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HER Number:MDV61803
Name:Broomham Farmhouse


Farmhouse built in early 16th century, remodelled in 17th century with some 19th century alterations. A well preserved example of a Devon longhouse.


Grid Reference:SS 708 212
Map Sheet:SS72SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKing's Nympton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishKINGS NYMPTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS72SW/15/1
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 97292

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (XVI to XVII - 1501 AD to 1700 AD (Between))

Full description

Department of Environment, 1988, Kings Nympton, 92 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV340321.

Farmhouse unoccupied at time of survey. Probably early 16th century, remodelled 1638 by datestone, with some 19th century alterations but subsequently very little changed. Unrendered stone rubble, right end partly rendered stone rubble and cob. Thatch roof, half-hipped, with chamfered timber wall plate. Corrugated asbestos roof to rear kitchen wing. Tall front lateral stone rubble hall stack with tapered cap, stone rubble ridge stacks towards left end and to rear kitchen wing.
Plan: house unoccupied since circa 1978 and interior of main range not accessible. Substantial modified long-house plan, with hall, inner room and additional unheated room probably originally a dairy beyond to left of through-passage, and integral lofted outbuilding to right. Kitchen wing to rear of hall and through-passage creating overall T-shaped plan with single-storey outshot to left. The house was originally open to the roof, including the lofted outbuilding which has been extended probably in the late 17th century at the right end. The house was ceiled probably in 1638, when the kitchen wing appears to have been added, and the hall stairs which are housed in a shallow projection between the hall stack and through-passage doorway. Additional spiral staircase to rear kitchen wing.
Exterior: two storeys. Four-window range 19th century fenestration entirely intact, all three-light casements eight panes per light. Small two-light mullion staircase window, 17th century four-light chamfered mullion window to left end, and two-light mullion to right side upper storey of rear wing. Outbuilding at right end has large 19th century two-light shuttered opening above 19th century four-light timber window. Old studded plank door at right end. Datestone above hall window inscribed "Anno Domini 1638 B.T. T.T."
Interior: not accessible but known to be little altered and probably early fabric concealed. There is said to be a domed ash house in the projection behind the rear kitchen wing stack. The 17th century panelling has been removed. The lofted outbuilding has a single raised cruck truss with cranked morticed and tenoned collar and two tiers of threaded purlins and ridge purlin. All the roof members including battens, rafters and underside of thatch are heavily smoke-blackened (except to the right end extension) and the entire roof structure is said to be of similar construction. Broomham is a remarkably unspoilt farmhouse of a longhouse type; it clearly retains
features of considerable interest and deserves a full interior inspection. Other details: LBS 97292.

Child, P., 1994, Broomham Farm, Kingsnympton (Correspondence). SDV346776.

This is not a longhouse in the sense of a shippon in the lower end, but that this part of the house was considered to be more agricultural than domestic. In consequence of this attitude to the building, when a kitchen was required it was added as a large wing at the rear across the cross-passage in the 17th century, something which is very remarkable. The wing also contains jointed cruck hip trusses in its rear corners, something I have never seen before, and an enormous alleged ash pit directly behind the fireplace and with an access hole through the latter for throwing the ash.

Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, 1995, Broomham, Kings Nympton: a North Devon Longhouse, 41-64 (Report - Survey). SDV336349.

