MSO7018 - Larkbarrow Farm, Larkbarrow (Monument)


Built as a model farm by the Knight family in 1846, the farmhouse was used for target practice during World War Two. The remains are now evident as a few lengths of standing wall and the footings of former outbuildings.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Larkbarrow Farm is one of the Knight's farms. It is similar in style and design to Tom's Hill (MSO7042), with three ranges of buildings around a courtyard. [1] The buildings cost £267 and were built in the 1840s. In the 1940s they were requisitioned as an artillery range. [2] Attempts have been made to consolidate the ruins with capping and clearance. [3] Larkbarrow Farm was built by the Knight family in the mid 19th Century, and passed to the Fortescue Estates at the end of the 19th Century. The farmhouse was used for target practice by the military during World War Two and was later demolished. All that remains of Larkbarrow Farm are a few lengths of standing wall (at present being consolidated by the Exmoor National Park Authority), and the footings of former outbuildings. The farmhouse itself survives as spreads of stone rubble, with traces of wall faces, and in places concrete flooring. The farm was constructed as a model farm. The farmhouse formed one side of a square courtyard, with ranges of outbuildings defining the other two. The fourth side, apparently defined by a wall, gave access to the adjoining lane. The farm was sheltered by planting tree belts on three sides: these were defined by field banks which remain, and some trees still stand. [7,8] The site is as described by [7]. [9] The farm buildings were recorded using differential GPS as part of an archaeological survey of the Larkbarrow area. The survey was undertaken by the Exeter office of English Heritage at the request of the Exmoor National Park Authority. A client report was produced as part of the survey work. [10] This farm was similar to Warren Farm (MSO6907), having a house and outbuildings located around a courtyard. It was 870 acres in size. James Meadows was the farmer, who originated from Leicestershire. The farm produced stilton cheese and wheat. In 1851 the farm employed 8 labourers, but by 1852 Meadows had to sell the farm. The farm later became a shooting lodge and then a firing range in the Second World War, during which the buildings became a ruin. [12] A tenant was not found for Larkbarrow until ten years after its construction. James Meadows was the first farmer at Larkbarrow, but left in 1852 when his dairy production failed. The farm was uninhabited until the 1860s, when shepherds brought from Scotland lived in the farm. It also functioned as a 'hunting and shotting box' which was used during wet weather. [13] A digital reconstruction drawing of the World War Two use of the building was created in 2013 by Peter Lorimer. [14] Field assessment and survey of agricultural reclamation at Larkbarrow Farm, together with rapid documentary research into the history of this holding has allowed the absolute dating of some features. Links to people give an insight into the social history of reclamation. [15] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [16] A letter dated 6th April 1846 from Mogridge to Frederic Winn Knight states that "The foundation of House at Larkborough [sic] is Layed. I am using Witham Lime from Porlock which I can get equally cheap as Exford & have a Bed of tolerable sand close to the Building." [17] A letter dated 24th July 1846 states "Larkborough Farm House will be finally finished on Tuesday." [18] A project to reassess 19th century moorland reclamation through palaeological and archive research was undertaken 2020-2022 producing a number of reports. [19] The heritage asset was assessed for inclusion on the Exmoor Local Heritage List in February 2024. It was noted that it is of moderate distinctive design, similar to design of other Knight farms with farmhouse at one end of courtyard of buildings. It has been assessed as having high historical association with known occupants and links to Knights, and to have high social communal value being a well known site on Exmoor on a well-used public footpath. 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. [20]

Sources/Archives (20)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904, Somerset 3SE.
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S. + Sellick, R.J.. 1970. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. David and Charles Limited. 2nd Edition. P.36, 79-80, 193.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Somerset County Council to Exmoor National Park Committee.
  • <4> Monograph: MacDermot, E.T.. 1911. The History of the Forest of Exmoor. Barnicott and Pearce, The Wessex Press. 309, 436.
  • <5> Photograph: Somerset County Council Planning Department. Slide. 3.014.0079 (March 1984).
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Griffith, F.. 1980s-1990s. Oblique aerial photographs of the Devon part of Exmoor National Park. DAP/LD22, 23, LF15, 16 (10 January 1989).
  • <7> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 12 July 1996.
  • <8> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberts, M.. 1996. Job: Larkbarrow Farm. 96/01936. Negative.
  • <9> Unpublished document: JAMIESON, EJ. Field Investigators Comments. English Heritage Field Investigation, 2001.
  • <10> Report: Jamieson, E.. 2001. Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor, Somerset. English Heritage.
  • <11> Article in serial: Wilson-North, R.. 2005/2006. Larkbarrow - Fact, Folly and Failure. Exmoor Visitor.
  • <12> Monograph: Siraut, M.. 2013. A Field Guide to The Royal Forest of Exmoor. Exmoor National Park Authority. 29-30.
  • <13> Leaflet: 2013. Larkbarrow, Exmoor: Exmoor moorland archaeology walks series. Exmoor National Park Authority.
  • <14> Artwork: Lorimer, P.. 2013. Larkbarrow, Exmoor: Digital reconstruction drawing. Digital.
  • <15> Report: Riley, H.. 2017. Agricultural Reclamation at Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor. Exmoor Mires Partnership ELB17 Project Report.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 974784, Extant 6 July 2021.
  • <17> Archive: Various. 1815-1999. Knight Archive. N/A. KN.CORR.030_1846.04.06.
  • <18> Archive: Various. 1815-1999. Knight Archive. N/A. KN.CORR.030_1846.07.24.
  • <19> Article in serial: Baker, L., Rowney F.M., French, H., Fyfe, R.M.. 2023. Revolution and continuity? Reassessing nineteenth-century moorland reclamation through palaeoecological and archival research. Landscape Research.
  • <20> Unpublished document: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2024. Exmoor Local Heritage List assessed by the Panel on 21 February 2024.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11018
  • Local Heritage List Status (Listed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW104
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NBR Index Number: 96/01936
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 974784
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33157



Grid reference Centred SS 282e 1429 (154m by 149m) MasterMap
Map sheet SS21SE

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Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (3)

Record last edited

Apr 22 2024 6:58PM


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