Hanger Farm
Subject:Hanger Farmhouse, Cornwood

NGR:SX 6140 5865

Hanger is a Middle English word, describing a wood on a steep slope.
First referred to in 1215, when John de Hanger witnessed a document relating to nearby Cholwichtown, the farmstead appears to have been created on former moorland on the western fringe of Hanger Down.  Many such settlements developed in this way during the C12-C14, with early farmers exploiting the edges of open land such as Dartmoor.
Hanger seems to have been a freehold property until the C18, when it was acquired by the nearby Blachford Estate.  It ceased to be a farm in 1960, when it was sold away from the estate with a few acres of the surrounding land.  This freehold history may be responsible for its fine architectural features.

Description:

Farmstead with larger than usual house of manorial status, on a south-west facing slope, overlooking a spring.  Three room and cross-passage house with storeyed cross-wing forming lower end room, unusual oriel window shared by hall and inner room.  The house is notable for its finely dressed granite construction with many carved granite door and window frames.  It has two latrine turrets; an unusual feature even for a house of this status.
Single room detached kitchen to rear, parallel with house.  Detached stable block at right angles, forming one side of formerly walled outer courtyard.

Dating:

1C14-C15.  Basic layout of surviving house.  Cross-wing with upper floor fireplace & corbelled chimney stack.

2Circa 1590-1610.  Remodelling of entire building with granite framed doors and windows, hall/inner room oriel, north-east stair turret & adjoining latrine.  Moulded granite fireplaces on ground floor; some first floor fireplaces.  Floor structures over hall & inner room.  Possibly roof structures, although these could be a little later.  Latrine in cross-wing chamber.

3Circa 1620-1650.  Floor structure over cross-passage, rear storeyed wing added, also detached kitchen, although this may be earlier.  Detached stable block in walled outer court.

4Circa 1730-1750.  Remodelling of cross-wing with carved panelling & moulded plaster ceilings.

5Late C18-early C19.  Stable, granary & feed store to east of house, Period 3 stable modified to become threshing barn on first floor with shippon beneath.

Conclusions:

Hanger is an important medieval and post-medieval house with unusually high quality C17 and C18 phases.  The medieval cross-wing is a rare survival and implies high status in the C14-C15 also.  Some features, such as the double-width hall and inner room projection and the plan of the storeyed rear wing, are very rare, making Hanger an important site for these alone.