Farmhouse, Brimmer Head Farm, Grasmere

Record ID:  26464 / MNA116245
Record type:  Building
Protected Status: Listed Building: Grade I, World Heritage Site
NT Property:  Grasmere; North
Civil Parish:  Lakes; South Lakeland; Cumbria
Grid Reference:  NY 3244 0848
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The farmhouse at Brimmer Head stands approximately 1 1/2 miles NW of Grasmere Church at the head of the Easedale Valley. The house faces S, SW across the valley and forms one long range with a haybarn and shippon (*2).

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Monument Types

  • FARMHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)


The farmhouse at Brimmer Head stands approximately 1 1/2 miles NW of Grasmere Church at the head of the Easedale Valley. The house faces S, SW across the valley and forms one long range with a haybarn and shippon (*2). The present rathere large house is the result of at least three building phases :-

A. The original house with firehouse and gable entry, parlour adn three bedrooms above, this is a fairly large structure and dates fromt he late 16th century or early to mid 17th century. To the rear is a wing with mid to late 17th century staircase, kitched with firebeam and bedroom / store above - this wing together with the front of the house makes a T shape andmay or maynot be of one built withthe firehouse / parlout section. IT is certainly of 16th or 17th century date, but doesn't appear to fit quite perfectly, with a curious curve by the first flight of the staricase, and may well have been added to the original structure in the 17th century.

B. Pantry, one-storeyed and probably dating from the early 19th century.

C. Dining room with two bedrooms above, added circa 1870 when the exterior of the house was probably remodelled.

Large and complex farmhouse, extremely important historically as a large early farmhouse with 17th century fittings. Exterior greatly altered in teh late 19th and early 20th cnetury. Together with its farm buildings it forms an important group at the head of the Easedale valley.

IMPORTANT FEATURES - Slate sconces in pantry. Staircase & ballustrade. Muntin an dplank around staircase. Muntin and plankd around bedroom 2 and bathrooom. Cast iron fireplaces in bedrooms 3 and 4. Fireplaced in bedrooms 1 and 6 and firehouse. Roof Trusses. Front porch and door. Cupboards in firehouse. Firebeam in kitchen.

WALLS - Nearly all of exterior render, however the rear walls (N side) of section A can be seen to be sruface gathered and quarried sltae laid in mortar. The door has a particularly fine late 19th century wooden porch on slate base, probably the same date as the dining room extension, the quarried slate garden wall with iron railings and wrought iron gates also probably dates fromt he time of the dining room extension.

ROOF - Over building A :- 2 tiebeam trusses, notched at teh apex with two purlins under each pitch, continuous over all three bays,. The purlins are entrenced into the principle rafters and together with trusses are hardwood and appear origianl with the house. Rafters are sawn softwood and the slates torched underneath - late 19th or early 20th century. There are no remains of a chimneyhood on the S gable. The ceilings over bedrooms 1 and 2 have hardwood joists supporting them - all probably of late 17th or early 18th century datee, indicating that these rooms were ceiled at an early date. As the landing and bedroom 3 ae ceilied with sawn softwood ceiling joists, it isn't clear whether these rooms were ceilied at an early date.

The staircase wing at the rear has double purlins and the roof structure of the 1870 dining room wing was not seen, but has sawn upright softwood purlins and gables over S and W walls.

All roofs are covered with local slates laid in diminishing courses with cast iron gutters and sandstone ridge tiles over front of house and clay ridge tiles over staircase wing.


FIREHOUSE - This room has been divided by the insertion of a partition with a door in it, to form a passage from the front door to the staricase probabl in the late 19th century. The rooom originally had a gable entry (now blocked); the firebeam still exists, however it isn't clear when the firehood was removed - presumabaly sometime between the late 18th and mid 19th centuryies. All beams are plastered within this room, that nearest the door with 19th cnetuty pine supports for a suspended board shelf. The floor has slate flags and the chimneybreast has an oak surround to the fireplace (reused timber possible 18th cnetuyr muntin and plank), the cast iron range was replace in the 1940's by a fireplace with brick hobs, te grate and hob shelves being cast iron and reused from the old range. THe fireplace also contains a particularly fine burnished stell chimney crane from a farm by Thirlmere.

On either side of the fireplace are grained pine panelled cupboards; that to the left of the fireplace with 1 panel and that to the right of the fireplae with 2 levels with double doors on each level, 2 panels in each door, one with a brass knob. All cupboards mid 19th century.

PARLOUR - Partitions dividing this room from the hall passage and passage leading to the dining room probably date from teh late 19th century; the existence of the window in the dinging room passage suggests that this end of th ehouse was always divided, with parlour and pantry behind, although the beam going across the room shows no mark. The beam is adzed and chamfered with a curved stepped stop and the joists sawn hardwood. The floor is pine boarded and the fireplace 1930's tiled.

KITCHEN - Has slate flagged floor, and firebeam, which is chamfered as is a wooden jamb at its W end - indicating this room had a firehood in the 17th century. Within the fireplace is a pine 19th century Jacob's Ladder leading to the roo above and a 20th century Rayburn. The joists are chamfered and the room is divided from the stiarcase by a muntin and plank partition.

STAIRCASE - Particularly fine mid to late 17th century oak staircase with turned ballusters and newel post with ball finial, each balluster is numbered with roman numerals and the handrail moulded. All treads and risers are oaks, the step at half landing stage has a drawer in the side - for keeping documents? THe staircase well is surrounded on the NE and SE sides by moulded muntin and plank: that up to first floor level is moulded, and that above level is moulded differently. One reason for this may be that the staircase well was enclosed only at ground floor level originally, and enclosed on 1st floor level at a later date.

PANTRY - Theis room was added i nthe early to mid 19th century and has a slate floor and particularly fine slate sconces and shelves on two levels around the walls, which are limewashed.

DINGING ROOM - Pine boarded floor, late 19th century, 1930's tiled fireplace.

BATHROOM - Partition dividing this room from the landing is reset 17th or 18th cnetury muntin and plank.

BEDROOM 1 - Early 19th cnetury fireplace with stone hobs, iron grate and moulded surround.

BEDROOM 2 - Divided from landing by muntin and plank partition, just to the E of the door are two moulded planks.

BEDROOM 3 - Divided from bedroom 2 by muntin and plank partition this is reset from elsewhere as the tiebeam for the truss above this partition has mortice holes and peg holes for a post and panel partition, since removed.

Bedroom 3 has a late 19th century cast iron fireplace surround - slightly gothic. This room was divided circa 1870 by th einsertion of a partition to make a passage to the bedrooms in the dining room winf.

BEDROOM 6 - Has oak pegged floor and corbels for a corbelled fireplace surround (now blocked) - 17th century. The room and the adjacent storeroom were used as a sleeping loft for labourers in the early 20th century and maybe at an earlier date, hence the Jacob's ladder from the kitchen beneath.

BEDROOMS 4 and 5 - Have pine boarded floors, bedroom 4 with late 19th century cast iron fireplace as in bedroom 3.

(NT VBS Surveyor; 1986)


  • SZI921 - Unpublished document: National Trust Vernacular Buildings Surveyor. 1985. Grasmere - Venacular Buildings Survey.


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