' THE HEART OF THE MOOR
..... from Exford to Simonsbath the road presents few points of interest. At White Cross enters the highway that leads from Spire Cross to Comer's Gate, and thence between hedges to Chibbet (always so spelt and pronounced, but query Gibbet?) Post, a rendezvous of the staghounds and other packs ; and perhaps the spot where Red Jem hung in chains, but it is more than two miles from Dunkery. After White Cross we arrive at Red Stone Gate, where we alight or not as we choose. Red Stone, having been mentioned in the perambulation records as a landmark of the old forest, has some claim to be considered historic. Then we pass what is commonly known as Gallon House, a white-washed building with a porch, standing back from the road and formerly a public-house. Its proper name was the Red Deer, and it is said to have been called Gallon House from the fact that "drink" - beer is always, or often thus described hereabouts - was sold only by the gallon. That may or may not have been the case, but, as regards intoxicants, Exmoor is still under restrictions. To ensure the respectability of the neighbourhood, the "Exmoor Forest" Hotel (late the "William Rufus ") is limited to the sale of wine, no beer or spirits being obtainable. This rule was imposed by Sir Frederick Knight, and is maintained in full force by his successor, Lord Ebrington.
The proper name of Gallon House was the " Red Deer," but Blackmore was evidently acquainted with the other description. John Fry is led by a shepherd to a "public-house near Exford," where "nothing less than a.gallon of ale and half a gammon of bacon " brings him to his right mind again (Lorna Doone, chapter xxxi.). The associations of Gallon House and its vicinage are tragic, since it was in a cottage situated in the rear that William Burgess, in the fifties of the last century, murdered his little daughter. He then conveyed her body across the road and down into the valley, where he buried it; but, fearing detection, he again removed the poor child's corpse and threw it down the shaft of the disused Wheal Elixa, a copper-mine. Here il remained undiscovered for months, but at last, through the untiring exertions of the Rev. W. H. Thornton, then curate of Exmoor, it was found, and the unnatural father expiated his crime on the gallows. In his privately printed Reminiscences, Mr Thornton has given a detailed account of the whole episode. The Wheal Eliza appears to have been the original of Uncle Ben's gold-mine, so far as situation is concerned. The next stage is to Honeymead Two Gates,.... '
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