HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV20937
Name:West Hele Farmhouse, KingsNympton


Farmhouse, probably late 15th century in origin with 17th and 18th century alterations, extended at rear in 19th century. Stone and cob under thatch. Three room and cross-passge plan. Intact late medieval roof structure with 4 cruck trusses. Smoke blackening of roof structure and underside of thatch suggests that hall was ceiled at a relatively late date.


Grid Reference:SS 667 208
Map Sheet:SS62SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKing's Nympton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishKINGS NYMPTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS62SE/28
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (Early Medieval to XXI - 1066 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M., 1931, The Place-Names of Devon: Part One, 386 (Monograph). SDV1312.

Probable home of John de Westhole in 1330.

Department of Environment, 1964, South Molton Rural District, 34 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV320155.

17th century. Plastered rubble and cob with hipped thatched roof and brick stacks. Two storeys. Interior modernised.

Alcock, N. W., 1981, Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue, 108 (Report - non-specific). SDV342504.

True cruck and jointed cruck recorded at West Hele (citing C. Hulland).

Hulland, C., 1982, List of Historic Houses (Un-published). SDV75440.

West Hele. Visited but not recorded.

Department of Environment, 1988, Kings Nympton, 112 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV340321.

Farmhouse. Probably late 15th century, with 17th and 18th century alterations, extended at rear in early 19th century. Painted rendered stone rubble and cob. Half-hipped thatch roof. Brick stack at left end and brick shaft to rear lateral hall stack which is enclosed by the gable-ended rear wing which has asbestos slate roof with brick stack at right end.
Plan: 3-room and through-passage plan with lower end to left, the hall/through passage partition removed in 20th century when staircase was inserted in former passage. 2-storey parallel service range to rear of hall and inner room and single storey outshut to rear of lower end. Development: the remarkably intact roof structure is smoke-blackened from end to end with closed trusses on the lower side of the former passage and at upper end of hall, both with partitions smoke-blackened on the hall side only, suggesting the lower end and inner room were ceiled first, the hall last. The heavy smoke-blackening and the rough ceiling beams throughout suggest a relatively late date for the sequence, probably well into the 17th century, the hall possibly even ceiled in the 18th century.
Exterior: 2 storeys. 4-window range. 20th century fenestration. Gabled thatch roof to brick porch with shaped bargeboards.
Interior: Single cross ceiling beams to all 3 principal rooms, all unchamfered. Cambered hall fireplace lintel replaced in 20th century. Internal cupboard with raised and fielded panelled doors to front wall. Stair originally beside stack on lower side. 19th century joinery principally intact. Rear wing has kitchen fireplace with chamfered timber lintel, bread oven and 19th century brick oven to base of hearth.
Roof: remarkably intact late medieval roof structure, with 4 cruck trusses, all of which are different. Over the inner room/hall partition is a jointed cruck truss with a cranked morticed and tenoned collar. The purlins are lightly trenched. Most of the original partition infill below the truss has been removed but the cob packing between the truss and rafters survives which is smoke-blackened on the hall side only. The second truss over the hall is a raised cruck with cranked morticed and tenoned collar and an unusual apex consisting of a double yoke, the upper yoke supporting the diagonally set ridge purlin. The third truss over the lower end is also a raised cruck but with an arched collar with a thin soffit chamfer. These 3 trusses are situated to form 4 roughly equal-sized bays. However, over the partition between the lower end and passage is a fourth truss with straight principals of a much lighter scantling with an X apex and a thin halved and lapped cambered collar. The wattle and daub partition is largely intact below the collar, smoke-blackened on the hall side. Above the collar horizontal planking has been nailed to the face of the truss and is also smoke-blackened. The truss itself is more heavily smoke-blackened on the hall side and may therefore be a later insertion, the purlins being interrupted at this point and merely resting on the backs of the principals. At each end, the roof has been modified to a hipped structure re-using some of the rafters. Immediately to the lower side of the hall truss, the battens to each side of the ridge have been removed, and a peg-hole through the centre of the collar of the hall truss suggests a possible smoke louvre may have existed. All the roof members, including the battens, rafters and the entire underside of the thatch are very heavily smoke-blackened, strongly suggesting the hall was ceiled at a relatively late date.

Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, 1997, Devon Dendro Project, 8 (Report - Scientific). SDV336350.

House has long and complex structural history, even within medieval period. Inconsistencies in roof structure suggest it was built in 2 or 3 phases, but was completely reattached well before any of the house was floored, or full height partitioning inserted. The thatching battens and base coat of rye thatch survive from end to end. The thatch is characterised by a simple decorative technique comprising twisted hazel twigs woven in and out of the thatching battens. This unusual, if not unique form of decoration is found in all bays of the roof, suggesting a single thatching campaign over an evolved medieval hall house. Other details: In Bratton Clovelly parish file.

Unknown, 1997, Interim Report on Devon Dendrochronology Projcet (Report - Interim). SDV230147.

Friends of South Molton Museum and the South Molton Archive Local History Society, 1997, West Hele Farm, Kings Nympton (Article in Serial). SDV340316.

West Hele Farmhouse has smoke blackened roof timbers and original thatching materials. Details of occupants from 1851 - 1891 given.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1312Monograph: Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M.. 1931. The Place-Names of Devon: Part One. The Place-Names of Devon: Part One. VIII. A5 Hardback. 386.
SDV230147Report - Interim: Unknown. 1997. Interim Report on Devon Dendrochronology Projcet. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants Report. K397/1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV320155List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1964. South Molton Rural District. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 34.
SDV336350Report - Scientific: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. 1997. Devon Dendro Project. Keystone Report. K397. A4 Stapled + Digital. 8.
SDV340316Article in Serial: Friends of South Molton Museum and the South Molton Archive Local History Society. 1997. West Hele Farm, Kings Nympton. Local History News. A5 Unbound.
SDV340321List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1988. Kings Nympton. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 112.
SDV342504Report - non-specific: Alcock, N. W.. 1981. Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. 42. Photocopy. 108.
SDV75440Un-published: Hulland, C.. 1982. List of Historic Houses. List of Historic Houses. Unknown.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 4 2014 10:02AM