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Sunday 22 January 2017

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Sampford Courtenay

Sampford Courtenay is located within West Devon local authority area. Historically it formed part of Black Torrington 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 960 in 1801 758 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website. In 1641/2 254 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 Sampford Courtenay 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 65/2 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 65NW
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SS632012. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SS60SW, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Explorer 113, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 191. Geological sheet 324 also covers the area.

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

SAMPFORD COURTENAY is a large parish on the N. side of Dartmoor, of which there are fine views. It now includes the ancient ecclesiastical parish of Honeychurch, about 1 m. N. The village is cheerful, neat, and clean with much whitewashed cob and good thatching. It was the scene of the beginning of the Western or Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549. The 16th century Church House, at the entrance to the churchyard, has been rebuilt.

The church (St. Andrew) is exceedingly attractive both inside and out: granite building at its most elegant. The lofty pinnacles of the W. tower are stained by an orange lichen, so that they glow perpetually with colour. The interior is spacious and light and well kept, with graceful arcades. The S. arcade is of two dates and two different stones: the four W. bays are of polyphant, a singularly beautiful dove-grey stone from Cornwall, and the two bays beyond the screen are early 16th century granite. The carved bosses and wall plates of the roofs should be studied. The font is Norman, on a modern stem.

Honeychurch church (St. Mary) is charming: very small, very remote, and completely unsophisticated. It is an almost untouched 12th century building, to which a W. tower and S. porch were added late in the 15th century. In the tower are the three medieval bells in their original cage. The chancel arch was also re-made at that date, the roof renewed, and Perpendicular windows inserted in the old walls. The fittings are in keeping with the building: an excellent Norman font beneath a rustic Jacobean cover, a rustic Elizabethan pulpit, a complete set of late medieval benches (some with carved ends, but most of plain unvarnished oak), a crude wall painting in the nave (possibly the Royal Arms of Elizabeth), altar rails of simple country carpentry: all as well kept as the mother-church at Sampford. Honeychurch has one of the simplest and most appealing interiors of all English country churches. It lives up to its delightful name in a way that so rarely happens, and just to see it on a fine morning puts one in a good humour for the rest of the day.

There are a number of ancient farm- steads in this very attractive parish, of which Reddaway is particularly interesting. It was held by the Reddaways before 1240, and a Reddaway still owns and farms it. Halford and Rowden ace also worth Visiting. Sticklepath is a small village on the main Exeter to Okehampton road. The good old blacksmith's forge here gets its power from a waterwheel behind.

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