Barnstaple

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Barnstaple
Barnstaple (Devon, UK), Clock Tower -- 2013 -- 0986.jpg
Barnstaple Clock Tower
Devon UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Barnstaple
Location within Devon
Population23,976 (Parish, 2021) [1]
31,275 (Built up area, 2021) [2]
OS grid reference SS5633
Civil parish
  • Barnstaple
District
Shire county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BARNSTAPLE
Postcode district EX31, EX32
Dialling code 01271
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Devon
51°05′N4°04′W / 51.08°N 4.06°W / 51.08; -4.06

Barnstaple ( /ˈbɑːrnstəbəl/ or /ˈbɑːrnstəpəl/ [3] ) is a river-port town and civil parish in the North Devon district of Devon, England. The town lies at the River Taw's lowest crossing point before the Bristol Channel. From the 14th century, it was licensed to export wool from which it earned great wealth. Later it imported Irish wool, but its harbour silted up and other trades developed such as shipbuilding, foundries and sawmills. A Victorian market building survives, with a high glass and timber roof on iron columns.

Contents

Toponymy

The name is first recorded in the 10th century and is thought to derive from the Early English bearde, meaning "battle-axe", and stapol, meaning "pillar", i.e. a post or pillar to mark a religious or administrative meeting place. The derivation from staple meaning "market", indicating a market from its foundation, is likely to be incorrect, as the use of staple in that sense first appears in 1423. [4]

Barnstaple was formerly referred to as "Barum", as a contraction of the Latin form of the name ad Barnastapolitum in Latin documents such as the episcopal registers of the Diocese of Exeter. [5] The spelling Barnstable was also used for the town but is now obsolete, although that spelling is retained in America by a city in Massachusetts and its county, which were named after Barnstaple.

Barum was mentioned by Shakespeare and the name was revived in the Victorian era in several novels. It remains in the names of a football team, a brewery and several businesses, and on numerous milestones. The former Brannam Pottery in Litchdon Street was known for its trademark "Barum" etched on the base of its products.[ citation needed ]

History

18th-century painting by an unknown artist in the collection of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon. Barnstaple (right) and Pilton (left) are seen divided by the River Yeo flowing into the broad River Taw. Right: St Peter's Church, Barnstaple, with spire; Barnstaple Long Bridge (before widening) over River Taw. Left: St Mary's Church, Pilton; Pilton Bridge over the River Yeo. BarnstapleAndPilton OnRiverTaw Circa1746 MuseumOfBarnstapleAndNorthDevon.PNG
18th-century painting by an unknown artist in the collection of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon. Barnstaple (right) and Pilton (left) are seen divided by the River Yeo flowing into the broad River Taw. Right: St Peter's Church, Barnstaple, with spire; Barnstaple Long Bridge (before widening) over River Taw. Left: St Mary's Church, Pilton; Pilton Bridge over the River Yeo.

The earliest local settlement was probably at Pilton by the River Yeo, now a northern suburb. Pilton is recorded in the Burghal Hidage (c. 917) as a burh founded by Alfred the Great, [7] and may have undergone a Viking attack in 893, [8] but by the later 10th-century Barnstaple had taken over its local defence. It had a mint before the Norman Conquest. [7]

The feudal barony of Barnstaple had its caput at Barnstaple Castle, granted by William the Conqueror to Geoffrey de Montbray, who appears as its holder in the 1086 Domesday Book. The barony fell to the Crown in 1095 after Montbray rebelled against William II. He transferred the barony to Juhel de Totnes, a feudal baron of Totnes. By 1107 Juhel had founded Totnes Priory and then Barnstaple Priory, of the Cluniac order, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. [9] After Juhel's son died intestate, the barony was split between the de Braose and Tracy families, before reuniting under Henry de Tracy. It then passed through several families, before ending in the hands of Margaret Beaufort (died 1509), mother of King Henry VII.

