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HER Number:MDV6124
Name:West Chapple Longhouse, Gidleigh


Early 16th century longhouse with later 16th and 17th century improvements, renovated circa 1975. Very interesting example of a Dartmoor longhouse. Was used as a cow house for many years. Rear wing added in the 17th century; this was later used as a second dwelling, when the property functioned as two labourers cottages. The shippon at the eastern end is largely unaltered, which is unusual.


Grid Reference:SX 671 890
Map Sheet:SX68NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishGidleigh
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishGIDLEIGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX68NE80
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443692
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68NE/14/4
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 94713

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

Tithe Map shows dwelling of West Chapple (135 on the apportionment). Rear extension is depicted. No divisions shown between the house / shippon at this time.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

The late 19th century historic map shows the longhouse/shippon with rear extension.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

As the late 19th century historic map.

Alcock, N. W., 1969, Devonshire Farmhouses. Part 2, 87-91, plates 3-5, figures 3-5 (Article in Serial). SDV269384.

Chapple West. House A is a longhouse, built of granite. It has a main range, positioned down a slight slope, with an added rear wing. Built of small irregular stones on massive boulder footings, with 'broad and narrow' quoins at the corners. On the front the original openings are framed in large squared stones.
The wing is built in smoothed coursed blocks on its main (east) side and in rubble on the other sides. Main doorway has a porch roofed until recently by a single slab. The cross passage now has on the west the rear wall of the chimney, in smoothed coursed blocks, with a projecting ledge to take the joist ends; over the door to the hall this is continued by a chamfered beam. On the other side a later wall cuts off the shippon. The hall has a large window, a blocked window in its south wall and a low door to the wing (now blocked and obstructed by the stair).
Main beam has a moulding on the 'high' side only (fig.3), a deep chamfer with straight cut stops on the other. The fireplace has stone jambs and lintel, hollow chamfered but unstopped. The door and wall on the north side are late, but the end of the original chamfered beam projects from it, probably the head-beam for a partition.
Shippon almost unaltered. Originally not divided from the passage and the present door was probably made when the passage wall was built. Three slit windows on east side; a larger square one on south side, and another (blocked) on the north. Both probably original, may have been 'dung-holes'. Inside, there is a step down from the passage and in the centre a transverse drain. The only sign of cattle ties, is a 610 millimetre post, but this is late as it has iron gate pintles. The two beams have chamfers and step-stops. On the passage side of the west beam the joists had bare-faced tenons (as in the hall), but over the rest of the shippon they were just laid into slots. No gaps in their spacing.
Room over shippon has a slit in the gable and a loading door on the front. Original. There is a closed partition between this room and the next, with a tie-beam resting on the walls, principal rafters, a collar and two purlins each side (passed through the rafters). Filled with wattle-and-daub. Above the passage is a small chamber with a window to the south. Above the hall and inner room is now one room; there was probably originally a closed truss. One original smoke-blackened cruck truss remains beside the chimney. The room in the later wing has a circular stair with slit window, a fireplace with hollow moulded stone jambs and a chamfered wooden lintel with stepped stops, and one beam with draw stops.
On the east wall is a probable original door (widened) with a large boulder as a step outside. Upstairs there is a window on the east over the door with a jointed cruck truss beside it. It has the primitive purlins through the blades, but the late feature of a collar attached by notched halvings.
Date: early 16th century. The hall is not as originally built, the fireplace and chimney was built into it in late 16th-17th century. The rear wing may have been a kitchen.

Beacham, P., 1978, Devon's Traditional Buildings, 10, 'Farmhouse Building Traditions', Child, P. (Article in Monograph). SDV340405.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SX68NE64 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV273952.

SX 67118908. A Medieval longhouse of exceptional interest, dated as early 16th century by its hall-beam and cruck truss. It consists of a main range with a rear wing added in the later 17th century. The main range is built of small, irregular granite blocks on massive boulder footings. Above the Shippon,
which is almost unaltered, is a hay-loft with a loading-door which is perhaps the earliest known example.
The later wing is of coursed blocks and rubble, and may have been a kitchen as it has a large fireplace. The building is to be renovated for habitation.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1979, West Chapple (Photograph). SDV273945.

