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HER Number:MDV77228
Name:Sowell Farmhouse, Kentisbeare


Unoccupied, derelict farmhouse. Early 16th century, three-room, through passage house with later modifications and additions. The service end was originally open to the roof as evidenced by smoke-blackened timbers in the roof, which is of raised jointed cruck construction.


Grid Reference:ST 072 100
Map Sheet:ST01SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKentisbeare
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishKENTISBEARE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 95744

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (XVI to XX - 1501 AD to 2000 AD (Not applicable))

Full description

Clements, H. A., Report on Buildings at Risk in the Devon Part of the Blackdown Hills, 19, 50, 108 (Report - non-specific). SDV344049.

Risk level 1. Unoccupied. Very bad condition (B.A.R. 1.1.1). Photos.

Child, P., 1997, Sowell Farmhouse, Kentisbeare (Correspondence). SDV351681.

The house was empty and in part derelict before the fire. With the exception of the upper end (the 'inner room' of the list description).The internal fittings which gave it historic interest have been destroyed and the surviving cob walls appear to be extremely precarious, and are unlikely to be capable of reuse structurally in any rebuilding. In contrast the modern block-work walls still appear sound, and the fire has revealed the extent of these walls. Considerable rebuilding has taken place in the past which has devalued the quality of the historic building, so that any reconstruction would simply result in a completely new building.

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

Sowell Farmhouse. Unoccupied farmhouse, derelict and partially in ruins at time of resurvey visit (September 1985). Early 16th century, with later modifications and additions. Rendered cob, with some stone, on stone footings; gable end corrugated asbestos roof to main
range, with slate to cross wing and rear outshut.
Plan: formerly a 3-room, through-passage plan house, the service end to the right of the passage. This was originally open to the roof, which is of raised jointed cruck construction, the timbers smoke-blackened throughout. The principals are very substantial and the craftsmanship of high quality, suggesting an early date. Unstopped chamfered ceiling beams suggest that the first floor may not have been
inserted until as late as the 17th century; inserted stacks all rebuilt in 19th and 20th century; internal end stack heats service end; hall axial stack rebuilt when passage widened to accommodate kitchen, but probably always backed on to passage. Winder stair to rear of hall; 19th century stairs to rear of service end. A small rear wing was added to the now ruinous inner room, probably in the 17th century, and this end of the house was again extended and a crosswing added in the 19th century. 2 storeys.
Exterior Front: irregular 3-window range; the service end, although of 2 storeys has no first floor windows to front; widened passage accommodates kitchen and chamber above, both with late 20th century 2 light casement window: 3 light casement windows to hall and inner room, and their respective chambers, all 19th century except that to the hall which is 17th century, timber, with cyma recta surround, and ovolo jambs and mullions. The 19th century cross wing, which has walls built of stone externally and cob internally, has largely collapsed. Right-hand end wall of stone with 20th century casement windows. Rear wing with one 2-light window that may be early, still with its internal shutters.
Interior: deeply chamfered axial ceiling beam to hall, unstopped; another to the inner room has collapsed. 19th century joinery elsewhere, although the front door to the passage may be earlier (Planked, studded, chamfered rails to rear, with strap hinges).
Roof: 3 raised jointed crucks; service end and passage of two bays, the lower end truss replaced by crossed and pegged principals, probably when end stack inserted. Hall of one bay; inner room probably also of one bay. Sooted throughout. Crucks morticed and pegged at apex (Alcock type F2), cranked collars with 2 sets of trenched purlins which are finely halved and morticed land now visible because the joints of some have exploded), diagonal ridge piece; some smoke-blackened rafters and battening. Date listed: 15th April 1987.

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: #104206 ]
SDV344049Report - non-specific: Clements, H. A.. Report on Buildings at Risk in the Devon Part of the Blackdown Hills. Devon County Council Report. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 19, 50, 108.
SDV351681Correspondence: Child, P.. 1997. Sowell Farmhouse, Kentisbeare. Letter. A4 Stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4580 - Buildings at Risk Survey

Date Last Edited:Jul 29 2013 8:47AM