MEM23816 - The Fox and Goose, Parracombe (Building)


The inn is shown on historic mapping and is thought to have originated as a pair of cottages. It was already in use as an inn in 1892 when it was acquired by Henry Blackmore but burned down in 1894 and was rebuilt.

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A fortnightly livestock auction was established at Blackmoor Gate in 1989, becoming one of the busiest auctions in North Devon, even though the nearest pub was over a mile and a half away. In 1917, a licence was granted to the landlord of the Fox and Goose at Parracombe to run a bar there on auction days. In 1930, the Blackmoor Gate Hotel and Restaurant opened. It was granted a hotel licence the following year but when the owner applied for a full licence in 1936, the landlord of the Fox and Goose engaged a barrister to oppose the application. It was granted and the hotel soon became popular with daytrippers and partygoers. The inn may have started life as a pair of cottages. In 1892, at which time it had stables, yards and a club room, it was acquired by Henry Blackmore, the younger brother of a local landowner and the following year work commenced to rebuild the property. To accommodate customers while this occurred, he opened a bar in the stables across the road. The new inn opened earlier than anticipated, on 3 June 1894, when the Wesleyan Sunday School, meeting to celebrate its anniversary, found that the Town Hall was not available. As a result, the new inn hosted the event, said to be "rather a singular opening of a public house." The inn features Henry Blackmore's initials chiselled into the wall. An historic photograph of the inn shows debris built up outside the property and flood water against the front wall after the 1952 floods. [1] A building is shown on the Parracombe Tithe Map abutting the road at SS 6674 4481. It is labelled 206, which the accompanying Apportionment describes as "Houses, Courts &c", with the ground in use as "waste". It was owned by "[?Dr &s] Tucker Elizabeth" and occupied by Elizabeth Tucker. [2] The building is shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map in a similar for but with some small additions and extensions, including two small extensions (?porches) symetrically placed on the front (southeastern) elevation. [3] The 2nd Edition map shows the building in a similar layout but with the two front extensions removed. [4] Since the 2nd Edition map was surveyed, the building appears to have had further extensions to the rear. [5] There has been an inn on this site since the 16th Century. A photograph shows the inn in 1892, before it burned down. It was two storey with a thatched roof and slate drip line. At this time, it belonged to Henry Robert Blackmore, second cousin of the novelist RD Blackmore. The inn formed part of the Blackmore Estate, which included Blackmore Gate. The inn was served by stage coaches running between the railway at Barnstaple and Lynton from 1860, linking with a service which started in the 1850s and ran until 1920s. The present inn was built in 1894. Parracombe was bypassed by the A39 in the early 1930s and the railway closed in 1935, losing even more trade for the inn. It survived the 1952 flood disaster when the bridge over the River Heddon, which runs alongside the inn, was washed away. [6] The same 1892 photograph of the Inn is shown; it is noted that one of the people shown is George Smyth. It is also noted that one of the advertisments reads "TEA COFFEE AND MILK," suggesting an early coffee bar. In the 1850s John Somervill was the landlord. The Inn belonged to St Albyn who sold it in 1859 to Rev John Pyke, being owned by his son Mr INP Nott in 1876. In 1876 Smyth stated that "the dwelling house is very old and low but has been repaired at different times, some wings added so that now it is at least sound and fair size if not elegant. A new stable was built by Rev J Pyke with a large room over, which is called by courtesy the Town Hall." The Inn was noted to flood in the winters due to the stream that ran nearby. In 1893 the Fox and Goose was demolished to make way for a modern hotel. It was known as "The Family & Commercial Hotel" and was three storeys, with a slate roof, gable windows and an extended porch on the ground floor. The brewery was Crocombe & Sons, based in Parracombe. In the early 20th Century the pub was owned by George Court and the landlady was Miss Mary Sadler. George sold the pub before 1905 to Henry Blackmore, who had run taverns in London. He became well known as the publican but suffered a setback when he was kicked by a horse and had his leg amputated. He at one stage held a pigeon shooting match, with the prizes being £5, £3 and £2. Both Ilfracombe Harriers and Barnstaple and North Devon Harriers met at the Fox and Goose on a regular basis. In 1921 and 1930 the proprietors are recorded as Mr and Mrs Fred Latham and in 1935 it is recorded as William Creek. Swearing was banned in 1954 when Bill Creek was publican; he is recorded as saying "Any lady can come into my bar, at any time, and play skittles or darts without hearing anything unfit". [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Monograph: Swift, A. and Elliott, K.. 2015. Devon pubs: A pictorial retrospective. Akeman Press. 1st Edition. 39, 213.
  • <2> Map: 1839. Parracombe 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> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap.
  • <6> Monograph: Binding, H., Pearce, B. and Pugsley, S.. 2001. Exmoor Century: A century of change through fascinating historic and contemporary photographs of Exmoor. Exmoor Books. 118.
  • <7> Monograph: Constable, N.. 2004. Parracombe and the Heddon Valley: An unfinished history. Parracombe Archaeology and History Society. 16, 17, 18, 22, 24, 26, 28, 40, 77-8, 91.



Grid reference Centred SS 6674 4480 (22m by 18m) (MasterMap)
Map sheet SS64SE

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Record last edited

Oct 5 2020 1:42PM


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