Early History

Research into the history of Yannon by Teignmouth Museum

Information very kindly supplied by Teignmouth Museum

The original site

The original site

The 1842 map of Teignmouth shows the Exeter Road at that time. On the left of the road one can see land owned by Colonel Godwin. A carriage driveway is depicted leading to a house with Hennon printed above it. The house lies in extensive grounds bounded on all four sides by trees.

The electoral roll of West Teignmouth from 1840-1842 indicates that Henry Thomas Godwin owned a freehold house and land known as Hennon Hill. He leased land on the hill to William Anson Cartwright, whose tenant was Thomas Pike. William Cartwright also owned an adjacent plot (see map).

Opposite, on the right of the Exeter Road, is another extensive plot owned by William Brooks King. This house, also in large grounds, is called The Hennons.

If we look again at the electoral roll for 1851, we see that William Brooks King is still listed as living at The Hennons, William Anson Cartwright is still leasing land on Hennon Hill, but Colonel Godwin has gone and Robert Moir is now the owner of a freehold house and land on Hennon Hill

Built in about 1851 by Robert Moir

Built in about 1851 by Robert Moir

It seems likely that Robert Moir either built a new house in the Scottish architectural style on this site, demolishing the earlier one that existed, or possibly remodelled the earlier construction.

A Teignmouth street directory of 1850 [Museum Collection] makes no mention of Yannon and records Robert Moir as living at Westcliffe at that time. Possibly the house was still under construction in 1850, the family moving in either later in that year, or early in 1851.

Robert and Judith L.E. Moir appear to be the first owners of the property known as Yannon.

The 1851 Census, taken in the spring of that year, records them living at the property with their son George W. W. Moir, aged 9 years, and 4 servants. Robert Moir, a landowner and banker, was born c.18O1 in Scotland, as was his son, George, and 3 of the servants living at Yannon in 1851. His wife, Judith, was a local girl having been born in Kingsteignton c. 1817.

Other residents

Other residents

Their 4th servant, Robert Cornelius, also came from Kingsteignton. The 1851 Census calls the property Gannon House; this may possibly be a spelling error as all subsequent directory entries identify it as Yannon.

Robert Moir continued at Yannon for many years.

He appears on the 1881 Census aged 79 years. His wife Judith had obviously died as Robert is recorded as a widow. His son George is no longer recorded at Yannon.

The property seems to have changed hands between 1882, when a street directory entry still records Robert as the owner, and 1888 when a Miss Ermen is listed. Robert had probably died, having lived well past his 3 score years and 10.

Miss Ermen's occupancy of Yannon finished between 1893, when she is last listed in the

directory as living at the property, and 1897, when a new occupant, James William

Morrison, is listed. The new owner had come from just down the road at Minden Lodge,


In 1893 a Mrs Cumberford Oliver is listed as living at Yannon Park.

The Morrisons

In 1899 both Mr & Mrs James William Morrison are listed. The Morrison family stayed on at Yannon for many years. Local information intimates that between 1917 and 1919 Mr & Mrs Morrison separated. Mrs Morrison continued on at Yannon, the last entry for her is in 1930/1. Mrs Morrison apparently went to live in Hampshire. Mr Morrison became ill and was cared for by a nurse to whom he left a substantial legacy. [Local information]

The Martins

A local source, who lived near Yannon, tells us that Mr Martin had 2 daughters. These girls were away at school and had a close friend there who frequently came and stayed with them for holidays and weekends. She was Vivien Hartley, later to become Vivien Leigh the actress. One of the daughters was later engaged to Leigh Holman who lived at Holcombe Down. He broke the engagement and subsequently married Vivien Leigh. There were frequent social gatherings, indoor and outdoor parties and tennis, which they all enjoyed. Laurence Olivier, who was to become another husband of Vivien, also stayed at Yannon as a guest.

The above text is a copy of research very kindly carried out by the

Teignmouth Museum

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