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History

Jack CrocombeThis solid stone built house with pretty gardens was commissioned for an eminent Victorian sea captain and his family in 1882 at the height of the golden days of the British Empire. From here, on January 12 1899, on a cold wet, stormy and treacherous night and through lightening, Captain Jack Crocombe initiated and completed the world famous “Overland Launch.”

With the help of shire horses, brave Lynmouth men carried the Lynmouth Lifeboat “Louisa” up and over the moors and the highest cliff tops in England, over 14 miles by road, to Porlock Weir.

Here the sea was calm enough to launch and the brave team saved the lives of the crew of the ill-fated Forrest Hall ship (as documented in the Guinness Book of Records).

Forrest Hall

Another former resident was Captain William Burgess whose ocean traveling deep water ship “The Llandeilo,” was torpedoed during a “secret” voyage on 2nd November 1942 between Trinidad and Cape Town. The 2nd world war was in full swing. The crew got away scrambling for their lives into two lifeboats which became separated after 3 days. Sadly Captain Burgess’s one was never found; he and 16 others died. After 5 days lost at sea the other lifeboat was miraculously rescued by a Norwegian ship; one of these brave survivors, able-bodied seaman Kenneth Oxenham, lived to tell of this remarkable adventure and the fate of his captain.

Later this solid old house survived unscathed, sheltering its residents during the great Flood Disaster of August 15 1952 when many of Lynmouth’s buildings were devastated and lives lost.

The Captain’s House is a paradise for nature lovers and walkers. The poets Shelley, Wordsworth and Coleridge visited the area and wrote lovingly of our village many times. The classic novel Lorna Doone by R D Blackmore was penned and set here.

Exmoor’s only blue plaque

Blue Plaque Description

David Reynolds of Flat-Broke Films was drawn to the successful novel “The Overland Launch” and was surprised a film had not already been made about the heroic story. Through a collaboration, a screenplay has since been developed which is starting to attract big screen interest.

David was also surprised that Captain Jack and the “Louisa” lifeboat rescue had not been recognised with an award by the RNLI. With this in mind, Flat-Broke Films and Josie & Clifford Parker agreed to jointly sponsor a Blue Plaque and sign describing the rescue, which is the very first blue plaque to be placed on a building in the Exmoor National Park. Watch the video of the unveiling on our Youtube Channel.