Lifton shown within Devon
|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|
Lifton is a village and civil parish in Devon, South West England near the confluence of the rivers Wolf and Lyd, 1¼ miles south of the A30 trunk road and very near the border between Devon and Cornwall.
The village was one of the first in the west of Devon to be founded by the Saxons, and was of strategic importance because of its location on a major route close to the border with Cornwall. It was first recorded as Liwtune in the will of King Alfred in the late 9th century. At a meeting of the Witan in Lifton on 12 November 931 King Æthelstan granted land to his thegn Wulfgar, and the charter was witnessed by King Hywel Dda of Deheubarth and King Idwal Foel of Gwynedd.
Lifton became the centre of an administrative hundred, and was a royal manor, passing into private hands when sold by Queen Elizabeth to local landowner William Harris of Hayne in the late 16th century. Since they had moved here from Kenegie in Cornwall their armorial bearings include a motto in Cornish, which is "Car Dew tres pub tra" ("Love God above everything"). An inn at Portgate, the Harris Arms, is named after the family.
There has been a church in Lifton since Norman times, although little of the existing St Mary's Church is earlier than the 15th century. In 1755 the manor was inherited by the Arundell family. The Arundell Arms is a hotel, formerly a coaching inn known as "The White Horse", which is known today for fishing.
Agriculture and mining have supported the economy in the past. The dairy company, Ambrosia, has been based here since 1917. Started as a milk factory using supplies from dairy farms in the area, it produced dried milk during the Second World War. The site has been enlarged considerably and the firm is now an important local employer.
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References and notes
- Office for National Statistics (2001), United Kingdom Census 2001. Note: The quoted population of 617 comprises 323 for census area 18ULGU0001 and 294 for area 18ULGU0003.
- History of Lifton website
- Foot, Sarah (2011). Æthelstan: The First King of England. Yale University Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-300-12535-1.
- Quoted from the Cornish medieval play of the Passion, translated by Charles Henderson in: Henderson, Charles (1935) "Cornish inns", in: Essays in Cornish History; ed. by A. L. Rowse and M. I. Henderson. London: Oxford U. P.; pp. 168-71
- Lifton Village Trail