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Bicton

Bicton is located within East Devon local authority area. Historically it formed part of East Budleigh Hundred. It falls within Aylesbere 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 lay subsidy of 1524 valued the community at £02/17/08.

A parish history file is held in Budleigh Salterton 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 Bicton area on Donn's one inch to the mile survey of 1765.

Bicton area on Donn's map of 1765 (sy08don)

On the County Series Ordnance Survey mapping the area is to be found on 1:2,500 sheet 93/8 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 93NE
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SY070865. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SY08NE, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Explorer 030, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 192. Geological sheet 325 also covers the area.

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

Bicton. Seat of the Right Honble. Lord Rolle. (SC0177)

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

BICTON came to the Rolles, with other large estates, by the marriage of Sir Henry Rolle of Stevenstone to Anne, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas Dennis. By this marriage the Rolles became the largest landowners in Devon. They made Bicton one of their principal houses for several generations, and here they laid out a park and accumulated a fine library, now dispersed. The present house is said to have been built about 1730, but was certainly not finished until the end of the 18th century. It has been one of the great houses of the West of England, much visited by royalty. The gardens, laid out c. 1730, are some of the finest in the West of England, and employed forty gardeners early in this century. The arboretum, and especially the avenue of araucaria trees, is one of the best in England. The mansion is now an Agricultural College under the Devon County Council, but Lord Clinton (the present representative of the Rolles, now extinct in the direct line) retains the gardens and the arboretum, which are being slowly brought back to their former state after years of wartime neglect. The Obelisk, just outside the park, was erected in 1730 as a point de vue from the gardens, and the tower in the woods behind the house known as the China Tower was built about 1840 by Lady Rolle as a birthday gift to her husband. She later used it to house her magnificent collection of china, gathered from all over the world.

The present Bicton church (St. Mary) was built by Hayward of Exeter in 1850. It is dull. Near by are the ruins of the former church, of which little remains but the tower. It has been converted into a mausoleum for the Rolles, and contains a magnificent marble tomb of Dennis Rolle (1638) and his wife and child, which Oliver suggests may be the work of Nicholas Stone. If so, it is the only known work of Stone in Devon