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Tavistock, Devon

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Tavistock, Devon

Tavistock is a market town within West Devon, England. It is situated on the River Tavy from which its name derives. As of the 2001 census it had a population of 11,018. It traces its recorded history back to at least AD 961 when Tavistock Abbey, whose ruins lie in the center of the town, was founded. Its most famous son is Sir Francis Drake.
DistrictWest Devon
Administrative CountyDevon
Traditional CountyDevon
OS GridSX4874
OS Settlement ClassificationTown
RegionSouth West
Police AuthorityDevon and Cornwall
Fire and Rescue AuthorityDevon and Somerset
Fire and Rescue AuthorityDevon and Somerset
Ambulance AuthoritySouth Western
Dialling code01822
Population11,018 (2001 Census)

Other names by which Tavistock, Devon has been known in the past

Tavistoke ~ Tavystocke ~ Teavistok ~ Tavestoc ~ Tavestocha

Tavistock, Devon in John Bartholomew's "Gazetteer of the British Isles" (1887)

Tavistock.-- market town and par., Devon, on river Tavy, 16½ miles N. of Plymouth and 213¼ from London by rail, 11,450 ac., pop. 6914; P.O., T.O., 3 Banks, 1 newspaper. Market-day, Friday. Tavistock depends chiefly on the neighbouring tin and copper mines, but has also some trade in farm produce. There are still a few remains of the great abbey, which was founded in 961, and which passed at the dissolution to the Russells, who take hence the title of marquis. Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596) was a native of Tavistock, which returned 2 members to Parl. from the time of Edward III. until 1867, and 1 member from 1867 until 1885.

Tavistock, Devon in "A Topographical Dictionary of England" edited by Samuel Lewis (1848)

TAVISTOCK (St. Evstachius), a borough, market-town, and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Tavistock, Tavistock and S. divisions of the county of Devon, 33 miles (W. by S.) from Exeter, and 204 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 6272 inhabitants. This place, which takes its name from its situation on the river Tavy, was the abode of Orgar, Earl of Devonshire, whose daughter Elfrida, surreptitiously obtained in marriage by Athelwold, favourite of King Edgar (for whom he had been sent to negotiate), became, on the subsequent discovery of the treachery, the wife of that monarch. The town appears to have derived its origin from the erection of an abbey of Black monks, begun in 961, by Orgar, who, according to tradition, had been admonished in a dream to found a monastery here. The abbey was completed in 981, by his son Ordulf, by whom it was endowed with ample possessions, and dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin and St. Ramon. After having been destroyed by the Danes, it was restored by the contributions of the neighbouring families, of whom the De Eggecombes were munificent benefactors. Henry I. granted to the abbots the entire jurisdiction of the hundred of Tavistock, and gave them a weekly market and annual fairs, with other privileges; in 1513 Henry VIII. conferred the right of a seat among the peers upon Abbot Banham, who also procured from Pope Leo X. an exemption from all episcopal and inctropolitical jurisdiction. Soon after the introduction of printing into England, a press was established in the monastery, from which issued a code of the Stannary laws, and a trauslation of Boëthius by Walton, the latter printed by Dan Thomas Rychard, one of the monks; perfect copies of both these are preserved in the library of Exeter College, Oxford. The monastery flourished till the year 1539, when it was surrendered to the king by the last abbot, John Peryn, on whom was settled a pension of £100 per annum for life: the revenue was £902. 5. 7.; and the site, with the borough and town, was assigned to John Russell, ancestor of the Duke of Bedford. A school for the study of Saxon literature was established here at a very early period, under the patronage of the abbots, and continued till the time of the Reformation. While the plague raged at Exeter, in 1591, the summer assizes were held in this town, and thirteen criminals were executed on the Abbey green. At a subsequent period, a market and a fair were held, in time of plague, above Merivale bridge, about three miles distaut from the town, where three long rows of stones may still be seen, pointing out the spot. After the defeat of the parliamentarians on Bradock Down, in 1643, the royalists were quartered here; and Charles I. visited the town on his route to Cornwall, subsequently to his unsuccessful attempt on Plymouth.


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