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6. The Carpenters' Shop and Yard

As James Harvey had his own joinery workshop, these carpenters might have been using the separate Carpenters Shop and Yard in Simonsbath which is also listed in the 1833 inventory.  This had, amongst other things, a work bench, pit saw and two saw benches, and, in the yard, a sawpit, with a roller, two bearers, and four dogs and a flywheel for a chaffcutter.  The flywheel implies that this machine was for use either by waterpower or horsepower.  (The same inventory also lists a “large shaft for a waterwheel by Cloven Rocks” implying that waterpower was already in use on John Knight’s estate by this time).

It is tempting to speculate that the Carpenters Shop and Yard might have been on the site of the current Simonsbath Carpenters' Shop and Sawmill buildings, close to the river bridge.  Here there would have been sufficient head of water to power sawbenches and other equipment.  The water could have been brought by the leat from Ashcombe, as we know it was in later years.  This leat also supplied the Simonsbath House and possibly to other buildings at what was Simonsbath Farm.  However there is no way to confirm this and the Carpenters Shop might have been situated behind Simonsbath House or elsewhere nearby. 

An early map (Greenwood’s 1822 map of Exmoor) appears a show a building south of the road past Simonsbath House and this has led to supposition that this was in approximately the same position that the current Carpenters' Shop and Sawmill in Simonsbath now occupies.  However closer examination of the early maps suggests that the building on the map was actually on the site of the later Wool Chamber (now holiday cottages) west of Simonsbath House.  At that time the old road passed between the west end of the house and the Wool Chamber (and not to the south of the Wool Chamber as the access road to Simonsbath House Hotel now does).  The extension of the house westwards to join up with the Wool Chamber buildings was carried out for Viscount Ebrington after his family acquired the propert in 1897.