A market is first recorded in 1274. [10] The town's wealth in the Middle Ages rested on being a staple port licensed to export wool. It had an early merchant guild of St Nicholas. In the early 14th century it was Devon's third richest town after Exeter and Plymouth, and its largest textile centre outside Exeter until about 1600. [11] The wool trade was aided by its port, from which five ships were contributed to a force sent to fight the Spanish Armada in 1588. Barnstaple was one of the "privileged ports" of the Spanish Company, [12] (established 1577), whose armorials appear on two mural monuments to 17th-century merchants: Richard Beaple (died 1643), three times Mayor, and Richard Ferris (Mayor in 1632), who with Alexander Horwood received a payment from the Corporation of Barnstaple in 1630 for "riding to Exeter about the Spanish Company." [13] in St Peter's Church, and on the decorated plaster ceiling of the old Golden Lion Inn, [13] Boutport Street, now a restaurant beside the Royal and Fortescue Hotel. [lower-alpha 1]

The exterior of the Pannier Market, built in the mid-19th century Barnstaple Pannier Marker Exterior.jpg
The exterior of the Pannier Market, built in the mid-19th century

The town benefited from rising trade with America in the 16th and 17th centuries, for the benefit of wealthy merchants who built impressive town houses. Some of these survive behind more recent frontages, for instance No. 62 Boutport Street, said to have one of the best plaster ceilings in Devon. [14] The merchants also built almshouses, including Penrose's, and backed their legacy with elaborate family monuments inside the church. [14]

By the 18th century, Barnstaple had ceased to be a woollen manufacturing town. Its output was replaced from Ireland, for which it was the main landing place; the raw materials were then taken by land to clothmaking towns in mid and east-Devon, such as Tiverton and Honiton. [11] However, the harbour was silting up. As early as c. 1630 Tristram Risdon reported, "It hardly beareth small vessels." Bideford, lower down the estuary and benefiting from the scouring by the fast-flowing River Torridge, gradually took over the trade. [11]

Although Barnstaple's trade in 1680–1730 was surpassed by Bideford's, it retained economic importance into the early 20th century, [11] manufacturing lace, gloves, sail-cloth and fishing-nets, with extensive potteries, tanneries, sawmills and foundries, and some shipbuilding still carried on. [15] The Bear Street drill hall dates from the early 19th century. [16]

Between the 1930s and the 1950s the urban area grew to incorporate the villages of Pilton, Newport, and Roundswell through ribbon development.

Barnstaple Clock Tower, erected in 1862 as a memorial to Prince Albert Barnstaple Clock Tower 281008.jpg
Barnstaple Clock Tower, erected in 1862 as a memorial to Prince Albert

Governance

Barum House, The Square: Town Council's offices Barum House.jpg
Barum House, The Square: Town Council's offices

There are three tiers of local government covering Barnstaple, at parish (town), district and county level: Barnstaple Town Council, North Devon Council (based just outside Barnstaple) and Devon County Council (based in Exeter). Barnstaple Town Council meets at the Guildhall on High Street and has its offices at Barum House on The Square. [17]

Guildhall, High Street Barnstaple Guildhall from south.jpg
Guildhall, High Street

Administrative history

Barnstaple was an ancient borough. Its early status as a borough was ambiguous; in 1340 the town's guild claimed it had been incorporated in 930 by King Athelstan in a charter which had since been lost. [18] [19] The town was described as a borough in the Domesday Book of 1086, [20] and from at least 1210 the town was being run by a guild which appointed a mayor. The claim in 1340 was made as part of a petition to Edward III seeking a new charter with additional powers. This was resisted by the lord of the feudal barony of Barnstaple. Following an inquisition ad quod damnum it was ruled that the town was in fact a lower status mesne borough answerable to the lord, rather than a free borough responsible directly to the monarch. The mayor was therefore not recognised as such by the monarch, but was deemed to be merely a bailiff of the lord. The guild made several other unsuccessful attempts to secure a charter from the king throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including seeking confirmation of rights supposedly conferred by charters from Henry II and subsequent monarchs, but those charters were forgeries, copied from Exeter's charters. [19] [21]

The town eventually secured a charter of incorporation from Mary I in 1557. [22] The council built the Guildhall on High Street in 1828 to serve as its meeting place. [23] [24] It was reformed to become a municipal borough in 1836, governed by a corporate body officially called the "mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the borough of Barnstaple", but generally known as the corporation or town council. The borough boundaries, which had previously been identical to the parish of Barnstaple, were enlarged at the same time to include part of the parish of Pilton (including the village itself) and the Newport area from the parish of Bishop's Tawton. [25] The borough was further enlarged in 1899 to take in the Rolle's Quay area from Pilton and an area on the west bank of the River Taw (including Barnstaple Junction railway station) which had previously been in the parish of Tawstock. [26]

