MEM22359 - Valley of Rocks Hotel (Building)


The hotel was founded in 1807 by William Litson, who had been a wool dealer. It is a mid to late 19th Century building of up to six storeys in height.

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Full Description

One of the most prominent unlisted buildings is the Valley of the Rocks Hotel featured in many late 19th Century / 20th Century guidebooks, and although founded c.1810, is mainly mid-late 19th Century in an eclectic mix of styles and materials, including plain tile, slate, brick, stone render and tile-hanging. It is up to six-storeys in height and there are tall, mainly casement windows, conical roofed corners and ornate Corinthian capitals to the projecting porch. The side entrance to the hotel has ironwork. As long ago as 1898, guide books were describing the Valley of the Rocks Hotel as having a position “absolutely the South of England.” It is still the major landmark building in Lynton.[1] The Lynton Tithe Map shows the hotel's main buildings situated to the east of the site, with the west being a series of ranges with an open yard in the centre (presumably the stables etc). A spur-like range stuck out into the street at c. SS 7201 4946. The hotel is labelled by its present name. [2] The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map shows the courtyard area mostly filled in, with the east range divided into a north and south section and with the spur still extant. The stables have moved across the road. [3] The 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map shows the hotel mostly in its current form. [4] Early visitors to Lynton and Lynmouth found it very difficult to find accommodation in the settlements. William Litson was a Lynton wool dealer and, faced with the collapse of the wool trade with Barnstaple, he decided to set up a new business. In 1800 he opened a small inn on the current site of the Globe Inn (MEM22354), while also furnishing the adjoining cottages and letting them to visitors. His new business prospered and in 1807 he built the Valley of Rocks Inn to meet the growing demand. In 1808 an advertisment for the hotel described it as "a large and convenient house in a a desirable situation commanding most delightful sea and land prospects, which…[is] furnished with good beds and every other requisite and has… a stock of choice wine and liquors". Two adverts appeared in the North Devon Journal on 19th August 1833. The first was for the "Valley of Rocks Family Hotel", run by Litson and Son and established in 1800. It mentioned "the comfort and quiet of this establishment, (which has been recently enlarged and fitted up with separate suites of apartments)", with a "spacious coffee room.- post horses, chaises, cars, &c." An advert in the same paper for the Castle Hotel complained that the Valley of Rocks Inn placed men on the roads watching for carriages "with a variety of fabrications to induce families to go" there. The hotel appeared in an illustration dated 1859. [5]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • --- Monograph: Travis, J.. 1995. An illustrated history of Lynton and Lynmouth 1770-1914. Breedon Books. 1st E Edition. 17-8.
  • <1> Report: Fisher, J.. 2002. Lynton: Conservation Area Character Appraisal. 6, 19, 20, 29.
  • <2> Map: 1840. Lynton and Lynmouth Parish Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <5> Monograph: Travis, J.. 1995. An illustrated history of Lynton and Lynmouth 1770-1914. Breedon Books. 1st E Edition. 17-8, 25, 49.



Grid reference Centred SS 7201 4948 (54m by 40m)
Map sheet SS74NW

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Record last edited

Aug 10 2020 9:17AM


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