MSO9414 - The Luttrell Arms Hotel, High Street, Dunster (Building)


The Luttrell Arms Hotel is late 15th /early 16th century with later alterations. It is thought to have formerly been the residence of the abbots of Cleeve.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

[SS 9917 4384] Luttrell Arms Hotel [NR] [1] The Luttrell Arms, formerly the residence of the abbots of Cleeve witharched doorway of c.1500 and an approximately contemporary north wing. Much altered between 1622-1629. The house was an inn by 1651. [2] The porch is the dominant feature of the front of the building (see G.P. AO/65/125/5). The rest of the fa├žade is not of outstanding architectural interst. [3] No. 36 (The Luttrell Arms Hotel), Grade II*, High Street (east side).Late 15th/early 16th century with 17th and 18th century and late alterations. (For full description see list.) [4] Late 15th century/early 16th century with 17th and 18th century and late alterations. Rubble, slate roofs. Main portion is three storeys with central two storey gabled porch. Moulded wood eaves cornice, stone end stacks, three windows, sashes with glazing bars, flush frames, outer windows paired, ground floor and 1st floor retain original drip-moulds. Porch has moulded 4-centred stone framed outer opening with drip-mould, pointed-arch inner opening with carved spandrels. Leaded casements with moulded stone mullions and drip-mould to front and sides of upper floor, cross loop opening to each side of ground floor, carved stone heraldic achievement above outer door opening, moulded stone coping and saddle stone to gable. Three storey four window lower height wing to left curving round corner to a two Storey three window return wing with single-storey outbuilding. Windows are sashes with glazing bars, flat heads with stepped voussoirs to return wings; wide elliptical head opening to ground floor of three-storey wing. Later single-storey one window to right of main frontage. A rearward wing of the main block was once the hall and its inward facing outside elevation has fine carved oak window framing extending through both floors with cusping to the window lights and iron saddle bars and stanchions. Inside, on the ground floor, is a 4-centred stone door frame, a stop-moulded oak door frame, an open fireplace, heavy moulded oak ceiling beams and exposed rafters. The room above has open timber roof with moulded arch braces and purlins, curved wind braces. Other interior features include a 17th century plaster ceiling to a downstairs room and a plaster overmantel in a bedroom. [5] English Heritage old Listed building number: 264681. First listed on 22/05/1969. [7] The building is included in Dunster's Conservation Area, the character appraisal (2002) for which states "This is an important historic inn dating from the late 15th-early 16th century, with 17th and 18th century and some later alterations. It is built of stone rubble with a two-storey gabled porch with four-centred arch entrance, and inner pointed arch with carved spandrels. A rear wing is a former hall with a fine carved oak window extending through both floors with cusped heads. There are many interior features, mainly of the 17th century, including heavy moulded oak ceiling beams, and some ornate plasterwork. There is a first floor room with an open timber roof displaying moulded arch braces, purlins and curved wind braces, whilst a bedroom has a plaster overmantel in a bedroom depicting a mythical scene. An adjoining former carriage entrance gives access to a cobbled courtyard." [8] In October 1645 Colonel Robert Blake used the Luttrell Arms as his headquarters to reduce the castle, which was being held for the King by its governor, Francis Wyndham. At this time, the building was called the Ship Inn. He had 600 men and his batteries were drawn up behind the Inn. [9] 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. [10] The northern end of the building was subject to building survey in 2014 to assess the impact of a planning application. [12] A desk based assessment and archaeological evaluation were undertaken at the site in July 2015 in relation to proposed development works. The archaeological evaluation trenching identified the remains of structural features potentially relating to former phases of development of the Luttrell Arms property and its boundaries, subsequently demolished and robbed, most likely during 19th Century landscaping. The retaining wall north of the skittle alley was suggested to be built post 1840 and was subject to later repair and alteration. [13] The Chamber of the hotel includes a fine overmantel featuring a figure (?George Luttrell) under a pediment, with a central oval with a scene featuring the Death of Actaeon flanked by female caryatids below, dating from c.1620. Another chamber features a coat of arms (Luttrell impaling Capps; George Luttrell married Silvestra Capps in 1622) and the Parlour has a four panelled ceiling between cross beams. [14] An area to the rear of the property was subject to archaeological excavations in Spring/Summer 2016, revealing numerous features. The report for this activity has not yet been received. [15,16] The Luttrell Arms was photographed in c.1868. [17] A collection of images of the property is held in the Historic England Archive. [18-20] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [21] The Luttrell Arms is discussed in the 2018 Conservation Area Appraisal for Dunster. [22]

Sources/Archives (22)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1903-1949. County Series; 3rd Edition (2nd Revision) 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1928-38.
  • <2> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. p158.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 2 June 1965.
  • <4> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . DOE (HHR) West Somerset District (Dunster Ph) Somerset 4th August 1983 19.
  • <5> Index: 4/8/1983. Twenty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of West Somerset (Somerset).
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 02/06/1965. SS94SE.
  • <7> Unassigned: Webster CJ, Historic Environment Record. 2005. Staff Comments, Somerset County Council.
  • <8> Report: Fisher, J.. 2002. Dunster Conservation Area Character Appraisal. Exmoor National Park Authority. p20.
  • <9> Monograph: Binding, H.. Discovering Dunster. The Exmoor Press. p8.
  • <10> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <11> Report: Unknown. 2014. Statement of significance: Luttrell Arms, Dunster.
  • <12> Report: Wapshott, E. and Humphreys, C.. 2014. The northern end of the Luttrell Arms complex, Dunster, Somerset: Results of a historic building assessment.
  • <13> Report: Webb, P. and Walls, S.. 2015. The Luttrell Arms, Dunster, Somerset: Results of an Archaeological Evaluation.
  • <14> Monograph: Penoyre, J. and Penoyre, J.. 1994. Decorative plasterwork in the houses of Somerset 1500 - 1700: A regional survey. Somerset County Council. 33, 44, 73, 93; Figure 38, 119.
  • <15> Article in serial: Michinson, S.. 2016. Archaeologists in race against time: Brief glimpse of medieval Dunster. West Somerset Free Press. 15 April 2016. 3.
  • <16> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 3 April 2017.
  • <17> 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. 44.
  • <18> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberts, M.. 1999. Job: Lutterell Arms Hotel. Unknown. Negative.
  • <19> Photograph: F Frith and Company Limited. 1900-1925. The Oak Room in the Luttrell Arms Hotel. Unknown. Postcard.
  • <20> Photograph: F Frith and Company Limited. 1900-1907. The Luttrell Arms Hotel, taken from High Street in the south-west. Unknown. Postcard.
  • <21> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36869, Updated 17 May 2022.
  • <22> Report: Pratt, N. and Thurlow, T.. 2018. Dunster Conservation Area: appraisal document. Exmoor National Park Authority. p 10, 21, 27, 60, Figures 21, 22.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 26/4/49
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12090
  • Local List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE8
  • National Park
  • NBR Index Number: 99/01233
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36869
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34949



Grid reference Centred SS 9917 4383 (26m by 51m)
Map sheet SS94SE

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Record last edited

Sep 12 2022 10:46AM


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