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HER Number:MDV35582
Name:Lower Merripit Farmhouse, Dartmoor Forest


Late medieval longhouse with later alterations and additions but which retains its shippon. Housed a charity-supported schoolroom between the 1790s and 1860s.


Grid Reference:SX 658 791
Map Sheet:SX67NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NE/289
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LONGHOUSE (Built, XIII to XVI - 1201 AD to 1600 AD (Between))
  • SCHOOLROOM (XVIII to XIX - 1790 AD to 1869 AD (Between))

Full description

Department of Environment, 1987, Lydford, 7 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV266265.

Pidgeon, J. R., 1990, Lower Merripit, Postbridge. A Dartmoor Longhouse. A Brief Survey (Report - Survey). SDV351989.

Building recording undertaken when the internal floors and partitions were removed in 1990 prior to renovation. The building comprises a typical longhouse, constructed on a north-west to south-east axis with the the house end built into the hill slope. Primarily built of undressed granite moorstone with a later extension, also in granite, at the northern house end. There are also concrete block extensions at the shippon end. The hall has a large granite fireplace and an inserted floor supported on two large chamfered beams. The upper room also has a large granite fireplace with a bread oven. There are the remains of a cruck truss in the hall at the side of the cross passage partition but otherwise the roof is 20th century, clade with corrugated sheet. The shippon retains is original drain, drain hole and dung hole. Four main phases of construction were identified. Phase 1, ?late medieval longhouse with half height screen and timber doorway between the hall and upper room. Phase 2, ?late 16th century, insertion of fireplaces and bread oven, north-west gable end raised from half hip, insertion of full height partitions, upper room ceiled. Phase 3, ?17th century, addition of lean-to kitchen/dairy at rear, hall part ceiled. Phase 4A, ?18th/19th century, hall fully ceiled, shippon rebuilt. Phase 4B, 20th century, modern staircase, new roof, blockwork extension to shippon. See report for further details.

Stanbrook, M., 1991, Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered, 70 (Monograph). SDV359884.

Listed in the account books for the Widecombe and Dartmoor Charity Schools is Postbridge, where children were taught at Lower Merripit by Elizabeth French until 1797, Jane Coaker (1800-1803) and Susannanh Rouse (1821-1845). This became a larger school supported by the local tin mining managers, but after the mine closed in 1852, the school ceased, but two years later the parents of Merripit children requested its reopening and it continued until the 1860s under Elizabeth Rouse.

Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

English Heritage, 2013, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV350785.

Lower Merripit Farmhouse. Longhouse. C16, altered in C19. Granite rubble walls partly colour-washed. Gable ended corrugated iron roof. 2 granite stacks with dripmoulds, one at the left gable end and one axial stack constructed of ashlar with a tapering cap. Plan: Longhouse with shippon to the right, passage, hall and inner room to the left. Hall stack backs onto the passage. C19 outshuts built on along rear wall. Exterior: 2 storeys with 1 storey shippon plus loft which has lower roof-line. Asymmetrical 2-window front, shippon to the right. C20 one and 2-light casements and C20 plank door to left to centre of house. Right-hand ground floor window has 2-light granite mullion window frame whose mullion has been removed. Rebuilt leanto porch to passage at centre with wide doorway behind. Door into front of shippon approximately half way along - probably a later insertion. The front wall of the inner room shows signs of having been rebuilt. Interior : Large hall fireplace has corbelled granite jambs and the stack has ashlar granite back to the passage. C17 oak doorframe from hall to inner room with lozenge decoration in centre of head. Shippon has central drain, splayed slit windows (blocked to outside) and probably original cross-beams for hay loft. Also the remains of one raised cruck truss. This is a rare example of a simple longhouse with its shippon still unconverted and fulfilling its original purpose.

Lane, K. + Horsham, R., July 1998, DTRG AGM Postbridge Excursion, 2-4 (Article in Serial). SDV214902.

One of the best examples of a Dartmoor longhouse complete with shippon. A recently discovered open hearth had debris dating to 1235.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV214902Article in Serial: Lane, K. + Horsham, R.. July 1998. DTRG AGM Postbridge Excursion. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 15. Unknown. 2-4.
SDV266265List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Lydford. Historic Houses Register. A4 Bound. 7.
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #88693 ]
SDV351989Report - Survey: Pidgeon, J. R.. 1990. Lower Merripit, Postbridge. A Dartmoor Longhouse. A Brief Survey. A4 Stapled.
SDV359884Monograph: Stanbrook, M.. 1991. Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered. Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered. Paperback Volume. 70.

Associated Monuments

MDV77446Part of: Lower Merripit Farmstead, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6218 - Brief Survey of Lower Merripit Farmhouse, Postbridge

Date Last Edited:Feb 16 2018 3:42PM