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Bickleigh (Tiverton)

Bickleigh (Tiverton) is located within Mid Devon local authority area. Historically it formed part of Hayridge Hundred. It falls within Tiverton 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 297 in 1801 207 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website. In 1641/2 83 adult males signed the Protestation returns.

A parish history file is held in Tiverton 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 Bickleigh (Tiverton) area on Donn's one inch to the mile survey of 1765.

Bickleigh (Tiverton) area on Donn's map of 1765 (ss90don)

The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SS941072. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SS90NW, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Explorer 114, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 192. Geological sheet 310 also covers the area.

Illustrations: The image below is of Bickleigh (Tiverton) as included in the Library's illustrations collection. Other images can be searched for on the local studies catalogue.

View of Bickleigh (SC0162)

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

BICKLEIGH lies astride the middle valley of the Exe, here of perfect pastoral beauty with rounded green hills rising to 700 ft. or so on either side. Bickleigh Bridge, a noted "beauty spot" (but unspoilt), dates from the late 16th century. In 1809 it was severely damaged by floods and was rebuilt.

Bickleigh Castle (so called), on the W. bank of the Exe, was a moated and fortified manor-house, of which the gatehouse range is the chief remnant to-day. A fortified house of the Bickleigh family existed here in the 12th century. Work of this period may be seen in the bases of the imposts in the gatehouse, and in the small chapel immediately across the lane. Bickleigh came to the Courtenays of Powderham, who used it as an estate for younger sons, and it was they who rebuilt the Norman house early in the 15th century.

There are traces of the former great hall, and N. of the gatehouse is a portion of the old moat, now mostly filled up. The gatehouse, which has a vaulted entry (c. 1400 in date), was reconstructed in the 17th century by the Carews. The house later degenerated into a farmhouse, but was rescued after the sale of the Carew properties in 1922, and restored to its present form. The Carews had acquired Bickleigh about 1510.

Bickleigh church (St. Mary) is a badly restored 14th century building, with a 12th century S. doorway and font. It is chiefly notable for the charming, though crudely executed, Carew monuments of 16th and 17th century date. Bampfylde Moore Carew (1690-1758) was the son of a rector of Bickleigh. He became a gipsy and was elected their king, was transported to Maryland but escaped back to England, followed Prince Charles Edward's army to Derby in 1745, and eventually settled down at Bickleigh where he died in 1758. There was still a Carew at the rectory in 1890; but the long association of the family with the parish was ended at the sale of 1922.