Simonsbath Festival
Celebrating Music, Art, Talks & Walks on Exmoor from May Day to Midsummer
7 May to 21 June 2018

Hoar Oak Cottage

Wednesday 13th June at 7.30pm, St. Luke's Church

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Hoar Oak Cottage: A forgotten piece of Exmoor sheep farming history

An illustrated talk by Bette Baldwin

‘The simple life, the humble life, is as wonderful, in its way, as any grand life of achievement and public recognition.’ Alexander McCall Smith

Hoar Oak Cottage has been home to shepherds since the 1700s and has been lived in by at least 15 families and the birthplace to more than 20 children. It remained a sheep farm until the 1960s, when the last shepherd family left, and by 2000 the cottage was deserted and derelict. Four of the shepherd families – from the 1870s to 1900 - were Scottish migrants employed by Frederic Knight to introduce Black Faced and Cheviot sheep to Exmoor.

Bette Baldwin is descended from one of those shepherd families - James and Sarah Johnstone who left Lanarkshire to live and work at Hoar Oak Cottage in a remote north-western corner of Exmoor on the Somerset-Devon border. Bette Baldwin and another descendent Will Bowden decided to set up the Friends of Hoar Oak Cottage to try and preserve the fabric of the buildings as well as researching and sharing the history of the place and people who lived there.

Bette’s talk tells the story of the people, the place and what life was like at Hoar Oak Cottage.

Advance booking: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; £5 for unreserved seating (£6 on the door); 14s and under free.

Refreshments available and a locally-made pasty, costing £4, must be booked and paid for in advance for the interval.

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Hoar Oak Cottage
St. Luke's Church Seating Plan