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HER Number:MDV17989
Name:Hilltown Farmhouse, Warkleigh


Late 17th century thatched farmhouse with later barn and outbuildings attached. The barn and farmhouse were badly damaged in a fire in December 2017.


Grid Reference:SS 658 231
Map Sheet:SS62SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSatterleigh and Warkleigh
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWARKLEIGH

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS62SE/19

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (Built, XVII - 1601 AD to 1700 AD (Between))
  • BARN (Built, XVIII - 1701 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

Andrews, J. H. B., 1960, The Parish of Satterleigh and Warkleigh, 57-8 (Article in Serial). SDV78211.

Hilltown. Otherwise known as Hill Stone, mentioned in survey of the Rolle Estate of 1748. Presumed to have been the residence of John atte Hill in 1428. Sold a few years ago by the tenant.

Historic England, 2018, Hill Town Farmhouse with Barn and Outbuildings attached at West End (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361007.

Historic England has been asked to consider the farmhouse, barn and attached outbuildings for de-listing following a severe fire in December 2017. Further structural damage has occurred since due to water ingress.
Hilltown Farmhouse, barn and outbuildings are situated to the north east of the scattered hamlet of Warkleigh, approximately 0.25 miles south of Hilltown Cross. It is a fertile farming area, with much of the land historically owned by the Rolle Family, and smaller estates owned by the Church.
The current List entry for the farmhouse, barn and outbuildings, which are listed at Grade II, describes the house as being late C17, possibly a rebuilding of a medieval farmhouse, with a C18 dairy wing and interior remodelled in the C19. To the west, the attached barn and outbuildings date from the C18 and C19 respectively. Further outbuildings are attached to the north of the barn, and are of modern construction, replacing earlier farm buildings.
Hilltown is depicted on the 1841 Tithe map with the barn and farmhouse extant, the L-shaped plan showing the dairy wing. To the north a further building formed a quadrangle, and there were scattered buildings to the east (now replaced with C20 Dutch barns). At this time it was occupied by William Mills, leased from the Reverend William Kanslake. Ordnance Survey maps show the farm complex in the same configuration into the C20, with an orchard to the east.
C20 alterations to the house include the remodelling of a single-storey range along the north elevation; selective rebuilding and repair in the 1970s following storm damage of the east elevation, including a new brick stack and replacing the render in concrete, and strengthening of the south (principal) elevation.
A catastrophic fire in December 2017 resulted in the collapse of significant elements of the farmhouse and barn, including the roof structure and the first floor level, and the destruction of all internal walls. The exposed shell has since been subject to major water ingress causing further damage and loss to the structure, including the collapse of the west chimney stack and areas of cob walling.
The remains of a C17 farmhouse and attached C18 barn. The farmhouse consisted of a two-storey, cross-passage plan, rectangular building, with a later wing to the east, constructed mainly of plastered cob on a stone plinth under a thatched roof. Internally there is a substantial stone fireplace with timber lintel at the east end. Windows are C20 casements, with some reused timbers as lintels. Attached to the west was a double-height barn, built mainly of random rubble with some cob, and the south wall of modern block work, under a thatched roof, linked to the farmhouse roof. Adjacent to the barn is a walled yard with a further small outbuilding parallel to the road, constructed of rendered rubble stone with a tiled roof.
The east gable and south elevation of the farmhouse remain standing, as does the west gable, minus its chimney stack. The north elevation is partially extant, supported by the single-storey extension. All internal walls and the first floor structure and roof structure have been destroyed, and the standing structures are significantly eroded and unstable. Debris throughout the internal footprint. The walls to the barn remain standing (the south wall being
concrete block), but the roof structure has been destroyed and the walls compromised. The southern outbuildings are untouched.

Historic England, 2018, Hilltown Farm, Warkleigh, Umberleigh (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361471.

