Linear range of domestic and agricultural buildings, C17 to C19. The C20 lean-to extensions attached to the rear and south west elevations are excluded from the listing.
Reason for Listing
* Date: a well preserved and good example of an evolved linear farmstead spanning the C17 to C19, characteristic of the small holdings of the Cumbrian uplands
* Significant original fabric: the C18 house and C19 bank barn retain most of their original fabric and roof structures, pierced by many original openings; the C17 building retains important evidence of its original cruck structure and its long house origin.
* Plan form: the original plans of the individual buildings are largely retained and where remodelling has taken place, their evolution is easily readable
* Interior survival: the farmstead retains original and historic interior features including an original early inglenook to the C17 dwelling and contemporary joinery to the C18 house and C19 bank barn
This linear farmstead at Low House Farm is present on the 1:2500 First Edition Ordnance Survey map published in 1864, and it has an unchanged footprint on the subsequent Second Edition map of 1899. The footprint remains the same today, with the exception that during the C20 the rear section of the earliest of the two farmhouses was removed and a modern lean-to structure added to its rear, which extends across the rear of the attached barn. It is considered that this earliest building, occupying the north east end of the range, dates from the C17 and is of long house form with human habitation to one side of a central cross passage and animal housing to the other side. Internal evidence illustrates that it was originally a single storey dwelling of cruck construction. Attached to the left of the long house is a second farmhouse of C18 date with C19 modifications, but which may also have derived from an earlier building, possibly a third unit of the long house. A bank barn is attached to the left, and by comparison with other barns in the region, this is considered to be of C19 date.
MATERIALS: local rubble stone, river-washed boulders and slate, with graduated Westmorland slate roofs.
PLAN: linear range oriented northeast to southwest set on the edge of a narrow valley. At the north east end there is a building of long house form entered via a cross passage with domestic accommodation to the left and animal housing to the right. Attached to the left of this is an C18 modified two-unit plan farmhouse with a rear offshut containing dairy, stair and kitchen. A bank barn is attached to the left.
EXTERIOR: C17 former long house: the main (south east) elevation has two storeys under a pitched roof with a left gable stack. The domestic part is lime washed and has a single, central ground-floor eight-pane window with fine glazing bars. At first-floor level, there is a pair of small windows tucked immediately beneath the eaves; that to the left has a mid-C19 three-over-three three-horned sash window and a stone sill, and that to the right has a fixed 12-pane frame with fine glazing bars. The latter window might occupy the position of a formerly larger opening. An entrance to the right with a narrow-boarded door, gives entry to a former cross passage. The animal housing attached to the right is now entered through an door in south east wall, and it has a triangular group of pigeon nesting/perching ledges to its upper level.
The rear elevation is obscured by a modern lean-to extension but is partially visible from within the latter; it has an entrance at the right end, which formerly led from the now demolished rear unit into the former long house.
C18 farmhouse: the main (south east) elevation is slightly set back and has two storeys and three bays, rendered, under a pitched roof with a left gable stack. There is a central ground-floor entrance with a C18 five-panel door with a porch. To the right there is a C18 12-over-12 sash window with fine glazing bars; the window to the left and the three first floor window openings are mid- C19 insertions containing four large pane horned sash windows. The rear elevation is not rendered and comprises a gabled offshut, the slightly projecting left part having a ground-floor entrance with 24-pane vertical sliding sashes to the left and above with fine glazing bars. The right part has a smaller sliding sash to the upper right and a 16-pane fixed window to the ground floor.
Bank barn: the main (south east) elevation has traces of a large boulder plinth and is constructed of a mixture of slate and rounded river boulders with three rows of prominent through stones and brick-lined ventilation slits at eaves level, under a pitched roof. At the left end there is evidence of a wide ground- floor opening, now blocked. The central section comprises a byre with an entrance and a pair of triangular ventilation slots to the left. There is a cart shed to the right with an arched entrance, and the right end houses a stable with a door to the left and square window to the right, with the remains of a mounting block beneath. A winnowing door at first-floor level indicates the first-floor threshing barn. The rear elevation is of similar construction with prominent through stones and eaves ventilation slits; the main first-floor entry is through a double-door pentice opening, approached by a ramped cart access flanked with rubble walls. The entrance has double-boarded doors with strap hinges. A single entrance to the ground floor (now within a modern lean-to) has a timber-boarded door of early form, probably re-used.
INTERIOR: C17 long house: cross passage with a wide-boarded floor and ceiling and plastered walls. At the centre of the passage on the left, a wide-boarded door opens into a single-roomed dwelling; the latter has a solid floor, plastered walls and visible beams and joists of the upper floor. At the south-west end, truncated blade sections of a former cruck truss and a low tie beam are embedded in the walls. A low stone inglenook is inserted beneath the tie beam, with an inserted brick bread oven to the right. A door leads though the rear north-west wall to the exterior, but formerly led into a small rear unit, now demolished. In the south east corner of the room, a simple timber staircase with a solid balustrade gives access to the upper floor. The latter is subdivided into three crude compartments by a variety of boarded partitions, mostly of early, wide boards; a substantial chimneystack is set against the south-west wall with upper parts incorporating river cobbles. The roof structure is formed of simple trusses with double purlins. Within the attached animal housing, the first floor is supported on a single beam with evidence of re-use, and the rafters support a first floor of wide boards.
C18 farmhouse: long central hall, with slate flag floor, thought to have been created by a modification of an original two-unit plan. The room to left has an C18 five-panel door, floor-board floor and a chimney breast and the room to right has an C18 five-panel door, slate flagged floor and also retains fitted cupboards of early form to either side of a chimneybreast. The large offshut to the rear contains a central C18 dog-leg stair with stick balusters and simple newel posts, with a dairy to the left with slate shelves and a large kitchen to the right. The first floor has five rooms (three over the original unit house and two over the slightly later rear offshut); there are some panelled doors and other features of interest including a large chimney feature in the front right bedroom, which is thought to represent the former external stack of the adjacent and earlier farmhouse. The partition wall separating this room from the adjacent room is of timber-stud form and one of the rooms retains a mid- C19 cast-iron fireplace.
Bank barn: the central byre is fully fitted with animal partitions, and the stable to the right has its three original stalls complete with mangers. The first-floor threshing barn has a roof structure of six trusses with triple purlins.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: A single storey L-shaped range, of stone construction with slate roofs is situated immediately east of the range and a small stone-built privy is situated to the north, complete with wooden toilet structure.
MAP NOTE: the subsidiary features described above are not depicted on our modern Ordnance Survey map base and therefore cannot be mapped.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.