North Devon has a rich history and heritage, dating back to the 1200. Its council is based in Barnstaple, the commercial and agricultural centre. It’s also the oldest borough in England. Saxon’s are known to have settled in Barnstaple in 930 AD.
North Devon boasts are number of charming villages, rich with Victorian, Georgian and Medieval architecture. Most of its population is retired, according to the 2001 census.
The ancient market town of Holsworthy enjoys a mention in the Doomsday Book. It boasts one of the busiest livestock markets. In 1890, the Victorians constructed a cliff railway to connect the little villages of Lynmouth and Lynton, which they used as holiday centres. Lynmouth and Lynton have earned themselves the name “Little Switzerland of England”. The town of “Westward Ho!” was founded in 1863 and named after a book of the same name authored by Charles Kingsley. This village also boasts the oldest Golf Club in England, founded in 1864.
Another charming village, South Molton also originates in the early Saxon times. In 1590, the town was granted its Royal Market Charter by Henry VIII. Ilfracombe has existed since the Iron Age. It became a significant holiday destination in Victorian times.
In 1588 Queen Elizabeth I gave the village of Appledore “Free Port” status as a reward for the role it played in the Armada. The village provided ships and seamen to fight the Spanish. This village was first occupied by Cirstertian Monks in the 14th century.
Perhaps North Devon’s most significant landmark is the Watermouth Castle, a country house built to resemble a castle. It was constructed in 1825 by Arthur Davie Basset, for his bride Harriet. The castle’s existing evidence of tunnels and fortification suggests that it was a smugglers haven. The number of rooms and apartments seem to indicate that there were at least 40 domestic workers in the estate.
The Basset’s are recorded in the Doomsday Book. They are believed to have arrived in Britain with William the Conqueror. In 1916, the castle was used to house army officers wounded in World War I. The last of the Bassets moved out of the Estate in 1945 and relocated to Scotland. Richard Haines bought the estate in 1977 and turned it into a major tourist attraction.
Historically, agriculture drove the economy of North Devonshire, but today the largest employers are in health, ministry of defense and the Royal Marine. All employers and employees need somewhere to relax when they come home from a stressful day at the office. So why not relax on a memory foam mattress, and ease those stresses and strains away.
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