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HER Number:MDV70
Name:Blegberry Farmhouse, Hartland


Early 17th century fortified building, considerably extended throughout the later 17th to early 19th centuries. Possibly on the site of medieval castle.


Grid Reference:SS 231 262
Map Sheet:SS22NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishHartland
Ecclesiastical ParishHARTLAND

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS22NW/4
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 91184
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS22NW1
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS22NW4
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS22NW7

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (XVII to XIX - 1601 AD to 1900 AD)

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1906, 17NW (Cartographic). SDV8162.

Chope, R. P., 1940, The Book of Hartland, 49 (Monograph). SDV340768.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: North Devon, 56 (Monograph). SDV336196.

French, K. + French, C., 1957, Devonshire Plasterwork, 132 (Article in Serial). SDV4676.

Overmantel, 1627, with armorial bearings. Other details: Fig 2.

Jope, E. M., 1961, Studies in Building History, 153, 159, 214, 215 (Monograph). SDV1938.

Blegberry Farm. Fortified farmhouse, and possible site of medieval castle. An L' shaped building of stone and slate enclosed on the west by a high fortified wall. The date " W 1627 A " appears on a plaster overmantle at first floor level in central chimney of main range, west wing probably an addition, having a datestone of 1634 set or reset into the chimney. Other details: Plan.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978 - 1980, SS22NW1 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV7371.

Blegberry is said to date from 1627 and to be surrounded by a strong defensive wall of observation platform and loopholes.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978 - 1980, SS22NW7 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV7376.

Site visit 30th November 1978. Chope mentions a castle that was near Blegbery and that there are still fields called Castletown Mead and Castle Gate. The Tithe Map identifies 9 fields incorporating the element 'Castle'. This profusion of names occupies a broad ridge over half a mile from the farmhouse. The whole area is under pasture and neither the field patterns or the surface provide any indications of an earthwork. However, the topographic situation and the allusions by name and document suggest that a prehistoric earthwork of the defended settlement type formerly existed in the vicinity.

Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 148-151 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

Strong documentary evidence for a 13th century castle at Blegberry. It is possible that the 17th century defended enclosure at Blegberry Farm is on the site of the medieval castle. Castle field names occur around NGR SS238262.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1979 - 1980, SS22NW4 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV7364.

Site visit 1st December 1978. Stone built, of two storeys with a slate roof. Externally the building bears no distinctive evidence of its deate other than the typical 17th century type chimney stacks. The Civil War fortification consists of a wall 3.0 metres high and 0.6 metres thick along the west and south sides of the house.

Timms, S. C., 1980, Blegberry (Ground Photograph). SDV7378.

Timms, S. C., 1980, Blegberry Farm (Worksheet). SDV7363.

The datestone 1634 is set in the west face of gable stack on west wing. Good group of outbuildings including a roundhouse attached to an outbuilding east of the farmhouse.

Timms, S. C., 1980, Blegberry, 426/16-20 (Ground Photograph). SDV341557.

Higham, R. A., 1980s, Blegberry, Hartland (Ground Photograph). SDV365113.

Black and white photos of the farmhouse and fortified wall.

Hartland Quay Museum, 1981, Guide to the Coast and Shipwrecks. North from Hartland Quay (Leaflet). SDV341566.

First documented 1254. Main part of house built 1627, remainder added 1634. Fortified by William Atkyn during Civil War.

Griffith, F. M., 1984, DAP/BM, 5, 6 (Aerial Photograph). SDV7381.

Griffith, F. M., 1986, DAP/HL, 8, 9 (Aerial Photograph). SDV7384.

Griffith, F. M., 1990, DAP/TA, 7, 8 (Aerial Photograph). SDV7385.

Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 236 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Blegberry Farm. Early C17 fortified building, considerably extended throughout later C17 to early C19. Possibly on site of medieval castle. Main part of house built 1627, remainder added 1634. Fortified by William Atkyn during Civil War.

English Heritage, 2009, List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV343181.

