MEM23060 - Duredon Farm (Building)


The farmstead is named Duredown Farm on historic mapping. It was built for the Knight family in the 1840s and the house broadly represents the form it had attained by the late 1870s or 1880s.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The farmstead appears to have been little altered in plan from when it appeared on the 1st and 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey mapping. These historic maps show the site named as Duredown Farm. [1-3] The site was visited in December 1996. The farmhouse was described as a plain, white rendered 19th Century building, more complicated on the yard side, and possibly interesting inside. The associated yard was noted to have late 19th Century low buildings on two sides. A barn in one corner was possibly thought to date from the 18th Century. The surrounding enclosures were thought to be quite late but beech hedges and a grove of beeches act as a backdrop to the house. A pencil note added to the record sheet states that this is a farm built for the Knight family. [4] The farmhouse was subject to a historic buildings assessment in April 2017 to help establish its history, development and the phasing of its fabric. Duredon is probably among the better preserved of the Exmoor Forest farms and has escaped much modern alterations. The farm buildings retain their interiors, albeit sometimes with later partitions or truncation, and the house, although clearly of several phases, broadly represents the form it had attained by the 1870s or 1880s. The fenestration is a mixture of primary and secondary windows (the large paned sashes with narrow marginal lights probably secondary, inserted to regularise the facade on the construction of the east range), but largely survive where windows were often replaced in the 1960s or 70s on other farms. Exmoor Forest was disafforested in 1819 and 'His Majesty's Allotment' was purchased by John Knight in 1820. Duredon was created in the late 1840s, with most of the buildings (including house, barn, cartshed, granary, stable and open shed for young cattle) said to be complete but the site not yet let by 1848. It was finally leased to John Bullas (who originated from near Doncaster) in 1852 for 20 years with an annual rent of £349.10.0, but a memorandum on the buildings attached to the lease made it clear that some final additions to the suite of farm buildings were still to be made, and some alterations were thought to be necessary. However, farming of the site proved difficult and Bullas appears to have left some time in 1859, with Edwin Maunder taking the let from 1861 until Michaelmas 1868. Duredon was then taken back in hand and was run primarily as a sheep ranch by Robert Tait Little, a shepherd from County Dumfries, from 16th July 1871. The house may have been extended after this time to accommodate his growing family. The reversion of the Knight Estate was sold to Hugh Fortescue, Viscount Ebrington (later 4th Earl Fortescue) in 1879. When Frederick Winn Knight died in 1897, the emphasis was changed from sheep ranching to tenanted farms and Duredon was one of several farms to be let out once more. It is once again possible that some alterations were made to the farmstead at this time, although these are thought to have been cosmetic rather than fundamental. Robert Tait Little was still at the property in 1901 but by 1906, the farm had been let to Thomas Wyatt, who moved here from the Exmoor Forest Hotel. By 1935, it was occupied by William Elworthy, who is known to have been a farmer in the parish since 1923. It is noteable that those who leased the farmstead were not always those who were listed as inhabiting it, who were mainly described as agricultural labourers with their wives and children. Duredon was excluded from the sale of the Fortescue estate in 1959 as it came in hand on the retirement of Eric and Gwendoline Watts in 1970. The farmhouse and about nine acres of land were sold in c.1970 to Alexander Smith, who lived there 1970-81. The remainder of the farmland was divided between Titchcombe and Limecombe herdings. The farmstead has since changed hands twice. The first map showing the farmstead dates from 1889 [1]. Only moderate differences are shown in later editions [2,3], suggesting any changes made to the property took place between the 1840s and 1880s. The farmhouse is formed of a central (earliest) range featuring an entrance passage, kitchen and sitting room, an eastern range now containing a drawing room and a west range (possibly later)now containing a pantry/dair, rear hall, study etc - all the ranges have bedrooms above. East of the house was built an outhouse (a coal or turf house?) and onto the west a cowshed (now a dining room). The farm buildings are constructed of uniform shale rubble masonry with shale voussoirs and quoins. Brick has been used as part of later insertions and additions, not necessarily much later than the mid 19th Century. Roofs are generally of a king post and strut tie beam truss construction. There is a barn, cart shed (which was to have a granary built above), later shed (now a garage), stables (north range) and cowsheds (west range). There was a further building in the courtyard, constructed after 1904 and demolished during the 1970s, now forming a flower bed. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904.
  • <3>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. [Mapped feature: #41952 ]
  • <4> Report: Schofield, J.. 1997. Exmoor Farmsteads: An evaluation of old steadings within Exmoor National Park. Farm reference 6.
  • <5> Report: Blaylock, S.. 2017. Historical buildings assessment of Duredon Farm, Simonsbath, Exmoor, Somerset, 2017.



Grid reference Centred SS 7561 4016 (66m by 81m) Historic mapping
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor Farmsteads Survey 1996-1997 (2): 6

Record last edited

Jun 14 2021 10:15PM


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