Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Harbour Inn, Axmouth, Devon

A Grade II listed building, it does say in the listing that it was built circa 17th century, but other sources cite it as being 12th century, commensurate with St Michael's church opposite. The listing might be inaccurate because it's an inherited piece of information from an original listing in the 1950's, and there were some structural alterations of the roof ridge and other parts which may account for the discrepancy, but it's something to be aware of.

The Inn is still in use today and, exactly opposite St Michael's Church, it's in the perfect position for coming out of the church and straight into the pub on a Sunday morning. ;)

Built with the local chert, the inn is a traditional thatched Devon building with modern additions, which include a restaurant and rear function room. However, the side entrance, with it's flag stone floors, and the bar which still retains the planked floor, oak panelling and pew seating, are unchanged. The original open fire consists of ovens and cooking irons along with a massive fire surround.

Or, at least, they were unchanged at the time of my visit. More about that further on.

There are two entrances. The front door, as seen on the photo at the top of the page, has a stone porch with thatched roof and there is a rather steep step down from the pavement. The side door, seen above, leads into the entrance/seating area, below.

The interior photos were taken in 2009, after which I realised the camera was on the wrong ASA setting (I was using a stop gap camera between my usual one dying and it's replacement). I always meant to go back and retake them, as the fireplace ones especially are somewhat resistant to post-editing.  

Unfortunately, I discovered on the Harbour Inn website recently that the interior has been completely renovated and looks amazingly nothing like it does here. So these will have to do for my record of what it looked like before, and if I do have a walk to the village I can get some 'after' photos too.

Below, the bar is (or was) presumably between two bars. I've never been in the Pilot Bar, so I don't know what that was like. I sometimes came in with friends from the village in the evening and we stayed in the one bar, or if I dropped in for coffee while out walking on my own I'd usually sit in the garden, and it was only when taking the photos that I even realised there was another bar!

It's such a shame that my photo of the fireplace came out so unclear, as it really doesn't do it justice. A large open fire, as would be expected from it's era, with a stopped chamfer timber bressummer. I couldn't remember off hand (and couldn't use the photo to check unfortunately) that there may have been a date and coat of arms on the fire back. However, on a quick visit for coffee just before Christmas 2015, I asked one of the young ladies serving, and she kindly helped me to look for the date. It's 1662, during the reign of King Charles II, which ties in with the 17th century dating of the building. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me that day, so I'll have to add that when I take some 'after' photos.

On Christmas eve the burning of the ashen faggot takes place, when a huge six foot long and three feet high faggot consisting of twigs is brought in and burnt on the open grate, accompanied by verse and carol singing.

Another delightful view of the side garden with outdoor seating. Just the place to chill out with coffee or something stronger.

A few more photos can also be seen along with these in the Photo Gallery album.

Recent Photos