Yarner House and the adjoining Yarner Wood, a 365-acre block of ancient woodland managed by Natural England as part of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve, were both once part of the manor of Bovey Tracey granted by William the Conqueror to Geoffrey de Mowbray, Bishop of Coutances.
On de Mowbray’s death in 1093, his nephew, Robert Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, inherited, but later defied the king, which led to the seizure of his estates in 1095.
Over time, ownership of the Bovey Tracey estates reverted to the Crown as favourites came and went, until, in the 16th century, a succession of costly wars left Tudor monarchs strapped for cash.
Elizabeth I began to sell off Crown properties and, in 1578, the Yarner estate was bought by Gregory Sprint, a canny lawyer with good Court connections, who swiftly resold it at a profit.
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