Troakes Farmhouse and attached cow house


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Troakes Farm, Bolham Water, Clayhidon, Cullompton, EX15 3QB


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Statutory Address:
Troakes Farm, Bolham Water, Clayhidon, Cullompton, EX15 3QB

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

Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A farmhouse with late-medieval origins; extensively remodelled in the early C17 and C18 and an attached cow house at the north end which dates probably from the C18. Various alterations from the C19 through to the C21.

Reasons for Designation

Troakes Farmhouse and attached cow house, a multi-period building with late-medieval origins which was extensively remodelled in the C17 and C18, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * as a building that has evolved over many centuries and which illustrates the changing needs of its occupants in its historic fabric; * a good proportion of fixtures and fittings of various dates survive within the house, including early joinery and stone fireplaces, while the attached cow house retains a feeding passage and substantial timbers to the ground floor; * it has undergone changes, but these are not considered harmful to the historical integrity and character of the building.

Historic interest: * it reflects aspects of the changing pattern and form of rural buildings, both domestic and agricultural, over time and demonstrates the vernacular building traditions of the area.

Group value: * the building forms a strong grouping with the Grade-II listed C18 barn on the opposite side of the farmyard.


Troakes Farm is an isolated farmstead which is located on a south-facing slope to the north of the Bolham River, some 3km south-east of Hemyock. It is mentioned in the will of John Troke dated 1548 (Oakford Archaeology, see Sources). The house is an evolved, multi-phase building with probable late-medieval origins, possibly built as a longhouse with a slightly derivative layout since there appears to have previously been a cross passage at the upper end of the building which retains evidence for a door at either end that has been infilled. The roof timbers show no evidence for smoke blackening, suggesting that it either had an open hall that was soon ceiled over or that there was always an upper floor. The house was extensively remodelled in the early C17 and again probably in the C18, around which time the lower end, forming the southern part of the building, was probably brought into domestic use. It was likely that the agricultural building, most likely a cow house since there is no evidence for stalls, was added onto the north end of the house around the same time.

By the 1780s the farm was owned and occupied by the Tarrants, who are understood (Oakford Archaeology) to have been an affluent local family of yeoman farmers. The farm is shown on the 1838 tithe map, which depicts the house with a rectangular plan and defining the east side of a long, narrow yard and a parallel, but offset, linear range of attached buildings enclosing the west side. There are also three, smaller detached buildings to the north. The tithe apportionment records Plot 1265, as ‘Building & Courtledge’, and that Trokes, as it was then known, was owned by the Reverend John Clarke and tenanted to John Hartnell, a local farmer. On the first Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1889 the plan of the house has taken on its present form, with the addition of several small extensions. By this date it is called Troakes Farm. The house underwent some C20 alterations, including the renewal of several windows in uPVC.

Troakes Farm is understood to have been depicted in a painting by Robert Polhill Bevan (1865-1925), one of the founders of The Camden Town Group, and was included in an exhibition of his work in 1965 at the Ashmolean Museum.


DETAILS A farmhouse with late-medieval origins; extensively remodelled in the early C17 and C18 and an attached cow house at the north end which dates probably from the C18. Various alterations from the C19 through to the C21.

MATERIALS The building is constructed of random stone rubble, with a rendered south gable wall, and the main roofs have a corrugated sheet covering, previously probably thatched. The roofs of the porch, rear outshut and west lean-to are covered with double Roman tiles and corrugated metal sheeting. The house has an ashlar chimneystack to the south gable end and an off-centre brick stack below the ridge to the rear which has been rebuilt.

PLAN The house is of five bays, with a modified three-room, cross-passage plan and small mid- to late-C19 additions. An agricultural building, most probably a cow house, is attached to north end of the house and is a continuation of the west and east elevations. Together they define the east side of a narrow, rectangular yard. A linear range of agricultural buildings previously formed the west side.