Range of photographs taken some time before 1979.

Various, 1980, Archaeology of the Devon Landscape, 122,figure 11.7, Beacham, P. (Monograph). SDV323786.

In 'Local building traditions in Devon from Medieval period to 1700'.

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

Timms, S. C., 1983, List of Devon buildings in NMR Recorded Buildings Index, London, (16/11/1983, 19/12/1983) (Un-published). SDV337271.

This longhouse has also been recorded by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments in England (RCHME). It is noted by Child. It was comprehensively repaired in late 1970s and Beacham reproduces a National Monuments Record photograph (Ref bb77/9451) of building prior to this repair. Department of Environment grant-aided the recent repair work and also made grant for local recording work. N. Alcock's record was deposited in National Monuments Record in 1977.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Visible on 1947 Royal Air Force aerial photograph.

Department of Environment, 1987, Gidleigh, 137 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV275393.

House, former Dartmoor longhouse. Early 16th century with later 16th century and 17th century improvements, renovated circa 1975. Massive blocks of roughly coursed ashlar on massive boulder footings with a great deal of granite stone rubble patching; granite stacks. Thatch roof. T-shaped building. Main block is the original part.
A three room and through passage plan. Irregular 3 window front of 20th century casements without glazing bars.
Good interior contains elements from all its main historic building phases. See List 1987 for full details.
Thought to date from early 16th century, and be relatively unaltered longhouse. Main features briefly noted. A rare survival (Department of Environment, 1976).

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 68 (Monograph). SDV325629.

West Chapple Farmhouse, early C16th three-room-and-through-passage plan originally open to the roof. Grade II*.

Grumley-Grennan, T. + Hardy, M., 2000, Gidleigh. A Dartmoor Village Past and Present, 139-145 (Monograph). SDV359347.

West Chapple, next to the farmhouse, was used as a cow house for many years, but originated as an early 16th century longhouse with some remarkable features. The house has a main range with an added rear wing, all built of granite. Original part would have been a three-room-and-through-passage plan, open to the roof, divided by low partitions and heated by an open hearth fire. Through the late 16th and early 17th century, the rooms were progressively floored over and the hall stack was inserted. The main doorway has a porch that was, until recent years, roofed by a single granite slab.
The shippon, to the left of the door, is largely unaltered with three slit windows on the east wall. The north and south walls have signs of larger square windows which were probably dung holes.
The wing of ashlar blockwork at the rear was added in the 17th century to provided a heated parlour and chamber. It has a circular stair with a slit window and a large fireplace with hollow moulded stone jambs. On the east wall is a probable original door with a large boulder as a step outside.
In the sale particulars of Chapple Farm, dated 1924, West Chapple is described as two labourers' cottages. The room at the rear of the house was one cottage with two rooms above, while the right half of the front of the house was the other, with the shippon to the left.
West Chapple was bought in 1973 by Caroline Lyon-Smith from her father Tommy Fox Pitt and since that time, this dwelling has been sold privately, separate from the farm.

Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

Depicted on the modern mapping.

Historic England, 2016, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV359353.

