MSO9413 - The Yarn Market, High Street, Dunster (Building)


An octagonal building in the middle of the wide High Street, known as The Yarn Market or market cross. It was built in the 16th or early 17th Century by George Luttrell. Dunster cloth and kerseymere were sold there.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

Built in 1609, repaired in 1647 and restored. An octagonal structure with massive central stone pier from which spreads a heavy timber framework with verticals resting on low rubble stone wall. Timber framework carries slate roof with central wood lantern surmounted by a weather vane with the initials 'GL' and the date 1647. Eight gabled dormers each with 3-light leaded wood casement windows with moulded wood mullions. Scheduled Monument (Somerset County No 32). [1] An octagonal building in the middle of a wide street. It was built in 1609 by George Luttrell who then owned the castle. It has very wide prehanging eaves on bracket and pillar supports. The interior is lit by eight little dormer windows and a lantern at the apex of the roof. The date 1647 refers to repairs done by Francis Luttrell. Dunster cloth and kerseymere were sold there. The roof main support is an octagonal based pillar. A wide counter forms a sill to the openings on each of the eight sides, some being stone, others oak. The floor is cobbled. [2] SS 9915 4381. Market House [NR]. [3] Dunster Market Cross or Yarn Market is octagonal in shape and was built by George Luttrell county sheriff, in 1609. The weather vane, dated 1647 and initials G.L., refer to the builder's grandson. [4] The Yarn Market is as illustrated in Authority 4. [7] Additional bibliography. [10-11] Scheduling affirmed with new national number (was Somerset 32) on 14 Feb 1997. [5] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 3. [14] The building is included within Dunster's Conservation Area. The character appraisal (2002) states "The Yarn Market was reputedly built in 1609, although some sources suggest 1589. It is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument, octagonal in plan with a massive central stone pier supporting a timber frame structure with vertical posts sprung from an enclosing low stone rubble wall. The slate roof has a timber lantern and weathervane with the initials “GL” (George Luttrell) and date 1647. This indicates repairs necessary after the siege of 1646. On each face is a gabled dormer with three-light timber casement window with moulded mullions." [15] Pevsner gives an alternate date for the construction of the Yarn Market - "an octagonal market cross built by George Luttrell c.1589 and repaired in 1647. Central stone core, lean-to roof on strong beams with dormers." [16] Hilary Binding states that the Yarn Market was built by George Luttrell in 1547, but later mentions George lived between 1560 and 1629 (perhaps a confusion with the rebuild date?). It was damaged during the siege of the town by the Parliamentarians in 1645-6 and had to be rebuilt; a cannonball hole can still be seen in one of the beams. [17] 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 5A. [18] The site was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 8. [19] The building is depicted on the 2018 MasterMap data at SS 9915 4381 and labelled "Yarn Market". [20] An octagonal market house built by George Luttrell, Sheriff of Somerset in 1593 and 1609. The initials GL inscribed on the vane are of his grandson (also George Luttrell), who repaired it in 1647, a year after the siege of Dunster Castle by the Parliamentarians. It was constructed to house the sale of yarns and there was a broadcloth known as Dunster. [20]

Sources/Archives (21)

  • <1> Index: 4/8/1983. Twenty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of West Somerset (Somerset).
  • <2> Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) . 25 inch / 1929.
  • <4> Article in serial: Gordon, A. ?. 1895. Bird Motive Pattern on Carved Wedmore Cross, Crowcombe. Reliquary. 1. 223-4.
  • <5> Index: Ministry of Works. 1961. List of Ancient Monuments of England and Wales. P. 83.
  • <6> Serial: Country Life. 14 1903 (Oct-Dec). P. 692 illustration.
  • <7> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 2 June 1965.
  • <8> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . DOE (HHR) West Somerset District (Dunster Ph) Somerset 04/08/1983 24.
  • <9> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1972. 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <10> Monograph: Vallance, A.. 1920. Old Crosses and Lychgates. B.T. Batsford Ltd.. P. 147, 156.
  • <11> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. P. 158.
  • <12> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 27.2.1997. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <13> Photograph: THE YARN MARKET CROSS AT DUNSTER. OS57/F411/6. B/W.
  • <14> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <15> Unpublished document: Fisher, J.. 2002. Dunster Conservation Area Character Appraisal. p19.
  • <16> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. p158.
  • <17> Monograph: Binding, H.. Discovering Dunster. The Exmoor Press. p7, 9, 30, 56-7.
  • <18> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <19> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.
  • <20>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap. [Mapped feature: #38434 ]
  • <21> Article in serial: Maxwell Lyte, H.C.. 1880. Dunster and its Lords. Archaeological Journal. 37. Parts 1 to 4, pp57-93, 155-179, 271-293, 395-405. pp 290-1.



Grid reference Centred SS 9915 4381 (10m by 9m)
Map sheet SS94SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (5A): 26/4/62
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11989
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12103
  • Guardianship Number: 195
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE7
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape / NRHE HOB UID: 36866
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34619

Record last edited

Apr 9 2021 12:17PM


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