The town council moved its offices to Castle House in the grounds of the castle in 1927, which in turn was replaced by a new Civic Centre on North Walk in 1969. [27] The borough of Barnstaple was abolished in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, with the area merging with Barnstaple Rural District, South Molton Rural District and the urban districts of Ilfracombe and Lynton to become the new district of North Devon. A successor parish was created covering the area of the former borough, with its council taking the name Barnstaple Town Council. [28] [29] The Civic Centre passed to North Devon Council, whilst the town council was initially based at the Guildhall. [30] In 1993 the town council acquired Barum House on The Square to serve as its offices, but continues to use the Guildhall for meetings. [31]

Parliamentary status

From 1295 the Borough of Barnstaple had two members in the House of Commons until 1885, when this was reduced to one. The constituency was replaced for the 1950 general election by the large modern constituency of North Devon, held by Nick Harvey MP of the Liberal Democrats from 1992 until 2015, when Peter Heaton-Jones of the Conservative Party was elected and re-elected in 2017. Since 2019 the MP has been the Conservative Selaine Saxby.

Geography

Barnstaple is the largest town in North Devon. It lies 68 miles (109 km) west-south-west of Bristol, 50 miles (80 km) north of Plymouth and 34 miles (55 km) north-west of the county town and city of Exeter. It was founded at the lowest crossing point of the River Taw, where its estuary starts to widen, about 7 miles (11 km) inland from Barnstaple Bay in the Bristol Channel. [7] On the north side, the Taw is joined by the River Yeo, which rises on Berry Down near Combe Martin.

Most of the town lies on the east bank of the estuary, connected to the west by the ancient Barnstaple Long Bridge, with 16 arches. [7] The town's early medieval layout still appears from the street plan and street names, with Boutport Street ("About the Port") following the curved line of a ditch outside the town walls. [14] The area of medieval shipbuilding and repair is still called The Strand, an early word for shore.

Climate

Barnstaple has cool wet winters and mild wet summers. Mean high temperatures range from 9 C (48 F) in January to 21 C (70 F) in July. The record high is 34 C (94 F) and the record low −9 C (16 F). October is the wettest month with 103 mm (4.1 in) of rain. The mean annual rainfall is 862 mm (33.9 in), with rain on 138 days.

Climate data for Barnstaple, United Kingdom
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)16
(61)
18
(64)
20
(68)
25
(77)
27
(81)
32
(90)
33
(91)
34
(93)
28
(82)
29
(84)
18
(64)
15
(59)
34
(93)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F)9
(48)
10
(50)
11
(52)
13
(55)
18
(64)
19
(66)
21
(70)
20
(68)
19
(66)
15
(59)
12
(54)
9
(48)
15
(58)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F)4
(39)
4
(39)
5
(41)
6
(43)
9
(48)
11
(52)
13
(55)
13
(55)
11
(52)
9
(48)
6
(43)
4
(39)
8
(46)
Record low °C (°F)−6
(21)
−6
(21)
−9
(16)
−3
(27)
0
(32)
1
(34)
7
(45)
7
(45)
−1
(30)
−2
(28)
−6
(21)
−6
(21)
−9
(16)
Average rainfall mm (inches)75
(3.0)
65
(2.6)
53
(2.1)
64
(2.5)
60
(2.4)
63
(2.5)
64
(2.5)
65
(2.6)
59
(2.3)
103
(4.1)
93
(3.7)
98
(3.9)
862
(34.2)
Average rainy days1510121011991011131414138
Average relative humidity (%)83828077767879797981838380
Source 1: Weather2 [32]
Source 2: HolidayCheck.com [33]

Demography

Barnstaple parish population in the 1801 census was 3,748, in 1901 9,698, and in 2001 22,497. [34]

In 2011 the racial make-up was: [35]

As a major town, Barnstaple has a similar ethnic make-up to other south-west towns such as Truro and Cullompton. It is more diverse than the North Devon district (95.9% White British) and Devon as a whole (94.2% White British).

