Wembury

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Coordinates: 50°19′01″N 4°04′59″W / 50.31686°N 4.08298°W / 50.31686; -4.08298

Wembury
Mewstone small.jpg
The Mewstone
Wembury is located in Devon
Wembury
Wembury
 Wembury shown within Devon
OS grid reference SX518484
District South Hams
Shire county Devon
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town PLYMOUTH
Postcode district PL9 0xx
Dialling code 01752
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
List of places
UK
England
Devon

Wembury is a village on the south coast of Devon, very close to Plymouth Sound. Wembury is also the name of the peninsula in which the village is situated. The village lies in the administrative district of the South Hams within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The South West Coast Path goes past the coastal end of the town. The National Trust has taken an active role in maintaining the scenic and historic characteristics of the village and its surrounding area.

The beach is well known for its surfing and rock pooling. Wembury Marine Centre educates visitors about what they can find in the rockpools and how they can help protect and preserve them. The centre is managed by Devon Wildlife Trust and was refurbished in 2006. Basking Sharks can be seen in the summer near the Mewstone. There is also Wembury primary school [1]

There are three pubs with in the Wembury parish. The Eddystone inn, mussell inn and the Odd Wheel (the oddy). Three shops are also in Wembury Down Thomas stores, Wembury stores and Wembury Spar. The spar previously was Knighton Stores which was run by Rae (RIP Rae - Wembury loves you) and was taken over in April 2012.

Wembury is a part of the South West Devon UK Parliament constituency.

History[edit]

Wembury was visited by Mesolithic man as evidenced by flint implements found on local sites. Some Roman coins have also been found.

The name 'Wembury' may derive from a place name containing the name Woden,[1][2][3] and John Mitchell Kemble notes that it was called "Wódnesbeorh".[4]

Saxons colonised south-west Devon during the 7th century and founded agricultural settlements here. There was also a church dedicated to Saint Werburgh, a Saxon saint, in the area.

Wembury has expanded vastly in the last 80 years with areas of farmland sold off for housing. Some older buildings are still present in the village, mainly in Knighton and West Wembury.

Wembury in the public eye[edit]

Wembury is mentioned in The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. Galsworthy visited Wembury as part of his research for the book, he was intensely interested in his own origins and descent through a long line of Devon farmers who farmed in Wembury for three hundred years from the 17th century to the late 19th century.

Wembury was used as a location in the filming of the Comic Strip's parody Five Go Mad on Mescalin. In the film the Mewstone can be clearly seen.

Heybrook Bay, Wembury parish, from the sea

Wembury parish[edit]

The parish of Wembury was divided into four manors: Wembury, Down Thomas, Langdon and Alfelmeston. According to Lyson's Devonshire, published in 1822, the manor of Wembury originally belonged to Plympton priory. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 it went into private ownership. Wembury House, the (rebuilt) mansion on the estate, remains in private ownership. Wembury House is an elegant late Georgian mansion, originally an Elizabethan house stood on the site now occupied by the current house built in the early 19th century. It was rebuilt by Major Edmund Lockyer.

The Mewstone[edit]

A distinctive feature visible from Wembury Beach is the Mewstone.

This is a triangular island which is currently uninhabited. However, it has served as a prison and a private home, as well as a refuge for local smugglers. Its most infamous resident was Sam Wakeman who avoided transportation to Australia in favour of the cheaper option of transportation to the Mewstone, where he was interned for 7 years.[citation needed] After his internment on the island he remained there paying his rent by supplying rabbits for the Manor House table. It is said Sam Wakeman is responsible for carving the rough stone steps to the summit of the Mewstone.[citation needed]

The island was painted several times by J M W Turner after sketching it during a sailing trip from Plymouth in 1813. "The Mewstone", painted between 1823 and 1826, was left to the nation by the Turner Bequest and is in the collection of Tate Britain. A watercolour of about 1814 in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin is entitled "The Mew Stone, at the Entrance of Plymouth Sound, Devonshire". Another watercolour traditionally known as "Storm off Margate" in a private collection, is now accepted to be a view of The Mewstone.[5] A further Turner painting that had been identified as the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth was re catalogued as The Mewstone when it was auctioned by Christie's in 2008.[6]

The Mewstone and Little Mewstone is now a bird sanctuary and access is not permitted to visitors.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'Report and transactions, Volume 10'.Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science 1878. Original from the University of California. Pages 285, 299
  2. ^ Taylor, Isaac. 'Words and Places: or, Etymological Illustrations of History, Ethnology, and Geography'. Macmillan, 1865, Harvard University. ISBN 1-4212-7015-3 Length: 561 pages. Pages 322 and 323
  3. ^ Allen, Grant.'Early Britain' BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2007. ISBN 1-4346-0560-4, ISBN 978-1-4346-0560-3. Length: 172 pages. Page 63
  4. ^ Kemble, John Mitchell. de Gray Birch, John (editor). 'The Saxons in England V1: A History of the English Commonwealth Till the Period of the Norman Conquest'. Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1849. ISBN 978-1-4326-3740-8. Length: 562 pages. Page 336, 343, 344
  5. ^ Tate - Art and artists - Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Mewstone c.1823-6
  6. ^ BBC News - Monday, 2 June 2008 - Fine art experts in Turner U-turn

External links[edit]