EXTERIOR The two-storey FARMHOUSE faces west, and is characterised by its long elevations with taller north end formed of an attached agricultural building. The windows are a range of styles and dates. The west elevation contains two doorways and evidence of a third entrance at the north end of the house which has been infilled and had a window inserted into it. The current north entrance is contained within a projecting porch with a monopitched roof, and is a later introduction. The doorway towards the south end of the building has a doorframe with simple moulding and a plank door which opens onto what is currently the cross-passage. To the right is a single-storey lean-to structure which dates from the C19 and is built of stone rubble and timber boarding. Many of the windows in the west elevation are C19 and C20 casements of one and two lights, with timber lintels to the ground-floor openings. There is a first-floor, three-light, timber casement window of possible C18 date at the north end. Two windows have been replaced in uPVC. The south gable wall is rendered, and contains one small, ground-floor opening which has been infilled. The east, garden elevation contains a wide doorway with chamfered frame and probable C19 plank door. To the left of this, there is a vertical joint in the ground-floor masonry which provides evidence of some alteration or rebuilding having taken place. The end (south) bay has a three-light casement to the ground floor and a C17 timber mullioned window of three lights and a central metal casement (boarded over in January 2021) at first-floor level. Built against the north half of the elevation is a single-storey outshut of several phases of construction which contains two- and three-light casement windows.

INTERIOR There is evidence that the interior of the house was substantially remodelled in the C17 and C18. The current north entrance opens onto the kitchen which contains a large stone inglenook fireplace with a bread oven that has been subject to some rebuilding and modification. The ceiling beam has shallow chamfers and is a later replacement. An C18 door of wide planks and strap hinges to the side of the fireplace opens onto a staircase to the first floor, and a doorway leads to the C19 rear outshut. Immediately north of the kitchen, the position of a cross-passage is denoted by blocked doorways to either end and chamfered ceiling beams in the side walls. It is likely that the C19 timber partition which separates the passage from the kitchen has replaced an earlier screen. The central room has a fireplace with mid-C20 tiled surround and a C17 deep-chamfered ceiling beam with stepped stops that terminates short of the east wall where it is supported by a wooden bracket. An identical beam in the southern principal room similarly terminates short of not only the east wall, but also the west, and is carried on brackets. This would suggest that the walls have been subject to some rebuilding. A four-panel door in the south wall leads onto a wide cross-passage between the central and south rooms. The passage has a low ceiling and C19 plank entrance doors to either end. The south room beyond has a much-reduced fireplace with a tall wooden surround and mantle shelf. The recess to one side of the stack contains a small window (blocked externally) and may have previously contained stairs to the first floor. There is an enclosed staircase, probably of C19 date, on the east side of the room. The first floor is arranged into five rooms of three similarly-sized bedrooms and two narrower rooms, and some refurbishment took place in the C19, as evinced by the plank and batten doors along the west side of the building. One of the partition walls retains an earlier, probable C17 flat-arched doorway that has a pegged, chamfered and ogee-stopped doorcase and a door of wide boards and strap hinges. As the rooms have ceilings, not all of the roof trusses are visible, but it is understood that they may include parts of two jointed cruck blades. There are also two rows of trenched purlins.

The COW HOUSE attached to the north end of the house is a two-bay structure with animal housing to the ground floor and a hayloft over. It is square on plan and is taller than the adjacent dwelling. Its west elevation has a tall, off-centre entrance with the remains of a plank door, probably C19, and a first-floor taking-in door that is boarded. The north gable wall has two ground-floor openings, an inserted timber casement window which has replaced an earlier doorway, and a small opening with a timber shutter; both have dressed stone lintels. There are no openings in the east elevation. Internally, the ground floor is open, with an axial ceiling beam and exposed joists that support the wide floorboards of the hayloft. There is a narrow gap in the floor alongside the east wall where hay would have been dropped to a feed rack below. The roof structure has a simple A-frame truss with an applied collar of the C19 or C20.


A Plan of the Parish of Clayhidon in the County of Devon (Tithe Map), 1838, accessed 7 January 2021 from
Photographs of Troakes Farm, Clayhidon c.1950, accessed 7 January 2021 from
Oakford Archaeology, December 2020, Archaeological desk-based assessment and Historic Building Appraisal at Troake’s Farm, Clayhidon, Devon


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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