MEM24119 - Driver Farm, Exmoor (Building)


One of the original farmsteads built by the Knights on Exmoor. It was sold to the Fortescue Estate in 1879 and later became part of the Emmett's Grange estate before being sold on to Somerset County Council.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A historic building assessment was undertaken between December 2017 and February 2018. Driver Farm, Simonsbath, was variously also known as 'Drivers' and 'Drives' in the past. It is the only one of the Knight farms on Exmoor to be owned by ENPA. The original buildings were constructed using a blue grey shale (locally termed shillet), bonded in a soft pale brown lime mortar with coarse aggregate and using brick for secondary openings. Later additions to the farm buildings employ brick, such as the shed built onto the east side of the barn to accommodate engine machinery. Roofs were of Welsh slate, imported via Lynmouth. There is also evidence that white quartz was used decoratively on the site in the coping of a boundary wall in the garden area in front of the farmhouse. Driver Farm was completed in 1847 for Frederick Winn Knight but was let from 1846, with the farmhouse 'immediately to be built'. The first tenant was John Hebditch, who is said to have taken the farm from about Michaelmas 1846 , to have carried out some preliminary work that winter, and to have been living there by Lady Day following. He and the following tenants only occupied the site for a short period of time until c.1875, when Alexander Kingdom tenanted the farm, followed by his son John until 1920. Driver Farm passed from the Knights to the Fortescue Estate in 1879 and then on to Darby Haddon in September 1959, then forming part of the Emmett's Grange estate. It was then sold on in 1967 to Jack Bradby and was refurbished in 1969, before being sold to Somerset County Council. The 1959 sales particulars mention a farm house with entrance porch, sitting room, kitchen, back kitchen, larder/meat store and dairy, seven bedrooms and bathroom, and a covered backway, washhouse and two pig houses to the rear. There is also a well. Arranged around a main yard are a group of farm buildings comprising hay store, calf box, shippon, 4 hay cart linhay (part used as a chicken house), yearlings house (with hay tallett over), cart linhay (tallett over part), engine house, barn, stabling of three stalls and loose box (hay tallett over), 7 bay dutch barn and a sheep linhay. The farmhouse appears to be little altered since it was constructed, bar a few later alterations and additions, mainly in the later 20th Century. [1] The farmstead is depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map. [2] A transcript of a diary written of a holiday at Driver Farm on Exmoor between 4th and 25th August 1920 is held by the HER. [3] The heritage asset was assessed for inclusion on the Exmoor Local Heritage List in February 2024. It was noted that it was assessed as having a moderate distinctive design, similar to other Knight farms with farmhouse at one end of a courtyard of outbuildings. It was assessed as having a high historical association with known occupants and links to Knights. It also has high evidential value as the house and outbuildings retain a number of features that better our understanding on 19th century farming practice. It's group value was deemed to be high as the 19th century structures form a good group in an associated contemporary farming landscape, with earlier Knight estate features such as Pinkery Canal. It also has high collective value with other buildings on the Knight Estate. It was decided to add the asset to the Local Heritage List. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Report: Blaylock, S.. 2018. Historic buildings assessment of Driver Farm, Simonsbath, Exmoor, 2017-18.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Anonymous. 1920. Diary of a Holiday on Exmoor.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2024. Exmoor Local Heritage List assessed by the Panel on 21 February 2024.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local Heritage List Status (Listed)



Grid reference Centred SS 2735 1406 (153m by 112m)
Map sheet SS21SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Apr 22 2024 8:03PM


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