MEM23646 - Emmett's Grange (Monument)


This is the best surviving example of the farms built by Frederick Knight and was constructed in c. 1844-5. The second tenant of the property was Robert Smith, who was Frederick's agent and appears to be responsible for much of the farm's extant features.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Farm with barn, outbuildings, stables and house. Circa 1850 Rendered over rubble, hipped slate roof. This is the best surviving example of the farms built by John Knight as part of the reclamation of Exmoor. [1] This farm was run by Robert Smith, land agent to the Knight family. It was the most successful of the Knights' farms, but still incurred sigtnificant costs to run. [2] John Knight was a landowner and industrialist with an ironworks at Wolverley in Worcestershire. He bought Exmoor forest from the Crown in 1820. Several new farms were built and let c. 1844 including Emmets Grange, Horsen, Wintershead, Warren and Crooked Post. [3] The simplest of planned farmsteads, built of local materials and they were entirely functional and little in the way of architectural embellishment. [4] Monument record created as part of NRHE to HER pilot project. [5-6] The extent of the main farmstead was mapped with reference to historic mapping available to the HER. [7-9] This area was part of an allotment acquired from Sir Charles Bampfylde by the Knight Family. Land was set aside here by Frederic Knight for a new farm, to be tenanted by Richard Hibberd from Tisbury, Wiltshire, who in September 1844 took a 12 year lease. Frederick Knight undertook to erect a dwelling house, two labourers' cottages, a granary, a milk house and cowsheds for 35 cows, as well as erect fences and enclose the land. Work began on the buildings in winter 1844 but the house was still incomplete when Hibberd arrived in March 1845 and so he temporarily lodged at Simonsbath. The farm was used for dairy but Hibberd sued to be released from his lease shortly afterwards. Robert Smith from Lincolnshire was appointed on Lady Day, 1848 as Knight's agent to manage his enterprise. He was assigned Emmetts Grange as his home and farm and remained in Knight's employ until 1861, when he was either dismissed or resigned due to differences in management decisions. He remained at Emmetts as a tenant until 1868, when he moved to Chew Magna in Somerset. The next tenant was John Tucker, who died before 1881 and left his widow managing the farm. The tenancy passed to John Harding in c.1886 when the Exmoor estate was sold to Earl Fortescue. It then went through various tenants before being sold to Mr Derby Haddon from Gloucestershire in 1959 and then to Mr Josh Brown in 1969, before being sold on again twice. It is believed that Smith was responsible for a number of the farm's current field boundaries and plantations, as well as the drainage and water meadow scheme that runs here. The meadows were engineered to carry water (and manure) from the main farmstead and field barns into the fields to improve them and bring on an early flush of grass when required. The hedge banks ("fences") were constructed from an earth bank faced with stone on either side, then covered with grass sods and planted with beech, with willow on either side. They were aimed to protect crops as well as provide shelter, particularly in conjunction with small plantations in the corners of the fields. Ditches adjacent to the hedges helped to keep stock away from the growing hedges and to provide a water channel. Smith authored a prize winning essay in 1856 that discusses his management methods and uses Emmett's Grange as an example. It includes a map of the farmstead, which shows the drainage / water meadow scheme at the site as well as hedges and plantations. Not all of the features on the map may be extant or precisely represented on the ground, as the map may be indicative. N.B. Farm holding mapped from Smith's plan of Emmett's Grange published in 1856. [10,11]

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . 35th List, West Somerset (2 January 1986).
  • <2> Monograph: Siraut, M.. Royal Forest, Exmoor: A guide to the Royal Forest of Exmoor. Exmoor National Park Authority. 9.
  • <3> Website: Various. Various. World Wide Web page. "John Knight", by Elsie;
  • <4> Monograph: Wade Martins, S.. 2002. The English Model Farm: Building the Agricultural Ideal 1700-1914. Windgather Press. 153.
  • <5> Archive: Historic England. 2016. NRHE to HER prototype website test. 1569538.
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1569538, Extant 12 July 2016.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <8>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. [Mapped feature: #43110 Farmstead, ]
  • <9> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <10>XY Article in serial: Smith, R.. 1856. Bringing Moorland into Cultivation: Emmett's Grange, Exmoor. Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. 17. 349-394. [Mapped feature: #44337 Land holding of farmstead in 1856, ]
  • <11> Report: Bray, L., Green, T., Wapshott, E. + Walls, S.. 2011. Emmett's Grange, Exmoor, Somerset: Management plan and archaeological assessment.



Grid reference Centred SS 7525 3677 (2540m by 1782m) (MasterMap)
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (42)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE169
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1569538

Record last edited

May 5 2021 4:52PM


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