Cob and thatch cottages in the village
Iddesleigh shown within Devon
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Iddesleigh is a village and civil parish in the county of Devon, England. The settlement has ancient origins and is listed in the Domesday Book. The village lies on the B3217 road, roughly central in its parish of around 2,900 acres, about eight miles north of the town of Okehampton.
Iddesleigh has been described as an attractive small village, with good views of Dartmoor to the south. Its church is a grade I listed building and there are a number of other listed buildings in the parish.
Toponymy and early history
The name Iddesleigh derives from the Old English personal name, Ēadwīġ (or perhaps Ēadwulf), and lēah, a wood or clearing. The first documentary evidence of the settlement appears in the Domesday Book (1086), where it is referred to twice, as Edeslege and as Iweslei. By the 13th century its name was recorded as Edulvesly and in 1428 as Yeddeslegh.
Domesday Book shows that in 1086 the majority of the manor of Iddesleigh (under the name of Edeslege) was owned directly by the king, but a small part of it (one virgate recorded as Iweslei) was held from the king by William of Claville. The pre-conquest owner of this land is unclear: two women's names – Alware Pet and Aelfeva Thief - are recorded. The overlord is recorded as Brictric son of Algar. By the 13th century the lands had passed to the de Reigny family as part of the honour of Gloucester.
The village is three miles north-east of Hatherleigh and eight miles north of Okehampton. It is roughly in the centre of its parish, on the B3217 road that runs from Okehampton to Atherington, near the A377.
The parish, which covers about 2,900 acres on the Culm Measures, has its southern border along the River Okement and its western along the River Torridge. Clockwise from the north, it is bordered by the parishes of Dowland, Winkleigh, Broadwoodkelly, Monkokehampton, Hatherleigh and Meeth.
The landscape historian W. G. Hoskins, writing in 1953, described the village as "an excellent example of a cob and thatch village, most attractive to explore", and in 1973 S. H. Burton wrote that it gave the appearance of being "thatchier" than anywhere else in Devon. Situated on a south-facing slope, the village has good views of northern Dartmoor, including its highest point, High Willhays.
The parish church, dedicated to St James, is at the western edge of the village, and is a grade I listed building. With 13th-century origins, but mostly dating from the 15th century, it has wagon roofs in its nave and north aisle. A recumbent effigy of a knight with a plain shield, lying under an arch has been dated to c. 1250 and is believed to be of a squire of Iddesleigh, a member of the locally-notable Sully family. The church was partly rebuilt in 1720 with further work in the early 19th century, followed by restoration by Charles S. Adye in 1878–9.
The listed village pub, the "Duke of York", is made of cob and thatch, and is slightly hidden from the main road being along a side street behind some terraced cottages. Its facade was used in the BBC television series Down to Earth, broadcast in 2000. It was in this pub that Michael Morpurgo says he talked to an old soldier with first-hand knowledge of the use of horses in the First World War which became the basis for his 1982 novel War Horse.
There has been a settlement at Barwick, in the south-east corner of the parish, since at least the early 15th century: a document dated 1440 refers to it as Berewyke. There are two listed buildings here. Little Barwick is a late 15th-century building with 17th-century and later alterations—its most notable feature is its medieval full cruck trusses, unusual in Devon. South Barwick Farmhouse dates from the first part of the 17th century. Barwick had a stud farm breeding shire horses before World War I. The "Barwick Madam" was noted in the local shire horse stud book.
The Reverend Jack Russell, originator of the eponymous dog breed, was curate at Iddesleigh between 1830 and 1836. In 1885, when Sir Stafford Northcote was raised to the peerage, he took the title of Earl of Iddesleigh, which was, according to W. G. Hoskins, a curious choice since his main estates were not here. He did, however, own some 2,000 acres of the parish.
The Scottish-born poet, Seán Rafferty lived in the parish from 1948 until his death in December 1993; he was landlord of the Duke of York pub until 1975. Rafferty was a friend of author Michael Morpurgo, who has lived in Iddesleigh since the 1970s. In his book Private Peaceful, the village is the home of the protagonist, Tommo, and it is one of the main settings for the book. In 1976 Morpurgo and his wife, Clare, set up the Farms for City Children charity which is based at Nethercott House in the parish. Poet Ted Hughes who lived nearby was a close friend and regular visitor to the Morpurgos and became the first president of the charity.
- Watts, Victor (2010). The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-names (1st paperback ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 329. ISBN 978-0-521-16855-7.
- Caroline and Frank Thorn (editors) (1985). Domesday Book, 9, Devon, Part 2. Chichester: Phillimore. ISBN 0-85033-492-6. Edeslege is discussed on page 1,63 and Iweslei on page 24,22.
- Harris, Helen (2004). A Handbook of Devon Parishes. Tiverton: Halsgrove. pp. 89–90. ISBN 1-84114-314-6.
- Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 113 (2009)
- Devon Federation of Womens' Institutes (1990). The Devon Village Book. Newbury: Countryside Books. pp. 123–4. ISBN 1-85306-078-X.
- "Iddesleigh Parish Map". GENUKI/Devon. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
- "Iddesleigh". Devon County Council. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
- Hoskins, W. G. (1972). A New Survey of England: Devon (New ed.). London: Collins. p. 414. ISBN 0-7153-5577-5.
- Burton, S. H. (1973). Devon Villages. London: Robert Hale. p. 160. ISBN 0-7091-3659-5.
- English Heritage. "Church of St James (1309051)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- Report & transactions Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art. - 1892 -Volume 24 - Page 173 "In Iddesleigh church there is the effigy of a cross-legged knight in ring-mail, which is mentioned in Mr. W. H. H. Rogers's paper on the sepulchral effigies in the parish churches of North Devon"
- Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (revision) (1989) . The Buildings of England: Devon. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 498–9. ISBN 0-14-071050-7.
- English Heritage. "Duke of York Inn (1309026)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- "FOOD REVIEW: Duke of York, Iddesleigh". This is North Devon. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- Morpurgo, Michael (11 July 2010). "Once upon a life". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- English Heritage. "Ash House (1105228)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- Gover, J.E.B., Mawer, A. & Stenton, F.M (1931). "The Place-Names of Devon". English Place-Name Society. Vol viii. Part I. (Cambridge University Press): 94.
- English Heritage. "Little Barwick (1166027)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- English Heritage. "South Barwick Farmhouse (1326500)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- Shire Horse Stud Book Shire Horse Society -- Volume 26 1905 - Page 200 "BARWICK MADAM".. Jonas B. Raymont, Barwick, Iddesleigh, Winkleigh, Devon, Bay, star, hind heels and off fore pastern white. Foaled 1902."
- Turns, Anna (24 January 2011). "In Tune with the World". Devon Life. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- Johnson, Nicholas (7 January 1993). "Obituary: Sean Rafferty". The Independent. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- Eede, Joanna (17 October 2012). "Muck and Magic: Clare Morpurgo Talks About Her Inspirational Charity". www.huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
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