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HER Number:MDV76341
Name:Preston Farmhouse, Upottery


Preston Farmhouse, 16th/17th century in date. Local stone and flint rubble under a thatch roof. Four room and through passage plan.


Grid Reference:ST 215 078
Map Sheet:ST20NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishUpottery
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishUPOTTERY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 86670

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Foster, K. + Skinner, R., 01/2016, A30 to A303 Honiton to Devonshire Inn Improvement Scheme, Honiton, Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV359378.

DBA undertaken along a corridor associated with the A30/A303 between Honiton and Devonshire Inn. This study is intended to inform the development of options for improvements to the A30/A303 between Honiton and Devonshire Inn.

Preston Farmhouse is a 16th-century farmhouse with a core that is typical Blackdown Hills vernacular with a four room plan enlarged from three, chert rubble walls and a thatched roof. The farmhouse was subject to major improvements in the late 16th/ early 17th centuries and was again altered in the 19th century. The farmhouse is set within a complex of farm buildings and gardens on a narrow lane approximately 1 km to the east of Upottery. Included within this complex is a Grade II Listed barn, byre and cart shed all of which are built in chert rubble and date from the 18th century. Beyond the farm buildings the farm’s setting comprises small agricultural fields of pasture and woodland on steep slopes to the east of the River Otter. The farm is secluded from the surrounding landscape and from the lane by farm buildings and hedgerows although it is likely that there are limited views of the farm from the field to the west.

The house derives its significance from its evidential (architectural value), its aesthetic value as a typical Blackdown Hills cottage and from its historical value as a surviving feature of the late-medieval landscape. The farmhouse’s immediate setting amongst its farm buildings is its most important, the buildings having a functional link with the house. The setting of agricultural fields surrounding the farm is also important representing the farm’s original historic landscape setting with which it has a functional relationship. However the farmhouse is well screened from the surrounding landscape so the association between it and the fields around it is not easy to appreciate.

The barn, byre and cartshed are all a part of the group of buildings intimately linked to the farm and have a very similar setting to the farmhouse with their functional association with the other farm buildings and the surrounding agricultural landscape being most important.

The current A30 is not in close proximity to, and entirely screened from the farm by woodland and wooded boundaries to the south-east and is not considered to be within its setting. Any scheme that affects the fields in the immediate vicinity of Preston Farmhouse would be considered to be within the farmhouse’s setting and would be likely to impact upon the its significance.

Clements, H. A., 1994, Survey of Farmsteads in the Devon Part of the Blackdown Hills (Report - Survey). SDV344050.

Other details: Plan and photos.

Devon County Council, 1997-2002, Buildings at Risk Survey in the Devon Part of the Blackdown Hills AONB (Un-published). SDV344048.

Early-mid 16th century farmhouse. The former parlour, which is now in agricultural use, retains an early unglazed window to the first floor. All other windows replaced.
Site visit 1998. A section of thatch on the front roof slope is in a poor condition and covered by a tarpaulin. Other details: Photos.

Mason, N., 1999, Grant Inspection Form: Preston Farm, Yarcombe (Un-published). SDV351900.

Devon and Somerset County Councils, 2000-2002, Historic Farmsteads Database, Building BH003H (Machine readable data file). SDV349681.

Visited 5th July 2002 by John Thorp. Rubble stone under thatch. In good condition.

English Heritage, 2010, Historic Houses Register (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV154869.

