St Mary's Church, Thorncombe
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Thorncombe // is a village and civil parish now in the English county of Dorset but historically until 1844 in Devon. It lies five miles (8 km) south east of the town of Chard in neighbouring Somerset. Thorncombe is situated close to the borders of both Somerset and Devon. In the 2011 census the population of the civil parish was 687.
Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi), Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester which is in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974 the county's border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density.
Chard is a town and a civil parish in the English county of Somerset. It lies on the A30 road near the Devon border, 15 miles (24 km) south west of Yeovil. The parish has a population of approximately 13,000 and, at an elevation of 121 metres (397 ft), Chard is the southernmost and one of the highest towns in Somerset. Administratively Chard forms part of the district of South Somerset.
Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton.
Approximately half of the population of the parish live in the village of Thorncombe, the rest are divided between the hamlets of Holditch, Hewood and Synderford, and outlying farms and houses. The layout of Thorncombe village consists of three roads which meet at a "T" in the middle of the village. These roads are Chard Street, Fore Street and High Street.
Chard Street heads north to the Somerset town of Chard. Chard Street is probably the busiest road with the Village Hall, St Mary's Primary School and the housing estates of Gribb View and Tansee Hill. Gribb View breaks from the tradition of most of the village in being mostly brick or rendered buildings, the traditional build of the village being flint-faced cottages, as this stone was readily available from the local area. Tansee Hill, of more recent build, is more in keeping with the village as it consists of both flint-faced and rendered buildings.
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as the variety of chert that occurs in chalk or marly limestone. Flint was widely used historically to make stone tools and start fires.
Fore Street heads to the east towards Venn and is a more traditional looking part of the village with flint-faced cottages and terraced housing down its length. Along Fore Street are many of the buildings which previously housed village amenities and services such as the village store, a bakery and two pubs; these are all now used for housing.
High Street heads west and towards Sadborrow and Holditch. The housing in High Street presents a traditional appearance. Halfway along High Street is the recent development of Orchard Lane. This development, like Tansee Hill, is in keeping with the look of the village with traditional-looking buildings, some of which are thatched.
Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, heather, or palm branches, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. Since the bulk of the vegetation stays dry and is densely packed—trapping air—thatching also functions as insulation. It is a very old roofing method and has been used in both tropical and temperate climates. Thatch is still employed by builders in developing countries, usually with low-cost local vegetation. By contrast, in some developed countries it is the choice of some affluent people who desire a rustic look for their home, would like a more ecologically friendly roof, or who have purchased an originally thatched abode.
The parish of Thorncombe lies within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is over 5,200 acres (21 km2) in extent and is principally agricultural land. To the east, across the valley of the River Synderford, is the ridge of Blackdown Hill (215 m), traversed by the Jubilee Trail, from which there are extensive views of the village and the area. About 4 kilometres to the southeast is Pilsdon Pen (277 m), formerly thought to be Dorset's highest point but now recognised as its second highest.
Blackdown Hill is a prominent elevation, 215 metres (705 ft) high, 5 miles (8.0 km) south west of the town of Crewkerne, in the county of Dorset in the south west of England. Its prominence of 34 metres (112 ft) means it is listed as one of the Tumps. It runs parallel to the B3165 towering over the village of Blackdown and hamlet of Kittwhistle at the foot of the eastern flanks of the ridge.
Pilsdon Pen is a 277-metre (909 ft) hill in Dorset in South West England, situated at the north end of the Marshwood Vale, approximately 4.5 miles (7.2 km) west of Beaminster. It is Dorset's second highest point and has panoramic views extending for many miles. It was bequeathed to the National Trust by the Pinney family in 1982. For many years it was thought to be Dorset's highest hill, until modern survey revealed that nearby Lewesdon Hill was 2 metres higher.
The original church at Thorncombe was dedicated to St Mary by William Brewer, Bishop of Exeter, in 1239. The building of the church, as well as nearby Forde Abbey (founded in 1136), was superintended by Cistercian monks from Waverley, Surrey. Thomas Chard, alias Tyblis, the last Abbot, was Suffragan Bishop to the Bishop of Exeter from 1508 and was appointed Vicar of Thorncombe in 1529, 10 years before he left Forde Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.
William Briwere was a medieval Bishop of Exeter.
The Bishop of Exeter is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Exeter in the Province of Canterbury. The current incumbent, since 30 April 2014, is Robert Atwell. The incumbent signs his name as his Christian name or forename followed by Exon., abbreviated from the Latin Episcopus Exoniensis.
Forde Abbey is a privately owned former Cistercian monastery in Dorset, England, with a postal address in Chard, Somerset. The house and gardens are run as a tourist attraction while the 1,600-acre (650 ha) estate is farmed to provide additional revenue. Forde Abbey is a Grade I listed building.
