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Monday 20 February 2017

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Parracombe is located within North Devon local authority area. Historically it formed part of Sherwill Hundred. It falls within Shirwell 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 322 in 1801 315 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website. In 1641/2 82 adult males signed the Protestation returns.

A parish history file is held in Lynton 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 Parracombe 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 6/7 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 6NE
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SS668448. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SS64SE, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Outdoor Leisure 09, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 180. Geological sheet 277 also covers the area.

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

PARRACOMBE is a small village in a fold of Exmoor, which rises to 1,575 ft. at the SE. end of the parish. There are barrows on Parracombe Common, probably of Bronze Age date, and a number of other small earth-works dotted about the parish. Rowley Barton ("rough clearing") was a Domesday manor; so, too, were East and West Middleton.

The parish is chiefly remarkable for its old church, which stands on the moorside high above the village. It was proposed to pull it down in the 1870s, but an agitation, in which John Ruskin played a leading part, saved it from destruction. A new church was built down in the village in 1878, and the old church, which has a completely unspoiled Georgian interior, is now used only occasionally in summer. It is dedicated to St. Petrock and is undoubtedly a very ancient foundation, but the present building is largely the result of an early 16th century reconstruction. The chancel, however, was not rebuilt at this date, but is early 13th century work; so, too, is the lower part of the small, square W. tower. The interior is plastered and whitewashed; everything is irregular and leans in different directions. There are 18th century box-pews; an 18th century screen with a wooden tympanum above it; a Georgian pulpit; and a number of early 16th century benches also survive. At the back of the church is the old musicians' gallery. On the walls are the wooden hat- pegs of the Georgian church, and oval plaques inscribed with suitable texts, such as "Let all things be done decently and in order." There are mural tablets to the old yeoman family of Lock (1667- 1803) who still farm in the parish. All the roofs are ceiled and whitewashed. It is an enchanting example of an unspoilt Georgian interior, though now in need of careful repair, and is by far the most interesting of all the churches in this part of Devon.

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