MDE21369 - County Gate Cottage (Building)


A mid 19th Century gate keepers cottage or lodge that was part of the Glenthorne estate. It was used as an information centre since c.1980 but became disused in 2015.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Toll House and gate piers, now information centre. Early 19th Century with some late 20th Century alterations. Coursed stone rubble, with slate-hanging to south-west and rendered rear wing. Slate roof with gabled ends. Plan: L-plan, facing south-east. The rear wing is probably a later (19th Century or 20th Century) addition. Internal partitions since removed. 1 storey. Exterior: asymmetrical 3-window front, the 2 right-hand windows are in square bays over which the main roof is carried down. 19th Century wooden lattice casements, the right- hand 2 are of 3 lights and the left-hand one of 2 lights, and all have flat stone arches and slate cills. Doorway to left of centre has original gabled stone porch with a segmental stone-arched head and a 20th Century boarded door. 20th Century roof-lights to rear. Rendered external end stack to rear wing and 20th Century flat-roofed addition in angle. Interior: 4-bay roof to front range with collar trusses, and trussed rafters to rear wing. Pair of rough monolithic slate gate piers flanking Porlock-Lynton road in front of toll house, each with fixing holes for former gates. The eastern pier stands in Somerset as the county boundary passes down the centre of the road at this point. [1] The building was visited in September 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 5. [2] The present coast road, A39, from south of Parracombe, via Lynton to Minehead, was never turnpiked, although a coach ran between Minehead and Lynton, at first in summer only, being first mentioned in Kelly's Directory in 1861 without mentioning frequency. [3] Photographs post dating 1946 show Granfer and Granny French in front of the cottage, one with Farmer David Pile doing his deliveries on horseback. The photographs show a brick Chimney on the rear elevation and stove flues at each gable end with metal railing along the roadside front with wooden posts to a gateway to the front door. The Frenches are said to have had a garden at the back where they grew vegetables. The water for the cottage was pumped up by a ram from down in the combe and the toilet was a 'bucket job'. The little building at the side of the cottage they called the studio, because a previous resident had been an artist, and that's where he'd worked. It's been turned into a bus shelter now. Granfer used to sell Dornats mineral water to passing people…He had a little stall outside the door. [4] Initial observations undertaken during site visits and a watching brief took place in 2017 as part of opening up of the area of the main fireplace in the building. The building dates between 1842 and 1862 (it is not shown on the Tithe Map for Countisbury [5] but is shown on a later Enclosure map) and was probably a gate keepers or estate workers house for the Glenthorne Estate, developed by the Halliday family from 1829. It is a single storey building with a porch and ornate windows on the front elevation. There were two phases of extensions to the structure in the 20th Century. It was used as a visitor centre and café from around 1980 but has been boarded up since 2015. [6] Historic building recording of the original plan and fireplaces after internal plaster removal. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: Countisbury (24 November 1988) 13.
  • <2> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <3> Monograph: Atkinson, M.. 1997. Exmoor's Industrial Archaeology. Exmoor Books.
  • <4> Monograph: Ramsay, D.. 2011. Unforgotten Exmoor: Volume 4. Rare Books and Berry. 4. pages 47-48.
  • <5> Map: <1841. Countisbury Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <6> Report: Blaylock, S.. 2019. County Gate Cottage, Countisbury.
  • <7> Report: Smith, Stella. 2023. County Gate, Brendon and Countisbury, Devon: Results of historic building recording.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (5): 1549/4/16/1
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 41736
  • Devon SMR: SS74NE/619
  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)



Grid reference Centred SS 7935 4865 (13m by 14m)
Map sheet SS74NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Feb 6 2023 5:23PM


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