Local legend has it that Rev. John Bragge, Vicar of Thorncombe from 1644 to 1647, was deprived of his living, probably because he was involved in a royalist plot against Cromwell, and was transported to Barbados. Although this statement appears on several websites, it is incorrect. The truth is less dramatic: Thorncombe’s parish register records John Bragge's burial in the churchyard on 5 April 1647. The Journal of the House of Lords for 3 November 1647 records the presentation of a ‘Petition of the Inhabitants of Thornecombe’. Now in Lambeth Palace Library, it confirms the date of John Bragge's demise. Signed by 62 parishioners, it states that parishioners 'have suffered above these twelve months last past their want of a preaching minister of the Gospel, by reason that John Bragge the last Incumbent by his delinquency agt State was sequestrated unto the time of his death which happened about half a year since'.
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland "and of the dominions thereto belonging" from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic.
The old church stood about 50 yards (46 m) to the south of the present church, where the Wellingtonia tree now stands. In 1770, the church at Thorncombe was not large enough to contain 'the fourth part of the inhabitants'. The present church dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, was built in 1866 to seat 400. This suggests that 200 years ago the population was over 1,600.[ dubious ] At that time, the village was a centre for the wool trade and had a thriving lace-making industry. The population was 1,308 in 1851 and 1,189 in 1871.
In 1689 Robert French registered his home as a "Protestant Dissenting Meeting Place" and by 1723 there is known to have been a Quaker Meeting House and burial ground in Thorncombe.
Until recently the main industry in and around Thorncombe has been agriculture, but this has decreased in recent times. There are still a few farms which survive around the village but most residents work in the local towns of Chard, Crewkerne and Bridport.
Famous past inhabitants of Thorncombe include the Puritan Sir Henry Rosewell; the poet, dramatist and Royalist sermoniser Robert Gomersall; the Commonwealth Attorney General, Edmund Prideaux; Queen Anne's Secretary of War Francis Gwyn; the artist Lucien Pissarro; the ethnologist Sir Raymond Firth; the anthropologist Rosemary, Lady Firth; and the art-historian Cecil Gould.
Until 1844, the parish of Thorncombe was an exclave of Devon, at which time it was transferred under the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844, to Dorset. It was part of Axminster Hundred.
In 1836 the parish, which had been part of the Deanery of Honiton, was transferred ecclesiastically from the Diocese of Exeter to the Diocese of Salisbury. In 1982, the ecclesiastical parish was transferred to the Diocese of Bath and Wells, at which time it became a 'united benefice' sharing a vicar with the neighbouring (Somerset) parishes of Winsham and Cricket St Thomas. In 1999, the parishes joined with others to form the Chard and District Team Ministry. In 2006 Thorncombe together with Winsham was linked with Tatworth, Chaffcombe and Cricket Malherbie with Knowle St Giles to form the Two Shires Benefice.
The present church, incorporating a number of items from the old church, was built in 1866–1867 at a cost of £4,000. The foundation stone was laid on 26 April 1866 by Margaret Bragge, widow of Colonel Bragge of Sadborow, and was dedicated by the Bishop of Salisbury on 15 October 1867. It was built in Perpendicular style, the windows being modelled on those of the cloisters of Forde Abbey. Inside the church is a memorial brass commemorating Sir Thomas (died 1419) and Lady Brook (died 1437) of Holditch Manor. This is one of 500 brass memorials recorded in the Lancastrian period 1400–1453.
Axminster is a market town and civil parish on the eastern border of the county of Devon in England, some 28 miles (45 km) from the county town of Exeter. The town is built on a hill overlooking the River Axe which heads towards the English Channel at Axmouth, and is in the East Devon local government district. At the 2001 census, it had a population of 5,626, increasing to 5,761 at the 2011 census. The town contains two electoral wards the total sum of both wards being a population of 7,110. The market is still held every Thursday.
The Perry Street and District League, commonly known as the Perry Street League, is a football competition with clubs from south Somerset, west Dorset and East Devon, England. The league was formed in 1903 by Charles Edward Small, the owner of the Perry Street Lace Works, who is commemorated by the three spools of lace depicted on the league's crest.
Seavington St Michael is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England. It is situated next to the village of Seavington St Mary, about 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Ilminster, within the South Somerset district. It lies in a hollow within a larger area of low-lying hills and valleys running broadly east-west. A part of the South Petherton Hundred, originally the area included seven settlements which have gradually merged or vanished, but were the origin of the Seavington -- part of the village name.
A parish church in the Church of England is the church which acts as the religious centre for the people within the smallest and most basic Church of England administrative region, the parish – since the 19th century called the ecclesiastical parish to avoid confusion with the civil parish which many towns and villages have.
Hawkchurch is a village and civil parish in Devon, England, 3 miles north east of Axminster on the border of Devon and Dorset, and about 6 miles south of Somerset. It is 4 miles north of the tourist and fishing village of Lyme Regis.
