History and the Tales of Oare

Oare Manor dates in part to sometime around the early 11th century. It is referred to in the Domesday Book of the year 1086 though most of the existing house was constructed in the period 1830 to 1890 with elements being added at different times, the final one being the addition of the Ballroom as it was then known, now the main Drawing Room. For dog owners a point of interest is that the house was home to the notorious parson Jack Russell famed for his breed of long legged small dogs that bear his name to this day.

Oare Manor is probably most famous for two reasons: - for its role as the home to the Exmoor Hunt. The hunt was established here by Squire Nicholas Snow who establishing the kennels here for the hunt hounds. The kennels which served the hunt from around 1880 to 1939 are now the accommodation for our live-in butler and house-keeper. The second over-ridingly important aspect of the history of the house is its connection with the story of Lorna Doone, a novel based in large part on the true story of the two warring families, the Rydds and the Doones who lived in the valley in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and who dominated the goings-on here for a long period. The Lorna Doone story is one of the great romantic tales in British literature. It culminates in the shooting of Lorna Doone as she was being married to John Rydd (pronounced Jan) when she was shot by Carver Doone in the Church just a few yards from the house. Carver Doone had himself intended to marry Lorna. Carver fled from the church pursued by John Rydd and following a bloody fight between them Carver died as he drowned exhausted in a bog with John said at this time to be too exhausted to help him even if he had wanted to do so. Lorna recovered from her gunshot wounds and true to the essence of a romantic tale of the period she and John Rydd lived happily ever after. Oare Manor is home to this day to the chair said to be the favourite chair of John Rydd.

Famous owners and guests at Oare Manor have included the Prince of Wales (son of Queen Victoria) who was a guest of the hunt on a number of occasions; Sir Brian Mountain whose entrepreneurial achievements in the early 20th century gave rise to the creation of Eagle Star Insurance and the famous sculptor Carla Haseltine and her husband Nick Brown who were the owners of the house from 1990 until 2008. The house is currently owned by Tony Robinson founder of UKIP Media & Events (a leading international publishing and exhibitions company) and his wife Jane who have painstakingly refurbished the house to its current high standard.
Your stay at Oare Manor will include access to hundreds of books in which you can read about the history of past owners and the story of Lorna Doone and to bring you right up to date you can of course take the easy route and merely opt to select the DVD of the Lorna Doone from the film library that contains some 150 DVDs!