Crediton

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Coordinates: 50°47′33″N 3°39′05″W / 50.7924°N 3.6514°W / 50.7924; -3.6514

Crediton
Church of The Holy Cross, Crediton.jpg
Church of The Holy Cross, Crediton
Crediton is located in Devon
Crediton
Crediton
 Crediton shown within Devon
Population 6,837 (2001)
OS grid reference SS837005
Civil parish Crediton
District Mid Devon
Shire county Devon
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CREDITON
Postcode district EX17
Dialling code 01363
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Central Devon
List of places
UK
England
Devon

Crediton is a town and civil parish in the Mid Devon district of Devon in England. It stands on the A377 Exeter to Barnstaple road at the junction with the A3072 road to Tiverton, about 7 miles (11 km) north west of Exeter. It has a population of 6,837.[1] The town is situated in the narrow vale of the River Creedy, between two steep hills and is divided into two parts, the east or old town and the west or new town.

History[edit]

The first indication of settlement at Crediton is the knowledge that Winfrith or Saint Boniface was born here in c. 672.[2] He propagated Christianity in the Frankish Empire during the 8th century and is the patron saint of both Germany and the Netherlands. In 909 a see was established here with Edwulf as the first bishop.[2] Nine more bishops ruled here until 1050, when Leofric obtained papal permission from Pope Leo IX to transfer the seat to Exeter,[2] a more culturally aware, larger and walled town. Since 1897 Crediton has been the seat of a suffragan bishopric in the Diocese of Exeter; since 2004 this has been Robert Evens.[3]

At the Domesday survey (1086) much of the land was still uncultivated, but its prosperity increased, and in 1269 each of the twelve prebends of the collegiate church had a house and farmland within the parish. The bishops, to whom the manor belonged until the Reformation, had difficulty in enforcing their warren and other rights; in 1351 Bishop Grandisson obtained an exemplification of judgments of 1282 declaring that he had pleas of withernam, view of frankpledge, the gallows and assize of bread and ale. Two years later there was a serious riot against the increase of copyhold.

The jury of the borough are mentioned in 1275,[citation needed] and Crediton returned two members to parliament during the reign of Edward I,[4] in 1306-1307, though it was never afterwards represented again. A borough seal dated 1469 is extant, but the corporation is not mentioned in the grant made by Edward VI of the church to twelve principal inhabitants. The borough and manor were granted by Elizabeth I to William Killigrew in 1595, but there is no indication of town organization then or in 1630, and in the 18th century Crediton was governed by commissioners.

The wool trade was established by 1249, and the manufacture and trading of woollen cloth, especially serge, peaked in the 16th century when the town reached the height of its prosperity.[5] In 1630 the market for kerseys was mentioned in conjunction with a saying as fine as Kirton spinning.[6] The woollen textile trade declined after the mid 18th century.[5]

… a big lousy town … the houses be mostly of clay, without any timber in the walls except the roof, doors and windows.

—Richard Symons, a Captain in the Royalist Army, writing about Crediton in 1644.[7]

During the English Civil War the Earl of Essex passed through the town on 20 July 1644 on his way towards Cornwall,[8] and evidently left the town and surrounding countryside in some disarray.[9] He was closely followed by Charles I who arrived in the town on 27 July to review the army gathered there by his nephew, Prince Maurice, before returning to Exeter for a council of war.[10] The following Sunday, the King spent the night at Crediton and then began his expedition of "Essex-catching".[10] In the winter of 1645-46 the town was used as a base by Thomas Fairfax and the New Model Army from where they marched on the Royalist forces gathering in North Devon, and to where they returned on 29 March 1646 after success both at the Battle of Torrington and in overturning the siege of Plymouth.[11]

On 14 August 1743 (a Sunday morning), a great fire started, completely destroying High Street and buildings in the "West Town".[2] At that period of time it was the second largest fire in the country, second only to the Great Fire of London. Sixteen people lost their lives, with over 2,000 made homeless and 450 houses destroyed. Other large fires occurred in 1766, 1769 and 1772.[2]

The town is twinned with Avranches, France.

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Crediton has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb).

Climate data for Crediton
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
(46)
8
(46)
10
(50)
12
(54)
16
(61)
19
(66)
21
(70)
21
(70)
18
(64)
14
(57)
11
(52)
9
(48)
14
(57)
Average low °C (°F) 3
(37)
3
(37)
3
(37)
4
(39)
7
(45)
11
(52)
12
(54)
12
(54)
10
(50)
8
(46)
5
(41)
4
(39)
7
(45)
Source: Weather Channel[12]

Economy[edit]

Storage silos at the Milk Link creamery, which produces UHT milk

In the early 20th century shoe-making, tanning, agricultural trade, tin-plating and the manufacture of confectionery and cider had superseded the former large woollen and serge industries.

The creamery and dairy in Crediton has always been located next to the church, but to enable its product to be distributed further, the company ran a transport depot that was located in the goods yard of the railway station.[13] Every day, a train of three or more Milk Tank Wagons would be filled from lorries, and then taken to London by either the Great Western Railway or the Southern Railway. Express Dairies sold the creamery and a similar unit in Kirkcudbright, Scotland in July 2002 to Milk Link, which both by that time produced UHT milk.

