MMO2639 - Hoaroak Cottage, Lynton (Building)


The cottage probably dates to the early 19th Century and was owned by John Vellacott in 1839. It was let to various tenants during the 19th Century and some time after 1867 was leased to Frederic Knight as a base for The Chains herding. Summary from record MDE20822: Hoaroak. Deserted farm site. Good on 1977 and 1947 aps.(mcdonnell).

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Hoar Oak was probably constructed some time in the early 19th Century, after the Royal Forest of Exmoor ceased to exist. According to the Tithe Apportionment for Lynton of 1839, the house and land around it was owned by John Vellacott. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1889 shows at least three buildings centred around a courtyard. According to Burton, the farm was let to various tenants throughout the 19th Century and leased to Frederic Knight some time after 1867, who installed a Scottish Shepherd here and used it as a base for his sheep herd on The Chains. It was the longest lived of the Knight family's herdings, and the house was not abandoned until 1959. It was acquired by Exmoor National Park Authority in 1967 and remains uninhabited in the possession of the Park Authority. [1-4] The cottage is one and a half storeys with two rooms on the ground level. Two single storey extensions were added to the building, one to the west end of the north side which was probably a dairy and another to the east that was likely some form of animal accommodation. The upper storey was improved at a later date with the provision of two heated bedrooms. The building is in a semi derelict condition with no surviving internal timber work. Only a small amount of internal plaster survives. Recently work has been undertaken to stabilise the building, pressumably so it could be used as an animal shelter. The building is orginally 18th century in date with a series of improvements being carried out in the 18th and 19th Centuries. [6] Deserted farm site. Good visbility on the 1977 and 1947 aerial photographs. [7-9] The site was surveyed in December 1996. The house was cement rendered and derelict, possibly dating from the late 17th Century and extended downhill in the 19th Century. The walls had been raised up and it was being used as a livestock shelter. None of the associated farm buildings were left apart from a small tin shed. [10] In advance of major works to the cottage to consolidate the structure, surveys were undertaken of the site. These included a laser scan survey, historic building assessment and archaeological monitoring during the works. The laser scan survey of the building in 2012 produced eight elevations of the structure and a fly through video. This was undertaken by Exmoor National Park Authority and the Moorland Landscape Partnership Scheme. [11-13] The building may date to the late 18th Century, when it was possibly a one storey dwelling. This may have been extended and an extra storey added. John Vellacott owned the building in 1839 and various tenant lived there until around 1867 when Frederic Knight leased it. Knight gave the building to one of his shepherds, William Davidson and his wife who moved from Scotland. [14] A digital reconstruction drawing was created in 2013 by Peter Lorimer. [15] A scarp 7.5 metres long and 1.4 metres wide lies behind the west gable end of Hoaroak Cottage. It is the remains of a building platform. On the tithe map of 1840 a rectangular building is shown at this location; it had been demolished by 1890, as shown on the Ordnance Survey 1st Edition mapping. [1, 16] The cottage was home to shepherds working in a remote part of Exmoor. It never had electricity or gas, running water or sewers, telephones or even a road or track to reach it. The last family left the cottage in the 1960s and it was left to fall into ruin. It was conserved as a ruin in 2014. [17] The 1818 Exmoor Inclosure Maps depict where the fields around the farm abut the Forest Boundary, and label this area "Hoar Oak Inclosure" (both copies). A routeway is shown along this boundary, although may not have been built at this time. [18,19] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [20] The site is depicted and labelled "Hoaroak (Ruin)" on the 2022 MasterMap data. [21]

Sources/Archives (21)

  • <1>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889. [Mapped feature: #41959 ]
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 115-116.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/931 4126-27 (8 November 1952).
  • <4> Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Wills, G.. 2012. References to Hoar Oak Cottage.
  • <6> Report: Green, T. And Humphreys, C.. 2010. Hoar Oak Cottage, Exmoor: Results of a desk-based assessment and historic building recording.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF/CEP/UK/1980.3079 (April 1947).
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. MAM/13/072 (May 1977).
  • <9> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS7443D.
  • <10> Report: Schofield, J.. 1997. Exmoor Farmsteads: An evaluation of old steadings within Exmoor National Park. Farm reference 12.
  • <11> Projected and video material: Brown, R.. 2012. Hoar Oak Cottage, Exmoor: Fly through.
  • <12> Technical drawing: 2012. Hoar Oak Cottage, Exmoor: Laser scan.
  • <13> Report: Morris, B. and Green, T.. 2013. Hoar Oak Cottage, Lynton and Lynmouth: Results of historic building recording and archaeological monitoring.
  • <14> Leaflet: 2013. Hoaroak Valley, Exmoor: Exmoor moorland archaeology walks series. Exmoor National Park Authority.
  • <15> Artwork: Lorimer, P.. 2013. Hoar Oak, Exmoor: Digital reconstruction drawing. Digital.
  • <16> Report: Riley, H.. 2013. Hoaroak Valley: Historic landscape survey and analysis. 34-35.
  • <17> Website: The Friends of Hoar Oak Cottage. 2018. Hoar Oak Cottage.
  • <18> Map: Kelsey, F.J.. 1818. The Map Referred to in the annexed Award [Exmoor Inclosure Award]. 4 inches : 1 mile. Pen and Ink.
  • <19> Map: Kelsey, F.J.. 1818. A Map of Exmoor Forest Referred to by the annexed Award. 4 inches : 1 mile. Pen and Ink.
  • <20> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1480225, Extant 19 January 2022.
  • <21> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2022. MasterMap data. 1:2,500.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 18182
  • Devon SMR: SS74SW/98
  • Exmoor Farmsteads Survey 1996-1997 (2/3): 12
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20822
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW281
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1480225



Grid reference Centred SS 7420 4355 (38m by 35m) With reference to SEM340925
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (6)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

Jan 19 2022 3:27PM


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