High Bickington shown within Devon
|Population||700 (2001 est.)|
|OS grid reference|
|District||Devon West and Torridge|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|Fire||Devon and Somerset|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||Devon West and Torridge|
High Bickington is a small rural village (population approximately 700 people) in Devon, England. It is set in the picturesque North Devon landscape, between Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin moor. The village is situated some 9 miles from Barnstaple, 10 miles from South Molton, 8 miles from Great Torrington and 33 miles from Exeter.
The village is situated on the valley top, almost 600 feet, 190M above sea level, overlooking the river Taw valley, and has spectacular unbroken views across the valley towards Exmoor.
With its origins in Saxon times (around 650), or earlier, the manor of High Bickington is referred to as 'Bichentone' in the Domesday Book of 1086. Before the Norman Conquest, the manor belonged to a Saxon nobleman, Britric, nicknamed Meau ('the fair'), who also held rights to the land revenues of Gloucester and extensive estates in the West Country. He spurned the advances of Matilda, the Duke of Flanders' daughter, who later as Queen of England imprisoned Britric and eventually had him put to death. All his lands passed to her, including Bichentona, Clovelly, Bideford, Winkleigh and Tiverton. The lands were later inherited by Matilda's son, William Rufus, who became William II of England).
At around 1150 the manor of High Bickington came into the possession of the Champernownes of Umberleigh. Lady Joan Champernowne gave some of the lands to the Lodges family. Hugh de Loges held the manor of Buckington Loges during the reign of King John, (1199-1261). This was later inherited by William Boyes in 1364, although by this time the lands around the village had been divided between several others including Holt, Clavil, Snape, Stowford, Corpsland, Burvet and Wotton, whose names still survive today in hamlet, farm and field names around the parish.
From about 1400 onwards, owners were selling off parcels of land. The Church manor of Corpsiland, south of the present village high street, and included the property still known as Parsonage, was held by the parson up until 1800. The Bassetts of Umberleigh inherited lands from the Champernownes while the Pyncombes of North Molton acquired large areas around the Parish from around 1500 onwards. The last of them, Mrs Gertrude Pyncombe, in her will of 20 January 1730, founded a charitable educational trust from which grants are still made to local children.
The population of the Parish/village was given as 17 families, around a hundred people, at the time of the Domesday Book, this rose to a peak of 851 people in 1851. By 1901 this had fallen to 539 and continued to fall until the 1950s to around 410. Since this time the population has steadily risen as a result of recent development, now stands near its 1801 level.
Agriculture has always been and still is the main industry in the Parish. In times gone by the village was almost self-sufficient for its needs, but in modern times with the advent of the motor car most business now takes place away from the village in local towns such as Barnstaple, Bideford, Torrington and South Molton. The village still retains a Post Office, Shop, Doctors Surgery, School, golf course and two Public Houses.
The village is also served by mobile services for fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and of course the council library service. Most other services can be found in and around the village, such as builders, carpenters, painter/decorators, plumbers etc. The village has a football team, cricket team and various pub-sport teams.
High Bickington still remains largely unspoilt and retains much of the character of an isolated rural country village, including many thatched cottages, cobbled pavements and narrow streets which along with the peace and quiet of the area can easily give the visitor an impression of life over the last few centuries.
The village has a local cricket and football team, the latter of which (High Bickington FC) compete in the North Devon Football league, currently the Intermediate 1 division.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: High Bickington|
- The joint website of High Bickington CPT Ltd – a Community Property Trust - and High Bickington Parish Council
- High Bickington Website
- High Bickington C of E Primary School
- High Bickinton FC - Village team who compete in the North Devon football league