MDE21352 - Higher Cowley Farmhouse and attached farm buildings (Building)


The farmhouse apparently dates to the early 17th Century although may contain earlier fabric. An attached barn and shippon on the southwest end dates to the 19th Century.

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Full Description

Farmhouse, including attached barn and shippon. Farmhouse probably early C17 but earlier fabric may well be concealed, refenestrated in C19. Attached barn and shippon C19. Farmhouse rendered stone rubble and some cob. Bitumenized slate roof, half-hipped at right end of main range. Barn of unrendered stone rubble with gable- ended slate roof. Axial stone rubble hall stack rebuilt in C20 backing onto cross- passage and brick stack to gable end of lower end wing. Farmhouse basically 3 room-and-cross-passage plan with lower end to right. Gable ended 2 storey wing projecting at right angles from front lower end, forming L- shaped plan. L-shaped plan barn and shippon range extending from left end of farmhouse in overall 3 sided front courtyard arrangement. The farmhouse consists of a relatively small hall, heated by large axial stack backing onto cross-passage. Projecting stair turret to rear of hall. Solid stone rubble walls rise to the apex of the roof at each end of the hall. Narrow, unheated inner room to left, divided by C19 axial brick partition into two smaller rooms, the rear room used until recently as salting-house, the front room forming an entrance lobby to inserted C19 front doorway. Beyond the inner room, part of the barn range at the upper end has been taken into form a small kitchen. In mid C20 a second staircase was inserted in the cross-passage when the house was divided into two occupations. Ground floor of lower end not accessible at time of survey, but to judge by superior window lintels at the lower gable end of the main range (the 'show' front facing the road) it was probably used as an unheated parlour. It was also therefore not possible to assess on exterior evidence alone whether the gable ended front wing was a later addition, the gable-end brick stack probably being a later insertion. 2 storeys, the chambers over the main range housed almost entirely in the roof space. Single C20 inserted gabled dormer. The roof is carried down forming canopy to reused cross-passage doorway with 4 panelled door, the upper panels glazed, to right of hall projection which has 2 C19 2-light casements, 9 panes per light to left and 6 panes per light to right. Stone rubble porch with corrugated iron lean- to roof (in line with hall and left projection) to inner room lobby entrance with C19 plank door. Small C20 2 light window above. Lower end wing has single C19 3 light windows on each side and a 4 light window to front gable end with timber lintels. Right end of main range has a C19 4 light window on each floor, 3 panes per light to upper storey, 6 panes per light to ground floor, both with C17 ovolo- moulded timber lintels terminating in hollow step stops. Small window openings with mainly C19 fenestration intact to rear of main range; including projecting stair turret. Barn attached to left end has double plank doors to rear cart entrance, plank door to front. Blocked doorway and window to inner face, and loft door over plank door to gable end of shippon projecting at right angles to front left end of barn. Interior: no ceiling beams survive to the hall or inner room, but the inaccessible lower end is said to contain roughly chamfered axial beams. The hall fireplace lintel replaced in C20. The C19 fittings, including ledged plank doors on both floors and straight run staircase in rear stair turret are completely unaltered. There is no access to the roofspace, but the purlins over the hall and inner room are entirely carried by the solid wall partitions rising to the apex of the roof. There is thus only a single truss to the main range, sited over the lower end with slightly curving feet and chamfered soffits to the principals. Before the insertion of the staircase in the cross-passage, the whole first floor of the lower end formed the principal chamber, heated by a concealed fireplace in the back of the hall stack showing the outline of an unusual peaked timber lintel with hollow step-stopped chamfer. In the rear wall of the chamber, an apparently infilled doorway may indicate that originally a second stair turret provided separate access from the parlour. [1] The Kentisbury Tithe Map shows the farmhouse coloured pink at the northeastern end of the building, with the attached farmbuildings in grey. The farm buildings used to extend slightly beyond their current plan at the southwestern end. [2] The farmstead was visited in December 1996. The house was described as probably very interesting but with recent cement render and refenestration. [3] The building was not visited as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: Kentisbury (9 April 1987) 51-52.
  • <2> Map: 1840. Kentisbury Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <3> Report: Schofield, J.. 1997. Exmoor Farmsteads: An evaluation of old steadings within Exmoor National Park. Farm reference 49.
  • <4> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.



Grid reference Centred SS 6366 4512 (29m by 23m) (Historic mapping)
Map sheet SS64NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (Not visited): 1544/2/92/1
  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (Not visited): 1544/2/92/2
  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (Not visited): 1544/2/92/3
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 41719
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/73
  • Exmoor Farmsteads Survey 1996-1997 (2/1): 49

Record last edited

Apr 24 2019 4:00PM


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