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HER Number:MDV1140
Name:East Pilliven Farmhouse or Lofters, Witheridge


East Pilliven farmhouse built in the 13th or 14th century with later alterations and also known as Lofters


Grid Reference:SS 823 151
Map Sheet:SS81NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWitheridge
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWITHERIDGE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS81NW/4
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 97495

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD)

Full description

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

Shown as 'East Pilliven' on 19th century map.

Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M., 1932, The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two, 398 (Monograph). SDV337894.

East and West Pilliven mentioned as 'Pilefen' in 1238 and 'Pillefenne' in 1242.

Department of Environment, 1964, South Molton Rural District, 64 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV320155.

Listed as East Pilliven farmhouse. Later medieval core. Much refashioned in 17th century and later. Pointed window of uncertain date. Moulded ceiling beams, open fireplace, arch collar braced roof of hall partly visible.

Alcock, N. W. + Hulland, C., 1972, Devonshire Farmhouses. Part IV: Some Medieval houses in East and North Devon, 36-40 (Article in Serial). SDV25025.

Pilliven farmhouse. Much altered in the 16th century and later; the minimum Medieval survival is the central open truss of the hall, a massive cruck truss. Has a large span, and each blade is an individual tree, tapering slightly at the top; one of the blades has a short extra piece scarfed on at the top. The apex has a yoke tenoned into each blade, with the ridge piece pegged onto it, and the blades rise slightly above the yoke but do not touch the ridge. This is intermediate between the standard apex cruck types and the special Devon form with blades clasping the ridge. The minor timbers are square in section and consists of the collar and braces to it, which are straight, and windbraces which are slightly curved; notched halvings are used for all their joints. On the face of the exposed joint is a very curious decoration; the three longitudinal timbers survive over the length of the hall. The purlins are continuous, and where they pass the truss, are thinned down and pegged to it. The yoke piece is scarfed at the truss and pegged through onto the yoke. At its ends it shows the pegs, for the two closed trusses of the hall. The truss is typical of the 13th century, though found in very different types of roofs. In its details, this truss is unique in Devon. Possible date 1400. Other details: Plates I and II, Figures 1 and 2.

Alcock, N. W., 1981, Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue, 108 (Report - non-specific). SDV342504.

True cruck recorded at Pilliven.

Hulland, C., 1982, List of Historic Houses (Un-published). SDV75440.

Full survey record deposited in Westcountry Studies Library.

Child, P., 1987, East Pilleven, Witheridge (Ground Photograph). SDV364732.

Photos showing the house which has been almost completely rebuilt. The roof trusses have been removed but a cruck has been kept.

Ordnance Survey, 2008, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV340009.

Shown as 'Lofters' on modern mapping.

Dean, R., 2008, Pilliven Farm, Witheridge: Results of an Archaeological Gradiometer Survey, 26 (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV341916.

Other details: Appendix D.

Alcock, N. + Meeson, B., 2009, Radiocarbon dating of a reused cruck blade from Warwickshire and its implications for the typology of cruck construction, 96-102 (Article in Serial). SDV361586.

Reference to Pilliven cruck construction.

Historic England, 2022, National Heritage List for England,

List Entry Number:
(National Heritage List for England). SDV364675.

East Pilliven Farmhouseand outbuilding. Farmhouse. C13 or C14, substantially altered C17 and again much altered circa 1980. Rubble, concrete tile roof to gable ends, 2 stacks with brick shafts.
Plan and development: Medieval open hall house, open from end to end, probably flanked by 2 other rooms. In the C16 a fireplace and chimney were added backing onto a through passage to left (lower room to extreme left), a floor was also inserted at this time. The inner room to right was at the same time extended to the north, unheated. Kitchen to left with gable end fireplace, this fireplace probably also inserted in the C16, further service room to extreme left. Inner room with cross-wing built inserted at right angles, probably C17, always an outbuilding.
Exterior: 2 storeys, no early features remain outside and it is very doubtful that many openings remain in their original positions. C20 concrete mullioned windows. C20 doors.
Interior: smoke-blackened roof over hall largely complete. One true cruck truss with massive square section principals with a yoke at the apex, mortised to the principals which carries a massive square-set ridge piece. The slightly cranked collar is halved and pegged into the principals, braces lap-jointed to the collar and the principal; the moulded decoration on the soffit of the principals at wall-plate level like a capital. Massive purlins trenched to the back of the principals. Most rafters complete, pegged at the apex supporting a wattle mat instead of battens to support the thatch. Wattle mat complete with smoke blackening. The roof over the lower end was entirely replaced in 1978. Hall fireplace with unchamfered wooden bressumer extending to the outer wall. Other interior features renewed or replaced
Date first listed: 20th February 1967

Sources / Further Reading

SDV25025Article in Serial: Alcock, N. W. + Hulland, C.. 1972. Devonshire Farmhouses. Part IV: Some Medieval houses in East and North Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 104. Paperback Volume. 36-40.
SDV320155List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1964. South Molton Rural District. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 64.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337894Monograph: Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M.. 1932. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. IX. A5 Hardback. 398.
SDV340009Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2008. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Digital.
SDV341916Report - Geophysical Survey: Dean, R.. 2008. Pilliven Farm, Witheridge: Results of an Archaeological Gradiometer Survey. Southwest Archaeology Report. 080318-WPF08. A4 Stapled + Digital. 26.
SDV342504Report - non-specific: Alcock, N. W.. 1981. Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. 42. Photocopy. 108.
SDV361586Article in Serial: Alcock, N. + Meeson, B.. 2009. Radiocarbon dating of a reused cruck blade from Warwickshire and its implications for the typology of cruck construction. Vernacular Architecture. 40. Unknown. 96-102.
SDV364675National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2022. National Heritage List for England. Digital. List Entry Number:.
SDV364732Ground Photograph: Child, P.. 1987. East Pilleven, Witheridge. Devon County Council Historic Buildings Photo. Photograph (Paper) + Digital.
SDV75440Un-published: Hulland, C.. 1982. List of Historic Houses. List of Historic Houses. Unknown.

Associated Monuments

MDV34868Related to: Well south of East Pilliven Farm (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4449 - Gradiometer Survey at Pilliven Farm, Witheridge

Date Last Edited:Feb 16 2022 11:24AM