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Monday 16 January 2017

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Charles is located within North Devon local authority area. Historically it formed part of Sherwill Hundred. It falls within South Molton Deanery for ecclesiastical purposes. The Deaneries are used to arrange the typescript Church Notes of B.F.Cresswell which are held in the Westcountry Studies Library. The population was 217 in 1801 220 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website. In 1641/2 63 adult males signed the Protestation returns.

A parish history file is held in South Molton Library. You can look for other material on the community by using the place search on the main local studies database. Further historical information is also available on the Genuki website.

Maps: The image below is of the Charles area on Donn's one inch to the mile survey of 1765.

On the County Series Ordnance Survey mapping the area is to be found on 1:2,500 sheet 14/4,8 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 14NE
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SS688329. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SS63SE, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Outdoor Leisure 09, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 180. Geological sheet 293 also covers the area.

Extract from Devon by W.G.Hoskins (1954), included by kind permission of the copyright holder:

CHARLES is probably a Celtic name. It seems to be derived from the Cornish carn, "rock," and lis or les, "court, palace." If so, it suggests the survival of a Celtic community here into Saxon times. The church (John the Baptist) stands on the brow of the Dill overlooking the Bray valley. It was entirely rebuilt in 1875 and is of no interest except for the font (1727) and an inscribed brass to George Kellie, a former rector, and his 'wife Ursula (1649). The novelist Blackmore stayed frequently with his uncle at Charles rectory and wrote much of Lorna Doone here. His grandfather John Blackmore was patron and incumbent here.

Mockham farm was a Domesday estate. On Mockham Down, about 2 m. NW. of the church, is a large oval earthwork, surrounded by a single rampart and of unknown age.

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