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Jackmansdown, West Devon

Description: Jackmansdown

Grade: II
Date Listed: 22 July 2013
Building ID: 1414549

OS Grid Reference: SS5593305610
OS Grid Coordinates: 255946, 105595
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8319, -4.0469

Locality: West Devon
Local Authority: West Devon Borough Council
County: Devon
Postcode: EX19 8SL

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Listing Text


A C17 farmhouse, with subsequent rebuilding and alteration, and associated farm buildings partly pre-dating 1813. The corrugated iron lean-to to the south of the house is not included in the listing.

Reason for Listing

Jackmansdown, a C17 farmhouse, with subsequent rebuilding and alteration, and associated farm buildings partly pre-dating 1813, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as a modest farmhouse dating from the C17, which despite repair and rebuilding in the mid-C19, retains significant fabric; the associated agricultural buildings substantially pre-date 1813;
* Rarity: the complex is of a sort which was once common, but now rarely survives without significant post-C19 modification;
* Internal features: the house retains its good C17 roof; other features include a stud partition and stopped beams of C17 character, though these show evidence of disruption in the C19;
* Agricultural buildings: the survival of the associated buildings, extended in the C19, contributes to the legibility of this isolated agricultural group.


The house at Jackmansdown, which is thought to date from the C17, forms part of a small farmstead in an isolated position. The house previously had adjacent building to the south, shown in differing forms on a map of 1813 and the tithe map of circa 1840; this is not thought to have formed part of the main dwelling, but more probably to have been in agricultural use. Some alteration took place at the north end of the building, probably in the late C18 or early C19, when the chimney stack was rebuilt or enlarged to provide a fireplace on the upper floor; the roof at this end is now gabled as a consequence, and the northern roof truss dates from this phase. In the mid-C19 the majority of the cob walling was replaced with stone; this rebuilding clearly took place after the construction of the post-1840/pre-1887 lean-to, or at the time it was erected, since the cob remains in the area formerly occupied by the lean-to. As a result of the rebuilding, many of the features – such as the beams, the floor, and the openings – may have been reconfigured, or adjusted, with the result that it is difficult to be precise about the dating of these features.

By the date the tithe map was produced, the settlement at 'Jackmans Downs' also had an agricultural building to the south, and a long block to the east. By the time of the survey made for the 1887 OS map, the southern block abutting the house had been removed, and a lean-to extension erected against the northern part of the eastern elevation. This map also shows an L-shaped block linking with the eastern block, forming a southern boundary to the courtyard; if the southern block attached to the house was indeed in agricultural use, it is possible that the L-shaped block was constructed to replace this. The north-eastern extension to the house had been removed by the time of the OS map published in 1906. During the C20, a lean-to corrugated iron extension was added to the south end of the house (very dilapidated in 2013) and a small stone extension – probably a lavatory – was constructed to the north (in a state of collapse in 2013). The agricultural buildings have been developed and modified over time, and provide evidence of the mixed husbandry characteristic of small farms in many parts of Devon. The site has been unoccupied since the 1950s; it is understood it was during the 1950s that the thatch was replaced with corrugated iron.


MATERIALS: the original massed cob is visible in the northern section of the east elevation with extensive rebuilding in coursed rubble stone, with dressed quoins. The roof is hipped at the south end, to accommodate the original thatch, and gabled at the north end, either reflecting its original form or as a result of the rebuilding at this end; the current covering is of asbestos cement sheeting, and there is a rebuilt stone chimney stack.

PLAN: the building is rectangular on plan, standing on a north-south alignment, with the entrance to the east. It is of two storeys, and is one room deep, with a two-room plan on both ground and first floors; an additional partition has been inserted on the first floor. At the south end is a dilapidated corrugated iron lean-to (not of special interest) and at the north end, the remains of a small stone extension, believed to have been a lavatory.

EXTERIOR: the principal elevation faces east, with a central entrance, and a ground-floor window to the left. The north part of the walling, taking in the doorway, is of the original cob, indicating the position of the former lean-to. To the right of the doorway, a lintel and area of stone infill suggests that the door was moved at the time of the erection of the lean-to. The current doorway has an insubstantial lintel, a plain wooden frame, and a planked door, all apparently of C19 date. The window has a brick arch; the wooden window frame has been reused, cutting down an earlier mullioned window which is consistent with a C17 date, but may or may not have belonged to the building originally. The west elevation is entirely of stone, with two windows at ground-floor level, and two to the first floor, having flat arches of dressed stone. The upper window frames appear to be C20; the left-hand ground-floor window frame has largely been lost, and the right-hand ground-floor opening, now very shallow, appears to be a modified doorway. The south wall is blind; there is some cob at the top of the wall on the left-hand side, used for fixing the former thatch; this part has been filled with brick on the right-hand side. The north wall is also blind, again with evidence of cob wall-tops, and with the remains of a small stone lean-to extension against the eastern part of the wall.

INTERIOR: the ground-floor of the house is divided into two rooms, separated by a cobbed-over stud partition; this partition is of C17 character, but the way in which it is lapped on to the cross beam above it, rather than being morticed in, suggests that it was re-affixed, perhaps following the rebuilding of the walls and consequent disruption to the beams. This central beam is chamfered on the north but not the south side, like the beam against the south wall; both beams have stops at the east ends, but not at the west ends, suggesting reuse, or modification at the time of the stone rebuilding. The floor within the southern room shows clear evidence of reconfiguration, with redundant joist seatings visible. In the northern room is a fireplace with a substantial bressumer, chamfered on both sides – again suggesting reuse. A clay bread oven was inserted in the east wall, probably in the C19. A C19 wooden bench is built into the wall beneath the west window of the northern room, with evidence of an earlier bench beneath it. A C19 timber stair with stick balusters and chamfered newel posts rises to the south of the door; this appears to be the site of the original access to the upper floor. Three C17 roof trusses remain, with notched and halved collars, and morticed and tenoned apexes, all pegged. The collars are chamfered. The fourth truss, at the north end of the building, appears to date from the C19. There is a small fireplace, with no surround, on the upper floor at the north end. The upper floor is divided by two partitions, the southern one probably belonging to the primary phase, and the northern one, which cuts across a window, being later.

To the south and east of the house are the agricultural buildings, with a barn to the south of the house, and an L-shaped range to the east, creating a loose courtyard. These buildings are of cob and rubble stone, the thatched roof coverings having been replaced with corrugated iron.

The cob barn, present on the tithe map, was probably used, among other functions, for threshing. There is a wide opening with a timber lintel to the north wall; the south wall has been rebuilt in concrete blocks, so it is not known whether there was corresponding access from this direction, though the bank behind the barn probably affected this. To the left of the central opening is a small window. A dilapidated lean-to store is constructed against the west wall.

The L-shaped range is composed of buildings constructed at different phases, as is indicated by the varying roof levels; the northern part appears on the tithe map. This range will have been in mixed use, with shelter for animals, as well as cart storage. The northern section is partly open to the front, the roof supported on posts which are now collapsing. Some hayracks remain against the east and south walls of the range. There is a window high in the east wall of the central section. The southern section, which pre-dates the 1887 OS map, has a central dividing stone wall, and retains its A-frame roof structure of roughly hewn timbers.

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