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Churchstow

Churchstow is located within South Hams local authority area. Historically it formed part of Stanborough Hundred. It falls within Woodleigh 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 219 in 1801 311 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website. In 1641/2 67 adult males signed the Protestation returns.

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

Churchstow area on Donn's map of 1765 (sx74don)

On the County Series Ordnance Survey mapping the area is to be found on 1:2,500 sheet 132/14 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 132SW
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SX712459. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SX74NW, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Outdoor Leisure 20, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 202. Geological sheet 355 also covers the area.

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

CHURCHSTOW is the parent of the market-town of Kingsbridge at its feet, for out of his manor of Churchstow the abbot of Buckfast carved his new borough of Kingsbridge (q.v.) soon after 1220.

A church was built on the apex of a high ridge, the place thereafter being known as "church-stow." This church (St. Mary). still a prominent landmark in the Kingsbridge country, may have existed before the Norman Conquest. The present building is a late 4th century church, built entirely of the dark local slate, with a fine buttressed tower of the South Hams type. The S. aisle is early 16th century. The font is Norman, on a new pedestal and base.

The Church House Inn, near by, is a 16th century building in green slate. About 1 m. NE. of the church is Leigh, still substantially a 15th century building. The gatehouse is a striking object to come upon suddenly in this remote lane. Leigh was a Domesday manor, and later became a cell of Buckfast. It is now a farmhouse. Norton, also a Domesday manor, has remains of a mansion. Combe Royal is a Tudor house, much rebuilt, and now a school. It, too, is recorded in Domesday. Oranges and lemons were said to ripen in its gardens. The suffix "Royal" is derived from one William Royel, an early medieval owner. Sorley, which is mentioned in a Saxon charter of 947. has traces of a former manor house. Warcombe, recorded in 1228, is a cruciform building with a massive, central chimney stack, probably 16th or earlier in date.