3/183 West Chapple Farmhouse - 3.12.76 GV II*
House, former Dartmoor longhouse. Early C16 with later C16 and C17 improvements, renovated circa 1975. Massive blocks of roughly coursed ashlar on massive boulder footings with a great deal of granite stone rubble patching; granite stacks with granite ashlar chimney shafts; thatch roof.
Plan and development: T-shaped building. The original part is the main block. This is a 3-room-and-through-passage plan former Dartmoor longhouse facing north-west and built down a gentle slope. At the uphill right end there is a small unheated room, originally the dairy. The hall has a large stack backing onto the passage. The shippon was brought into domestic use circa 1970. Mid C17 kitchen added at right angles to rear of the hall. It has an end stack with a newel stair rising alongside. This is a house with a long and complex structural history. The original early C16 house seems to have been open to the roof from end to end, divided by low partitions and heated by an open hearth fire. Through the later C16 and early C17 the rooms were progressively floored over and the hall stack was inserted. After the addition of the kitchen wing the hall would be the parlour. Now 2 storeys throughout.
Exterior: irregular 3-window front of C20 casements without glazing bars. The left end window is blocking the former cow door and the left first floor window is blocking the hayloft loading hatch. The passage front doorway is left of centre and now occupied by a C20 door narrower than the original. There is here the remains of a C16 or C17 porch once roofed by a large slab of granite. The main roof is gable- ended. The left end wall (to the shippon) contains 3 slit windows to the shippon. The central one may have been the dung hatch although there is a larger window in the rear wall. Single vent slit to the former hayloft. Kitchen has similar fenestration to the front and it too is gable-ended.
Good interior containing elements from all its main historic building phases. The earliest feature is the true cruck principal in the roof near the upper side of the passage. Most of the truss has been removed by the insertion of the hall stack. The surviving fragment is early C16 and smoke-blackened from the open hearth fire. The rest of the main block roof structure was replaced circa 1975. The inner room was probably the first to be floored and some timbers projecting into the hall might suggest the chamber jettied into the hall. The rubble crosswall below (at the upper end of the hall) is a rebuild and incorporates levelling timbers made up from an old plank-and-muntin screen, maybe the original low partition there. The hall appears to have been floored in the mid or late C16; unusually early for this part of Devon. The crossbeam is set half way between inner room and passage and therefore is close to the chimney breast. Its soffit is richly moulded towards the upper end but only chamfered towards the passage. On the passage side some contemporary soffit-chamfered and step-stopped joists survive. Their arrangement and relationship with the chimney breast seems to suggest that the present stack replaced a mid or late C16 smoke hood as Alcock argues. If so the present large granite ashlar fireplace with hollow-chamfered surround is late C16 or early C17. On the lower side of the passage there is no longer a crosswall. The hayloft crossbeam is roughly-finished. There is still a granite tethering post at the end. The kitchen has a roughly-finished crossbeam and a granite fireplace with soffit- chamfered and step-stopped oak lintel and side ovens. The 2-bay roof here is carried on a face-pegged jointed cruck truss.
This is a very interesting example of a Dartmoor longhouse in the attractive hamlet of Chapple which includes several listed buildings. Source. N W Alcock. Devonshire Farmhouses. Part II. Some Dartmoor Houses. Trans. Devon. Assoc. Vol 101 (1969) pp 87-92.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV269384Article in Serial: Alcock, N. W.. 1969. Devonshire Farmhouses. Part 2. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 101. A5 Paperback. 87-91, plates 3-5, figures 3-5.
SDV273945Photograph: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1979. West Chapple. Digital.
SDV273952Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SX68NE64. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV275393List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Gidleigh. Historic Houses Register. 137.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV323786Monograph: Various. 1980. Archaeology of the Devon Landscape. Archaeology of the Devon Landscape. Paperback Volume. 122,figure 11.7, Beacham, P..
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 68.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337271Un-published: Timms, S. C.. 1983. List of Devon buildings in NMR Recorded Buildings Index, London. Typescript. (16/11/1983, 19/12/1983).
SDV340405Article in Monograph: Beacham, P.. 1978. Devon's Traditional Buildings. The Conservation of the Heritage. Unknown. 10, 'Farmhouse Building Traditions', Child, P..
SDV342504Report - non-specific: Alcock, N. W.. 1981. Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. 42. Photocopy. 108.
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV359347Monograph: Grumley-Grennan, T. + Hardy, M.. 2000. Gidleigh. A Dartmoor Village Past and Present. Gidleigh. A Dartmoor Village Past and Present. Hardback Volume. 139-145.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #96750 ]
SDV359353National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2016. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV22081Part of: Chapple, Gidleigh (Monument)
MDV6127Related to: Barn and byres south-west of West Chapple Farmhouse, Gidleigh (Building)
MDV6126Related to: Chapple (East) Farmhouse (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 24 2022 12:02PM