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HER Number:MDV105940
Name:Higher Velly


Velly is first recorded as 'Felye' in 1287. Parts of compound date to the late medieval period, however the majority of the structures are 19th early 20th century.


Grid Reference:SS 293 243
Map Sheet:SS22SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishHartland
Ecclesiastical ParishHARTLAND

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMSTEAD (Unknown date)

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Higher Velly' is marked.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Higher Velly' is marked.

Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, 2239 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Velly is first recorded as 'Felye' in 1287. There were five tenants at Higher Velly in 1301 and again in 1566 (per contra HER 7138).

Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

Wapshott, E. + Webb, P., 2016, Higher Velly Farm, Hartland, Torridge, Devon: Results of a Desk-Based Assessment, Historic Building Recording and Archaeological Monitoring (Report - Survey). SDV360274.

This report presents the results of a desk-based assessment, historic building recording and archaeological monitoring carried out by South West Archaeology Ltd. at Higher Velly Farm, Hartland, Torridge, Devon. The work was commissioned by Piper Architecture in order to establish the historic background, building phasing and nature of archaeological remains that may be affected by the conversion of the farm buildings an associated development works.

Whilst Higher Velly Farm is not a listed building, the likely late medieval origin of the complex makes it of local significance, particularly with the survival of early fabrics within buildings B1 and B2. The majority of the surviving structures, however, are representative of a 19th/early 20th century rationalisation of the earlier building group. A settlement is first recorded at Velly in 1287.

The derivation of the name Velly is likely from Felye or felġ meaning ‘a felly or wheel rim’.
The earliest detailed map available to this study is the Budgen map of 1804.
The Hartland tithe map of 1840 suggests that the farmstead at Higher Velley comprised a series of five buildings, including a large rectangular house on a north-east to south-west alignment.
The site, as a whole, is of local significance, specifically for its early documented history, noted as Felye, in 1287. The complex also forms a good agricultural group with the farmhouse and further stone barns to the west and north-west, across the road, including the stone well-house to the north.

As an aesthetically pleasing and representative example of a 19th early 20th century rationalisation of an earlier farm building group, the complex does hold some architectural significance. Neither the farm buildings, nor the farmhouse are Listed.

The earliest building fabric is found within Building 1 (B1 on Figure 8), forming the north side of the courtyard. The building comprises a former pigsty, with loft above and is of two storeys, of five bays, and built of irregularly coursed stonework of dressed and squared blocks. The stonework is clay bonded, with a cement render covering the south and west walls. A feature of this building is the quality of the dressed blocks and the densely packed nature of the stonework. The building has received a significant raise (Figure 9), creating the first floor, using a mixture of cob and rubble. It has also undergone numerous alterations, including: the forcing of doorways, feed chutes, and the blocking of earlier openings. The building has a later king-post roof structure and slate roof. Several changes of function have converted it from a domestic service building, possibly a kitchen block, to a dwelling, and subsequently to its agricultural use.

Alongside the foundation trenches for the existing stone walls of the building complex, the buried archaeological features identified comprised: 2 cobble surfaces, 1 drain, and 17 posts and post-holes.

A small quantity of artefactual evidence was recovered during the excavations, comprising a total of 119 sherds of pottery (1689g) and 6 wooden posts. Whilst a single stratified sherd of medieval pottery was recovered, the ceramic evidence predominantly confirms the post-medieval construction of the buildings.

A total of 10 timber posts were recovered during the excavations, all but one from post-holes set beneath and sealed by the 19th century floor surfaces, and all but one from Area #4. The majority had flat tops indicating that they may have been cut and removed at floor level prior to the new floors being laid; though some show signs of having been broken. They show a mix of construction techniques, with some being whole, others halved or quartered, also resulting in there being a range of sizes. This may indicate that they had different functions, not all being capable of being load bearing. Many also show evidence of having been shaped, particularly towards a point at the base, to aid erection. The surviving elements of the posts ranged in size from 0.33-0.72m long x 0.10-0.21m diameter.

The development of the complex was at least partly confirmed by the archaeological features, with the location and alignments of post-holes relating to earlier phases of individual structures. However, the later alterations and additions to the building complex are also likely to have caused the destruction of further evidence, most notably of the possible oven within the east gable stack of B1.

The only possible surviving evidence of the site having been a former chapel was a carved stone set to the west of the doorway within the north wall of building B3. Whilst this suggests a high status building may have been present on the site, it is clearly a re-used stone and does not provide evidence for the location of the suggested chapel or any other high status structure.

For more detail - see full library linked report.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. 2239.
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #65368 ]
SDV360274Report - Survey: Wapshott, E. + Webb, P.. 2016. Higher Velly Farm, Hartland, Torridge, Devon: Results of a Desk-Based Assessment, Historic Building Recording and Archaeological Monitoring. Southwest Archaeology. 160106. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV7138Parent of: Chapel at Higher Velly Farm, Hartland (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7304 - Results of a Desk-Based Assessment, Historic Building Recording & Archaeological Monitoring: Higher Velly Farm, Hartland, Torrdige (Ref: 160106)

Date Last Edited:Feb 14 2020 11:53AM