— Story —
a long history at the heart of hatherleigh
Raymont House, it is thought, started out as four ancient cob walled cottages. These were connected by a central alleyway, that is now our hallway, and would have led to a narrow cobbled lane at the rear. The thick cob walls can still be seen as part of the main internal structure of the house, and part of the cobbled path and street remain in our courtyard.
Examples of these ancient cottages are to be found throughout Hatherleigh, many of which retain their thatched roofs. They made up the heart of this once thriving and bustling market town, and their residents where known locally as “potboilers”. To the east of the town, Hatherleigh Moor, overlooking Dartmoor, was bequeathed many centuries ago to the poor potboilers, who to this day receive an annual payment from local farmers for grazing their livestock on the Moor.
Somewhere between the close of the 1700s and 1840, the four cottages became one, and at a later date also acquired the shop next door, now known as “Commerce House”. These premises were developed by the Luxton family into thriving businesses as a drapery in the shop nextdoor, and a grocery store in the other.
By the 1870s, the businesses had passed into the hands of their daughter, Elizabeth, and son-in-law, Charles Glass, who had been their Draper's Apprentice up until then. Their tenure lasted only about eight years before being sold to a Samuel Webber, who also ran a similar business in nearby Chulmleigh, another little market town about fourteen miles from Hatherleigh.
After only two or three years, the property came into the hands of William Baker Raymont and his newly-wed wife, Mary. He was from a blacksmith's family in neighbouring Winkleigh, and was an apprentice to his father until an accident resulted in him having a foot amputated. His injury changed the course of his life, and he trained to become a draper, and the rest, as they say, is history and Raymont House found its name.........