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Widecombe In The Moor

dsc_0028070308.jpgWidecombe - In - The - Moor - Dartmoor

Widecombe village consists of 198 households, although its large and sprawling parish stretches for many miles on Dartmoor and encompasses dozens of isolated cottages and moorland farms.

Tourism is a major source of income for Widecombe – in-  the - Moor today, as reflected by the fact that within a small area there are several gift shops (including a National Trust shop), two cafes and two pubs (The Old Inn and The Rugglestone Inn).

The village is probably best known for Widecombe Fair,one of Dartmoor's biggest events, held annually on the first Tuesday of September and celebrated by a well-known folksong of the same name, featuring 'Old Uncle Tom Cobley and All'. Its words were first published in 1880. The characters from the song are featured in many of the souvenirs on sale in the local shops.

The church of St Pancras is known as the 'Cathedral of the Moors' in recognition of its 120 foot tower and relatively large capacity for such a small village. The church was originally built in the 14th century, in the Perpendicular style (late Gothic), using locally quarried granite. It was enlarged over the following two centuries, partly on the proceeds of the local tin mining trade. Inside, the ceiling is decorated with a large number of decorative roof bosses, including the tinner’s emblem of a circle of three hares (known locally as the Tinners' Rabbits).

The church was badly damaged in the Great Thunderstorm of 1638, apparently struck by ball lightning during a severe thunderstorm. An afternoon service was taking place at the time, and the building was packed with approximately 300 worshipers. Four of them were killed, around 60 injured. According to local legend, the Great Thunderstorm was caused by the village being visited by the Devil.

The size of the parish one of the largest on Dartmoor meant that, for centuries, families were obliged to walk for miles to go to church at Widecombe every Sunday. The task was even more challenging when it came to burying their dead, whose coffins had to be carried over rough ground and both up and down exceptionally steep hills. Halfway up Dartmeet Hill, for example, lies the Coffin Stone, close to the road, where the body would be placed to allow the bearers to take a rest. The rock is split in two, along its length.

In Widecombe churchyard is the grave of novelist Beatrice Chase who lived for much of her life in a cottage in the hamlet of Venton close to the Widecombe –In- The- Moor village. Her real name was Olive Katharine Parr and she was a direct descendant of William Parr, the brother of Catherine, the sixth wife of Henry VIII.

Next to the church stands the Church House, built in 1537 for the production of church ales. It is now managed by the National Trust. Now used regularly by the local people of the parish for the farmers market every fourth Saturday of the month and craft fairs.Widecombe-In-The-Moor is a small village located within the heart of the Dartmoor

Holiday Cottages in Widecombe In The Moor

 

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