MSO10692 - The Ship Inn, Porlock (Building)


An inn of 16th or 17th Century origins, altered and enlarged in the early to mid 19th Century. The inn is where Robert Southey was “by the unwelcome summer rain confined” in 1779.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

An inn 16th - 17th century in date that was altered and enlarged in the early to mid 19th century. The interior has been extensively altered. (Photograph in NMR). [1] At the lower end of Porlock Hill, close to the junction with High Street is The Ship Inn, a renowned building following its association with Robert Southey where he was “by the unwelcome summer rain confined..” The inn is a typical example of the local vernacular style with thatched roof and originally dates from the 16th-17th century but was altered and enlarged in the early-mid 19th century. There is a small trefoil-headed timber window, probably of 16th century origin. Now an annexe, the former Ship Inn stables date from the 19th century and have first floor sash windows with narrow glazing bars. The ground floor has brick segmental arched openings, one wide with timber double doors. They probably replaced the “stables and yard” referred to in the 1840 Tithe Map Apportionment. [2] The Poet Laureate, Robert Southey stayed at the Ship Inn on 9th August 1779. The rain kept him inside by the fire, which is now known as 'Southey's Corner'. While here, he wrote the Sonnet to Porlock that was published on 26th August in the 'Morning Post'. [3] The website for The Ship Inn claims the building was constructed in 1290, making it one of the oldest inns in the country. It is rumoured that the inn was linked to a nearby cottage using at least one secret tunnel, for smuggling purposes. [4] The building was visited in April 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [5] The Ship Inn was photographed in c.1900 from the west and the north. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Index: 2/1/1986. Thirty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset)/Exmoor National Park.
  • <2> Report: Fisher, J.. 2002. Porlock: Conservation Area Character Appraisal. p7, 9, 10, 18, 22.
  • <3> Monograph: Corner, Dennis. 1992. Porlock in Those Days. Exmoor Books. p76, 90.
  • <4> Website: Connor, R. & Connor, C.. 2008. The Ship Inn, Porlock, Exmoor National Park.
  • <5> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <6> Report: Pratt, N.. 2013. Porlock Conservation Area: Appraisal Document. 42, 76, Figures 47, 67.
  • <7> 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. 119, 120.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1076/24/59
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31186



Grid reference Centred SS 8841 4674 (42m by 22m)
Map sheet SS84NE

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Record last edited

Sep 28 2022 9:29AM


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