passage by a C20 stud wall and a C20 staircase is located to the north of the hall doorway. A bridging beam spans north to south on the east side of the hall, and probably dates from the C17 when the first floor was inserted. On the north wall of the hall is a C16 corbelled granite fireplace with a tapered hood which rises in steps against the inside of the north wall; this is visible on the first floor landing. Within the fireplace is a cloam oven and to its right is a small lamp or candle shelf. To the right of this there is a blocked square opening; this was the position of a laver (for hand washing) which was infilled when the present staircase was inserted in the 1970s. Within a partially-revealed cobbled floor below is a slot marking the position of an earlier staircase. The remains of a C14 first-floor jetty can be seen at wall-plate level on the west wall. To the west of the hall is the chamber below the solar. In the north-west corner is an alcove marking the position of a C14 newel staircase. A C16 fireplace is located on the west wall; this was altered in the C19 with a brick lintel below the granite lintel.

The C20 staircase leads up to a small landing on the first floor, with a blocked early-C17 window in the north wall. The upper level of the former hall contains mid-C20 partitions, but is also divided north to south with a C14 open truss, with evidence of smoke blackening at the apex (whether this is from an open hearth or from the C19/C20 fires it is uncertain). Above the south window is a reused timber, thought to have come from a wind-brace in the C14 roof. The east wall is boarded up to the roof. To the west, the solar is partitioned from the former upper-level of the hall with a C14 trussed and half-timbered screen rising from the jetty below, and although the roof was raised in the C20, the historic slots for the rafters can still be seen. The screen is punctured by a ceiling structure inserted in the mid-C20, and is wholly infilled with C19 lathe and plaster, but the early peg-holes marking the position of a C14 window overlooking the hall remain. The solar is accessed at its north-east corner, opposite which is the stone tower of the newel mural stair. On the west wall is a hooded and corbelled fireplace (currently infilled), with a lamp shelf to its left. Adjacent to the window on the south wall, and more apparent externally, is the position of a C14 guardrobe. Floors are concrete screed on the ground floor and C19 timber boards on the first floor. All windows are set within deep canted reveals, the openings reduced to accommodate late-C20 uPVC casements. The single-storey extensions to the north of the house date to the C19 and are of little architectural or historic interest.

The workshop (or attached barn) is accessed internally through double-doors from the cross passage and also externally from the south through a C19 single-storey lean-to. It is roughly square in plan and double height, with a timber mezzanine floor across its west side reaching the position of the removed C14 external east wall, which retains its cruck-beam scars; the space was extended in the C16. The south wall has been rebuilt several times, and a high-level window on the east wall has reused granite-block jambs. There is a small covered yard on the north side of the workshop. Attached to the east side of the workshop is a single storey animal pen, with timber cross beams and a curved wall at the north-east corner. The base of the east wall of the pen contains substantial earth-fast granite boulders.

A double-height threshing barn is located approximately 20m south of the farmhouse. The barn is of granite rubble construction with a C18 half-hipped collared-truss-framed replacing a late-C17 thatched roof. The north and south openings (out and in respectively) have timber ledge and brace double-doors within altered openings. There is a further double-height double-door on the west elevation. Timber single-storey lean-to structures on the north elevation probably date to the late-C19 and the timbers have marks typical of Baltic imports.


Genuki: Ilsington, accessed 29/10/2019 from https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DEV/Ilsington
Heritage Gateway - Devon and Dartmoor HER ref. MDV76979: Westabrook Farmstead, accessed 29/10/2019 from https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MDV76979&resourceID=104
Open Domesday: Bagtor, accessed 29/10/2019 from https://opendomesday.org/place/SX7675/bagtor/
PastScape - ref: 445025: Bagtor House; Bagtor Barton, accessed 29/10/2019 from https://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=445025&sort=2&type=&typeselect=c&rational=a&class1=None&period=None&county=None&district=None&parish=None&place=&recordsperpage=10&source=text&rtype=monument&rnumber=445025
Dartmoor National Park Authority, Dartmoor National Park Authority Farmstead Survey, 2003-2005
Ordnance Survey (1956) (1:2500)
Ordnance Survey, Devonshire (1887) (1:2500)
Ordnance Survey, Devonshire (1905) (1:2500)
Pidgeon, J Unpublished research on Westabrook for forthcoming historic building report (2019)
Tithe Map, Ilsington (1838) and associated apportionment


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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