Economy

North Devon is some distance from Britain's traditional areas of industrial activity and population. In the late 1970s it gained several industrial firms due to the availability of central government grants for opening factories and operating them on low or zero levels of local taxation. This was scarcely successful, with few lasting beyond the few years that grants were available. One success was the manufacturing of generic medicines by Cox Pharmaceuticals (now branded Allergan), which moved in 1980 from a site in Brighton, Sussex. A lasting effect on the town has been the development and expansion of industrial estates at Seven Brethren, Whiddon Valley and Pottington.

Whilst the 1989 opening of the improved A361 connection to the motorway network assisted trade in ways such as weekend tourism, it was detrimental to some distribution businesses. These had previously seen the town as a base for local distribution, a need removed when travelling time to the M5 motorway was roughly halved.

With Barnstaple as the main shopping area for North Devon, retail work contributes to the economy. There are chain stores in the town centre and in the Roundswell Business Park, on the western fringe of the town. They include Tesco, with a hypermarket and superstore, and Sainsbury's, Lidl and Asda supermarkets. Multi-million pound redevelopment round the former Leaderflush Shapland works at Anchorwood Bank is creating a conservation area near the River Taw, hundreds of new homes, a retail area of shops, restaurants and leisure facilities. Asda also runs a petrol filling station, as do the Tesco stores and Sainsbury’s.

By far the largest employer in the region is local and central government, particularly the Royal Marines Base Chivenor, 3 miles (5 km) west of the town, and North Devon District Hospital, 1 mile (1.6 km) to the north.

In 2005 unemployment in North Devon was 1.8–2.4 per cent, while median per capita wage for North Devon was 73 per cent of the UK national average. The level of work in the informal or casual sector is high, partly during seasonal tourism. By 2018 unemployment in North Devon had fallen from a 2010 high to 1.2 per cent, while median weekly full-time pay stood at £440 per week and average housing prices at £230,000. The number of businesses registered has risen by 370 since 2010 to 4,895. The year 2018 also saw government investment through Coastal Community grants and Housing Infrastructure funds £83 million to upgrade the North Devon Link Road. [36]

Twin towns and sister cities

Barnstaple is twinned with:

Landmarks

Queen Anne's Walk, formerly the Mercantile Exchange, c. 1708, with the town's main quay to the left. The statue of Queen Anne was given in 1708 by the MP Robert Rolle (died 1710) of Stevenstone Queen Anne's Walk, Barnstaple - geograph.org.uk - 275649.jpg
Queen Anne's Walk, formerly the Mercantile Exchange, c. 1708, with the town's main quay to the left. The statue of Queen Anne was given in 1708 by the MP Robert Rolle (died 1710) of Stevenstone

Barnstaple has an eclectic mix of architectural styles, with the 19th century predominant, despite remnants of early buildings and several early plaster ceilings. St Anne's Chapel in the central churchyard can be seen as the most important ancient building to survive. Queen Anne's Walk was erected in about 1708 as a mercantile exchange. The Georgian Guildhall is also of interest, as is the Pannier Market beneath it. The museum has an "arts and crafts" appearance with tessellated floors and locally made staircase and decorative fireplaces. [39]

Barnstaple Castle

Barnstaple Castle mound next to the current day public library and car park Barnstaple Castle 2018.jpg
Barnstaple Castle mound next to the current day public library and car park

Barnstaple Castle, founded in the 11th or 12th century and first mentioned the 12th century, may derive from Juhel (Joel) of Totnes in the early 12th century. [40] King Stephen granted the castle to Henry de Tracy, a supporter of his. In the 12th century, stone buildings were built over the motte, possibly during Henry de Tracy's tenure. The castle descended through his family to another Henry de Tracy, [41] who held the castle in 1228 when Henry III ordered the Sheriff of Devon to make sure its walls did not exceed 10 feet (3.0 m) in height. [42] [43] By the death of the last Henry de Tracey in 1274, the castle had begun to decay. An inquisition of 1281 found that building materials had been removed from the castle without permission; by 1326 it was a ruin. [42] Part of the castle walls blew down in a storm in 1601. [44]

The Neo-Gothic Manor of Tawstock, originally Tawstock House, is two miles south of Barnstaple. It replaced an earlier Tudor mansion, built in 1574 but lost to a fire in 1787.

