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HER Number:MDV14197
Name:Town Farmhouse, Gittisham


Town farmhouse is thought to probably have medieval origins but to contain several phases of 17th and 18th century upgrading and alteration, since when it has remained largely unaltered. Constructed mainly of stone rubble with a thatched roof.


Grid Reference:SY 132 984
Map Sheet:SY19NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGittisham
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishGITTISHAM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY19NW/33
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 87179

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (Built, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 400 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1975, SY19NW16 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV123026.

Site visit 5th November 1975. An interesting but not outstanding building of two storeys. Random stone with thatch. A date-stone inscribed R S 1600 above the north porch, and a brick chimney on the west side dated 1673.

Beacham, P., 1980s, Broadhembury and Gittisham Project, 19/1, Neg No. 566/19 (Un-published). SDV348235.

Repairs and rethatching of Town Farm and Town Farm buildings were carried out in 1966, 1967, 1970, 1972 and 1978 as part of a scheme grant aided by Devon County Council
Site visit 1983. Local stone/cob/cob and stone. Part fairly new thatch in good condition, part old thatch which is deteriorating. Part of the Combe estate.

English Heritage, 1989, Gittisham, 132 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV324655.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 458 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Town Farmhouse with projecting porch dated 1600, a fine set of late 17th century timber cross windows, west stack dated 1678 and good joinery.

Fisher, J., 1999, East Devon Conservation Area Appraisals: Gittisham, 5-6, 8 (Report - non-specific). SDV346641.

Town Farmhouse, in a prominent position at the west end of the village, is of particular quality and listed Grade II*. It has a good exterior with a fine set of mullioned windows, a wealth of interesting interior features and a plan form unaltered this century. It has a projecting porch of 1600, (datestone "R.S") and a fine set of late 17th century timber cross-windows. The west stack is dated 1678. Other details: Maps, photograph.

Reed, S. J. + Collings, A. G., 2000, Archaeological assessment of SWW Chineway to Roundball mains renewal, Honiton, 6 (Report - Assessment). SDV117622.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, Site No. 2455 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.

Town Farm. Listed Grade II*.

English Heritage, 2011, Historic Houses Register (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV346128.

