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Higher Broughton Farmhouse, Stoke St Mary

Description: Higher Broughton Farmhouse

Grade: II
Date Listed: 20 December 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1404910

OS Grid Reference: ST2608422391
OS Grid Coordinates: 326084, 122391
Latitude/Longitude: 50.9962, -3.0546

Locality: Stoke St Mary
Local Authority: Taunton Deane Borough Council
County: Somerset
Country: England
Postcode: TA3 5DE

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Listing Text


A former medieval hall house of late-C13 date which underwent alterations and some re-modelling in the late C15/early C16 and in the late C16/early C17. The building was enlarged in the late C17 and again in the C18 or C19.

Reason for Listing

* Architectural: at its core is a high-status medieval domestic building with strong links to the Bishop of Winchester;
* Constructional rarity: the late-C13 roof is constructed in a highly unusual manner, with few known other examples, and represents one of the earliest known domestic roofs in the county;
* Plan: its historical development can be read in the surviving fabric and contributes to our understanding of domestic vernacular architecture. The historic plan, although altered, remains readable;
* Interior survival: a good proportion of historic features from each phase of the building's development survive, including medieval smoke-blackened roof timbers, late-C15/early-C16 framed ceiling, substantial chamfered beams and C16 and C17 fireplaces.


Higher Broughton Farm was one of several scattered farms of probable pre-conquest origins within the parish of Stoke St Mary. It was a major agricultural holding that formed part of the manor of Taunton Deane which was acquired by the Bishops of Winchester in 904, and was held by them until 1822. The farm was previously known as Stoke Farm and was re-named Higher Broughton Farm sometime in the C19.

The farmhouse has a complex building history; its earliest part has been dated to the late C13 and, when built, was a building of some status which had an open hall with a striking aisled-end truss. The hall appears to have been partly ceiled over, probably in the late C15 or early C16, to create a first-floor solar; the remaining part of the hall was ceiled over some hundred years later. In the late C17 the house was extended at its south-east end. It was further extended in the C18 or C19 when a two-storey wing was added to the front of the building; a new kitchen was built at the north-west end, beyond the former service end; and a dairy was added to the rear.

The first and second edition Ordnance Survey maps of 1888 and 1904 respectively provide evidence for the development of the associated farm buildings to the north-west and north-east of the house. These date largely from the latter part of the C19, though several have been demolished in the C20. A former stable range immediately to the north-west of the house is of an earlier date and has undergone C19 and C20 alterations.


MATERIALS: the house is constructed of local lias stone rubble that is rendered to the front and south-east gable wall, although much of the rear elevation has been rebuilt in modern blockwork. The roof is clad in double Roman tiles and the stacks are of brick. The windows are largely C18 and C19 replacements, although there are two earlier timber mullioned windows at the rear of the house.

PLAN: a tapering, rectangular building of two storeys, comprising a five-room plan with a through passage. A wing of probable late C18 date projects from the front (south-west) of the house, and there is a former dairy at the south-east end of the rear elevation.

EXTERIOR: the principal elevation faces south-west onto the road. The entrance is set in the angle between the main range of the building and the projecting late-C18 wing to the left and has a C19 braced timber door and a slate-clad hipped porch supported on four timber posts. To the right of the doorway are three regularly-spaced casement windows and there are four similar windows to the first floor. The later wing has a canted bay window to the ground floor and a hornless sash window with glazing bars above. There is a second entrance door in the south-east gable end of the house and a two-light casement to the first floor. The southern part of the rear elevation is masked by lean-to additions, including the former dairy, although the upper parts of two windows are just visible, one of which is understood to be a two-light mullioned window with plain chamfering. The dairy itself has a slate-covered roof, and there is a window with glazing bars and a door in its north-west elevation. The rest of the rear wall of the house has been rebuilt in blockwork and rendered. To the right of the former dairy is a five-light mullioned timber window with double ovolo mouldings which marks the position of the former hall and beyond this are three timber windows of C18 or C19 date. There is only one window at first floor. At the north-western end of the building, is a single-storey C18 or C19 addition with a C19 window in the north-east elevation and a C20 window and a doorway in the right (north-west) return.

INTERIOR: the entrance leads into the former through passage, though the rear doorway has been blocked and replaced with a window. To the left of the passage is the former service end. In this part of the house, the present kitchen has a large blocked fireplace with a substantial lintel and a curved recess to the left, possibly the remains of a curing chamber, and it has a chamfered ceiling beam with step and run-out stops to both ends and an axial beam with plain chamfers in the present kitchen. Beyond the kitchen, in the single-storey addition is a further fireplace with a chamfered timber lintel and an oven to the side. The ground-floor room in the front wing has a C20 fireplace. The room to the right of the entrance passage has a framed ceiling whose beams continue through into the inserted corridor on the south-east (rear) side. The beams have ogee and hollow mouldings and are set in from the walls. The rooms at the south-east end of the house which were added in the late C17 are also accessed from the rear corridor. The room at the far end retains a fireplace that has a stone lintel with four-centred arch and chamfered jambs; the fireplace to the other room has been blocked and has an inserted C20 fireplace. From the corridor a C17 plank door with strap hinges, possibly re-sited, leads through to the former dairy. Two staircases, probably of C19 date, within the rear corridor provide access to the first floor where most of the bedrooms are also accessed from a corridor at the rear of the house. Much of the roof structure is visible and the trusses are of various forms; those in the northern third of the house, together with the purlins and ridge-piece in this section, are smoke blackened. Working from north to south through the building: at the far north-west end is an axial end cruck for a half hip which has a tapering blade and is braced to a square-set ridge; it has been tree-ring dated to between 1267 and 1299. Adjacent to this is a timber-framed end wall to the former open hall. This closed frame has an aisled-end truss which has also been dated to the late C13 and comprises two tall posts, similar to aisle posts, and a braced tie-beam. The next truss is situated in a recess that forms part of the hall stack and could not be inspected but is understood from an architectural survey undertaken in 1990 to be a large braced cruck, of which only one half remains. The roof carpentry in the rest of the building dates from the C17 and consists of collar trusses that are morticed and pegged, with butt purlins.

Source: English Heritage

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