HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV7269
Name:Yarde Farmhouse, Malborough


Farmhouse, formerly manor house, probably late 16th or early 17th century but may date back further. Large front range added in 1718, but little altered in 19th or 20th century.


Grid Reference:SX 716 400
Map Sheet:SX74SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishMalborough
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishMALBOROUGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX74SW/35
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 100731
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX74SW 19

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MANOR HOUSE (XVI to XVIII - 1501 AD to 1800 AD) + Sci.Date

Full description

Polwhele, R., 1793-1806, The History of Devonshire, 174 (Monograph). SDV21030.

Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M., 1931, The Place-Names of Devon: Part One, 308 (Monograph). SDV1312.

Yarde was mentioned as 'La Verge' in 1228, 'atte Yurd' in 1330 and 'Yarde' in 1566.

Department of Environment, 1967, Malborough, 17 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV320486.

Yarde is of two distinct periods, late 16th century and early 18th century with a two storeyed porch.

Architecton, 1989, A Report on Yarde Farm, 27 (Report - Survey). SDV336353.

The earliest substantial parts of Yarde date from the first years of 17th century. The earliest dateable parts of the house are from around 1600 but it can be assumed that they were developments of an exisiting building since the site has a long history. Comparisons can be made between Yarde and Old Grammar School at Kingsbridge, date 1670. The house shows very little sign of alteration for well over 100 years after 1718 and no changes of any consequance have happened since 1900. In all essentials it remains as it was left in about 1830. Further details on condition of house, architectural development and documentary research can be found in extensive report.

Unknown, 1989, Untitled Source (Article in Serial). SDV336352.

An ancient rubble stone farmhouse relatively untouched by modernization after the early 18th century and hidden in a secluded South Hams valley, has been opened to visitors. It was mentioned in the Domesday book and it still boasts a Norman barn. Yarde was once the home of the Flemish family of Yard who settled there before the Norman conquest. The medieval Yardes were replaced by Dyers, then Savery's, Blakwills, Stidstons and Widgers. The Ayre family moved there in 1929. The owner wants to restore it with the help of Devon County Council and English Heritage. Much of the farmhouse is Tudor with additions from 1718. One splendid internal feature is a rare Flemish wall painting of a boar hunt circa 1600. Other architectural gems included the alterations by the Dyer family in the first quarter of the 18th century, include a magnificent 'Crinoline' staircase. Some of the bells to summon servants to the oak panelled dining room from the Tudor kitchen still operate. There is a massive oak front door in the Tudor section. The oldest part of the house has an original medieval kitchen with an impressive 14 foot fireplace and bread oven, smoking chamber and ale vat. At the Domesday survey Yarde farm consisted of 120 acres - now it totals 119.5 acres.

Department of Environment, 1990, Malborough, 22-24 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV336356.

