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HER Number:MDV14699
Name:Higher Lettaford Farmhouse, North Bovey


Farmhouse comprising two distinct sections. The western part of the house comprises the remains of the hall and inner chamber of a medieval longhouse dating from circa 1450-1550; the hall being provided with a first floor probably in the first half of the 17th century. The eastern end of the longhouse, the cross passage and service end/cattle byre was demolished in the second half of the 19th century and replaced by a typical Victorian two storey villa with a verandah along the front.


Grid Reference:SX 701 840
Map Sheet:SX78SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishNorth Bovey
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTH BOVEY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78SW/91
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LONGHOUSE (Built, XV to XVI - 1401 AD to 1600 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 13/04/1947, CPE/UK/1995, 2355 (Aerial Photograph). SDV217286.

Alcock, N. W. + Child, P. + Laithwaite, M., 1972, Sanders, Lettaford: A Devon Longhouse, 232 (Article in Serial). SDV348839.

A partly rebuilt longhouse called Higher Lettaford, in Lettaford. Everything below the cross passage is replaced by a square, four-room plan 19th century house, with the old house serving as a kitchen and store. The farm buildings, a barn and two ranges of shippons and stabling, are also rebuilt.

Griffith, F. M., 1984, DAP/BW, 4-8 (Aerial Photograph). SDV339907.

Department of Environment, 1987, North Bovey, 163 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV348844.

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

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

Higher Lettaford. Farmhouse, originally possibly a longhouse. Older part of house probably C16, lower end of house totally re-built in mid C19. The older part is constructed partly of granite rubble and partly of granite ashlar. The ashlar sections are left of centre and towards the right gable end. The walls were originally rendered but this is now peeling off. Granite rubble gable end stack with brick shaft. Slate roof with gable ends. The C19 part is rendered granite rubble with stone plinth. Rendered brick stacks at either end. Slate roof hipped at either end. Of the original house the inner room and part of the hall survive. It was rebuilt in mid C19 from the lower wall of the hall downwards, so there is no conclusive evidence that it was a longhouse but its siting down the slope and similar ashlar work to Sanders (q.v.) in the same hamlet suggest the possibility. The C19 part is double depth with 4 rooms and central entrance hall. 2 storeys. Older part of house to right has asymmetrical 2-window front. Chamfered granite lintel to left-hand window. The C19 part is taller with a regular 3-window front of C19 2-light casements with glazing bars, the ground floor left has iron stanchion bars. Between first floor centre and left window is a very small single light window. Central doorway with C19 4-panel door. Granite mounting block to right of doorway. To rear of C19 part is verandah supported on wooden posts with wall at either end. Symmetrical 3-window facade of C19 12-pane sashes and central C20 part-glazed door. The house is at present unoccupied and the interior was inaccessible.

Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, July 2014, Higher Lettaford, North Bovey, Devon, 16- (Report - Survey). SDV356882.

The farmhouse faces south and comprises two distinct sections. The larger part is a Victorian house and projecting westwards from the rear of the west wall is the altered remains of a medieval longhouse. The Victorian house has a typical two storey villa layout with a verandah along the front. It is two rooms wide and two deep with a central front doorway into a hall containing the main stair. The principal domestic rooms are the front ones, the rear east room was originally an unheated pantry with meat hooks in the ceiling. The first floor contains five rooms all with independent access from the landing. The exterior of the house is plastered with granite rubble footings showing along the east and north sides and it is presumed that it is mostly constructed of granite rubble. There are brick chimney stacks at each end. The roof is of Welsh slate.
The medieval block is constructed of moorstone although the north wall includes the remnants of the primary facing which is made up of large blocks of dressed granite. The roof of the medieval section is now also roofed with Welsh slate but was originally thatched. There is a tall stone rubble chimney at the west gable end which was probably heightened when the Victorian house was built. This part of the building comprises the hall and inner room section of a late medieval farmhouse dated to circa 1450-1550. In its original form the hall was open to the roof and heated by an open hearth; the roof rafters are smoke blackened. The inner room appears to have been two storeys from the beginning, providing a first floor chamber. A fireplace was inserted at the east end of the hall. This may have taken place in the second half of the 16th century in common with many Devon farmhouses, before the hall was floored over to provide a second first floor chamber but the present fireplace is later. At some time another fireplace was added the west wall of the inner room. The hall was probably floored in the first half of the 17th century, a date suggested by the scroll stops on the crossbeam, a detail that dates exclusively after 1600 in Devon.
The east end of the medieval house would have comprised the cross passage and service end, the latter probably a cattle byre rather than a domestic service room. This end of the building was demolished and replaced with the Victorian house in the second half of the 19th century. The remaining western half of the longhouse was then downgraded to service use. The new house marks a firm break with the vernacular traditions of the old farmhouse. It was built to be modern, polite and urbane. It is quite well preserved and retains some original features. See report for full details.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV217286Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 13/04/1947. CPE/UK/1995. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2355.
SDV339907Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1984. DAP/BW. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4-8.
SDV348839Article in Serial: Alcock, N. W. + Child, P. + Laithwaite, M.. 1972. Sanders, Lettaford: A Devon Longhouse. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 30. Paperback Volume. 232.
SDV348844List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. North Bovey. Historic Houses Register. A4 Single Sheet. 163.
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #81320 ]
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV356882Report - Survey: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. July 2014. Higher Lettaford, North Bovey, Devon. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. K858. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 16-.

Associated Monuments

MDV77042Part of: Higher Lettaford, North Bovey (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6529 - Historic Building Survey at Higher Lettaford, North Bovey

Date Last Edited:Jul 23 2014 3:10PM