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HER Number:MDV11756
Name:Old Ford House


Well preserved medieval hall and cross wing house, possibly 14th century with added medieval cross-wing. Extended in late 16th century and again in late 17th or very early 18th century.


Grid Reference:SS 453 259
Map Sheet:SS42NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBideford
Ecclesiastical ParishBIDEFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SS42NE31
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS42NE/45
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 375902

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOUSE (Early Medieval to XVIII - 1066 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SS42NE31, 31 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV13522.

Site visit 17th November 1980. Old Ford House, as described above. Locally thought to be Bideford's oldest house.

Pridham, T. L., 1869, Untitled Source, 105 (Monograph). SDV13527.

Department of National Heritage, 19/04/1993, Bideford, 190 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV338459.

Detached house: probably a gentleman's house converted to a farmhouse in 19th century. Late medieval, possibly 14th century with added medieval cross-wing; extended in late 16th century; cross-wing remodelled and further extended in late 17th or very early 18th century. Stone rubble. Slate roof, the cross-wing hipped at the front. Old red-brick chimneys on left gable wall of hall and on both gable walls of cross-wing. 16th century stone rubble chimney with tapered cap on right gable wall.
Plan: single storey late-medieval hall (now lofted) with through passage at right hand end. To right, separated by a thick wall, a late medieval cross-wing projecting front and back; contains 17th/18th century staircase with contemporary parlour in front and service room behind; addition at rear, probably a 17th/18th century kitchen. On right hand side, at right angles to cross-wing, a late 16th century parlour range, converted to salting house probably in 19th century. To left of hall beyond rebuilt gable wall, a converted barn of 16th or 17th century. Hall single storey with loft; remainder two storey with semi basement below front of cross-wing. Hall has doorway to right with two panel 18th century door. Sash window to left set in a partly blocked opening; twelve over eight panes. Above doorway a gabled dormer with plain bargeboards; two-light wood casement with two panes per light. Buttress at left hand end. Converted barn to left has two windows per storey; all with segmental stone arches and fixed four-pane wood sashes. Cross-wing has buttress at each side of gable; blocked window in each storey; plank door in basement with plain wood frame. Sash windows in both side walls and in front of 16th century addition, the wider ones with margin panes; upper storey windows rise slightly above eaves' level and have pent roofs. In rear wall of hall a four-light limestone window with flat splay mullions (two missing) and straight hoodmould; probably partly restored in 19th century. Rear wall of cross-wing has two-light wood mullion window; ogee mullions, later nine-paned wood casements. In gable a stone plaque inscribed 'WC 1733'. Flanking chimneybreast in gable wall of 16th century additions are two second storey slit windows, the sharply pointed openings cut from single pieces of wood.
Interior: hall has late medieval smoke blackened roof with two raised cruck trusses on wooden pads; chamfered arch braces, cranked collars, butt purlins, square set ridge, windbraces; left truss has blades with tops scarfed above the collar. At passage end a stud and panel screen, the studs chamfered and with diagonal cut stops. Above it a chamber projecting into the hall where it has a late 16th or early 17th century ovolo-moulded Bressumer with step stops. In rear wall a fireplace with cambered chamfered wood lintel. In left gable wall a large, later segmental headed fireplace. Through passage has rear doorway with boxed segmental headed arch. In right wall an unglazed borrowed light into service room: two- light ovolo moulded wood frame with original lattice work. In cross-wing 17th/18th century wood stair leads off passage: single flight branching off left and right at the top. Ground floor front room of cross-wing has complete 17th/18th century panelled room; raised bolection moulded panels; wood bolection moulded chimneypiece with 19th century enriched iron grate; two round headed cupboards with shaped shelves; shutters with ovolo-moulded raised and fielded shutters; coved cornice. Rear ground floor room has only a plain unchamfered ceiling beam. Cross-wing roof is a lighter version of that over hall, also with two trusses; no smoke blackening; angled ridge; bird's mouthed collars forming intermediate trusses. 16th century addition has chamfered beams with scroll stops; remains of dado with moulded rail and skirting; solid granite trough, probably for salting meat or fish with two compartments. Room above has late 16th century stone chimneypiece: Tudor arched with ogee, hollow and half-round mouldings and urn stops; frieze of roundels and lozenges filled with flowers and fleurs-de-lis. Original roof trusses with straight feet. The house also contains several early doors either with raised and fielded ovolo moulded panels or simple vertical planks. Converted barn (which probably had a domestic function originally) has chamfered beams with step stops and chamfered joists with run out stops. Old roof timbers include one blade of a raised cruck with threaded purlins.
Old Ford is remarkable as a well preserved medieval hall and cross wing house, a type very rare in Devon, particularly at vernacular level. It is believed to have adjoined an early fording place on the River Torridge and has been suggested as the former Manor House of the Grenville family.