Farmhouse, disused at time of survey (1987) including walls of walled garden. Possibly of medieval origins, with several phases of 17th century and 18th century upgrading and enlargement and very little alteration since. Largely stone rubble, the front right (north-west) wing cob on stone rubble footings, the cob rendered; thatched roof with a plain ridge; end stacks and axial stack to main range, lateral stack on east wall of rear left (south-east) wing, end stack to north-west wing.
Plan and development: The main range, facing north, is a traditional 3 room plan with a cross passage to left of centre. The position of the axial stack, which heats the centre room, is unusual in that it does not back on to the passage. There is a service wing to the front right (north west) at right angles; a parlour wing to the rear left (south east) at right angles and a truncated service wing to the rear right (south west). The main stair rises at the rear of the main range, adjacent to the cross passage in a stair projection off the rear (south) wall. A service stair rises from the right (west) end room. There is an axial passage to the rear of the centre room in the main range and along the rear of the first floor, returning at the west end to link up with the service stair. The evolution of the building is complex. A change in the level of the first floor and change of plane on the rear wall suggests the possibility of late medieval open hall origins but the evidence is not firm. Although there is some darkening of the timbers at the right (west) end of the main range they do not appear to be definitely smoke-blackened. As far as could be judged with rather limited access to the apex of the roof the carpentry of all the trusses in the main range appears to be consistent although some of the cruck feet have been removed. It seems likely that the main range is either a single build of 1600 (date over door) or a remodelling at that date of an earlier house. There has evidently been some rebuilding of the main range at the right (west) end (kitchen), possibly the end wall and chimney-stack which has a re-sited datestone of 1678 on its renewed brick shaft. The carpentry details of the roof structure of the front right (north-west) wing suggest a mid or possibly late 17th century date. The next major phase seems. To be circa 1700-1730, with the addition of a high quality panelled parlour/wing adjoining at the rear left (south-east) with a small unheated room off it. The main stair may be co-eval with the parlour, and the very fine mullioned and transomed windows to the main range could also be part of the same programme of upgrading. Ovolo-moulded mullioned windows on the first floor may have been re-used at this date, or some may be rather archaic and used for less important positions.
Exterior: 2 storeys. Fine exterior with an asymmetrical 6-bay (north) front to the main range with regular fenestration and a 2-storey porch in the 3rd bay from the left with a hipped thatched roof, 2-panel front door. Above the outer doorway a small stone plaque has the initials R.S. (Robert Sherman, old list description) and the date of 1600. The ground floor windows are a fine set of circa 1700 mullioned and transomed casements with square leaded panes, some retaining original ferramenta. The first floor windows are probably the same date, 2-light casements with square leaded panes. The north-west wing projects at the right end, the inner return of the wing has a 2-light casement with square leaded panes and an unglazed window on the ground floor. The north gable end wall has a first floor 2-light casement with square leaded panes and an unglazed moulded mullioned timber window on the ground floor, the left hand, jamb replaced. The west elevation of the wing has a 2-light unglazed window and a 19th or 20th century plank door. The west gable end of the main range has 2 first floor 2-light windows with square leaded panes and a small 2-light chamfered mullioned window on the ground floor. The left return (east elevation) has one first floor and one ground floor window to the gable end of the main range, both with square leaded panes. The east elevation of the south east parlour wing has a small projection, blind on the ground floor with a 2-light timber moulded mullioned window on the first floor with square leaded panes and a similar first floor window to the wing, above a transomed and mullioned window matching those on the front. The lateral stack has a date plaque on the shaft but the date is illegible. The rear elevation of the main range has one ground floor mullioned and transomed window and 2 to the south end of the wing. The first floor of the main range has 2-light casements with square leaded panes. A rear door at the junction of the main range and south east wing has a porch hood on shaped brackets. The south west wing has been truncated by fire, the inner (west) return has a plank door flanked by casements and 1 first floor casement.
Interior: Rich in interior features of the 17th and 18th century. The left hand room of the main range has a deeply-chamfered, step-stopped crossbeam and a probably 18th century fireplace with a rounded fireback. The room to the right of the passage has a 19th century tiled chimney-piece. The kitchen, at the right end, has 2 chamfered step-stopped crossbeam and a massive fireplace with a chamfered stopped lintel (rising behind a truncated half beam to the ceiling) and 2 bread ovens. The front right wing has chamfered crossbeams and 18th century plank partition wall with the kitchen. The rear left parlour has a boxed-in crossbeam and good quality 18th century wall panelling with fielded panels in need of repair. Circa early 18th century stair with a closed string and slender turned balusters. On the first floor the left hand room retains an 18th century moulded timber chimney-piece with an 18th century iron grate and probably re-used dado panelling, re-used 18th century panelling survives in the room next right, which is unheated and there is 19th century dado panelling to the rear left room with a 19th century grate and chimney-piece and 19th century panelling the centre room on the first floor. The first floor room in the front right wing has a chamfered stopped 17th century lintel to the fireplace; various probably 18th century panelled doors survive on the first floor.
Roof: As far as could be judged on survey the 4 trusses of the main range are of similar design: cruck construction with several of the cruck feet removed for the insertion of windows and the stair. The 2 right hand trusses retain their cruck feet which are plastered-over. The ridge is diagonally-set, the purlins laid on the backs of the principals which have halved apexes. The timbers over the right end of the main range are slightly darker than the others, but evidence of smoke-blackening from an open hall did not appear to be definite on survey. The 2 trusses over the front right wing have principals halved at the apex and collars lap dovetailed into the principals. Roof over the rear left wing not seen but the apex of the roof of the adjoining projection suggests an 18th century date.
A high quality building in a prominent position is an exceptionally attractive village. The house has a good exterior with a fine set of windows, a wealth of interior features of interest and a plan form unaltered this century

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV117622Report - Assessment: Reed, S. J. + Collings, A. G.. 2000. Archaeological assessment of SWW Chineway to Roundball mains renewal, Honiton. Exeter Archaeology Report. 00.66. A4 Stapled + Digital. 6.
SDV123026Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1975. SY19NW16. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 400.
SDV324655List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 1989. Gittisham. Historic Houses Register. 132.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 458.
SDV346128List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2011. Historic Houses Register. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #81159 ]
SDV346641Report - non-specific: Fisher, J.. 1999. East Devon Conservation Area Appraisals: Gittisham. East Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5-6, 8.
SDV348235Un-published: Beacham, P.. 1980s. Broadhembury and Gittisham Project. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. 19/1, Neg No. 566/19.
SDV351568Archive - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2003-2004. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. Digital + Mixed Archive Material. Site No. 2455.

Associated Monuments

MDV79482Related to: Cobbled Area at Town Farm (Monument)
MDV79462Related to: Town Farm Buildings, Gittisham (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV5626 - Broadhembury and Gittisham Thatch Survey

Date Last Edited:Oct 26 2016 9:49AM