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HER Number:MDV59867
Name:Castle Inn, Lydford


The building is thought to be 16th or 17th century in date and was first known as the White Horse Inn. It changed its name to the Castle Inn in 1807. Renovations during the 1960s discovered two hidden fireplaces, one of them dates to the Norman period and appears to have been introduced from elsewhere. Stained glass window depicting 'tinners rabbits' and Lydford Pennies above the fireplace in the Foresters' Bar.


Grid Reference:SX 509 847
Map Sheet:SX58SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishWhitchurch
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SW/149

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • INN (Constructed, XV to XVII - 1500 AD to 1699 AD (Between))

Full description

Fleming, N., 03/07/2004, Caves Hold Clue to the Riddle of the Three Hares (Article in Serial). SDV355905.

The Castle Inn has a stained glass window depicting 'tinners' rabbits', three hares chasing one another in a circle. Each of the ears is shared by two animals so only three ears are shown rather than six.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Castle Inn marked.

Quick, T., 1992, Dartmoor Inns, 17-19 (Monograph). SDV359976.

Early 16th century Castle Inn was originally the home of the Keeper of the nearby castle. It was also a farmhouse for a short period of time. It later served a dual purpose; also being an ale house; the farmer's wife would sell cider and beer while her husband tended to the farm. The farming side eventually disappeared leaving a 'local' public house first known as the White Horse Inn. It changed to the Castle Inn in 1807. Originally only had one bar, the Tinners' Bar, which now has a unique collection of antique posters of stallions. During 1964 renovation works, a large fireplace and oven was discovered entirely hidden within one of the 6 feet wide walls of the Tinners' Bar. Also thought to be a filled in well just outside the door that leads from the bar to the gents toilets.
The right hand side of the building was a sitting room and tea room which was converted into the Foresters' Bar in 1966. Another large fireplace made from granite was also discovered behind the plaster in here which is thought to date to the Norman period (introduced presumably from elsewhere). Above the fireplace are seven Lydford pennies dating to the reign of Ethelred the Unready (circa AD1000).
Separating these rooms from the Tinners' Bar was a stone walled and floored passageway which ran from the front entrance of the building through to the rear. Known as the horse passage, this allowed patrons arriving on horseback to lead their animals through to the yard at the rear.
Until 1967 the landlords also had responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the castle grounds and were paid a small annual fee. The pub also held the annual harvest festival.

Gent, T. H., 1995, Archaeological Excavation in Advance of an Extension to the Castle Inn, Lydford (Report - Excavation). SDV255081.

Excavation in advance of an extension to the Castle Inn in 1995, recorded features which were produced either during or following the construction of the building. The Castle Inn, formerly the White Horse Inn. May have been known as the New Inn for a time. Date unknown at present. Said to be 16th century and believed by present occupants to be 17th century.

Exeter Archaeology, 2008, Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Sewage Treatment Works at Lydford, 9, Figure 5 (Report - Assessment). SDV351460.

The Castle Inn is believed to be of 16th or 17th century date and although it has been modernised it is probable that some of the earlier fabric survives. A building representing the inn is shown on the Tithe Map and is recorded in the Apportionment as The White Horse Inn. The coach house and stable for the inn were sited to the south of the road. These buildings survive and have been converted to cottages.

Dartmoor National Park Authority, 2011, Lydford Conservation Area Character Appraisal, 24, figure 16 (Report - Assessment). SDV359496.

The Castle Inn and Townend House
With their long, low forms and informally arranged casement windows, these are perhaps the most rural-looking houses in the village, having a vernacular style that is essentially farmhouse in character. Their sturdy stacks, uncluttered slate roofs, the porches on the former and the veranda on the latter, are their more distinctive features.

Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV255081Report - Excavation: Gent, T. H.. 1995. Archaeological Excavation in Advance of an Extension to the Castle Inn, Lydford. Exeter Archaeology. 95.62. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #96500 ]
SDV351460Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2008. Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Sewage Treatment Works at Lydford. Exeter Archaeology. 08.31 (6475). A4 Grip Bound. 9, Figure 5.
SDV355905Article in Serial: Fleming, N.. 03/07/2004. Caves Hold Clue to the Riddle of the Three Hares. Daily Telegraph. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin.
SDV359496Report - Assessment: Dartmoor National Park Authority. 2011. Lydford Conservation Area Character Appraisal. Dartmoor National Park Authority Report. Digital. 24, figure 16.
SDV359976Monograph: Quick, T.. 1992. Dartmoor Inns. Dartmoor Inns. Paperback Volume. 17-19.

Associated Monuments

MDV114767Related to: Castle House, Lydford (Building)
MDV102694Related to: Former Coach House, Cornerways, Lydford (Building)
MDV14312Related to: Lydford Castle (Monument)
MDV58131Related to: Lydford Mint, Coin (Find Spot)
MDV114766Related to: Oaten Hills, Lydford (Building)
MDV114769Related to: Outbuilding by Castle Inn, Lydford (Building)
MDV104551Related to: Pound to north-west of Castle Inn in Lydford (Monument)
MDV114765Related to: Townend House, Lydford (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6171 - Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Sewage Treatment Works at Lydford (Ref: 08.31)
  • EDV7374 - Excavation at the Castle Inn, Lydford (Ref: 95.62)

Date Last Edited:Jan 23 2017 10:44AM