Otterton History - The Post Office
OFFICE 1785 TO 2006
1991 - Winners
of Best Kept Village Competition
The first letter
seen known to have passed through Otterton Post
Office is dated 1785. This is an entire bearing an
OTTER/TON, in two lines mark.
The Office was
probably in the New Inn, licensee, Thomas
Woolcott. In 1795 Matthew Goodyear Palmer was
granted the lease, which he had renamed The Kings
Arms by 1800. It is assumed that the inn was also
the Post Office, although it is not until 1850
that it is first named in Whites Directory as Post
Office viz: “Robert Ven Palmer (Matthews son);
Post master and licensee; letters dispatched
4.30pm”. A plan of the old Kings Arms of 1870
shows a shop at the rear, which would also have
been the Post Office.
Until the Uniform
Penny Post was introduced in January 1840,
Otterton was the Penny Post Town in the Lower
Otter Valley with Receiving Houses (ie sub Post
Offices) at Budleigh Salterton (No.1) and East
Budleigh (No.2) Colaton Raleigh did not have an
office. Post sent within these places cost 1d. and
various rates applied outside their area eg.4d to
Exeter; 11d to London.
Post mark 1837 with “No.1”mark of Budleigh
Otterton lost its “Town” status and became a sub
office, first to Sidmouth in 1843 and then
Budleigh Salterton in 1851.
John Palmer (Roberts son) left the Kings Arms in
1856 and his successor, Edwin Snow relinquished
the Post Office, which was taken by Thomas
Tedbury, the saddler and harness-maker in Brook
House, Fore Street. Letters arrived 9.30am and
dispatched 4.40pm. By 1866 the Office had moved
again to No 1 The Green – Robert William Hayman,
Baker, Registrar for Births & Deaths. Mail
arrived 9am and dispatched 4.45pm.
Freeman was appointed village sub-postmaster. He
had been living in Otterton since 1871 a shoemaker
from Sidmouth and was a tenant of Mary Ann Pile
Rental No.32. When her lease expired he took over
the tenancy in 1898. He died seven years later
Otterton Post Office
outside Otterton Post Office 1901
Williams son George
Bastin Freeman continued as Postmaster and having
taken Harry Pasham Genge into partnership they
built the extension on the east end which became
the new shop and post office, taking a new lease
in 1923. Harry Genge had been Lord Clinton’s
valet. The lease was renewed in the 1940’s.
George Freeman died
in 1948 and his nephew Wilfred Manns became
Sub-postmaster. 1951 a new lease was granted.
After Wilf. Manns death in 1962 postmasters
changed a number of times. In 1972 the Estate sold
the Freehold to Stanley Watson. He had held the
business since April 1964. By 1985 Philip Tisdale
was sub-postmaster, followed by Martin Edwards in
1988 and Mark Iliffe in 1992.
In 1996 Mark Iliffe
converted the outhouses into shop and post office
and the old shop was absorbed into the
September 1998 Mark Iliffe decided to close the
store and gave notice to close the Post Office
Counter. A Public Meeting was held to express
concern at the loss of the Village Shop and
shortly after the Post Office Counter was
transferred to the Kings Arms. The restaurant in
the conservatory adjoining the inn was converted
to a new village store and post office in October
In the meantime
late September 1998 Mark Iliffe was sued by the
Post Office Counters to cover £1.1 million and the
following December was tried at Exeter Crown Court
and sentenced to 5 years in prison for fraud.
On 28th. July 2006 the shop and post office were
closed by the owner of the Kings Arms. Mr. Harry
“Arkwrights” Post Office and shop at The Kings
The village was then
without a shop/store for eight years and also lost
its Post Office license.
George Edwards. Left and Frank Baker, right.
Photos from Otterton School collection and