Withypool is an ancient settlement, mentioned in the Doomsday Book, but with evidence of population since the Bronze Age.
At the end of the 14th Century, Geoffrey Chaucer - of Canterbury Tales
fame - was in charge of the village as part of his duties as Forester
of North Petherton Estate.
Since The Royal Oak Inn was built in Withypool, 300 years ago, it has
attracted a variety of famous and infamous people. In 1866
R.D.Blackmore stayed at the Inn while writing his well-loved novel,
'Lorna Doone'; and during the 1930's the Inn was owned and run by
Gwladys and Maxwell Knight, the spy-master and radio broadcaster, upon
whom the character of 'M', James Bond's boss, was based.
In the week before D-Day, General Eisenhower came to
Exmoor and Withypool to review some of his troops, and took the opportunity to visit
The Royal Oak Inn while taking a break from planning the invasion.
There are letters and photographs on the walls of the Inn relating to these and other famous guests.