Preston Farmhouse. Early or mid 16th century with major later 16th and 17th century improvements, some late 19th century alterations. Local stone and flint rubble; stone rubble stacks topped with 19th century and 20th century brick; thatch roof.
Plan and development: L-plan building. The main block faces onto the farmyard to the north-east and is built across the hillslope. It has a 4-room-and-trough-passage plan. At the right (north-west) end a former parlour is now used as an agricultural store. Presumably it once had an end stack but this must have been demolished when it was converted to agricultural use. Between this former parlour
and the hall is a small room heated by an axial stack backing onto the passage. At the left (south-east) end is the former service end kitchen with a gable-end stack. A 2-room plan service block projects at right angles to rear of the kitchen. Since most of the roof is inaccessible it is not possible to determine the early structural development of the house. Nevertheless it seems likely that the house began as some form of open hall house maybe heated by an open hearth fire. There are corresponding straight joins in the front and back walls in the present hall which might suggest that the original farmhouse occupied only the left (south-east) half of the main block. The present farmhouse is essentially the result of an extensive early 17th century refurbishment which probably involved the lengthening of the main block at the former parlour end. Much of the early fabric is hidden and what features are exposed are early 17th century, including the rear service block. At this time the hall and parlour were separated by a small unheated room, probably a buttery or cellar. In the 19th century the parlour at the end was taken out of domestic use and the buttery was converted to a parlour and a new axial stack was inserted to heat it. Farmhouse is 2 storeys throughout.
Exterior: irregular 4-window front of 20th century casements, the latest without glazing bars, and incluing 1 earlier window first floor right end (the disused chamber/present hayloft over the 17th century parlour) which has flat-faced mullions and may be 18th century. The passage front doorway is left of centre and contains a 19th century plank door behind a 20th century gabled porch. The main roof is gable-ended and the rear block is half-hipped.
Interior: is largely the result of apparently superficial 19th and 20th century modernisations but where earlier carpentry is exposed it is consistently early 17th century but 16th century features are suspected. The larger room of the rear service room has a crossbeam with deep chamfers and step stops. The kitchen in the main block has 2 chamfered and step-stopped crossbeams and a large kitchen fireplace which is blocked although its chamfered limestone ashlar jambs and oak lintel is exposed. In the hall there is an oak plank-and-muntin screen at the upper end, its muntins chamfered with cut diagonal stops. The ceiling is 9 panels of intersecting deeply chamfered beams. The fireplace here is blocked. The former buttery/present parlour has a deep-chamfered crossbeam. The former parlour/present outhouse also has a 9-panel ceiling of chamfered intersecting beams and here the headbeam of an oak plank-and-muntin screen shows in the partition between this room and the rest of the house. For the most part the roof is inaccessible. Nevertheless it is carried on side-
pegged jointed crucks which show below the ceiling. Only over the former parlour can the roof be examined in detail. Here the trusses have cambered collars and are clean. However this end is thought to be an early extension and therefore other parts of the roof may be earlier and may be able to provide evidence of the earlier structural history of the house. Date listed: 16th March 1988.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV154869List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2010. Historic Houses Register. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #103367 ]
SDV344048Un-published: Devon County Council. 1997-2002. Buildings at Risk Survey in the Devon Part of the Blackdown Hills AONB. Buildings at Risk Survey in the Devon Part of the Blackdown Hills AONB. Mixed Archive Material + Digital.
SDV344050Report - Survey: Clements, H. A.. 1994. Survey of Farmsteads in the Devon Part of the Blackdown Hills. A4 Comb Bound + Digital.
SDV349681Machine readable data file: Devon and Somerset County Councils. 2000-2002. Historic Farmsteads Database. Building BH003H.
SDV351900Un-published: Mason, N.. 1999. Grant Inspection Form: Preston Farm, Yarcombe. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV359378Report - Assessment: Foster, K. + Skinner, R.. 01/2016. A30 to A303 Honiton to Devonshire Inn Improvement Scheme, Honiton, Devon. Wessex Archaeology. 111160.01. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV76343Part of: Preston Farm, Upottery (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4654 - Buildings at Risk Re-Survey
  • EDV4655 - Survey of Farmsteads in the Blackdown Hills
  • EDV6910 - Desk Based Assessment, A30/A303 Honiton to Devonshire Inn Improvement Scheme, Honiton, Devon (Ref: 111160.01)

Date Last Edited:Mar 8 2017 5:17PM