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Monday 23 January 2017

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Blackawton is located within South Hams local authority area. Historically it formed part of Coleridge 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 1019 in 1801 946 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website.In 1641/2 283 adult males signed the Protestation returns.

A parish history file is held in Dartmouth 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 Blackawton 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 127/13,14 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 127SW
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SX806509. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SX85SW, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Outdoor Leisure 20, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 202. Geological sheet 350 also covers the area.

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

BLACKAWTON is a large village in the unknown country that lies in the hills W. of Dartmouth. The exact significance of "black" is not clear, but it may be a reference to the colour of the local slate building stone which is almost jet-black when wet.

The parish was formerly more extensive, running down to the shore of Start Bay, but the parish of Strete was carved out of it in 1881. A number of houses in the parish are of some interest. Fuge, first mentioned in 1269, was the "cattle-farm" of the royal manor of Blackawton, possibly from Saxon times. The present house was built in 1725. Old stone was the seat of the Cholwiches for more than 200 years. It is probably an 11th century estate, its name meaning "UIf's farm," The mansion was largely rebuilt by the Cholwiches in the 18th century and is now a ruin. In the park are remains of a former house of unknown date. At Cotterbury Barton, Preston Barton, Lower Dreyton, and Hutcherleigh are the remains of what were formerly "mansions."

The church (St. Michael) is interesting both for its structure and its contents. It is essentially a 14th century building, greatly enlarged in the late I5th, Of the 12th century church there remains only the fine font, carved with honeysuckle ornament, the largest of all its type in Devon (except that at Paignton) and the most beautiful. The rood-screen bears the initials of Henry VIII and of Catherine of Aragon, with her badge (the pomegranate), and retains its ancient colours of vermilion and blue. There is a Jacobean pulpit, and a font cover of the same date; royal arms dated 1680; and a considerable number of inscribed floor-slabs and other memorials, Much of the window tracery appears to have been altered in the early 19th century.

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