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Buckland Brewer shown within Devon
|Population||777 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|Fire||Devon and Somerset|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||Torridge and West Devon|
Buckland Brewer is a village and civil parish in the Torridge district of Devon, England, 4.7 miles south of Bideford. Historically the parish formed part of Shebbear Hundred. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 777.
Orleigh Court is a late medieval house built in Buckland Brewer. John Davie bought the building in 1684. It was the birthplace of John Hanning Speke. It was substantially altered in the early 18th century and remodelled after 1869. It was redeveloped for multiple occupancy in the 1980s and is currently divided into approximately twelve apartments.
The estate of Vielstone was in the 17th century the earliest known residence of the influential Stevens family, later of Smythacott in Frithelstock, Winscott House in Peters Marland and Cross, Little Torrington.
Henry Stevens (1617-post 1675) of Vielstone in the parish of Buckland Brewer, eldest son and heir of William Stevens (d.1648) of Great Torrington, married Judith Hancock (1650-1676), daughter of John Hancock (1625-1661), lord of the manor of Combe Martin, by his wife Mary Sainthill, daughter of Peter Sainthill (1596-1648) of Bradninch. William Stevens was apparently a younger son of the Stevens family of Chavenage House, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, which rose to great prominence during the Civil War. Judith Hancock's mural monument survives in Great Torrington Church, prominently positioned above the altar on the east wall of the south aisle, on which the arms of Stevens (Per chevron azure and argent, in chief two falcons rising or) impale Hancock. The Stevens family later built Cross House, in the parish of Little Torrington, a large Georgian mansion situated on top of the hill across the River Torridge valley from Great Torrington Castle Hill. Another branch built the large Victorian mansion of Winscott, since demolished, in the parish of Peters Marland. They were major landowners in the parishes of Frithelstock, Peters Marland, Little Torrington and were lords of the manor of the last two places. They intermarried with the Rolle family of Stevenstone and were briefly in the 19th. century the heirs presumptive of John Rolle, 1st Baron Rolle (d.1842) of Stevenstone, the largest landowner in Devon. The inscription on the monument is as follows:
- Memoria Sacrum Judithae filiae Johannis Hancock de Combmartin, Armigeri, uxoris Henrici Stevens de Velstone, Generosi, quae obiit 6to (sexto) Kal(endae) 7bris (Septembris) Anno Domini 1676 aetatis suae 26. Vir maestus posuit ("Sacred to the memory of Judith, daughter of John Hancock of Combe Martin, Esquire, wife of Henry Stevens of Vielstone, Gentleman, who departed the 6th of the month of September in the Year of Our Lord 1676 of her age 26. Her sorrowful husband erected this")
Vielstone in the early 21st century is a modest farmhouse, surrounded by converted farmbuildings and new bungalows. It was operated by Atlas Project Team (Holdings) Ltd as a residential home until about 2012 when its standards of care reached unacceptably low levels which resulted in its closure and insolvency. On behalf of the administrator Grant Thornton UK LLP it was offered for sale in 2013 by Webbers estate agents for £900,000, including the outbuildings converted into dwellings and 6 acres of land.
Historical population figures show a variable trend of increased and decreased population. Torridge District Council historical data shows the following populations:
- 1801: 872
- 1901: 644
- 2001: 777
The church of St Mary and St Benedict (Church of England) is part of the benefice of the Hartland Coast Team Ministry. This falls within Hartland Deanery, in the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple. This is in the Diocese of Exeter. The Reverend Wendy Mitchell oversees the whole of the parish.
There is also a Methodist chapel in the village.
The Butcher's shop unfortunately closed at the end of 2013
The Coach & Horses Inn is a 12th-century inn and its history is well documented.
The village hall is provided for the use of parishioners.
Buckland Brewer Community Primary School is a mixed gender, non-denominational school for 5-11 year olds. The school is currently federated with Parkham Primary school with around 90 pupils between them.
It is a very small primary school at the centre of the village. The Victorian church school building has been considerably modified and, with a mobile temporary classroom, now provides space for two classes, one for reception and Years 1 and 2, and the other for Years 3 to 6. Most pupils move to Great Torrington School in Year 7, although some have been known to opt for Bideford College or one of the local private schools such as Kingsley or Shebbear College.
A pre-school operates in the village hall, which caters for the under 5's. There is a close relationship between school and pre-school.
The village had a successful football team, Buckland Brewer FC, managed by John Adams. Having formed in 1976, the club is a member of the North Devon Football League. The club has won several honours, including:
- Division 2 Winners: 2008/9
- Bideford Tool League Cup: 2004/5
- North Devon Challenge Cup Runners Up: 76/7, 94/5, 95/6
- North Devon Intermediate Cup Runners Up: 80/1
- Arlington Cup: 77/8
- Arlington Cup Runners Up: 84/5
- Intermediate II Division Winners: 77/8
The club ran a Youth team from 1996 to 1999, and won the following honours in the North Devon Scaffolding Invitation Youth League:
- Under 16 Plate Winners: 98/99
- Under 15 Plate Runners Up: 97/8
There is a cricket team in the village. They are not in any league.
- Edward Capern, postman-turned-poet, (admired by Tennyson, Charles Kingsley and Walter Savage Landor), lived here in the 19th century.
- John Davie, merchant
- Pevsner, p.613; Emery A. (2006)
- The two Stevens/Stephens families bear the same armorials, per Visitations of Gloucestershire, pp.151-153 and those shown on Stevens family monuments in the Devon churches of Great Torrington, Little Torrington and Peters Marland
- "Ofsted Report on Buckland Brewer Community Primary School". Ofsted.
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