Farmhouse, formerly manor house. Earliest dateable fabric is late 16th or early 17th century but the house may date back further. It had a large front range added in 1718. Little altered in 19th or 20th century although some parts have become disused and deteriorated in condition. Slatestone rubble construction, roughly coursed to 18th century front block. This has a hipped slate roof. The ranges to the rear have gable ended slate roofs. Two 18th century brick axial stacks to the front block. Brick lateral stack at rear of middle range, rendered rubble stack at gable end of kitchen wing and a further stack at gable end of bakehouse wing.
Plan: complex pattern of development, its original plan unclear. It now consists of a symmetrical single-depth 2 room front block with central stairhall, behind which a wing extends down the hill. At its higher end is a small room with larger heated room beyond and at the end of that a through-passage from front to back of the wing. An axial passage extends from this cross passage, in front of the 2 rooms up to the front range. Behind the smaller room is a 2 storey porch facing what is now the side of the house. Beyond the cross passage is a room which has probably always been a kitchen. In a wing to the front of it are a pantry and a dairy. Behind the kitchen is an L-shaped plan range which forms an enclosed rear courtyard. The purpose of the room adjoining the kitchen is unclear as it is now ruinous and has been reduced in height. At right angles to it is a wing which has a bakehouse at the lower end, with fireplace in the gable wall. A passage (directly facing the main through passage) divides it from the other room in this wing. The core of the old house seems to be centred around this rear courtyard which has various features of the late 16th and early 17th century but there are problems of interpretation. The position of the 2 storey porch is problematic since it bears no relation to the through passage (which must be a 17th century feature judging from its doorframes). If it were not for the porch, then this wing could be interpreted as a conventional 3-room-and-through-passage plan, with the inner room rebuilt as a new front in 1718 and the hall subdivided at the same date. One thing which seems certain is that before the 1718 range was built, the house had extended further that way, as it would be very unusual for a porch to be built at one end of a house. In the second half of the 17th century the lower end of the house was remodelled and the kitchen realigned as part of a service wing with a pantry and dairy projecting in front of it. In 1718 an attempt was made to update the house (as was being done to many houses in the area) by the building of a smart new front block of 4 storeys. It is curiously old fashioned for that date, however, resembling more the type of building done around 1700, although to high standards with a good quality of craftmanship. Since the 18yh century little major work has been done to the house and rather than being improved parts of it fell into disuse, became dilapidated and two of the older parts of the house have been reduced in height.
Exterior: 18th century front block is 4 storeys, including cellar and attic. Symmetrical 5 window front, virtually unaltered since it was built. Wooden 2-light mullion and transom windows with leaded panes, all original apart from a 19th century replacement to the right on the ground floor. The ground floor windows have flat voussoir arches over them with projecting keystones each carved with a number, combining to read 1718. The central doorway has its original flat hood over, supported on wooden brackets. Heavy double panelled doors. Two small gabled dormer windows. Flat stringcourse between storeys. Coved plaster eaves cornice. The left-hand end wall has had its windows blocked on the first floor, and on the ground floor to the right. The opposite end wall retains an original window on the first floor to the right, that to its left has been blocked and the 2 below are 19th century facsimiles. At the basement level on this wall are two 2-light hollow-chamfered granite mullion windows with hoodmoulds. There is another single granite-framed light at the same level on the rear wall, next to an ovolo-moulded doorframe which houses an elaborate panelled and studded door. These features are normally associated with an early - mid 17th century date, and it may be that they have been re-used from a demolished part of the house, or even that this range is built on the foundations of an earlier range. However, other early 18th century houses in Devon also have older windows to their basements and it may be that this was just a fairly standard feature of construction in the early 18th century. Above on the rear wall is an 18th century mullion and transom stair window, above which is a single light transom window to left and right. To the north of the 18th century block an older wing extends down the hill. On its east face it has a very tall early 19th century sash window to the left, which straddles 2 floors. To the right of it is an early 19th