- NEW YEAR IN DEVON -

Widecombe

LINKS to other pages in the 'Devon' site and to the Travelling Days series:

1 : Home from Home
2 : Dartmoor
3 : Widecombe
4 : South Coast
5 : Exeter Cathedral

HOME PAGE : CHRISTMAS IN BRITAIN, FRANCE AND AUSTRIA

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The following information is condensed from the Wikipedia website:
Widecombe-in-the-Moor is a small village located within the heart of the Dartmoor National Park.The name is thought to derive from 'Withy-combe' which means 'Willow Valley'.

According to Widecombe's official website, there are 196 households in the village, although its large and sprawling parish stretches for many miles and encompasses dozens of isolated cottages and moorland farms. Tourism is a major source of income for Widecombe today, as reflected by the fact that within a small area there are several gift shops (including a National Trust shop), two cafes and two pubs (the 'Old Inn' and the 'Rugglestone').

The village is probably best known for Widecombe Fair, held annually and celebrated by a well-known folksong of the same name, featuring 'Old Uncle Tom Cobley and All'. Its words were first published in 1880. The characters from the song are featured in many of the souvenirs on sale in the local shops.

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The church of St Pancras is known as the 'Cathedral of the Moors' in recognition of its 120 foot tower and relatively large capacity for such a small village. The church was originally built in the 14th century, in the Perpendicular style (late Gothic), using locally quarried granite. It was enlarged over the following two centuries, partly on the proceeds of the local tin mining trade.

The size of the parish meant that, for centuries, families were obliged to walk for miles to go to church at Widecombe every Sunday. The task was even more challenging when it came to burying their dead, whose coffins had to be carried over rough ground and both up and down exceptionally steep hills.



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Next to the church stands the Church House (to the right of the picture) built in 1537 for the production of church ales. It is now managed by the National Trust. 'The Old Inn' is seen in the background. (left)



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The 'Rugglestone Inn' is situated on the outskirts of the town (right)

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In Widecombe churchyard is the grave of novelist Beatrice Chase who lived for much of her life in a cottage close to the village. Her real name was Olive Katharine Parr, and she was a direct descendant of William Parr, the brother of Catherine, the sixth wife of Henry VIII. (left)

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Inside, the ceiling is decorated with a large number of decorative roof bosses, including the tinner’s emblem of a circle of three hares (known locally as the Tinners' Rabbits). The building was badly damaged in Great Thunderstorm of 1638, when the village was reputedly visited by the Devil. (left)






A visit to Hope Cove commences on the following page.
Please click on the 'Next' button (below right)

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