Farmhouse. Early 17th century, possibly 1627, considerably extended throughout later 17th - early 19th century. Stone rubble walls. Gable-ended slate roof. Five stone rubble stacks with dripcourses and tapering caps - axial and gable-end. Rendered brick stack to gable end of rear wing.
Plan: complex development of plan the original form of which is not entirely clear. What appears to be the original longer, range runs north-south and was probably of three-room plan (although somewhat altered now). There is no evidence of a passage but the doorway into this range opens into a small lobby in front of an axial stack (with a dated overmantle of 1627 on the first floor) serving two rooms; it is not certain however, that this is the original entrance. In a rectangular projection behind the right-hand room is a winder staircase. A long wing projects to the west of the house with a stack dated 1634 on the outside - this may be deceptive though since the stone could be re-used. A definite date cannot be described to this range but it may also be 17th century. Further additions were made to the house at the right-hand end and at the rear in the form of a small wing during probably the 18th and early 19th centuries. The house underwent further remodelling in Victorian times. A description of the plan of this house cannot omit mention of the defensive courtyard wall to its south and west which itself is dated 1606. The discrepancy in dates between house and courtyard wall may not be of great significance since an overmantel could easily be added and in fact an illustration of a plaster ceiling in the house now destroyed (see Chope) is more suggetive of a date around 1600.
Exterior: asymmetrical L-shaped six-window front - three:three first floor windows are all gabled dormers with late 20th century PVC sashes and a similar window on the ground floor to the left. The larger north-south range has a 20th century 20-pane sash on the ground floor to the right with a plank door to its left - these are in a recessed addition to the main range. Large 20th century three-light small-paned casement to their left. Small lean-to porch against left end of main range has been continued as 20th century conservatory around front of wing, with glazed door. To the left of this wing the main range continues with a 19th century lean-to built against its front. Rear of main range has early 19th century 16-pane sashes on first floor to right with a later 20-pane sash below. Wing projecting to left of centre has a tall early 19th century 16-pane sash. Beyond the wing is the rectangular stair projection at the rear of the main range. A probably 19th century tall stone rubble wall encloses a rear courtyard with a mounting block on its outer face.
Interior: most features date from 19th century remodelling but there still survives a first floor plaster overmantle with a date of 1627 and the initials WMA within a strapwork surround. Adjoining it is a 17th century door and doorway and two 18th century doors also survive on the first floor.
The Atkyns were one of the more important Hartland families and there were two consecutive Williams whose dates were 1578-1608 and 1599-1662. The first was responsible for the courtyard walls and the second William for the plasterwork in the house following his marriage to Margery Cliverdon of Titchberry in 1623. He is also reputed to be responsible for building or rebuilding Marsland Manor in Morwenstow parish. Other details: LBS No. 91184.

Ordnance Survey, 2015, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV357601.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1938Monograph: Jope, E. M.. 1961. Studies in Building History. Studies in Building History. Unknown. 153, 159, 214, 215.
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 148-151.
SDV336196Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: North Devon. The Buildings of England: North Devon. Paperback Volume. 56.
SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 236.
SDV340768Monograph: Chope, R. P.. 1940. The Book of Hartland. The Book of Hartland. Unknown. 49.
SDV341557Ground Photograph: Timms, S. C.. 1980. Blegberry. Blegberry Farm, Hartland. Photograph (Paper) + Digital. 426/16-20.
SDV341566Leaflet: Hartland Quay Museum. 1981. Guide to the Coast and Shipwrecks. North from Hartland Quay. Hartland Quay Museum Leaflet. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV343181List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2009. List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest. Historic Houses Register. Unknown.
SDV357601Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2015. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #99274 ]
SDV365113Ground Photograph: Higham, R. A.. 1980s. Blegberry, Hartland. Photograph (Paper) + Digital.
SDV4676Article in Serial: French, K. + French, C.. 1957. Devonshire Plasterwork. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 89. A5 Hardback. 132.
SDV7363Worksheet: Timms, S. C.. 1980. Blegberry Farm. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV7364Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1979 - 1980. SS22NW4. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV7371Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978 - 1980. SS22NW1. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV7376Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978 - 1980. SS22NW7. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV7378Ground Photograph: Timms, S. C.. 1980. Blegberry. Slide. Slide.
SDV7381Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1984. DAP/BM. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 5, 6.
SDV7384Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. DAP/HL. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 8, 9.
SDV7385Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1990. DAP/TA. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 7, 8.
SDV8162Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1906. 17NW. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 6 inch Map. Map (Paper).

Associated Monuments

MDV19486Related to: Blegberry Castle, Hartland
MDV71755Related to: Blegberry Farmyard, Hartland (Building)
MDV41849Related to: Blegberry, Hartland (Monument)
MDV19487Related to: Castle Field Names near Blegberry, Hartland (Monument)
MDV19485Related to: Fortified Courtyard Wall, Blegberry, Hartland (Building)
MDV14853Related to: The Hartland 'Stoup' at Blegberry Farm, Hartland (Find Spot)
MDV587Related to: Well houses at Blegberry, Hartland (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Oct 5 2022 10:45AM