century 16-pane sash on the ground floor set in an opening which was once wider and has a stone drip over. A long wing projects from the lower right-hand end and in the angle is a flat roofed, probably 20th century 2 storey porch. Behind it is a 17th century ovolo-moulded wooden door frame with contemporary studded door. The wing has an unglazed 2-light 18th century mullion window on ground floor to the left. The end of this wing (over the dairy) has been reduced to single storey height and has a 17th century 3-light ovolo-moulded wooden mullion window on its end wall. On the west side of the house the wing running back from the 18th century block has a 17th century 2 storey gabled porch at its higher end with a roundheaded South Hams type voussoir arch. Below the porch is an enclosed courtyard, its higher end bounded by a wall with slate capping and doorway with hoodmould. This connects the 2 storey porch to the bakehouse range opposite the main part of the house. Within the courtyard this has a wide doorway to right of centre with chamfered wooden jambs. To its right is an empty window opening. To its left on each floor is an unglazed 4-light chamfered wooden mullion window. The range to its right has been reduced in height and is very dilapidated but it preserves a 17th century ovolo-moulded wooden mullion window at the centre on the ground floor. The eastern range in the courtyard (running down from 18th century block) has a l7th century moulded wooden doorframe with 19th century plank door to left above which is a late 18th century horizontal sliding sash window. Below to the right is an early 19th century sash window. The outer face of the bakehouse range also has original wooden mullion windows, the ground floor one has ovolo-moulding, the left-hand first floor window is of 2 lights with slightly arched heads. The lower (northern) elevation of the house is 3 windows wide. Early 19th century (date 1806 scratched on glass inside) tripartite sash window on first floor right of centre. To its left are 2 17th century ovolo-moulded wooden mullion windows. Below are two 2-light mullion and transomed windows. To their right is a similar 5-light window with its top lights now blocked. Lower wing extending to the right (connecting main house to bakehouse) has a wide doorway reached by steps with a chamfered wooden doorframe and studded door. Interior: front block has original bolection moulded wooden fireplaces in most of its principal rooms, including the attic. On the first floor the right-hand room has a moulded plaster cornice and fielded 2-panel door to closet at rear. The room opposite it has similar doors to its two closets. The ground-floor right-hand room has an original china cupboard with arched head and a painted ceiling in the design of a rose. The opposite ground-floor room has complete fielded panelling incorporating a chimneypiece cupboard and panelled shutters. The moulded wooden cornice had a similar plaster cornice over the top of it. Early 18th century dog-leg staircase rises up to the attic at the centre of this block. It has a closed string, square newels with moulded caps, pendent finials and heavy turned balusters. From the stairhall a passage leads down obliquely to the older part of the house and its walls are partly lined with an unusual painted canvas depicting a hunting scene in a wood with hounds and a man on foot, a house in the background behind him. From the way it has been painted it appears to have been designed expressly for this location, but it may date back earlier and have been adapted to fit. Where the passage runs through the older part of the house there is a section of circa mid 17th century panelling, either side of a panelled door with fluted pilasters and modillion cornice. This passage has an 18th century moulded plaster cornice. At its lower end is a 17th century chamfered doorframe. The kitchen, pantry and dairy have plastered beams and flagstone floors. Two 17th century studded plank doors lead out of the kitchen, one to the pantry and one to the stairs. At the top of the stairs are 2 17th century ovolo-moulded wooden doorframes. A small room off the stairs has some more 17th century panelling. The bakehouse range across the courtyard has a massive fireplace in its gable end wall with stone voussoir arch. Stone oven in right-hand side. At the back in this corner is a large rounded recess with corbelled roof and small flue, in its floor is a circular stone-lined pit reputedly constructed for brewing ale. The other end of this wing has chamfered ceiling beams. Over this wing is an 18th century pegged roof with collars halved into the principals. The 18th century block retains its original roof but over the rest of the house the roofspace is inaccessible so it is not known whether it has an early roof. This is a very complex house which cannot be properly understood without a detailed survey but its importance is self-evident as a house at the top end of the vernacular range which is very complete, with some unusual features and basically unaltered since the 18yh century. Other details: LBS 100731.

