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HER Number:MDV14671
Name:Westacott Barton


Farmhouse, late 15th or early 16th century with late 16th century alterations and late 16th, 17th and 18th century additions. Rendered cob and stone rubble walls with a thatched roof. This is an important house which has a medieval core but is most interesting for its high quality late 16th and 17th century remodelling with particularly good plasterwork. Externally, its elaborate 17th century brick stack is a very unusual early example in Devon.


Grid Reference:SS 684 022
Map Sheet:SS60SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNorth Tawton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTH TAWTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS60SE/5
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 92968

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (XV to XVIII - 1401 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

1330, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV228683.

Westacott. A 2-storey cob built farmhouse, 16th century. A wing added in 17th century, house remodelled 18th century (rchm). House appears to date mainly from early 17th century but the core may be earlier. Z-shaped plan. Walls of plastered rubble and cob with thatched roof and brick stacks, one rather elaborately treated with pilasters. Two storeys. The feature of the house is two fine moulded plaster ceilings; the upper with elaborate pendant is much decayed. Some moulded wood doorways and contemporary panelled doors. Some brick repair at one end (doe). Jointed cruck recorded (alcock, citing p. Child). Probable home of henry de westecote (1330) (mawer et al).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV228689.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV228690.

Rchm/monuments threatened or destroyed 1956-1962/(1963)31.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV228691.

Mercer, e. /english vernacular houses/(1975)149-150.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV228692.

Doe/hhr:okahampton rd/(-/2/1960)21.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV228693.

Alcock, n. W. /cruck construction(cba res rep 42)/(1981)111.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV228694.

Gover, j. E. B. + mawer, a. + stenton, f. M. /the place-names of devon/(1931)371.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV228695.

Des=hulland, c. /list of historic houses/(1982)/in smr and survey(1977)in wsl.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV228698.

Cherry, b. + pevsner, n. /buildings of england:devon/(1989)604-5.

HULLAND, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV6435.

Vis=-/-/1977 (hulland) full record made. Four rooms with cross passage and screens. Plaster ceilings similar to ones at rashleigh barton. Record deposited in westcountry studies library.

French, K. + French, C., 1957, Devonshire Plasterwork, 127, 138; Plate 8b (Article in Serial). SDV4676.

Westacott, house. Intersecting kite-shaped panels in ceiling converging into elegant pendants. Designs probably taken from Abbott pattern book.

Department of Environment, 1987, North Tawton, 49-50 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV227017.

