The photo was taken around 1870-1875 as there is no one living in Clicket after 1880. It is a copy of the original that my cousin said was handed down from his Coles ancestors and believes they are shown in the picture.


To get to Clicket, or whats left of it now, drive through Dunster towards Timberscombe and take the road on the left signposted Nutcombe Bottom. Follow this road till you reach a fork, take the right fork (the left fork goes to the big trees walk) and drive straight on round some blind corners and up Whitswood steep, after about 3miles, there is a wide track on the left going up to Black hill, and just before it, a sign for Thorn Farm on the left pointing across the road to the farm gate on the right. There is also a sign for Clicket on the other side of the road. It is quite a steep walk down to it and more noticeable on the walk back up.
The village of Clicket was in a secluded valley in the Exmoor National Park, but now all thats left is a pile of crumbling ruins covered in undergrowth.
click here to see an 1840 tithe map of Clicket Valley
Up until the end of the 19th Century it was a thriving community. It had a mill that serviced local farms and a quarry that provided lime, but by the start of the 20th Century it had been all but abandoned, there was just three people living there in 1901. A Henry Sweetland (b.1870), his wife Annie (b.1873), son Henry John(b.1898) and Mary E Garrett(b.1887), his wifes sister.

The picture above is said to show the last people living in the village, whilst it was still a small rural community.
The man on the right of the image is wearing an apron and a watch on a chain, suggesting he could have been the miller.  The man sitting front left with a dog on his lap has a basket of tools at his feet, suggesting he may have worked in the village quarry.

The 1841 census only shows two families living in Clicket, both with the surname Williams: Martin Williams aged 55, his wife Ann also 55,and twin sons, John and Martin born 1811. The 2nd family were James Williams aged 30, wife Elizabeth aged 40, and 3 daughters, Mary Ann 11, Eliza 8 and Elizabeth 4.
The 1841 census doesn’t list everyone that was living in Clicket at that time but some names are the same living in Timberscombe ‘village’ so the residents must have been incorporated altogether.

The 1851 census lists the inhabitants of Clicket as John Coles aged 51 (who was my 2xgt grandfather) it says he was born in Luxborough but more than likely he was born in Clicket and baptised at Luxborough as there was no church in Clicket. His wife is Elizabeth (nee Milton) aged 48, daughter Elizabeth 20, Martha 10 and John 7.
Robert Tarr 55 born in Kings Brompton and wife Elizabeth 54, their son Robert 22 and his wife Sarah aged 21.
Martin Williams, 68 born Exton, farm labourer, wife Ann 66 born Timberscombe, also son Martin aged 41 born Kings Brompton.
James Williams 46 born Luxborough and wife Elizabeth born Torrington
All the mens occupations are listed as farm labourers.

1861 lists the residents of Clicket as: Ann Williams age 77 widow and son Martin 51
Robert Tarr, 66 and wife Elizabeth 65 with grandson Robert aged 9 born Cutcombe.
William Webber, 38 born Timberscombe and wife Mary Ann 31 born cutcombe, daughters Dina aged 6 and Lucy aged 4, son William aged 2.
James Norman aged 65 born Winsford was lodging with them.
Thomas Webber 30, occupation shepherd born Carhampton and wife Sarah 22 born cutcombe, and their son William aged 1.  Lodging with them was Elizabeth Baker aged 60 born cutcombe.

The two families living at Clicket Mills (later called Bickham Mills) were James Coles age 36 (b.2nd Jan 1825 (my gt.grandfather) and wife Mary nee Graddon 33 born 1827 in Old Cleeve (my gt.grandmother) and children, Ann 9,(my grandmother born in Clicket on 5 Sept 1851) George 8, John 6, William 1.
Second family are James's parents, John Coles 60, Elizabeth nee Milton aged 58 (as in 1851). My gtx2 grandparents)
George Floyde and his wife Mary were living at Thorne farm with grandson George aged 12.
William 41 and Betty Taylor 56 with son Edwin 13 were living at Woodlands which is listed under Clicket Mills so was probably one of the cottages.

1871 It appears that the Webbers and the Williams have moved up to Allercott or the residents of Clicket have all been listed under Allercott which is most likely as they are back in Clicket in 1881.
Listed under Bickham Mills are James Coles 47, wife Mary 45, John 16, William 11, Henry 9, Mary 8, James 5 Elizabeth 1. (my grandmother, Ann Coles is aged 19 is now shown as a servant living at a private boarding house owned by spinster sisters named Alice & Emily Chaldecott in Weston S Mare. by the time of the 1881 census she is a parlour maid aged 29,living at 43 Upper Belgrave Rd Clifton. She married John Huxtable on 24th May 1881 in Luxborough).
John Coles 71 & Elizabeth Coles 69. (John Died in 1971)

John Greenslade 39, wife Sarah 35 and children William 10, Jane 5, and George 3.
John Scriven 30 and William Scriven 37 both unmarried
George Hole 37 wife Mary 39 and children William 13, Thomas 8, George 6, Sarah Jane 4, James 1.

1881 shows 3 families living in Clicket.
William Webber, 59, his wife Mary ann is 49, daughter Mary is 19. They have 5 sons, John 13, George 11,James 7, Tom 5 and Charley 3.
John Webber 35 and wife Fanny 36 born Luccombe and 4 sons, Jessie 11, Harry 8, John 6, Willie 4.
George Hole 47 born cutcombe, his wife Mary 49 born Wootton Courtney and 3 sons George 16, James 11 and John 5. Also a daughter, Mary Ann aged 8.

Living at Thorn farm are John Greenslade widower 51, son William 20 and 3 daughters Elizabeth 17, Jane 15 and Blanche 10
James Coles 56, Mary 53, William and Elizabeth are living in Clicket and have a 14yr old servant George Greenslade.

John Coles 26, wife Liza 26, George 5, Martha Jane 3 and Harry aged 1 also listed under Clicket. Its possible they were all living at Bickham Mills as John Coles senior died in 1871.

As far as I can make out, the 1891 census just lists Clicket as 4 uninhabited houses.
Between the first census in 1841 and that of 1881 all of the eight habitations within the area of Clicket are occupied. Between 1881 and the subsequent census of 1891 all the buildings are vacated and only one, a cottage in Clicket, is reoccupied in 1901

Click here to read an excellent page on the history of the area of Clicket writen by Richard Sandover

Picture taken standing in the fireplace of a ruined house
on our visit to Clicket
back in 1980
© Copyright Ian Wigley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
© Copyright Ian Wigley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.