Waterhouse, R. E., 1991, Untitled Source, 87 (Un-published). SDV157323.

Yarde farmhouse is a large manorial complex, the buildings forming a 'T shape in plan, with a wing attached on one side forming a courtyard. The wing is of the early 16th century and was designed as a kitchen and brewhouse. In one end is a massive hearth of full room width (about four metres) with an oven and large malting kiln to rear. The arch of the hearth, although in poor condition, is similar to those at Leigh Barton and the church house at Churchstow, although thicker and devoid of decoration.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1999, SX74SW19 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV141884.

1. Yarde and remains of Mansion shown on Ordnance Survey six inch map of 1963.
2. Yarde is of two distinct periods, late 16th century and early 18th century. The earlier portion is quadrangular, part being outbuildings, and is rubble built with slated roofs. There is a two-storeyed porch on the west with plain chamfered round-headed doorways, and the interior has exposed ceiling beams and open fireplaces. The older portion of the house is dated 1718 but looks older.
3. "Yard-house .. is on the barton of Yarde, and was formerly the residence of the Devonshire family of that name, to whom .. It belonged for twenty generations".

Waterhouse, R. E., 2000, Keynedon Barton, Sherford, Kingsbridge, 196 (Article in Serial). SDV336355.

The house appears to have developed from a hall with two detached chamber blocks to a courtyard house with an L-plan service range to the rear. The hall preserves one of two very tall windows and has smoke blackened roof elements. It faces east, flanked to the south by the four-storey mansion of 1716, and to the north by a long range which contains a rare three-storey detached chamber-block later attached to the house. To the rear, a second chamber-block, possibly of 13th to 14th century date, has a partly buried undercroft and retains an unusual heavily corbelled fireplace. To this group, apparently in the first half of the 17th century, was added a large kitchen, parallel to the house, with a large full-width slate voussoired fireplace at the north end. This has three ovens and a very large smoking chamber. Water from a spring nearby is channelled through the inner court, passing beneath the north range. During the same period a two-storey porch was added to the rear of the hall at its high end, thus turning around the front face of the house.

2002, Tree ring date lists 2002 (Article in Serial). SDV361610.

Tree ring dates noted (citing A. J. Arnold and R. E. Howard, Yarde Farmhouse, Malborough, South Hams,: tree-ring analysis of timbers, EH Res Dep Rep Ser 103/2009. 54 pp).

English Heritage, 2006, Buildings at Risk: The Register 2006, 70 (Report - non-specific). SDV336311.

Yarde farmhouse had a repair scheme in progress in 2006 and functionally redundant buildings had a new use agreed.

English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West, 105 (Report - non-specific). SDV342694.

Late 16th century manor house. Part occupied, in fair condition. Repairs previously grant aided by English Heritage. Work to stabilise, repair and rehabilitate this sub-medieval house is largely complete. The early 18th century chamber block is now wind- and weather-tight and repairs and upgrading have begun inside. The greatest area of uncertainty is now confined to the important painted hangings whose conservation and future display are being negotiated. Other details: Photograph.

Gaimster, M., 2009, Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Isles in 2008 (Article in Serial). SDV352753.

During extensive repairs J. Allan (Exeter Archaeology) recorded the S range of this Grade I listed farmhouse, built in 1718. Although a polite house on two main floors with cellars and attic rooms, it displays many vernacular features. Much of its timber and wall stone was recycled from the early 17th-century range which preceded it. Evidence for the former presence of hangings was found in one ground-fl oor room. Dendrochronological sampling was carried out by R. Howard and A. Allden for EH. An account of the house’s remarkable stained wall-hangings of c. 1720, prepared by James Ayres, will be presented in the papers of the SPMA’s Exeter conference of 2007.

Ayres, J., 2009, The Stained Hangings at Yarde Farm, Malborough, South Devon, 1-4, 14 (Report - non-specific). SDV345530.

The north range at Yarde Farm preserves to an unusual extent its primary internal features, including a group of extremely rare stained wall hangings. These cloths, dating to about 1720, belong to a small group of related examples, only one or two of which remain in England in the houses for which they were intended. They consist of strips of coarse yet lightweight linen canvas, 1.22 metres wide at most. There are two main sections, each composed of large and small pieces of cloth which have been stitched together, both displaying woodland scenes. The cloths suffered some damage when the range was left unoccupied, and the background has been partly repainted in the recent past. Prior to their removal, these textiles hung at the foot of the stairs of the 1718 range, however it is unlikely this was their original position. The cloths had been crudely cut and folded to fit the awkward shape of the stairs and adjacent passage and a section had been cut away to give access to a built-in cupboard. It seems likely that they would have been exhibited in one of the principal rooms, and close inspection of the plastered walls of the eastern room on the ground floor shows that at an early stage broad vertical battens spaced at regular intervals of about 1 metre had been fixed to the north wall, extending onto the east wall where traces of battens can be seen around the windows. Although it is not certain that they were a primary feature, they had been covered by 19th century wallpapers. The cloths were removed from the walls in 2003, and their future is uncertain. Other details: Plan and section, photographs.