Farmhouse. Late C15 or early C16 with late C16 alterations and late C16, C17 and C18 additions. Rendered cob and stone rubble walls. Thatch roof hipped at left- hand end and front of outbuilding wing, gabled to rear wing. C20 rendered stack at right-hand end. C19 rendered axial stack; to left of centre is very unusual C17 brick stack with pilasters and moulded cornice. Plan: very complex development of plan. Originally probably 3-room and through passage plan but it is not clear where the passage was as it may have been moved. Open to the roof from end to end with central hearth to hall. In the late C16 the house was floored and the arrangement of rooms probably altered with a passage towards th right-hand end and one room beyond it. The arrangement to the left of the passage is more uncertain - at present there are 3 rooms but the left-hand one is likely to be a C17 addition. The 2 central rooms are divided by an axial fireplace heating the right-hand room but this is probably a C19 insertion whereas the room to its left has a fireplace with the C17 brick stack above. There must either have been 1 large heated room to the left of the passage or else 2 rooms with an unheated central service room, possibly with a passage to its rear. Probably at the same time that these alterations were effected a high quality parlour wing was added at the rear of the passage. An adjoining stair wing for a framed staircase was added slightly later when the plaster ceilings were inserted on both floors of the wing - these date to about 1600. In the early-mid C17 a 1-room heated addition was made at the left-hand end. In the C18 a linhay range was built on at the front of it. C19 outshut added at rear. Exterior: 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 5-window front with outbuilding wing projecting from left-hand end. The 2 left-hand first floor windows and the left-hand ground floor window are late C20 small-paned casements with top opening lights. Otherwise early C20 small-paned casements on first floor and early C19 20-pane hornless sashes to ground floor. 2 identical C20 part glazed gabled porches to left and right of centre. Outbuilding wing (originally open-fronted) has 2 C20 plank doors to left and C20 arched doorframe to right leading to passage from front to back of wing. On one side this passage re-uses some C17 panelling. The parlour wing at the rear of the right-hand end has a remarkable 10-light original wooden mullion window with central king mullion. This and the frame are richly moulded whereas the mullions are ovolo-moulded. Above it is a similar smaller 5-light window with gable above. To its left is a small simpler C17 2-light wood mullion window with old leaded panes. At rear is stair turret adjoining inner face of wing with separate roof and C19 outshut to its right. Interior has high quality late C16 or early C17 features. The most notable are the 2 decorative plaster ceilings in the rear wing - the ground floor one has a geometric single-ribbed pattern of kite-shaped panels with angle sprays and Tudor roses. In the chamber above is a canopied ceiling with a similar design distinguished by a central pendant at which the lines converge. Both ceilings date from the Period One of Devon Plasterwork - 1550-1600 and the design of the first floor ceiling is very similar to one in the nearby Cottles Barton (q.v.). Above the ground floor ceiling apparently are chamfered beams which strongly suggest that the ceiling is an insertion. A C17 wooden doorframe leads into this room. The room to the left of the passage has early C17 panelling on its partition wall to the passage and also along part of its front wall. It also has a large C19 kitchen fireplace with brick jambs and wooden lintel. The room to its left has 2 deep chamfered axial beams and fireplace which has wooden lintel with pyramid stops to chamfer. The left-hand room has chamfered cross beams with ogee stops. Small fireplace with cambered wooden lintel which has hollow step stops to chamfer. Roof: C17 roof over left-hand end room with straight principals which have collars halved on with notched joints. The original range retains its smoke-blackened medieval roof - the feet and the trusses are plastered over but some are curved. Over the left-hand end the original smoke-blackened thatch survives. The roof structure at this end was not available for a full inspection at the time of survey. Tnis is an important house which has a medieval core but is most interesting for its high quality late C16 and C17 remodelling with particularly good plasterwork. Externally, its elaborate C17 brick stack is a very unusual early example in Devon. Source : Devonshire Plasterwork - K and C French : T.D.A. 1957, Vol.89

Horsfall Turner, O. + Jones, B. V., 2011, Westacott Barton, North Tawton, Devon: Analysis and Interpretation of a Devon Hall House, 33 (Report - non-specific). SDV352223.

Westacott Barton is a substantial former open hall house which is significant for the preservation of its smoke-blackened roof timber and smoke-blackened thatch, and for its high quality north-wing of the late 16th to early 17th century. A notable feature of the house's development is the apparent continuity of the lower and upper ends of the building. It is worth noting with regard to the development of Westacott Barton during the 16th century that the works undertaken to construct the north wing in the late 16th or early 17th century are of a different order to those carried out in the mid to late 16th century. It is possible that documentary research might reveal a particular context, such as a socially significant marriage, or a bid for elevated status, for the decision to erect the northern wing and create such a finely finished, prestigious space.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV227017List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. North Tawton. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 49-50.
SDV228683Migrated Record: 1330.
SDV228689Migrated Record:
SDV228690Migrated Record:
SDV228691Migrated Record:
SDV228692Migrated Record:
SDV228693Migrated Record:
SDV228694Migrated Record:
SDV228695Migrated Record:
SDV228698Migrated Record:
SDV352223Report - non-specific: Horsfall Turner, O. + Jones, B. V.. 2011. Westacott Barton, North Tawton, Devon: Analysis and Interpretation of a Devon Hall House. english Heritage. 57-2011. A4 Grip Bound + Digital. 33.
SDV4676Article in Serial: French, K. + French, C.. 1957. Devonshire Plasterwork. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 89. A5 Hardback. 127, 138; Plate 8b.
SDV6435Migrated Record: HULLAND.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Sep 16 2013 12:05PM