MEM23123 - Town Farm, Martinhoe (Building)


The farmstead is shown on historic mapping and at one point was owned by the Ridd family.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

The farmstead is shown on historic mapping and appears to cover a large area, although it is not clear which buildings were within the farm's ownership at any one period. The extant buildings include a farmhouse (MDE21318) and some converted cottages (MDE21319) as well as assorted farm buildings, including a long barn with a 19th Century horse engine house to its rear. [1-4] The Mays family bought Town Farm from the Ridds in 1944 for c. £10,000. The farm had two or three cottages going with it. It had previously been farmed by two Ridd brothers, John Philip Ridd (married to Eliza Ridd with ten children, and then Mary Ann Bristow, the wife of his deceased cousin Richard Bristow) and Thomas Henry Ridd. John's fifth son, Sidney Franklin Ridd, married Mary's daughter Lucy Bristow in 1914. Mary's son, Frederick West Bristow then wanted to marry John's daughter, Lorna Doone Ridd but John frowned on this because they were already related and Frederick was twelve years older than her. Frederick was killed during World War One in 1916 at the age of 46. John Philip Ridd retired to Ivy Cottage and his eldest surviving son, William Ridd, inherited the farm and worked there with his Jan and Charlie. [5] The precise land ownership of the farmstead is not clear and so the GIS boundary should not be taken as definite. [6] The farmstead was visited in December 1996. It was described as "one of a group of erstwhile farms". The house was noted to be built across the contours (MDE21318) to the northeast of the farms, with another across the contours adjacent to the southeast (MDE21319?). An informal, open ended scattered yard is a little distance from the gable end of the house, with small buildings of rubble stone and slate roofs at a steeper angle dating from the 19th Century and earlier. [7] The HER records that Town Farm was bought from the Ridd family by the May family in 1944 for c.£10,000 (HER entries MEM23123 and MDE21319). The transfer of title of documents held by the client suggest that the transaction was more complicated than the HER implies, and was actually completed in September 1958 for a sum of £7,725; but the Transfer of Title did not include Birch Cottage and Shippon. Birch Cottage is one of three former domestic properties on the Town Farm holding, the Grade II Listed Town Farmhouse, to the east, is early 19th century in date. The second, traditional single cell width farmhouse, opposite Birch Cottage (to the north), was ruinous by the later 19th century and survives as stone walls linking the lean-tos and sheds which abutted it. The footprint of this former farmhouse is grassed over as a walled garden and vegetable plot for Birch Cottage. Further north, and again owned by Town Farmhouse, is an open gravelled yard, with a long, low barn and possible granary. All of the other barns have a strong 18th or 19th century character, but several of the small sheds which bound or lie within the garden at Birch Cottage display vernacular or semi-domestic features, such as slate weathering courses, blocked windows and triangular slate slit vents. This suggests dates for these ancillary buildings may be early 1700s or even 17th century. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Map: 1842. Martinhoe Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap.
  • <5> Monograph: Bridle, H.. 1991. Woody Bay. Finial Publishing. 194.
  • <6> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Catherine Dove, 24 November 2014.
  • <7> Report: Schofield, J.. 1997. Exmoor Farmsteads: An evaluation of old steadings within Exmoor National Park. Farm reference 78.
  • <8> Report: Wapshott, E. and Boyd, N.. 2018. The Shippon and Birch Cottage, Martinhoe, Exmoor, Devon: Historic building recording. 6, 10-11.



Grid reference Centred SS 6674 4872 (113m by 94m) (Historic mapping)
Map sheet SS64NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor Farmsteads Survey 1996-1997 (2/3): 78

Record last edited

Jan 4 2021 3:53PM


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