High Bickington

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High Bickington
High Bickington High Street and Post Office - geograph.org.uk - 338211.jpg
High Bickington High Street and Post Office
High Bickington is located in Devon
High Bickington
High Bickington
High Bickington shown within Devon
Population 1,668 (2011 including outlying hamlets and localities, some with separate articles)
OS grid reference SS598209
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district EX37
Dialling code 01769
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°58′13″N 3°59′47″W / 50.9703°N 3.9963°W / 50.9703; -3.9963Coordinates: 50°58′13″N 3°59′47″W / 50.9703°N 3.9963°W / 50.9703; -3.9963

High Bickington is a largely rural village in Devon, England spread across largely cultivated hills and wooded valleys of North Devon, between Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin moor. The village is centred 8.6 miles (13.8 km) from Barnstaple, 10 miles (16 km) from South Molton, 8 miles (13 km) from Great Torrington and 33 miles (53 km) from Exeter.[1]

The village is on the valley top, almost 600 feet, 190M above sea level, overlooking the river Taw valley, and has spectacular unbroken views across the valley towards Exmoor.[2]


With its origins in Saxon times (around 650), or earlier, the manor of High Bickington is referred to as 'Bichentone' in the Domesday Book of 1086. Before the Norman Conquest, the manor belonged to a Saxon nobleman, Britric, nicknamed Meau ('the fair'), who also held rights to the land revenues of Gloucester and extensive estates in the West Country. He spurned the advances of Matilda, the Duke of Flanders' daughter, who later as Queen of England imprisoned Britric and eventually had him put to death. All his lands passed to her, including Bichentona, Clovelly, Bideford, Winkleigh and Tiverton. The lands were later inherited by Matilda's son, William Rufus, who became William II of England).

William gave Bichentona to Robert Fitzhamon whose daughter was later married to Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, illegitimate son of Henry I.

At around 1150 the manor of High Bickington came into the possession of the Champernownes of Umberleigh. Lady Joan Champernowne gave some of the lands to the Lodges family. Hugh de Loges held the manor of Buckington Loges during the reign of King John, (1199-1261). This was later inherited by William Boyes in 1364, although by this time the lands around the village had been divided between several others including Holt, Clavil, Snape, Stowford, Corpsland, Burvet and Wotton, whose names still survive today in hamlet, farm and field names around the parish.

From about 1400 onwards, owners were selling off parcels of land. The Church manor of Corpsiland, south of the present village high street, and included the property still known as Parsonage, was held by the parson up until 1800. The Bassetts of Umberleigh inherited lands from the Champernownes while the Pyncombes of North Molton acquired large areas around the Parish from around 1500 onwards. The last of them, Mrs Gertrude Pyncombe, in her will of 20 January 1730, founded a charitable educational trust from which grants are still made to local children.

The population of the Parish/village was given as 17 families, around a hundred people, at the time of the Domesday Book, this rose to a peak of 851 people in 1851. By 1901 this had fallen to 539 and continued to fall until the 1950s to around 410. Since this time the population has steadily risen as a result of recent development, now stands near its 1801 level.

Agriculture has always been and still is the main industry in the Parish. In times gone by the village was almost self-sufficient for its needs, but in modern times with the advent of the motor car most business now takes place away from the village in towns such as Barnstaple, Bideford, Torrington and South Molton. The village still retains a Post Office, Shop, Doctors Surgery, School, golf course and two Public Houses.

The village is also served by mobile services for fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and of course the council library service. Most other services can be found in and around the village, such as builders, carpenters, painter/decorators, plumbers etc. The village has a football team, cricket team and various pub-sport teams.

High Bickington still remains largely unspoilt and retains much of the character of an isolated rural country village, including many thatched cottages, cobbled pavements and narrow streets which along with the peace and quiet of the area can easily give the visitor an impression of life over the last few centuries.[3]

Sports Clubs[edit]

The village has a cricket and football team, the latter of which (High Bickington FC) compete in the North Devon Football league, currently the Intermediate 1 division.[4] The village is now home to a Badminton club as well.


  1. ^ "Two Rivers ward 2011". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Official Website of High Bickington CPT Limited - High Bickington, Umberleigh, North Devon
  3. ^ Welcome to High Bickington
  4. ^ The home of High Bickington FC

External links[edit]