Wookey is a village and civil parish 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Wells, on the River Axe in the Mendip district of Somerset, England. Wookey is often confused with its sister village Wookey Hole which is perhaps best known today for the Wookey Hole Caves. The parish includes the village of Henton and the nearby hamlets of Yarley and Bleadney where the River Axe, travels the length of the village. There used to be a port at Bleadney on the river in the 8th century which allowed goods to be brought to within 3 miles (5 km) of Wells.
Whitelackington is a village and civil parish on the A303 one mile north east of Ilminster, in Somerset, England. The parish includes Dillington Park and the hamlets of Atherstone and Ashwell.
Crediton Parish Church, formally the Church of the Holy Cross and the Mother of Him who Hung Thereon, is a prominent building and worshipping community in the Devon town of Crediton. The church is built on site of what was the "cathedral" of the Bishop of Crediton in the former diocese until 1050 when the see was transferred to Exeter. A college of canons remained at Crediton, administering the buildings and life of the "collegiate" church. The nave and chancel of the current building date from the 15th century. At the English Reformation the church was surrendered to Henry VIII in 1545 and the college dispersed. The church buildings were bought by the Crediton Town Corporation who still administer the fabric today. Now a parish church, the life of the church is administered by the parochial church council (PCC), although many still refer to the church as the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross.
Sir Henry Rosewell (1590–1656) of Forde Abbey, Devon, was a puritan and supporter of the New World colonies.
Winsham is a village and civil parish 4 miles (6 km) south-east of Chard and 6 miles (10 km) from Crewkerne, in the South Somerset district of Somerset, England. The parish, which has a population of approximately 730 residents living in some 320 households, includes the hamlets of Whatley, Bridge, Purtington and Ammerham, and covers an area of approximately 12 square miles (3,100 ha).
Blackdown is a small village in western Dorset, England; situated 7 miles (11 km) west of Beaminster. With the creation of the new Dorset Council, Blackdown is now part of the new Marshwood Vale Ward. The local travel links are located 5 miles (8.0 km) from the village to Crewkerne railway station and 25 miles (40 km) to Exeter International Airport. The main road through the village is the B3165, connecting Blackdown and Lyme Regis. The village has a population of 128 according to the 2001 Census. The village is a ward of the Broadwindsor Parish which besides the few houses in Blackdown includes Kittwhistle, Templeman's Ash (part), Laymore (part), Coles Cross, Causeway Lane, Venn, Southcoombe,Stoney Knapp, Schoolhouse Lane, Speckets Lane, Racedown, Cockpit, Horn Ash, Berechapel, Childhay, two houses in Synderford, two houses in Birdsmoregate including the old Rose & Crown Public House now a private residence it is split between many postcodes partly due to the County boundary being realigned in the 1960s. Residents have postcodes with the main town as either Beaminster, Bridport, Crewkerne or Chard. Divisions also arise within telephone exchange areas, the BT phone box was removed from the centre of Blackdown in March 2017. Water services are provided by either South West Water or Wessex Water.
Cowick is a suburb of the City of Exeter in Devon. Historically it was a manor situated in the parish of St Thomas, Exeter, within the hundred of Wonford. It was formerly the site of a Benedictine monastery.
Rockbeare is a village and civil parish in the East Devon district of the county of Devon, England, located near Exeter Airport and the city of Exeter. "Whilst the name has nothing to do with either 'rocks' nor 'bears', it simply means 'rooks in the grove '." "The parish comprises the hamlets of Marsh Green, Pithead, Allercombe, and Little Silver". The village, which is of small extent, is situated on the high road from Honiton to Exeter, and is an agricultural town. The land is nearly evenly divided between arable and pasture, with about 200 acres of common. According to the 2011 Census there were 431 males and 483 females living in the parish. "Rockbeare is written within the Broadclyst ward and electoral division, which is in the constituency of East Devon County Council".
Yarcombe is a village and civil parish in the county of Devon, England, situated in the East Devon administrative district on the A30 road near the towns of Honiton and Chard. It is sited in the steep rolling meadows and ancient woods of the Yarty Valley on the south edge of the Blackdown Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The population according to the 2011 census was 500.
Allan Edward Henry Rutter, known as Claude Rutter is an English retired Church of England priest and former cricketer.
Henry Henley (1612–1696) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1653 and 1681. He supported the Parliamentary cause in the English Civil War.
Crewkerne Grammar School was a grammar school in the town of Crewkerne in the English county of Somerset. It was founded in 1499 by John de Combe, a precentor of Exeter Cathedral and former vicar of Crewkerne. The school closed in 1904, after a prolonged financial crisis, and re-opened the following year as an ordinary secondary school under the Board of Education.
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Another interesting fact about Thorncombe is that it has the world's best James May impersonater. Commonly know around the village as 'Captain' Rebecca Doxat, Thorncombe resident, proudly holds this coveted title. Rebecca is said to run around the village screaming "i am el Capitan" as she wears a shirt saying Thursday on a Saturday night. Rebecca has little contact with the villagers yet like to think of herself as a philanthropic part of the village communtiy.
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