Whitchurch is a village and civil parish just to the south-east of the town of Tavistock, Devon, England. It lies in the West Devon local authority area, and within Tavistock Deanery for ecclesiastical purposes. Due to the expansion of Tavistock in recent years, the two settlements have joined and Whitchurch is now considered part of Tavistock, but historically, Whitchurch formed part of the Roborough Hundred.
It is believed that a church must have been present in Whitchurch as early as the 11th century, and that it was most likely built from the white elvan that can be found at Roborough Down only a few miles away. This may be the derivation of the name of the village ("White-church"), though many other English villages bearing the same name are considered to be thus named simply because their churches were either built of stone, or were whitewashed. The main church currently standing in Whitchurch—St. Andrew—is for the most part a 15th-century building made from granite as well as elvan. Many memorials can be found in the church, including a monument to Francis Pengelly (1722) made by John Weston of Exeter showing a "celestial ballet" on a medallion, and also an early 17th century slate slab to the Mooringes of Moortown.
There are several interesting houses within the parish. Walreddon Manor is a Grade I listed country house built in the reign of Edward VI by the Courtenay family. The 17th century heiress Mary Fitz (widow of Sir Richard Grenville) was born there. On her death in 1671, the manor was inherited by her cousin, Sir William Courtenay. It stayed in ownership of the Courtenay family until 1953. In the late 1800s, the manor was let to the explorer and colonial administrator Edward John Eyre. Later residents include the film director Hugh Hudson, and, since 2001, the Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith.
The so-called Priory, near the church, is a 19th-century granite building incorporating a square 4th century entrance tower from an earlier structure.
The parish now shares a grouped parish council with the civil parish of Sampford Spiney, known as the Plasterdown Grouped Parish Council.
- Watts, Victor (2010). The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-names (1st paperback ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 673. ISBN 978-0-521-16855-7.
- Country Life http://www.countrylife.co.uk/news/article/529312/Two-country-estates-in-Hampshire-and-Devon.html
- West Devon District Council. List of parish clerks
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