St Anne's Chapel

The Grade II listed St Anne's Chapel [45] was restored in 2012 and is used as a community centre that can accommodate 60 people. [46] It was an ancient Gothic chantry chapel, whose assets were acquired by the Mayor of Barnstaple and others in 1585, some time after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. A deed of feoffment dated 1 November 1585 exists in the George Grant Francis collection in Cardiff. [47]

Pannier Market and Butchers' Row

Barnstaple Pannier Market interior.jpg
The interior of the Pannier Market
Barnstaple Butchers Row.jpg
Butchers' Row, looking eastwards, with the side of the Pannier Market, left

Barnstaple has been the major market for North Devon since Saxon times. Demands for health regulation of its Victorian food market saw the construction in 1855–1856 of a Pannier Market, originally known as the Vegetable Market and designed by local architect R. D. Gould. This has a high glass-and-timber roof on iron columns. At 107 yards (98 m) long, it runs the length of Butchers' Row. Market days are Monday – Crafts and General (April to December), Tuesday – General and Produce, Wednesday – Arts Collectables and Books, Thursday – Crafts and General, Friday – General and Produce, and Saturday – General and Produce.

Built on the far side of the street at the same time as the Pannier Market, Butchers' Row has ten shops with pilasters of Bath Stone and wrought-iron supports for an overhanging roof. Only one is still a butcher's, [48] although successor shops still sell local farm goods. There is a baker, a delicatessen, two fishmongers, a florist and a greengrocer.

In early 2020, the local Council web site provided a summary of the Pannier Market: "Largely unchanged in over 150 years, Barnstaple's historic Pannier Market has a wide range of stalls, with everything from fresh local produce, flowers and crafts, to prints and pictures, fashion and... two cafés." [49]

The Pannier Market, Butchers Row, has been a Grade II listed building since 1951. [50]

Others

Key
AP Icon.svg Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
UKAL icon.svg Accessible open space
Themepark uk icon.png Amusement/Theme Park
CL icon.svg Castle
Country parks.svg Country Park
EH icon.svg English Heritage
Forestry Commission
HR icon.svg Heritage railway
HH icon.svg Historic House
AP Icon.svg Places of Worship
Museum icon.svg
Museum icon (red).svg
Museum (free/not free)
NTE icon.svg National Trust
Drama-icon.svg Theatre
Zoo icon.jpg Zoo

In Barnstaple

Around Barnstaple

Transport

Barnstaple Long Bridge Barnstaplelongbridge.jpg
Barnstaple Long Bridge

In 1989, the A361 North Devon Link Road was built between Barnstaple and the M5 motorway, some 40 miles (65 km) to the east. Traffic congestion in the town was severe, but in May 2007, the Barnstaple Western Bypass was opened to take traffic towards Braunton and Ilfracombe away from the town centre and ancient bridge. It consists of 1.6 miles (2.6 km) of new road and a 447 yards (409 m) long, five-span bridge, and was expected to have cost £42 million. [51] The town's main square was remodelled as the entrance to the town centre, and The Strand was closed to traffic. The A39, the Atlantic Highway, follows after the A361 to Bideford and to Bude and then further towards Cornwall.

Most of Barnstaple's bus network is run by Stagecoach South West & Filers. The main bus station is at the junction of Queen Street and Belle Meadow Drive.

Main bus services:

National Express has coach services to London, Heathrow Airport, Taunton, Bristol and Birmingham.

The nearest airport is Exeter Airport.

Railway

A map of Barnstaple from 1937, showing the railway lines. Barnstablemap.jpg
A map of Barnstaple from 1937, showing the railway lines.

