Devon

 

 

Devon, a large county in the south western peninsular, derives its name from the Dumnonii, worshippers of the God Dumnonos a Celtic tribe who inhabited the area. Its north and south coastal plains are separated by the granite intrusion of the Cornubian Massif, which comprises of Cornwallís Bodmin Moor, and the two Devon moors of Dartmoor and Exmoor.

 

The mining industry in Devon produced large quantities of tin, lead, silver and copper since ancient times which were exported through small ports like Morwellham Quay on the River Tamar, and was controlled by the Stannary Parliament. The River Tamar was not the boundary with Cornwall until the late 19th century, and there was further boundary changes in 1974.

 

Devonís characteristics include the bright red sandstone, thatched cottages and the granite tors that cover the moors. Tor is used as a suffix for many place names, as is coome, and ton, cwm the Brythonic for valley, and tun Old English for village.

 

At the end of the last ice age, as the glaciers receded northward, Devon became one of the first areas in Great Britain inhabited by man, and Kent's Cavern in Torquay one of the earliest dwellings. During the Mesolithic age 6000 BCE to the Neolithic age 3500 BCE hunter gatherers living on Dartmoor gradually turned to farming clearing large sections of forest and erecting the over 500 monuments to be found today, including stone round houses  as well as standing stones, circles, avenues and burial mounds.

 

Devon was not influenced very much by the Romans, so the Dumnonii or "West Welsh," led amongst others by the legendary King Arthur, quickly returned to their tribal roots. There was much fighting in the area in the 6th century Devon was subject to Anglo Saxon incursions, Alfred the Great gaining lands into Devon and Cornwall, this was followed by Viking raids in the 9th century, but the final subjugation of the area did not come until after the Norman conquest. The lands were distributed between William's barons with the title of the Earl of Devon bestowed on the Redvers family.

 

By the War of the Roses the Earl of Devon was a supporter of the Lancastrian cause and frequent skirmishes took place with the Yorkists. When the Lancastrians were defeated at the battle of Empingham in 1470, it was to Devon that the Earl of Warwick (the Kingmaker) fled pursued by King Edward IV army, making his escape to France from Dartmouth. This led in later years to Richard III outlawing several hundred people in Exeter for their support of the Lancastrians. Exeter was also the scene of the siege by Perkin Warbeck, the pretender, and of the trial of the revolutionaries by King Henry VII.

 

During the Civil War Devon, in the main, supported the Parliamentarians, but there was little fighting in comparison with much of the country. Their anti catholic feelings were still strong in 1688 when William of Orange chose to start his Glorious Revolution by landing his army at Brixham.

 

Widecombe in the Moor Church

 

Clovelly

 

Morwellham Quay

 

Torre Abbey

 

Cockington Forge

 

Memorial of the Protestant Landing

at Brixham

 

Blackpool Sands! Devon

 

 

 

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