MEM23092 - Higher Cowley Farm (Building)


The farmstead is shown on historic mapping. This may have been the site of a medieval hamlet of two or three farmsteads, and one of the ruinous outbuildings in the present group appears to have previously had a domestic function.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The farmstead is shown on the Kentisbury Tithe Map as a core of farm buildings arranged to the south and east of the farmhouse. The house is depicted in pink and the farm buildings in grey; a further pink building was shown at c. SS 6370 4510 and also presumably served a domestic function. A pond is also shown at c. SS 6368 4509. [1] Most of the buildings depicted on the Tithe Map survive to be shown on the 1st and 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey maps, although a small linear building to the rear of the buildings attached to the farmhouse (at SS 6366 4511) was demolished. The buildings that survive mostly appear to be in their previous form but some have been added to and extended, with further small outbuildings being constructed around the periphery of the site. The pond is still depicted on the 1st Edition but appears to have been filled in by the time the 2nd Edition map was surveyed. [2,3] Since the 2nd Edition map was published, the site has been the subject of further alterations, with a large L shaped structure at SS 6367 4511 being largely reduced in size (or completely demolished and only partially rebuilt) and the secondary apparently domestic building at SS 6370 4510 also being removed. [4] The farmstead was visited in December 1996. The farm buildings were noted to be constructed of rubble and dating to various periods, with a further late 19th or early 20th Century rubble building with brick dressings having its gable end facing the road. The farmstead was thought to be early in date with an apparently organic growth of buildings and enclosures. [5] An archaeological assessment was made of a domestic building and barn that now forms part of the complex of outbuildings at Higher Cowley Farm. The building had suffered severe storm damage in 2001, including the loss of its roof. The work included a desktop study of the building and of the wider farmstead, and a measured survey of the building. The study suggests that the farmstead is of at least late medieval origin and was once of two or possibly three farms forming a medieval hamlet. The names of the site recorded as Cowley, Upper Cowley and Higher Cowley suggests two farmhouses may have existed in proximity, one of which could be a former Middle Cowley. The curtilage was of dual occupancy throughout most of the 19th Century and until the early 20th Century. The second domestic building shown on the Kentisbury Tithe Map (other than the main house) is suggested to be Middle Cowley farmhouse, with a barn (likely of a different date) attached to the north end. The house appears to have undergone a change in floor plan at some time between 1930 and 1950. Its original date is unknown due to a lack of dateable architectural details. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Map: 1840. Kentisbury Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap.
  • <5> Report: Schofield, J.. 1997. Exmoor Farmsteads: An evaluation of old steadings within Exmoor National Park. Farm reference 49.
  • <6> Report: Humphreys, C. and Green, T.. 2002. Higher Cowley Farm, Kentisbury, Devon: Desk-top study & assessment of the remains of Middle Cowley Farmhouse.



Grid reference Centred SS 6370 4510 (177m by 196m) (Historic mapping)
Map sheet SS64NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor Farmsteads Survey 1996-1997 (2/1): 49

Record last edited

Nov 30 2020 4:43PM


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