Until the 17th century there was no place called "Simonsbath"; it was probably just the name given to an ancient track crossing the huge area of wild moorland that lay at the heart of the Royal Forest of Exmoor.
Simonsbath Sawmill is a rare surviving example of a once-common type of estate sawmill and workshops. It lies in an outstanding landscape setting and is of national importance.
The Crown land - the King's Allotment and Simonsbath Farm - was advertised for sale in June 1818. Tenders were opened on 23 July 1818. The highest bid was from John Knight of Worcestershire. The sale was completed on 15 March 1820.
Simonsbath Sawmill was purchased by Lord Fortescue in 1886 but he didn't take possession until Sir Frederic Knight died in 1897. Lord Fortscue transferred the management of the estate to his son Viscount Ebrington - the future 4th Earl Fortescue - and a major refurbishment programme began almost immeadiately.
The sawmill and twenty acres of riverside meadows was bought from the Fortescue Estate by Exmoor National Park Authority in 1996 thanks to generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
For further information please see The Exmoor Carpenters - a history of Simonsbath and the heart of Exmoor as revealed through the lives of the estate carpenters who helped shape it by Graham Wills (2018) and Simonsbath - the inside story of an Exmoor Village by Roger Burton (1994)