Today, the town has two industrial parks at Lords Meadow and Fordton, a dairy and a small collection of units at Westward Business Park.[14] It is the centre for shopping and business for the surrounding area, and has industries such as graphics and pharmaceuticals.[15]

Bristow's of Devon, founded in 1932 was one of the town's main employers but was closed in 2011 after owner New McCowan's went into administration. The factory, on Lords Meadow Industrial Estate, was reopened by Crediton Confectionery which has taken over the Bristow's brand.[16][17]

In 2001 the Crediton area was given priority status with regard to the government's Market and Coastal Towns Initiative, following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. By 2006, of 45 projects in the plan, 18 had been completed, resolved, or begun.[18]

Pubs include the Crediton Inn on Mill Street, the General Sir Redvers Buller (a Wetherspoon's), the Three Little Pigs, The Ship, the White Swan on High Street, the Plymouth Inn on Dean Street and The Mitre on High Street.

Sport and leisure[edit]

Crediton has a Non-League football club Crediton United A.F.C. who play at The Lords Meadow Sports Centre.

Transport[edit]

Crediton sign on the A3072

The town is easily accessed from various roads, including the A3072.

Crediton railway station was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was opened by the Exeter and Crediton Railway on 12 May 1851. The line to Barnstaple was then opened by the North Devon Railway on 1 August 1854. After 1 November 1865 additional London and South Western Railway trains ran through the station going towards Okehampton.[19] It is the currently junction of the Tarka and Dartmoor lines, though the two lines run parallel until Coleford Junction. Crediton is served by all trains on the Barnstaple to Exmouth service. They connect with main line services at Exeter St Davids.[20]

The nearest airport is at Exeter International.

Education[edit]

Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, founded by Edward VI and refounded by Elizabeth I, is today a state run, part boarding school, and an academy, named Queen Elizabeth's [2] which gets good GCSE and A level results.[21] There are two primary schools; Hayward's Primary School and Landscore Primary School. Nearby in the village of the same name is Sandford School and 10 other partner primaries.

Landmarks[edit]

  • South east of the town, on a ridge overlooking the river, is the country house, Downes, built about 1692 and remodelled in the 18th century. It was the birthplace of Sir Redvers Buller[2] whose family were lords of the manor of Crediton.
  • The north west side of the town had a great wall built in 1276 and it is still partly remaining today, although now it looks no different from a normal garden wall.

Cultural references[edit]

Bernard Cornwell mentions Crediton as Cridianton in his books The Pale Horseman and The Last Kingdom. Both books are set during the reign of Alfred the Great.[citation needed]

Michael Jecks Knights Templar Mysteries are set in and around Crediton.

See also[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • T. Reuter (ed.): The Greatest Englishman: Essays on St Boniface and the church at Crediton, Exeter, 1980.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Mid Devon Retrieved 27 January 2010
  2. ^ a b c d e f g W. G. Hoskins (1954). A New Survey of England: Devon. London: Collins. pp. 378–379.  (Text online here [1])
  3. ^ BBC: New Bishop for Crediton
  4. ^ "Crediton Devon through time - Local history overview for the place". A Vision of Britain through Time. (Quoting John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887). Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  5. ^ a b W. G. Hoskins (1972 (5th edn.)). Devon. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. p. 378. 
  6. ^ "Crediton: From White's Devonshire Directory of 1850". GENUKI/Devon. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  7. ^ T. W. Venn (1955). "An Introduction to Crediton". Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association 87: 28. 
  8. ^ Eugene A. Andriette (1971). Devon and Exeter in the Civil War. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. p. 116. 
  9. ^ Giglio, Robert (2003). "Lostwithiel Campaign, 1644. Being a brief background of the campaign in Cornwall during the English Civil Wars". The English Civil War Society of America (See entry for 28 July under "Chronology of Events - The King's Army"). Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  10. ^ a b Eugene A. Andriette (1971). Devon and Exeter in the Civil War. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. p. 118. 
  11. ^ Eugene A. Andriette (1971). Devon and Exeter in the Civil War. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. pp. 157–158, 162, 165. 
  12. ^ Crediton travel information Weather Channel UK Retrieved 4 April 2009
  13. ^ "Devon Transport History". Transport-history.co.uk. 31 August 1978. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  14. ^ "Crediton, Devon, UK for Westcountry Business". Crediton Area Website. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  15. ^ Harris, Helen (2004). A Handbook of Devon Parishes. Tiverton: Halsgrove. p. 54. ISBN 1-84114-314-6. 
  16. ^ "Devon fudge factory Bristow's closes with 73 jobs lost". BBC News. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "Sweets smell of success for new factory owners". Mid Devon Gazette (Northcliffe Media Ltd). 13 March 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  18. ^ "Crediton MCTi – history, lessons learned, and the future.". Mid Devon District Council. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  19. ^ Nicholas, John (1992). The North Devon Line. Sparkford: Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86093-461-6. 
  20. ^ "National Rail Timetable 136 (Summer 2009)" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  21. ^ http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=136646

External links[edit]