Little Torrington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St Giles church, Little Torrington - - 598813.jpg
St Giles Church, Little Torrington
Little Torrington is located in Devon
Little Torrington
Little Torrington
Location within Devon
Population376 (2011 Census)[1]
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townTorrington
Postcode districtEX38
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
FireDevon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
List of places
50°55′52″N 4°08′56″W / 50.931009°N 4.148862°W / 50.931009; -4.148862Coordinates: 50°55′52″N 4°08′56″W / 50.931009°N 4.148862°W / 50.931009; -4.148862

Little Torrington is a village and a civil parish near Great Torrington, in the Torridge district, north Devon, England. In 2001 the population of the civil parish of Little Torrington was 420 and in 2011 it was 376, according to census data.[2][1] Little Torrington has the Church of St Giles[3] and the Chapel of St Mary Magdalene.[4]

In the 1870s, Little Torrington was described as follows:

"A bridge over the river Torridge, at Taddyport village, connects the parish with Great Torrington. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £397. Patrons, the Heirs of Lord Rolle and others. The church is ancient but good."[5]


Little Torrington was originally a Saxon settlement called Toritona, held by Edmer Ator during the reign of Edward the Confessor between 1042–1066.[6]

At the time of the Norman Invasion of England in 1066, Alweard the Red was lord and tenant.[7] By 1086 Little Torrington was considered a large settlement for its time with 33 households. It had a new overlord, Count Rotbert of Mortrain, the uterine half-brother of William the Conqueror. The local tenant-in-chief was also from the Norman elite, Aluredus le butuiller (Alfred the Butler).[7][8]

The first vicar for the church was recorded in 1259, although the current church of St Giles was created in the 15th century.[9] Renovations have taken place on the church throughout its time. The first major renovation took place in 1755, when it was re-roofed in a Georgian style. In 1857, the nave and south aisle were restored, the western gallery removed, and the chancel rebuilt and enlarged. Finally, in 1898, restoration work was carried out on the tower, and a tower screen and new pews were added to the interior of the church.[10]

Little Torrington, along with Great Torrington, had a significant role in the English Civil War; the Battle of Torrington in 1646 marked the end of Royalist resistance in the region.[11]

Population of Little Torrington

The population of Little Torrington fluctuated between 1801 and 2011 according to census data. In 1801 it was 449, and from then the population continued to grow, reaching a peak of 623 residents in 1851. The population then fell and reached its lowest recorded level of 281 in 1961. The population in 2011 had recovered to 376 people.[12]


Breakdown of the main occupations males in Little Torrington worked in according to the 1881 census.

The first census divided the working men into two different categories, those "chiefly employed in agriculture" and those "chiefly employed in trade, manufacturers or handicraft". This increased to nine categories in 1831, with the majority of Little Torrington's men aged 20 and over working in agriculture. [13]

Breakdown of the main occupations females in Little Torrington worked in according to the 1881 census.

The 1881 census showed more work categories for both men and women. Agriculture remained the main industry for men, and dressmaking for women; the second largest category for both genders was domestic and office services. [14]

As of 2011, 189 of 376 Little Torrington residents were employed. The highest areas of employment were agriculture, forestry, fishing and manufacturing.[15]


A historical 20th century map, from the British War Office, showing Little Torrington, Devon

The village is located east of the A386, contains "2880 acres of land, including the village of Taddiport, on the south-west side of the river Torridge opposite Great Torrington."[16]

"Taddiport is a hamlet beside the Torridge, which is here crossed by a massive three-arched bridge, possibly of 17th century date. A chapel, attached to a leper hospital founded in the 13th century, still remains, though considerably altered."[17]

The majority of current residents, according to the 2011 census, live in whole houses or bungalows, 106 households live in detached properties and 55 households live in semi-detached properties, with only 2 households living in flats or apartments.[18]

Out of all the current residents 189 are economically active and 70 are retired.[19] The majority of these 178 households contain 2 people, 85 households, 51 households only have 1 person and only 14 households contain 4 people.[20]

According to the 2001 census age structure indicators, they found out of the 420 people living in Little Torrington in 2001, 112 are aged 45–59, 71 are aged 30–44, 29 are aged 75–84 and only 12 are aged 5–7.[21]

There are 342 residents aged 16 or over, 99 of these residents have no formal qualifications, 41 have GCSEs or equivalent, 45 have A-Levels or equivalent and 78 have degrees or equivalent as their highest level of qualification.[22]

Local businesses[edit]

Tarka Trail
  • The Torridge Inn – located in Taddiport, this is a local rural pub and authentic Thai diner, that provides live music and entertainment for patrons.[23]
  • Tarka Pottery – a pottery studio located on Glebe Farm, which has been open since 2006 offering clay workshops, classes and pottery painting for all ages. The studio is run by Jax Williams who has been working with clay for over 25 years and also runs a holiday cottage for holidays and pottery breaks.[24]
  • Smytham Manor – a family run, rural holiday park that provides camping, caravanning and cabin accommodations. The site is set on "23 acres of parkland adjoining to the old manor house, which is still used as a family home".[25]


Little Torrington is connected by various bus services including those going to Barnstaple and Exeter.[26]

The closest railway station is in Chapelton, 10 miles from Little Torrington, part of the First Great Western line which connects to Barnstaple, Exeter and Plymouth.[27]

Historic estates[edit]


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Little Torrington Parish (E04003275)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  2. ^ UK Census (2001). "Local Area Report – Little Torrington Parish (18UK036)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Church of St Giles, Little Torrington, Devon". 16 February 1989. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  4. ^ Good Stuff. "Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, Little Torrington, Devon". Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  5. ^ Wilson, John Marius (1870). Gazetteer of England and Wales. Edinburgh: A. Fullerton & Co. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  6. ^ Allen, John. "Church of St Giles Little Torrington Church". St Michael & All Angels Church. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (PASE) - PASE Domesday: Alfred, accessed February 2019.
  8. ^ Open Domesday Online: Little Torrington, accessed February 2019.
  9. ^ "Little Torrington". Tour Devon. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  10. ^ Allen, John. "Church of St Giles Little Torrington Church". St Michael & All Angels Church. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Great Torrington". Great Torrington Tourist Information. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Little Torrington Total Population". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Males aged 20 & over, in 9 occupational categories". A Vision of Britain Through Time. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  14. ^ "1881 Census of England and Wales". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  15. ^ "Industry, 2011". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  16. ^ Randell, Brian. "LITTLE TORRINGTON". GENUKI. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Little Torrington". Devon County Council. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Accommodation Type – Households, 2011". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Economic Activity of Household Reference Persons, 2011". Office of National Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Household Size, 2011". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  21. ^ "Age Structure, 2001". Office of National Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  22. ^ "Highest Level of Qualification, 2011". Office of National Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  23. ^ "The Torridge Inn and Thai Diner". The Torridge Inn. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  24. ^ "Tarka Pottery & Ceramics Studio". Tarka Pottery. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  25. ^ "Symthan Manor Holiday Park". Symthan Manor Holiday Park. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  26. ^ "LISTING OF BUS AND COACH SERVICES FROM LIT271". Travel Search. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  27. ^ "First Great Western National Rail Network Map" (PDF). First Great Western. Retrieved 24 March 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Little Torrington at Wikimedia Commons