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HER Number:MDV37814
Name:Bridford Barton Farmhouse


One of the oldest houses to survive with its original roof in the county, Bridford Barton was built in around 1298 as a medieval hall house. It has been through a number of alterations and additions since this time but retains much of its original fabric and remains a significant property within Bridford today.


Grid Reference:SX 816 864
Map Sheet:SX88NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishBridford
Ecclesiastical ParishBRIDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX88NW40
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 899589
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX88NW/143
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 85567

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (XIV to Early 20th Century - 1301 AD to 1901 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1963-1996, 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric, (1977) (Cartographic). SDV350058.

(SX81618641) Bridford Barton [NAT].

Laithwaite, M., 1971, Two medieval houses in Ashburton, 181-194 (Article in Serial). SDV313465.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 212 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Bridford Barton. Circa early-mid C14th origins with a probable C15th rear wing, the C14th block partly re-roofed in the early C16th. remodelled in the early C17th. Overall U-plan with a three-room-and-cross-passage main block and short wings at rear. The house originated in a grand and exceptionally early Medieval open hall, probably of 2 cells with a remarkable C14th roof of base cruck construction. Other than a similar roof demolished in Ashburton in 1970, no other examples are known in Devon. Grade I.

Thorp, J. R. L., 2009, Bridford Barton, Bridford (Report - Assessment). SDV347236.

Detailed history of the manor and past owners as well as description of the phased plan of the house, alterations over time and particularly the fabric of the roof and the earliest phase (the medieval hall house), which has been dated using dendrochronology to 1298.

English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

Bridford Barton Farmhouse has early/mid 14th century origins with a probably early 15th century rear wing, the 14th century block partly re-roofed in the early 16th century. Remodelling in around the early 17th century and 20th century alterations. Whitewashed rendered stone and cob ; thatched roof, gabled at ends ; axial stack with granite shaft heating early 17th century hall, axial stack to right of centre with brick shaft, probably 20th century left end stack.
Plan: Overall U plan with a three room and cross passage main block, facing east, with short rear left and rear right wings. The house originated as a grand and exceptionally early medieval open hall, probably of 2 cells, with a roof construction that is of base cruck design: 2 bays of this survive with 2 intermediate ties. The surviving left end truss is a spere truss with aisle posts, presumably marking a division in the original house, to the left of this truss the early roof has been replaced by a conventional early 16th century jointed cruck truss. The rear left wing, also with an unusually early smoke-blackened roof, probably had an independent open hearth. When the building was floored, in the early 17th century, a hall stack was inserted, backing on to the cross passage; with a heated inner room, at the right end. The range was subsequently extended to the right by an outbuilding and a barn was added at the rear right; the outbuilding and barn have been absorbed into the house. Late 20th century single-storey addition between the rear wings.
Exterior: two storeys. Asymmetrical 6 window front. Entrance to cross passage to left of centre with a 20th century thatched porch on posts with plank and stud front door. 2- and 3-light 19th and 20th century timber casements and sashes with glazing bars with a late 20th century bow to the left of the porch and a 2-light timber mullioned window of around 1700 with timber stanchions, first floor window from left.
Interior: The major interest of the house lies in the outstanding roofs but the ground floor is also of interest although modernized in the late 20th century. The granite ashlar back of the hall stack with a hollow-chamfered cornice is exposed in the passage which has chamfered stopped joists. One of the aisle posts of the 14th century spere truss is exposed but buried in the lower end partition of the passage. The early 17th century hall has a chamfered stopped crossbeam and an open fireplace with a granite lintel and monolithic granite jambs, the left hand jamb altered or replaced to provide an opening into a recess, probably a smoking chamber subsequently altered to a bread oven. The inner room has a chamfered stopped crossbeam and blocked fireplace; the lower end room has rough exposed crossbeams and joists and now extends into the rear left wing.
Roof: Remarkable. The 14th century roof is a base cruck construction with massive arcade plates (no purlins) into which the common rafters are notched. The main truss is a face-pegged base cruck with straight (rather than arched) braces below the collar and straight wind braces. There are intermediate ties between the main trusses. The spere truss, more clearly visible in the roofspace than the main truss, has massive aisle posts (one is visible in the cross passage, descending virtually to ground level about 4 foot away from the front wall of the house). There is evidence that the spere truss was infilled between the straight braces although the infill may be secondary. The roof formerly extended further to the left where it has been replaced in the circa early 16th century by a conventional side-pegged jointed cruck truss over the lower end. The upper tier of the 14th century roof consists of common rafter couples with lap-jointed collars. The construction of the roof, with no crown post to give longitudinal bracing to the upper tier, has caused racking of some of the common rafters and the joints of some of the main timbers have parted, revealing secret dovetails of a very early character; the ties are splayed and tabled into the arcade plates. Smoke-blackened battens and thatch survive throughout with an odd arrangement of longitudinal pieces, with some disused mortises, in corresponding positions each side (near the later stack) set across two common rafter bays just below collar level, indicating some special arrangement of unknown function. The rear left wing also retains an unusual but probably later medieval roof of an extremely rare design in Devon. Three arched brace trusses of slender scantling with claspled diagonally-set purlins and a clasped square set ridge above a yoke ; lap joints of an early character. The battens and thatch are post-medieval but the other timbers are smoke-blackened. A comparable roof in Ashburton, Devon, was recorded by Michael Laithwaite prior to demolition in 1970 but no other examples are known in the County. A multi-phase medieval house with an outstanding survival in the 14th century roof. The character of the roof construction suggests that this could be the earliest roof in Devon. Interpretation of roof by John Thorp (based on Laithwaite, 1971). Other details: Listed building number: 85567.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV313465Article in Serial: Laithwaite, M.. 1971. Two medieval houses in Ashburton. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 29. Unknown. 181-194.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 212.
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV347236Report - Assessment: Thorp, J. R. L.. 2009. Bridford Barton, Bridford. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants Report. K773. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV350058Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1963-1996. 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric. Digital Mapping. Digital. (1977).

Associated Monuments

MDV77576Part of: Bridford Barton farmstead, Bridford (Building)
MDV37813Related to: Gatepost at northern entrance of Bridford Barton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV5052 - Assessment of Bridford Barton farmhouse

Date Last Edited:Jun 4 2021 2:07PM