Barnstaple railway station is the terminus of a branch line from Exeter known as the Tarka Line after a local connection with Tarka the Otter. The station is near the end of the Long Bridge, on the opposite bank of the Taw to the town centre. Several other stations closed with the publication of the Reshaping of British Railways (the Beeching Axe) report in the 1960s. The surviving one had been opened on 1 August 1854 by the North Devon Railway (later the London and South Western Railway), although a service had operated from Fremington since 1848 for goods traffic only. The station became "Barnstaple Junction" on 20 July 1874, when the railway opened the branch line to Ilfracombe, reverting to plain "Barnstaple" when this was closed on 5 October 1970. It is now a terminus and much reduced in size, as part of the site has been used for the Barnstaple Western Bypass.

Ilfracombe Branchline in the late 1960s. Barstaplequay.jpg
Ilfracombe Branchline in the late 1960s.

The Ilfracombe branch line brought the railway across the river into the town centre. Barnstaple Quay was situated close by the Castle Mound. It closed in 1898 in favour of a nearby Barnstaple Town station at North Walk, which was also the terminus of the narrow-gauge Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, until that closed in 1935. The narrow-gauge line's main operating centre was at nearby Pilton.

A separate Barnstaple station, renamed Barnstaple (Victoria Road) in 1949, was opened to the east of the town in 1873 as the terminus of the Devon and Somerset Railway and later part of the Great Western Railway. A junction was provided to allow trains access to Barnstaple Junction and these ran through to Ilfracombe. It was closed in 1970.

Education

Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon Museum of Barnstaple.JPG
Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon

There are selected primary and secondary state schools and a tertiary college in Barnstaple.

In 2012, 58 per cent of Devon students achieved 5 GCSEs grade A* to C. [52] The UK average is 59 per cent. [52]

Percentage of students achieving 5 GCSEs grade A*to C
School NameType20082009201020112012
The Park Community School State38%44%45%47%54% [53]
Pilton Community College State47%51%50%53%49% [54]

Petroc (formerly North Devon College) is a tertiary college offering a wide range of vocational and academic further education to more than 3,000 young people over 16. It was due to spend £100 million on a new campus to be opened on Seven Brethren in 2011, [55] [56] but this fell through when the Learning and Skills Council withdrew £75 million in funding in January 2009. [57] Petroc was launched in September 2009, a year after NDC merged with Tiverton's East Devon College. [58]

Religious sites

St Peter's church with its broach spire St. Peters church on Paternoster Row - geograph.org.uk - 1658349.jpg
St Peter's church with its broach spire

St Peter's Church is the parish church of Barnstaple. Its oldest parts probably date to the 13th century, though the nave, chancel and tower date from 1318, when three altars [59] were dedicated by Bishop Stapledon. The north and south aisles were added in about 1670. The church has a notable broach spire, claimed by W. G. Hoskins to be the best of its kind in the country. [11] Inside the church are many mural monuments to 17th-century merchants, such as Raleigh Clapham (died 1636), George Peard (died 1644) and Thomas Horwood (died 1658), reflecting the prosperity of the town at that time. [14] The interior of the church was heavily restored by George Gilbert Scott from 1866, and then by his son John Oldrid Scott into the 1880s, [14] leaving it "dark and dull", according to Hoskins. [11]

Other religious buildings include St Anne's Chapel (a 14th-century chantry chapel, now a museum) in the parish churchyard. The Church of St Mary the Virgin in the suburb of Pilton is 13th-century and a Grade I listed building; Holy Trinity, built in the 1840s but necessarily rebuilt in 1867 as its foundations were unsound. It has a fine tower in the Somerset style. The Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception is said to have been built to designs supplied by Pugin, in Romanesque Revival style. The late 19th-century church of St John the Baptist stands in the Newport area of the town. There is a Baptist chapel of 1870, which includes a lecture hall and classrooms. [11] [14]

Media

Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC South West and ITV West Country. Television signals are received from the Huntshaw Cross and the local relay transmitters. [60] [61]

Barnstaple's local radio stations are BBC Radio Devon on 94.8 FM, Heart West on 96.2 FM, and community based stations: The Voice on 107.8 FM and Fresh FM which is a student-run radio station that broadcast from the Petroc college in the town on 87.7 FM. [62]

The North Devon Gazette and North Devon Journal are the town's local newspapers. [63] [64]

Sport

Cricket is played at Barnstaple and Pilton. [65]

The association football club Barnstaple Town F.C. has been based at Mill Road since 1904 and plays in the Western Football League.

