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Wednesday 17 September 2014

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Drewsteignton

Drewsteignton is located within West Devon local authority area. Historically it formed part of Wonford Hundred. It falls within Okehampton 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 959 in 1801 693 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website. In 1641/2 182 adult males signed the Protestation returns.

A parish history file is held in Okehampton 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 Drewsteignton 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 78/14 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 78SW
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SX736908. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SX79SW, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Explorer 113, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 191. Geological sheet 324 also covers the area.

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

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

DREWSTEIGNTON has much semi-moorland scenery of great beauty. Fingle Bridge, over the Teign, is famous even in Devon as a "beauty spot." The bridge itself is of granite and is of 16th or 17th century date (plate 57). Towering above it to the E., on the end of a ridge, is Prestonbury Castle, one of the best of the Iron Age hill-forts that ring the edge of Dartmoor. At Shilstone, in the W. of the parish, is the best-known of the cromlechs or dolmens in Devon, known as Spinsters Rock, the remains of a Bronze Age megalithic tomb. Near by are remains of stone circles, etc., of the same age.

Drewsteignton village was formerly very remote, but buses now penetrate to it at intervals. Much of the village building is of granite. The church (Holy Trinity) is entirely 15th early 16th century in date, the chancel rebuilt in 1863, and is an attractive church of the moorland type with crudely cut granite arcades. The granite house S. of the church was left to the parish in 1546 by Peter Edgcumbe, and is an early 16th century building with granite and oak-framed fireplace, a newel stair to the upper room, and some remains of an original screen.

On the end of a great promontory, about 1 m. SW. of the church, stands Castle Drogo, one of Lutyens's less known masterpieces. It was built for Mr. J. C. Drewe on a new site, begun in 1911 and completed in 1930, and is a granite castle: the last castle to be built in England and perhaps the last private building in granite. No other material but granite is used, and the massed effect is overwhelming. There is no comparable house in England.' There were a number of small Domesday manors in the parish, now represented by farms-Coombe Hall, Fursham, Martin, Shilstone, and Thornbury. Drascombe and Parford are mentioned as landmarks in a Saxon charter of 739.

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