MEM22305 - Post-medieval quarry north of White Rock Cottage (Monument)


A quarry is shown on historic mapping. It may be the quarry mentioned in an estate inventory of 1833, which suggests it provided stone for the Knight estate. It may have acted as a fernery when incorporated into the Ashcombe gardens.

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Type and Period (2)

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Full Description

The 1888 Ordnance Survey 1st Edition map shows a quarry at this location. On the 2nd Edition 1902 map it is labelled 'Old Quarry', suggesting it was still in use or had been until recently. The Knight Estate inventory of 1833 lists two quarries together with their tools including frames for cutting stone. Clearly the quarries were supplying stone for the estate, probably including the new mansion. The former stables (MEM22304) east of White Rock Cottage may originally been used as the lock up for the quarry. [1-3,5] The quarry may have still been in use when depicted on the 1888 1st Edition map. It may have been one of two stone quarries mentioned in the 1833 inventory. Garrett suggests that while a large working quarry is not the most attractive asset to the Knight's pleasure grounds,t a localised weakness (or cleavage) in this particular outcrop of Devonian Slate may have produced a source of stone too valuable not to exploit even if it happened to be in the garden. Extraction would have been easy as the quarry's orientation runs parallel to the cleavage in the rock. The abandoned quarry's ferns and exposed rock form an impressive cliff face for the passer-by and it is tempting to wonder if the Fortescues, or indeed the Knights, saw the redundant quarry's aesthetic potential for creating a fernery, a very common feature of Victorian garden design. [1,4,] The slate quarry formed part of the south boundary of the Garden by the River and may have supplied the stone for John Knight's unfinished extension to Simonsbath. It was incorporated into the garden layout by necessity as it occupies most of the land between the enclosures of Simonsbath Farm and the steep valley of the River Barle. [5]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1888.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1902.
  • <3> Report: Green, T; Humphreys, C; Morris, B; Wapshott, E. 2012. White Rock Cottage, Simonsbath: Results of a desk-based assessment and historic building recording. 14, 15, 26, 28.
  • <4> Report: Garrett, C.. 2004. An Enviable Possession: The Somerset Seat of the Knight Family. 24.
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Metric survey of part of John Knight's gardens and pleasure grounds, Ashcombe, Simonsbath. 6-7.
  • <5> Report: Green, T., Humphreys, C. Morris, B. and Wapshott, E.. 2016. White Rock Cottage, Simonsbath, Exmoor, Somerset: Revised desk-based assessment and historic building recording.



Grid reference Centred SS 7729 3942 (39m by 32m)
Map sheet SS73NE

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Record last edited

Mar 10 2021 9:29AM


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