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Higher Uppacott - List Description

6/175 Higher Uppacott and
23.8.55 Uppacott


Longhouse, now divided into 2 houses. Late medieval; wing on north-east probably added in C17, and former outbuilding to south-west of that probably added in C18 or early C19. Granite rubble; south-east face of wing covered with roughcast. Main range is thatched, with half-hip at either end; former outbuilding is slated. In centre of ridge in main range is a granite ashlar chimneystack with stone weatherings (heating former hall); cap seems to be C20. On gable-end of wing is another granite ashlar stack with weatherings, this time with its original tapered cap 3-room and through-passage plan, with shippon (no longer used for cattle) to right of passage; hall and inner room to left. Wing at upper end (now a separate house called Uppacott, along with the former outbuilding) probably a parlour or kitchen. The shippon is remarkable among standing longhouses in having no separate entrance. 2 storeys, the shippon formerly lofted. House-part is 3 windows wide in ground storey (this side of house has no upper-storey windows). The middle window (lighting former hall) is of granite, containing 2 lights with flat-splay mullions; straight hood-mould above. The outer windows have plain granite lintels and contain C19 wood casements with 2 or 3 panes per light. Old plank door to through-passage, with applied ribs; C20 thatched porch on 2 wooden posts, which are probably re-used timbers from the house. In the shippon are 2 ventilation slits. The gable-wall to right has 3 more slits in the ground storey and one above; at the base of the wall is a drain outlet. The rear wall of the main range is concealed by a stone lean-to with a corrugated asbestos roof; most of it is still occupied by outhouses, but the right-hand end has been converted into living accommodation, rendered and re- windowed in C20. A photograph of 1950 shows the lean-to with slated roof, forming an attractive feature of the building. Behind the lean-to is the rear doorway to the through-passage, having a chamfered, round-headed wood frame with shouldered durn jamb. The shippon has one ventilation slit this side, now blocked. The wing has small-paned wood casements, some C19, some C20. The former outbuilding is heavily windowed with C20 small-paned wood casements. The gable-wall to south-east retains its original character, with 2 ventilation slits in the ground storey and 1 above; to right of the latter is a blocked loading door with wooden lintel. The north-east side of the wing and outbuilding, which is clearly visible from the road, has no windows; there is a small 2-light window in the adjacent gable-wall of the main range.

Interior: the shippon has a well-made central drain lined with large granite blocks; against each of the long walls is a feeding-trough defined by thin stones with holes on top for tethering-posts. The loft floor has been removed, but the plain, heavy cross-beams remain. A C19 wood partition divides the shippon from the passage, this being faced with horizontal planks on the passage side. Close to the passage is a raised cruck-truss with the tops of the blades held apart by a yoke designed to carry a square-set ridge. There are no slots for purlins, but there are mortices for a collar. The truss is not obviously smoke-blackened, but a piece of blackened ridge-beam is poised rather precariously between it and the hall stack. The walling containing the west foot has been disturbed, but the east foot seems to be in its original slot, resting on a large padstone half-way up the wall. A truss of this type could well be C14 or early C15. On the house side of the passage the back of the hall stack (now whitened) is of granite ashlar blocks with a chamfered plinth and cornice. To the right of it, above the doorway into the hall, is what appears to be the head-beam of a plank-and-muntin partition. The hall fireplace has hollow-moulded granite jambs and a chamfered wood lintel with step-stops. Above the lintel are 2 pieces of shaped granite, clearly designed to fit under a relieving arch (although this, if it exists, is plastered over); this feature is blocked off by the upper-floor beams, and suggests that the stack may have been inserted while the hall was still open to the roof. There is no sign of an oven at the back of the fireplace. The upper-floor beams are chamfered, with 1 bar-stop visible; the joists are chamfered with step-stops. The main cross-beam runs into the centre of a blocked opening in the rear wall; this is set high up and clearly rises above the existing ceiling-level, having been the hall window while it was open to the roof. There are no old joists in the narrow space in front of the fireplace, and it is possible that a spit mechanism rose through the ceiling at this point. The 2-light granite window in the front wall has a loop half-way and integral with the centre mullion; it may have been designed for a bar to close the shutters. Above the hall are 2 trusses with feet designed like primitive jointed crucks; the feet of the principal rafters into the wall-tops, but pegged and tenoned to them, against the wall-faces, are short struts, themselves sinking into the walls. The trusses have threaded purlins and ridge, but whereas the truss over the centre of the hall has a tenoned collar, that over the division between hall and inner room has a collar with notched and shaped ends sunk into halvings in the faces of the principal rafters. Both trusses, with their purlins, ridge and thatching-spars, and the underside of the thatch, are smoke-blackened and it is clear that the roof over the inner room (though partly rebuilt) was originally the same. It is clearly a medieval roof, though quite different from that of the shippon; the halved collar usually, a post-medieval feature, suggests a possible early C16 date. Nailed to this truss over the division between hall and inner room, and certainly a later addition (perhaps of circa 1600), is a close-studded partition; the studs are grooved down the sides, and still contain the original horizontal laths designed to carry the mud infill. At the east end is a square-headed door-frame with scratch mouldings. The ground-storey wall below is of stone, but it is not clear how this relates to the timber-framing. The wing has been considerably altered, but in the ground storey is a large gable-fireplace with monolithic granite jambs and a plain wood lintel; there is no oven in the back. On the floor above there is a smaller fireplace with chamfered granite jambs and chamfered wood lintel, the latter with a scroll-stop at the right-hand end. The roof-trusses are plain; though darkened, they are probably not smoke-blackened.

3rd November 1986
Dartmoor National Park AuthorityMoor MemoriesDartmoor Sustainable Development FundEnglish HeritageThe Dartmoor Trust