Notification that following completion of an assessment of the building it has been decided to remove the building from the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.
Hilltown Farmhouse with barn and outbuildings attached at west end was listed at Grade II in February 1967.
An amendment to the List entry was made in January 1988.
Sections of unstable cob and brick walling were demolished following the fire, and due to on-going exposure of the shell to the weather, further damage and loss has occurred including the collapse of the west chimney stack. There is no enforcement action pending.
The C19 outbuildings attached to the south-west of the house and barns have not been affected by the fire.
The attached C20 outbuildings to the north are not of special interest and have not been considered as part of this assessment.
The special architectural or historic interest of Hilltown Farmhouse with attached barn and outbuildings, a later C17 farmhouse with possible medieval origins and remodelled in the C19, with a C18 dairy wing and C18 attached barn and C19 outbuildings, was recognised by its inclusion on the List at Grade II in 1967. The building was unfortunately gutted by fire in December 2017 with further damage occurring from severe weather over the following months whilst the shell of the building was exposed, particularly the collapse of the west chimney stack. In addition some controlled demolition took place at the time of the fire to stabilise the structure. Whilst the eastern and southern walls of the house remain standing (they were selectively rebuilt in the 1970s following storm damage), as do substantial remains of the attached barn’s walls, both structures have lost their roof structure, and the first floor structure and all internal walls within the house have also collapsed. The attached barn is noted to have had an interesting and complex roof structure, no evidence of which remains. Hilltown Farmhouse and its attached barn have regrettably lost a substantial amount of their historic fabric which has had a significant impact upon their architectural and historic interest. The C19 attached outbuildings to the south of the barn remain standing, but are not of sufficient special interest in their own right to merit listing. Although decisions to remove buildings from the List are never taken lightly, it is evident in this case that the criteria for listing are no longer fulfilled and the farmhouse, attached barn and outbuildings should therefore be removed from the List.
After considering the available records, and carefully considering the special architectural and historical interest of this case, the criteria for listing are no longer fulfilled. Hilltown Farmhouse and attached barn and outbuildings have lost the majority of their historic fabric and special interest, and therefore warrant removal from the List.
Hilltown Farmhouse, dating from the C17 and possibly earlier, with C19 and C20 remodelling and repair; and the attached barn to the west dating from the C18 and C19 respectively, having suffered substantial fire and storm damage in 2017, are recommended for de-listing for the following principal reasons:
Lack of architectural interest:
* the special interest and character of the farmhoouse and attached barn has been severely compromised by the extensive loss of historic fabric;
* the internal spatial arrangement and historic features and surfaces have been lost;
* the standing C19 outbuildings to the south of the attached barn are not of sufficient special interest to retain their listed status.
Group value:
* the buildings’ historic relationship with the standing attached C19 outbuildings is not sufficient grounds to retain the farmhouse and attached barn on the List.
See report for further details.

Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Hilltown marked.

Historic England, 2018, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV360653.

Hilltown Farmhouse with barn and outbuildings attached at west end. Farmhouse late C17, barn probably C18 and outbuildings. C19. Painted rendered stone rubble and cob. Thatch roof, continuous over attached barn, gable end to right, hipped at left end. Brick stacks to right gable end and to left (former gable) end of farmhouse, and tall brick shaft to rear outshut. Gable ended slate roof to attached outbuildings. Farmhouse has 2-room and cross-passage plan, the passage containing C19 straight-run staircase, with smaller parlour to left and large kitchen to right. Dairy wing added probably in C18 to rear creating L-shaped plan, with slated outshut in the angle. Barn attached at left end set at right angles to farmhouse, the roof continuous, but upper left side of barn has been partially demolished. Outbuildings with cob courtyard walls with pantile capping extend forward at the right end of the barn to front of farmhouse. 2 storeys. 4-window range. C19/early C20 fenestration. 3-light casement at left end, otherwise 2 lights, all 2 panes per light. Ground floor has a 3-light casement 6 panes per light to each side of plank door, the upper 2 panels glazed. Barn has double plank doors to cart entrance. Interibr. Largely remodelled in C19, all 4-panelled doors surviving and C19 staircase. Kitchen fireplace at right end has late C17 ovolo moulded timber lintel with incised X, bar and scroll stops. Recess to left may have originally been a smoking chamber, later converted to creamery. Roof trusses are wide span straight principals with pegged lapped collars. Some, almost certainly reused, smoke-blackened rafters at intervals suggest a complete rebuilding in the late C17 of a former medieval farmhouse.
Date first listed: 20th February 1967
Date of most recent amendment: 8th January 1988

Sources / Further Reading

SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #111380 ]
SDV360653National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2018. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV361007List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Hill Town Farmhouse with Barn and Outbuildings attached at West End. Notification of Completion of Assessment. Digital.
SDV361471List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Hilltown Farm, Warkleigh, Umberleigh. Notification of Removal of Building from List. Digital.
SDV78211Article in Serial: Andrews, J. H. B.. 1960. The Parish of Satterleigh and Warkleigh. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 92. 57-8.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Mar 13 2019 10:34AM