MEM24593 - The Acland Arms, Mole's Chamber (Monument)


A 19th Century pub sited on the Somerset side of the County boundary with Devon. It had a disreputable reputation.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

In 1841, the Acland Arms was sited within Exmoor Forest, an "isolated and supposedly disreputable hostelry" situated at Moles Chamber. It gave up its licence through lack of trade soon after 1883.[1] Jeremiah Smith (or Smyth) was born in Simonsbath in 1830. He was later the licencee of the lonely Acland Arms at Moles Chamber for many years, combining his duties as a publican with farming. He also looked after the stock on the adjacent Acland Allotment. A regular drinker at the Acland Arms was a character who was known as Fiddle de Dee. The licence for the premises was given up in 1883.[2] The "Acland Arms" is one of three inns opened on the outskirts of the free suitors' allotments in the southeastern portion of the moor. It was built on a corner of Mr TP Acland's allotment and first licenced in 1825. It was described as having been "for many years a melancholy ruin" in 1911/1939. Rumour suggested it was not very reputable, as it was just within the Somerset boundary and outside the jurisdiction of the Devon authorities, but far away from the centres of administration in Somerset. Exmoor was extra-parochial at this time and had no local constable. The inn was said to be used as a centre for the distribution of brandy and other smuggled goods landed at various points on the coast between Combe Martin and Porlock. It was also conveniently located at the intersection of two important packhorse roads (MSO7005 and MMO495). [3] A group of small buildings are depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey in a triangular plot of land at SS 7181 3939. They are labelled "Mole's Chamber". [4] The site is shown as a clear plot on the 2018 MasterMap data. [5] The building is not present on the 1818 Inclosure Map of the Royal Forest. However, the site is shown as a small land parcel named "Moles Chamber", labelled "247 7:2:14". It is at the junction of two major roads with a public bridle road (MSO7005) heading southwest to northeast (where it joins the main "Challacomb Road" towards Simonsbath), and another road shown following the Exmoor Forest boundary (MMO495), broadly heading north to southeast. [6]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Monograph: Orwin, C.S. + Sellick, R.J.. 1970. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. David and Charles Limited. 2nd Edition. 234.
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1994. Simonsbath: The Inside Story of an Exmoor Village. Roger A. Burton. 25, 58.
  • <3> Monograph: MacDermot, E.T.. 1911. The History of the Forest of Exmoor. Barnicott and Pearce, The Wessex Press. 437.
  • <4>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. [Mapped feature: #45213 ]
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap.
  • <6> Map: Kelsey, F.J.. 1818. The Map Referred to in the annexed Award [Exmoor Inclosure Award]. 4 inches : 1 mile. Pen and Ink. Land parcel 247.
  • <6> Map: Kelsey, F.J.. 1818. A Map of Exmoor Forest Referred to by the annexed Award. 4 inches : 1 mile. Pen and Ink. Land parcel 247.



Grid reference Centred SS 7181 3938 (59m by 48m)
Map sheet SS73NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • None recorded

Record last edited

Sep 2 2020 4:30PM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.