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The Toft, Lakes

Description: The Toft

Grade: II
Date Listed: 3 April 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1403725

OS Grid Reference: NY4069502069
OS Grid Coordinates: 340695, 502069
Latitude/Longitude: 54.4106, -2.9152

Locality: Lakes
Local Authority: South Lakeland District Council
County: Cumbria
Country: England
Postcode: LA23 1LB

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Listing Text


A later C17 farmhouse, possibly an evolved long house, with significant survival of interior joinery.

Reason for Listing

The Toft is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Original fabric: it is an interesting survival of a Lakeland vernacular domestic building, constructed of good quality local materials with detailing consistent with the regional style.
* Plan: the original two-cell domestic plan is retained and the building retains sufficient evidence for its original form to be identified.
* Interior decorative details: there is a remarkable quantity of early joinery including doors, panelling, friezes, ceiling beams, bessemer, heck post, spice cupboards and dog leg stair.


This former farmhouse is thought to date from the mid C17. An inglenook, bessemer beam and heck post, indicate the former presence of a firehood, meaning that the building was originally single storey. An upper floor was probably added in the later C17, and the form of the stair, and cross window (now blocked) in the room above the inglenook are consistent with this general date. The farmhouse was subsequently extended to the left by the addition of an agricultural building, possibly a dairy. The first edition OS map published in 1861, depicts a rectangular range extending as far as Bridge Lane to the right; the lower end of this range was rebuilt in 1888 as a separate but still attached double-pile house. The original range may originally have been of long-house form but only the two cell domestic plan remains. The original roof structure was slightly modified to produce a shallower pitch and this is evidenced on the outside by the presence of bracketed eaves, and on the inside by the patching and infilling of first floor panelling. The later dairy was subsequently converted to a separate dwelling. During the C20, the farmhouse window frames were renewed and a porch was added to its south elevation.


MATERIALS: local slatestone walls, painted, with a pitched Lakeland slate roof; interior joinery mostly of oak, and iron door furniture.

PLAN: two-cell plan with end stacks, and stairs in a rear stair hall, possibly a truncated long house.

EXTERIOR: Main (south) elevation: two-storeys with three first-floor windows and narrow end stacks; a fourth window to the right is now blocked with its lintel clearly visible; bracketed eaves. The near central entrance is protected by a gabled porch, with a window to either side. Windows are aligned to create a symmetrical fa├žade, and are fitted with C20 replacement casements. All windows retain timber lintels and narrow slate sills, and there is a rough slate drip course.

Forehouse: the main entrance opens directly into the forehouse (principal room) with a substantial chamfered ceiling beam spanning front to back. The inglenook in the east gable has a bessemer beam supported by a heck post, into which a later chimneybreast and smaller stone fireplace have been inserted. The inglenook is flanked to the left by an original gable entrance with a four-board plank and batten door, and to the right by a spice cupboard retaining butterfly hinges and oak joinery including a panel door. A former fire window (now blocked) originally lit the inglenook, and above it is a hollowed-out wooden lintel forming a possible cupboard. Several metal hooks are fixed to the ceiling within the inglenook.

Parlour (secondary room): a smaller room, divided from the forehouse by a plank-and-muntin screen with a central square-headed doorway; this is fitted with a three-board plank and batten door secured by round-end strap hinges and with a simple bar latch. This room has a small fire opening with spice cupboards set within plaster mouldings to either side, complete with butterfly hinges and oak joinery. The parlour is divided from the rear range by a screen of small-square panelling with a square-headed opening fitted with a nine-panelled door secured by strap hinges and with an upright handle. Both ground floor screens sit directly on the stone-slabbed floor, and doors are hand sawn and mostly retain original door furniture.

Rear range: the rear range comprises a number of small rooms. From the forehouse, a three-board plank and batten door opens into a former larder with a low stone shelf, and a second plank and batten door with an upright handle opens into a small room with ceiling beams running from front to rear. The east wall of this room is formed of plank-and-muntin panelling which also forms the west side of the adjacent stair hall. From the parlour, a door through the screen enters into a larger rear room used as a kitchen with a small pantry off left, entered by another three-board plank and batten door with an upright door handle with back plate. The dog-leg staircase with half landing is housed in a small rectangular stair hall opening off the forehouse; it has plank-and-muntin panelling with stud and infill partitions above. The stair has turned balusters and simple square newels with ball finials, one of which is splat; the handrail is almost square in section.

Upper floor: the room over the parlour (the parlour chamber) is enclosed by small-panel screens on two sides; these have decorative friezes with complex interlocking arcading; an adjacent room used as an ensuite retains similar panelling and a length of high quality frieze with arcading. The adjoining principal bedroom has similar panelled screens and friezes. At the far east end, a small narrow room above the inglenook retains a timber cross window, with vertical stanchions, of mid to later C17 date, blocked to the outside.

Roof: the original roof structure including a pair of collared trusses with added members, double purlins and a ridge piece is retained; on one side, the purlins are still staggered and shallowly trenched while on the other side they are raised by the insertion of timber blocks in order to produce a shallower roof pitch. Joints are pegged and the basic nature of the principal rafters is in the cruck tradition of split branches; collars and tie beams are formed of whole branches.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.