Rugby union is played at Barnstaple Rugby Football Club, [66] whose first team plays in South West Premier, which is a fifth-tier league in the English rugby union system.

Several sports are available at Tarka Leisuire Centre, [67] the home of Barnstaple Squash Club. [68]

There are numerous bowling greens and tennis courts, including those at the Tarka Tennis Centre, which has six indoor courts and hosts the Aegon GB Pro-Series Barnstaple. [69]

In February 2010 a Cornish Pilot Gig Rowing Club was established, bringing the sport to Castle Quay in the centre of Barnstaple. [70]

Notable people

The following people have a connection with the town, in birth order:

Explanatory notes

  1. The royal charter of 1605 re-establishing the Spanish Company names several hundred founding members from named English ports, the "merchants of Barnstaple" being William Gay, John Salisbury, John Darracott, John Mewles, George Gay, Richard Dodderidge, James Beaple, Nicholas Downe, James Downe, Robert Dodderidge, Richard Beaple and Pentecost Dodderidge. Richard Dodderidge and James Beaple were named amongst the "first and present assistants and chief councillors of the fellowship". [12]

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Northam is a market town, civil parish and electoral ward in Devon, England, lying north of Bideford. The civil parish also includes the villages of Westward Ho!, Appledore, West Appledore, Diddywell, Buckleigh and Silford, and the residential areas of Orchard Hill and Raleigh Estate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Instow</span> Village in North Devon, England

Instow is a village in north Devon, England. It is on the estuary where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet, between the villages of Westleigh and Yelland and on the opposite bank to Appledore. There is an electoral ward with the same name. The ward's total population at the 2011 census was 1,501.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fremington, Devon</span> Village in Devon, England

Fremington is a large village, civil parish and former manor in North Devon, England, the historic centre of which is situated three miles (5 km) west of Barnstaple. The village lies between the south bank of the tidal estuary of the River Taw and a small inlet of that river known as Fremington Pill. The parish is surrounded clockwise from the north by the parishes of Heanton Punchardon, Ashford, West Pilton, Barnstaple, Tawstock, Horwood, Lovacott and Newton Tracey, and Instow.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">River Taw</span> River in Devon, England

The River Taw in England rises at Taw Head, a spring on the central northern flanks of Dartmoor, crosses North Devon and at the town of Barnstaple, formerly a significant port, empties into Bideford Bay in the Bristol Channel, having formed a large estuary of wide meanders which at its western end is the estuary of the River Torridge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tarka Trail</span> Series of foot and cyclepaths in England

The Tarka Trail is a series of footpaths and cyclepaths around north Devon, England that follow the route taken by the fictional Tarka the Otter in the book of that name. It covers a total of 180 miles (290 km) in a figure-of-eight route, centred on Barnstaple.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pilton, Devon</span> Suburb within the town of Barnstaple

Pilton is a suburb of the town of Barnstaple, it is located about quarter of a mile north of the town centre, in the civil parish of Barnstaple, in the North Devon district, in the county of Devon, England. It was formerly a separate village. The civil parish of Pilton West covers the more rural parts of the ancient parish of Pilton that have not been incorporated into the town of Barnstaple. In 2009, the Pilton (Barnstaple) ward had a population of 4,239 living in some 1,959 dwellings. It has its own infants and junior school, houses one of Barnstaple's larger secondary schools, and one of Barnstaple's SEN specialist schools. North Devon Hospital is also within West Pilton parish. It has a Church Hall, two public houses, two hotels, and residential homes. It has residential estates of both private and public housing including flats. It also has a historic Church that dates back to at least the 11th Century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barnstaple railway station</span> Railway station in Devon, England

Barnstaple railway station is the northern terminus of the Tarka Line and serves the town of Barnstaple, Devon. It is 39 miles 75 chains (64.3 km) from Exeter Central and 211.25 miles (339.97 km) from London Waterloo. It is managed by Great Western Railway, which also operates the passenger service.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heanton Punchardon</span> Village in Devon, England