The farmhouse is large compared with most in Devon, and is perhaps the best preserved example of a North Devon longhouse. It has a long and complex structural history, with the present form, layout and architectural appearance having evolved over three centuries. A stone plaque with the date 1638 probably commemorates extensive alterations and extensions which took place in the 17th century (see report for details). The original part of the house was probably built circa1500, and the surviving original roof structure suggests the house was four bays long (16 metres by 5.4 metres). It appears to have been a hall house, open from end to end, heated by an open fire and divided by low partition screens. Most of the older walls were built of cob on stone rubble footings, while the smoking chamber and the chimney stacks were built of stone rubble. The roof of the main block is thatched, but the kitchen wing is now covered with corrugated iron. The long main block is on a roughly east-west axis, facing south. This has a two storey, four-room-and-cross-passage plan, with the kitchen block at right angles to rear (north) of the passage. The passage is east of centre, with an agricultural service room at the east end, and the main domestic rooms are off the west side of the passage. The hall has a large fireplace in a front lateral stack, and a stair alongside up to the passage chamber. Next is a parlour with a fireplace in the west axial cross-wall backing onto a small unheated room at the west end, and a doorway in the north wall leads to a stair up to the main chambers. The kitchen has a massive north end stack which contains a large fireplace, a smoking chamber, and room for a large oven. A stair alongside the fireplace leads to the kitchen block chambers. A large dairy off the west side of the kitchen is built in the angle of the two wings. The remains of a cob walled privy is built against the north-east corner of the main block, across the water channel which runs past the west end of the house. Other details: Figure 4; Plates 1-51.

Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, 1997, Devon Dendro Project, 5 (Report - Scientific). SDV336350.

Large multi-phase farmhouse with longhouse derivative plan. Main block contains the core of the medieval house and it was this roof that was sampled. Three trusses survive, all upper crucks with cranked collars, and samples from these provided a felling date of 1463.

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

North Devon District Council, 2003, North Devon Buildings at Risk Survey 2000-2003, 37 (Report - Survey). SDV344372.

Poor windows/door and some render . Weathertight due to recent grant assisted roof. Other details: Photographs.

English Heritage, 2006, Buildings at Risk: The Register 2006, 69 (Report - non-specific). SDV336311.

The farmhouse at Broomham was undergoing slow decay in 2006 with no solution agreed.

English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West, 103 (Report - non-specific). SDV342694.

Early 16th century longhouse with later additions, in poor condition. The roof has been re-thatched with English Heritage grant aid. Further structural work still required. Other details: Photograph.

English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West, 96 (Report - non-specific). SDV344777.

English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011: South West, 100 (Report - non-specific). SDV355280.

Further structural work still required. Priority C (slow decay, no solution agreed).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV230147Report - Interim: Unknown. 1997. Interim Report on Devon Dendrochronology Projcet. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants Report. K397/1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV336311Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2006. Buildings at Risk: The Register 2006. English Heritage Report. A4 Bound. 69.
SDV336349Report - Survey: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. 1995. Broomham, Kings Nympton: a North Devon Longhouse. Keystone Report. K443. A4 Stapled + Digital. 41-64.
SDV336350Report - Scientific: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. 1997. Devon Dendro Project. Keystone Report. K397. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV340321List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1988. Kings Nympton. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 92.
SDV342694Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2009. Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West. English Heritage Report. A4 Bound +Digital. 103.
SDV344372Report - Survey: North Devon District Council. 2003. North Devon Buildings at Risk Survey 2000-2003. North Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 37.
SDV344777Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2010. Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West. English Heritage Report. Digital. 96.
SDV346776Correspondence: Child, P.. 1994. Broomham Farm, Kingsnympton. Letter. A4 Stapled.
SDV355280Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2011. Heritage at Risk Register 2011: South West. english Heritage. Digital. 100.

Associated Monuments

MDV18958Part of: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Farmstead (Monument)
MDV18958Related to: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Farmstead (Monument)
MDV61804Related to: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Barn (Monument)
MDV61807Related to: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Cob Barn (Monument)
MDV18958Part of: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Farmstead (Monument)
MDV18958Related to: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Farmstead (Monument)
MDV61810Related to: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Gardens & Pond (Monument)
MDV61806Related to: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Linhay (Monument)
MDV61809Related to: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Linhay (Monument)
MDV61808Related to: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Open Shed (Monument)
MDV61805Related to: Kings Nympton, Broomham, Stables (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4599 - North Devon Buildings at Risk Survey 2000-2003

Date Last Edited:Jun 27 2014 1:57PM