Tithe No 1117 C/Rent No.71
In 1693 the Duke Estates granted a Lease for 99
years on a cottage, barn and garden in Otterton to John Halse, husbandman (DRO
96/M Box 50/4). Before 1778 Robert Barns and then Clement Halse were holding the
lease. Then on 12th. February 1778 a new lease was granted to Thomas Halse for
“Dwelling house, garden, close and little orchard called Pinn Lane of 2 acres
in Otterton. Rent 4/- pa. (CDE 20084). This cottage/house, after a rebuild
became present day “Otter House”. Pinn Lane Close was near the junction road
to Sidmouth and road to Northmostown. The Halse’ were farmers (husbandmen) and
Thomas had his house with barns in Otterton and Pinn Lane Close and other fields
scattered about the Parish.
Thomas Halse died 8th. June 1836 while living in
Exeter and his tenant at his house in the village was Thomas Vilday. A new 99
year lease was granted to John Hayman of Otterton, yeoman dated 15th July 1836
for “Dwelling House, offices and garden” Rent 5/-.(CDE 20084) ( Pinn Lane
Close was leased separately to Burnt House Farm). The house was held by the
Hayman family at least to 1918. John (senr.) was born in 1791. His grandfather
William came from Yarcombe and was farming Houghton Farm, Otterton in 1770’s.
Haymans farm there today. John (senr.) died in 1871 and William, a relative,
lived here followed by John snr’s. grand-daughter Miss Mary Ann Hayman.
Directories 1902/1914 describe her as “Private Resident” and it is apparent
that John snr and his successors were of some means. At the Tithe Award he and
his family held leases on a number of cottages in the village. John senr’s
surviving son. John jnr is recorded living in East Budleigh as a sawyer, married
to Mary Ann Hitt and attending Salem Chapel and seems not to have lived in
It is not known when the house was rebuilt in its
present form. Exterior walls are built of cob. It is possible the rebuild was
carried out by the Hollett family builders in the early 1800’s. They had built
the cob cottages on the south side of the Green between 1808 & 1814. Otter
House may originally have had a thatched roof similar to The Green cottages. By
the 1880’s it had been divided into two (Nos 61 & 62). William Hayman, age
70, in one and Mrs. Anna Hayman age 66 in the other. The Tithe Award and Map of
1844 indicates a building similar to today. Eliza Hayman was Leaseholder then
and had rented it to William Evans.
Fore St. Otterton 1906
The Estate Survey of 1911 (CDE 20064) lists
no. 61 (east part) Ellen Carter Rent £3; No.62 (west part) Miss Mary A. Hayman
£2.12/- pa. The division into two houses probably came to the left of the
present front door. The East wall was exposed in July 1997 to reveal stone &
cob with a bricked in doorway.
Fore Steet 1928, Village Hall
(left), Otter House (centre), King Arms (right)
It is not known who lived in the Haymans House
from 1918 to 1956, but Directories from that date list Mr. B and Mrs. Kathy Dyke
as living at the house and it was called “Coolgreanie”. This name apparently
derives from a Westcountry term for beer and it is suggested that the house was
connected with the brewing trade, but we have seen no evidence for this. It was
still called this in 1986/7 and probably renamed “Otter House” in the late
1980’s. The house is not listed. A listed buildings survey would probably
reveal an interesting history.
Fore Steet in 1955
Gerald Millington 2017 (CDE Archivist)
- Devon Record Office
- Clinton Devon Estates Archives
- Members of Hayman Family
- Local Directories
- Copies of Leases (CDE 20084) held in file.