Heanton Punchardon ( ) is a village, civil parish and former manor, anciently part of Braunton Hundred. It is situated directly east-southeast of the village of Braunton, in North Devon. The parish lies on the north bank of the estuary of the River Taw and it is surrounded, clockwise from the north, by the parishes of Braunton, Marwood, Ashford and across the estuary, Fremington. The population was 418 in 1801 and 404 in 1901. Its largest localities are Wrafton and Chivenor. The surrounding area is also an electoral ward with a total population at the 2011 census of 2,673.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North Devon Railway</span> Former English railway company

The North Devon Railway was a railway company which operated a line from Cowley Bridge Junction, near Exeter, to Bideford in Devon, England, later becoming part of the London and South Western Railway's system. Originally planned as a broad gauge feeder to the Bristol & Exeter Railway, it became part of a battle between the broad gauge group and the standard gauge railway interests. In this context, standard gauge lines were often described as narrow gauge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pentecost Dodderidge</span>

Pentecost Dodderidge of Barnstaple in North Devon, was three times Member of Parliament for Barnstaple in 1621, 1624 and 1625.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pilton House, Pilton</span> Georgian mansion house in Devon, England

Pilton House in the parish of Pilton, near Barnstaple, North Devon, Ex31, is an historic grade II listed Georgian mansion house built in 1746 by Robert Incledon (1676-1758), twice Mayor of Barnstaple, who was from nearby Braunton. It is situated almost in the centre of the ancient town of Pilton, but had formerly extensive grounds covering at least 20 acres, which extended down "Pilton Lawn", now built over, to the River Yeo. It later served as the residence for various Members of Parliament for Barnstaple, for which it was well suited being only a 10-minute walk from the centre of that town, yet in a secluded situation with extensive grounds, and sufficiently large and grand for entertaining borough officials and electors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Queen Anne's Walk</span> Building in Barnstaple, Devon, England

Queen Anne's Walk is a grade I listed building in the town of Barnstaple, North Devon, completed in 1713 as a meeting place for the town's merchants. It is believed to have been designed by the architect William Talman, on the basis of its similarity to his work at the Hall in Drayton, Northamptonshire. It was promoted and financed by the thirteen members of the Corporation of Barnstaple whose armorials are sculpted on and above the parapet, and the work was overseen by Robert Incledon (1676–1758), Mayor of Barnstaple in 1712–13. It has been owned for many decades by North Devon District Council, which currently (2014) leases it to Barnstaple Town Council, and now trades as The Cafe on the Strand.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Recorder of Barnstaple</span>

The recorder of Barnstaple was a recorder, a form of senior judicial officer, usually an experienced barrister, within the jurisdiction of the Borough of Barnstaple in Devon. He was usually a member of the local North Devonshire gentry. The position of recorder of any borough carried a great deal of prestige and power of patronage. The recorder of a borough was often entrusted by the mayor and corporation to nominate its Members of Parliament, as was the case with Sir Hugh I Pollard, Recorder of Barnstaple, who in 1545 nominated the two MP's to represent the Borough of Barnstaple. In the 19th century a recorder was the sole judge who presided at a Quarter Sessions of a Borough, a "Court of Record", and was a barrister of at least five years' standing. He fixed the dates of the Quarter Sessions at his own discretion "as long as he holds it once every quarter of a year", or more often if he deemed fit.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Guildhall, Barnstaple</span> Guildhall in Devon, England

The Guildhall in Barnstaple in Devon in the United Kingdom is the Guildhall for the town and was completed in 1828, replacing an earlier Guildhall. Beneath and behind the Guildhall is the Pannier Market; completed in 1855, the building has been a Grade II* listed building since 19 January 1951.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pilton West</span> Civil parish in Devon, England

Pilton West is a rural civil parish of North Devon, Devon, England, immediately north-west of the suburb of Pilton in the town of Barnstaple. The parish was created as "West Pilton" in 1894 from the parts of the ancient parish of Pilton which lay outside the borough boundaries of Barnstaple. The parish was renamed Pilton West in 1999. In 2019, the population of Pilton West was 253, and its area was around 1.6 square miles. The parish is older than the national average — 28% of the local residents are over 65, compared to 18% of the British population — and it is overwhelmingly white, with the 2011 census finding that all but one of the parish's residents identified themselves as white. It elects a parish council, the clerk of which is Geoff Dwyer.

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Further reading