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HER Number:MDV37232
Name:Old Cawte Farmhouse, Dunsford


Farmhouse probably of early 16th century origins with late 16th/17th century alterations. Of whitewashed rendered cob and stone under thatch. The roof structure includes a jointed cruck said to be smoke blackened suggesting that the building originated as an open hall house. The interior retains some 16th and 17th century features.


Grid Reference:SX 811 891
Map Sheet:SX88NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDunsford
Ecclesiastical ParishDUNSFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX88NW/127
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (Built, XV to XVI - 1500 AD to 1550 AD (Between))

Full description

Department of Environment, 1986, Dunsford, 36 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV340721.

Old Cawte Farmhouse and wall to the north west (formerly listed as Court Farmhouse). House and adjoining wall. House possibly early 16th century in origin with late16th and mid/late 17th century alterations, 20th century renovations. Whitewashed rendered cob and stone rubble; thatched roof, gabled at left end, half-hipped at right end; projecting left end stack with brick shaft, projecting granite ashlar stack with set-offs, tall granite shaft and cap on front wall at right. Single depth 2-room main range with heated rooms on either side of a passage (formerly a through passage). The right-hand room, heated from the front lateral stack appears to have been the late 16th century hall, the left-hand room, probably originally the lower end, is a circa mid to late 17th century parlour although clearly used as a kitchen in the 19th century. There is an unheated rear right wing adjoining the higher (right) end which has some stone rubble walling and may have been partly or wholly rebuilt. The roof truss over the lower end appears to pre-date the truss over the higher end, and may be late medieval in origin. The evolution of the house is clearly complex. A possible sequence of development is an open hall 2-room house of the early16th century (although without access to the roofspace at time of survey (1985) this remains unproven) remodelled in the late 16th century as a 2-storey 2- or 3-room plan, the hall heated from the lateral stack and possibly with a parlour wing at the rear. The next phase appears to have been the refurbishing of the lower end as a circa mid to late 17th century parlour, the roof over the higher end may have been rebuilt at the same time. The position of the kitchen at this date is uncertain and it may have been detached. The rear wing appears to have been partly rebuilt in the 19th century. 2 storeys. Nearly symmetrical 3-window front, the eaves thatch eyebrowed over the 2 outer windows and rising as a gabled dormer in the centre. Fine projecting granite ashlar stack heating hall to right of the doorway to the passage; the doorway has an old pegged doorframe and 3 granite steps in front. Fenestration of 2-light 20th century windows with diamond-leaded panes; small timber stair window to ground floor left constructed out of a single piece of timber. Projecting semi-circular stone rubble bread oven at left gable end.
Interior: high quality16th and17th century interior features, including a fine oak plank and muntin screen to the left (lower end) of the passage, the muntins chamfered with bar stops on both sides of the screen which has an inserted 20th century door. The 17th century parlour (to the left) has a chamfered cross beam with elaborate bar stops. The fireplace is partly blocked but has a chamfered timber lintel and chamfered timber jambs on stone rubble footings. Adjacent to the stack is a timber newel stair in a rounded internal stair turret. The hall (to the right of the passage) has a fine 16th century granite fireplace (partly blocked) with a massive hollow-chamfered granite lintel and hollow-chamfered granite jambs. No access to roofspace at time of survey (1985) but the pegged collar rafter truss over the right end appears to be 17th century with a cranked collar mortised into straight principal rafters. The truss over the left-hand end is a jointed cruck and is said to show evidence of smoke-blackening. A section of tall cob wall with tile capping adjoins the house at the north west. An evolved house with some fine 16th and 17th century features.

Tingle, M., 2009, Report of a Trial Excavation at Old Cawte Farm, Dunsford, Devon (Report - Excavation). SDV350034.

A linear feature exposed running north south across a trench excavated within the footprint of a proposed extension to Cawte Fam was shown to be the edge of a terrace which had been cut when the original extension to the house was built. All the pottery finds were post 1800 in date suggesting that the terracing took place in the later 19th/early 20th century prior to the planting of the pear tree whose roots had penetrated into the feature.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Map object from this source.

English Heritage, 2012, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV348729.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV340721List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1986. Dunsford. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 36.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV350034Report - Excavation: Tingle, M.. 2009. Report of a Trial Excavation at Old Cawte Farm, Dunsford, Devon. Peninsula Archaeology Report. A4 Comb Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV77076Part of: Old Cawte farmstead, Dunsford (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6016 - Excavation at Old Cawte Farm, Dunsford

Date Last Edited:Mar 27 2017 2:57PM