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Explore England's Past

Farms and Farmhouses

One of the small farmhouses lining the main streets of Codford, Wiltshire. Its position, end-on to the street, gave easy access to the close of land a

Before enclosure farms lined the village streets of nucleated villages, or lay isolated in areas of scattered settlement. All had farmyards surrounded by individual farmbuildings built over time for a variety of purposes. The barn was usually the most substantial farmbuilding, and many medieval and early modern barns have outlived the other structures. Some information about the character of vanished types of medieval farmbuildings can be gained from documents, especially those produced by major religious houses about their own farms (granges). The farmhouse often survives. Many have have been continuously occupied since they were first built and so contain much older fabric than is evident externally.

In character farmhouses are like other local houses of similar status, but some are adapted to the farming of particular regions.  In the fruit-growing Newent area, most farmhouses have attached cider houses, while those in the dairying areas of Wiltshire have cheese lofts for storing whole cheeses. Farmhouses usually have dairies in the coolest part of the house, in order to supply the household with home-made butter and cheese as well as the local market with the surplus. In pig-rearing areas of Wiltshire, pork for home consumption and sale was cured in narrow smoke-chambers adjacent to the chimney. In remote locations, like the Yorkshire wolds, farmers needed to accommodate large numbers of live-in labourers, who in the East Riding were housed in long separate dormitory wings. As farms were amalgamated to form larger units, richer farmers rebuilt  or remodelled their houses to resemble polite villas or small country houses. Some farms, especially those established post-enclosure outside settlements, were often provided with farmhouse and farmbuildings to a single design, which was perhaps based on a model invented or copied by a surveyor employed by the landowner.

Theme Items

Great Champson farm was renowned in the late 18th and 19th century for animal breeding.

Higher Prescott, Exford

This site was surveyed by volunteers. It lies in a small valley, north-east of Exford church.

Highercombe lies in the far north of Dulverton parish near the boundary with Winsford. Most of the land is over 1,000 ft.

Old Shute farm lies in the west of Dulverton parish across the Barle.

Zeal farm, Hawkridge

This remote farm on the borders of Somerset and Devon has a traditional farmyard which was surveyed by volunteers.

Liscombe is in Dulverton; there are other Liscombes, see East Liscombe in East Anstey for example. It was recorded in the mid 13th century.

The most distinctive feature of farming in modern Bolsover was the creation of an estate of smallholdings intended to give unemployed men and their

The Old Manor House, on the High Street in Codford St Peter, is typical of stone-built West Wiltshire farmhouses of the late 16th and early 17th ce

Codford has a number of ancient farms.