South Molton & District Museum

South Molton and District Museum

Discover the true spirit of the characters from South Molton's past, through the exhibits and interactive displays. The collections reflect the life and times of the town and the surrounding countryside.

Local trades, agriculture and domestic history are also strongly featured. The Museum is located on the ground floor of the town's Guildhall, which was completed in 1743 and is situated on the south side of the town square. Highlights of the collections include: South Molton fire tenders, dating from 1736 and 1886; two Town Charters, granted by Elizabeth I and Charles II; Victorian household items; a Penny-farthing bicycle; an 18th Century cider press and mining and geology collections.

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  • Brannam vase

    Brannam vase commemorating a prominent local figure.

  • Wooden Cider Press

    One of the oldest type of cider press with a central hand cut wooden screw set in a massive headblock. Made of oak and elm, weighing over three quarters of a ton, local farmers would have used one to provide their neighbours with "Scrumpy" to quench the thirst of the farm employees.

  • The Newsham Fire Engine

    Richard Newsham, a London pearl button maker, took out out patents for improved hand drawn fire engines in 1725 and 1735. These engines were the first to deliver a continous stream of water. This engine was in use in the town from 1736 to 1886 and was bought for £46, (equivalent to over £10000 in today's money). It is one of the oldest surviving examples of its kind in the UK.

  • The Merryweather Fire Engine

    The Merryweather Fire Engine was built by Moses Merryweather at his premises in Long Acre Lane, London and replaced the long serving Newsham Fire Engine. This was a horse-drawn fire tender and was purchased by the Town in 1886 and was still in use until the early 1930's, before being replaced by "modern motorised" fire appliances.

  • Penny Farthing Bicycle

    Machines like this would have been a common sight in the latter part of the nineteenth century. This type of bicycle was called the Ordinary, to distinguish it from attempts to produce a safety machine. Production began in 1870, taking over from the "boneshaker" style machine. Some 500 firms, many based in Coventry, produced around 200,000 such bicycles until 1892. Production more or less ceased with the introduction of the pneumatic tyre, from 1890, which made the safety bicycle the more comfortable conveyance.

Admission & prices

Admission: FREE

Open Monday 19th March 2018 to Saturday 1st December 2018

Mon & Tues 10.30-16.00
Thurs & Sat 10.30-13.00
other days Closed

Closed Bank Holidays
Family History/Microfiche Mon & Tues - By appointment only

We continue to welcome visitors during the closed period, by prior appointment only.

Find us

We are 12 miles from Barnstaple and 19 miles from Tiverton.
By public transport:
Stagecoach bus 155 from Barnstaple mostly hourly or from Tiverton every two hours

By car
Pay & Display car parking is available in the Pannier Market every day except Thursday and Saturday, when the market is in progress. On these days you are advised to park in the large central Pay & Display car park to the rear of the Pannier Market. The Museum is situated next to the Pannier Market.


  • Childrens activities

Nearby parking and public toilets.

Family History service point available - An experienced genealogist will be available to help (Mondays and Tuesdays - by appointment only).

Local parking and toilets with Disabled Access & Baby Changing.

Tailored group visits geared to your requirements or curriculum are available by appointment.

If you have a friend who has particular access needs, please call the museum in advance so help may be given to the make most of their visit

South Molton & District Museum
Guildhall The Square
South Molton
EX36 3AB

T: 01769 572951

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South Molton and District Museum

South Molton & District Museum
Guildhall The Square

South Molton, DEVON EX36 3AB