English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West, 98 (Report - non-specific). SDV344777.

Gaimster, M., 2010, Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland in 2009: Devon (Article in Serial). SDV354871.

Summary of dendrochronological data results.

Arnold, A. + Howard, R., 2010, Yarde Farmhouse, Malborough, South Hams, Devon. Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers (Report - Scientific). SDV344420.

A number of samples for dendrochronological analysis were taken from timbers from various parts of the property resulting in the construction of five site sequences. One, containing 22 samples from the roofs of the North-South and South ranges and from the floor joists of the South range, was found to span the period 1432-1603. Interpretation of the sapwood suggests a felling date of 1604-1627. The North-South range was thought to date to the 17th century. This is now supported by the tree-ring results which furthermore narrow its construction to the first quarter of the 17th century. A quantity of reused timber had been identified within the roof and floor of the South range, which was built in 1718. These timbers are now also dated to the first quarter of the 17th century and are likely to have come from a building contemporary with the North-South Range. It had previously been suggested that a 16th century parlour and hall were demolished to make way for the south range, providing building materials including timber for reuse. This is clearly not the case unless they had been extensively remodelled. The other four site sequences, comprising a total of 9 samples, are undated.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1312Monograph: Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M.. 1931. The Place-Names of Devon: Part One. The Place-Names of Devon: Part One. VIII. A5 Hardback. 308.
SDV141884Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1999. SX74SW19. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV157323Un-published: Waterhouse, R. E.. 1991. The Church Houses of South Devon. A4 Unbound. 87.
SDV21030Monograph: Polwhele, R.. 1793-1806. The History of Devonshire. The History of Devonshire. Unknown. 174.
SDV320486List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1967. Malborough. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 17.
SDV336311Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2006. Buildings at Risk: The Register 2006. English Heritage Report. A4 Bound. 70.
SDV336352Article in Serial: Unknown. 1989. Western Morning News. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin.
SDV336353Report - Survey: Architecton. 1989. A Report on Yarde Farm. Architecton Report. A4 Grip Bound + Digital. 27.
SDV336355Article in Serial: Waterhouse, R. E.. 2000. Keynedon Barton, Sherford, Kingsbridge. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 58. A5 Paperback. 196.
SDV336356List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1990. Malborough. Historic Houses Register. 22-24.
SDV342694Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2009. Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West. English Heritage Report. A4 Bound +Digital. 105.
SDV344420Report - Scientific: Arnold, A. + Howard, R.. 2010. Yarde Farmhouse, Malborough, South Hams, Devon. Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers. English Heritage Research Department Report. 103-2009. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344777Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2010. Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West. English Heritage Report. Digital. 98.
SDV345530Report - non-specific: Ayres, J.. 2009. The Stained Hangings at Yarde Farm, Malborough, South Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. 09.131. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1-4, 14.
SDV352753Article in Serial: Gaimster, M.. 2009. Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Isles in 2008. Post Medieval Archaeology, p359 -423. 43/2. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV354871Article in Serial: Gaimster, M.. 2010. Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland in 2009: Devon. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 44. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV361610Article in Serial: 2002. Tree ring date lists 2002. Vernacular Architecture. 33. Unknown.

Associated Monuments

MDV44386Related to: Alston, Settlement (Monument)
MDV41567Related to: Malborough, Yarde, Linhay, Stable & Barn (Building)
MDV41568Related to: Malborough, Yarde, Poundhouse (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4603 - Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers at Yarde Farmhouse, Malborough
  • EDV4937 - Assessment of Context of Yarde Farm Stained Hangings

Date Last Edited:Apr 6 2022 12:30PM