Unknown, 19/12/1975, What is Secret of Bideford Tunnel? (Article in Serial). SDV349738.

A newspaper article of 1975 states the blocked wall in the cellar was to be removed and the possible tunnel examined.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: North Devon, 53 (Monograph). SDV336196.

Great hall has screen and remains of original roof. Original barn.

Goaman, M., 1968, Untitled Source, 19 (Monograph). SDV13526.

Department of Environment, 1973, Bideford Borough, 37 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV7002.

Old Ford House, formerly Ford Farm. An irregular house of local stone, evidently of medieval origin although much altered. Part of the exterior has battered walls and angle buttresses. Inside, the great hall has been divided into two storeys.

Elliot, J., 1974, Old Ford house, 24-5 (Article in Serial). SDV13517.

Mates guide to Bideford refers to the tradition that a subterranean passage once ran from Abbotsham Cliffs to Ford House.

Wadey, D., 1987, The New World Tapestry (Ground Photograph). SDV13520.

A modern New World Tapestry of 1606 shows Old Ford House at Bideford.

Department of National Heritage, 1993, Review List For the Area of Former Borough of Bideford (Correspondence). SDV351377.

The Old Ford on New Road was previously listed at Grade II*, is an outstanding building, but not of sufficient quality or interest to merit Grade I.

Andrews, L. (Torridge DC), 1993, Statutory Listings - Area of Former Borough of Bideford (Correspondence). SDV351129.

Old Ford House(No 201) was listed as Grade I in the draft schedule, but has been reduced to Grade II* in the statutory schedule.

Exeter Archaeology, 2001, Archaeological Assessment of a Proposed Residential Development at New Road, Bideford, 5 (Report - Assessment). SDV13528.

Richards, A., 2002, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV13519.

Old Ford House is at the above NGR; Ford Farm at NGR SS45222593; Old Ford at SS45302593 and Ford House SS44872592.

Torridge District Council, 2003, Bideford Townscape Heritage Initiative Stage 2 Bid (Un-published). SDV345899.

Situated close to the presumed site of the original river crossing.

National Monuments Record, 2012, 33050 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV13512.

Late medieval, possibly 14th century house, with added medieval cross-wing. Extended in late 16th century and cross-wing remodelled and further extended in late 17th or early 18th century. Converted to a farmhouse in 19th century. Built from stone rubble with a slate roof.

Bideford Community, Unknown, Untitled Source (Plan - measured). SDV13525.

Floor plans and sections (not entirely accurate).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV13512National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2012. 33050. National Monuments Record Database.
SDV13517Article in Serial: Elliot, J.. 1974. Old Ford house. Devon Life. Photocopy + Digital. 24-5.
SDV13519Personal Comment: Richards, A.. 2002.
SDV13520Ground Photograph: Wadey, D.. 1987. The New World Tapestry. Photograph (Paper).
SDV13522Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SS42NE31. SS42NE. 31.
SDV13525Plan - measured: Bideford Community. Unknown. Bideford Community Archive. Plan.
SDV13526Monograph: Goaman, M.. 1968. Old Bideford and District. 19.
SDV13527Monograph: Pridham, T. L.. 1869. Devonshire Celebrities. 105.
SDV13528Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2001. Archaeological Assessment of a Proposed Residential Development at New Road, Bideford. Exeter Archaeology Report. 01.33. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV336196Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: North Devon. The Buildings of England: North Devon. Paperback Volume. 53.
SDV338459List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of National Heritage. 19/04/1993. Bideford. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 190.
SDV345899Un-published: Torridge District Council. 2003. Bideford Townscape Heritage Initiative Stage 2 Bid. Torridge District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV349738Article in Serial: Unknown. 19/12/1975. What is Secret of Bideford Tunnel?. Unknown. Newspaper/Magazine Cutting + Digital.
SDV351129Correspondence: Andrews, L. (Torridge DC). 1993. Statutory Listings - Area of Former Borough of Bideford. Letter to Department of National Heritage. A4 Stapled.
SDV351377Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1993. Review List For the Area of Former Borough of Bideford. Letter. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV7002List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1973. Bideford Borough. Historic Houses Register. Website. 37.

Associated Monuments

MDV65758Parent of: Barn Attached to Old Ford House (Building)
MDV98952Related to: Ford House, New Road, Bideford (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV2824 - Archaeological assessment of a proposed residential development at New Road, Bideford

Date Last Edited:Jun 10 2013 12:51PM