Abbots Bickington

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Abbots Bickington
Abbots Bickington - St James church - - 590982.jpg
St James' church
Abbots Bickington is located in Devon
Abbots Bickington
Abbots Bickington
Location within Devon
Population35 (2001)
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtEX22
Dialling code01409
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
FireDevon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°53′46″N 4°17′53″W / 50.896°N 4.298°W / 50.896; -4.298Coordinates: 50°53′46″N 4°17′53″W / 50.896°N 4.298°W / 50.896; -4.298
Abbots Bickington: barns at Court Barton

Abbots Bickington is a village and civil parish in the English county of Devon, located 7.7 miles north-northeast of Holsworthy and near the River Torridge.[1]


The name Bickington is derived from an "estate associated with a man named Beacca" plus the Old English practice of adding "ing" and "tūn" to create a place name. In 1086 it was recorded as Bicatona, in 1107 Bechintona, and in 1580 Abbots Bekenton, to reflect the possession by Hartland Abbey.[2]


The village is located in the Torridge local authority area.[3][4] It is within the Church of England's Deanery of Holsworthy[4] and the Diocese of Exeter.[1]

In the late 19th century it was reported that blue limestone was quarried in the village for building construction, and trustees of Lord Rolle were patrons of the church.[1]



The village was held by Goda the priest in the time of King Edward before the Norman Conquest of 1066.[5][6] The area was part of the Black Torrington Hundred and had 10 households, 8 were smallholders and 2 were slaves.[6] It is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086–7 as Bichetone, when it was held by Gerald the Chaplain,[5] the tenant-in-chief and lord. He was also associated with two other locations in Devon: Stoke and Shapley.[6]

Abbey and manor[edit]

Hartland Abbey[edit]

In the 12th century the manor was given to Hartland Abbey by Geoffrey de Dinant,[7][nb 1] as part of the abbey's initial endowment. It remained as property of the abbey until dissolution in 1539.[7][9] The church was built as a "cell" of the abbey.[1]


Hugh Prust contracted for a 40-year lease of the manor.[10]

By 1871, Mark Rolle owned most of the 1078 acres of Abbots Bickington and was lord of the manor. At that time there were 50 people living in 8 households. Rolle paid for the 1868 renovations to the church, including installation of new seats and construction of a new roof.[11]

Church of St James[edit]

The village church was built about 1300 of stone rubble and lancet windows.[12][13] In the 15th century, stained glass were added, featuring St Anthony and St Christopher. There is also a monument to Thomas Pollard in the church.[12]

The chancel and nave, west tower and south transept were all built about the same time. It has the original piscina. Medieval Barnstaple tiles, some with fleur-de-lys pattern, cover the chancel floor. In 1863 and 1868 the church went through processes to reseat and restore the church. Church of St James is described as "an unspoilt example of a small early church, modest in size but with a number of interesting features and very picturesque appearance."[13]

Population and parish governance[edit]

The population was 68 in 1801, 61 in 1901, and 35 in 2001. Because of low population there is no parish council; instead there is a parish meeting.[14]


Abbots Bickington is located north of the A388 road.[15]


  1. ^ Chope identifies the founder as Geoffrey de Dynam.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Abbots Bickington". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  2. ^ A. D. Mills (9 October 2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-157847-2. OCLC 727648507. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Abbots Bickington". Explore Britain. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Abbots Bickington". Devon County Council. Archived from the original on 27 August 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  5. ^ a b Williams, Ann; Martin, G. H. (2002). Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin. pp. 334, 1303. ISBN 978-0-14-143994-5. OCLC 50494977.
  6. ^ a b c "Place: [Abbots] Bickington". Open Domesday. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  7. ^ a b Lysons, Daniel; Lysons, Samuel (1822). Magna Britannia: being a concise topographical account of the several counties of Great Britain. 6. Cadell. p. 44.
  8. ^ Chope, Richard Pearse; Thornley, Isobel Dorothy (1940). The book of Hartland. Torquay: The Devonshire press. p. 57.
  9. ^ "Abbots Bickington". Devon County Council. Archived from the original on 27 August 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  10. ^ Chope, Richard Pearse; Thornley, Isobel Dorothy (1940). The book of Hartland. Torquay: The Devonshire press. p. 208.
  11. ^ White, William (of Sheffield) (1879). History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Devon: Including the City of Exeter, and Comprising a General Survey of the County ... White. p. 7. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  12. ^ a b Mee, A. (1965). The King's England: Devon. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 16.
  13. ^ a b "Church of St James, Abbots Bickington". English Listed Buildings. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Abbots Bickington Parish Meeting". CPALC. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Google maps – Abbots Bickington, UK". Google. Retrieved 24 June 2013.

External links[edit]