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Devon
St Petroc's flag of Devon
Flag
Motto of County Council: Auxilio divino (Latin: By divine aid)
EnglandDevon.png
Geography
Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region South West England
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 4th
6,707 km2 (2,590 sq mi)
Ranked 3rd
6,564 km2 (2,534 sq mi)
Admin HQ Exeter
ISO 3166-2 GB-DEV
ONS code
NUTS 3 UKK43
Demography
Population
- Total (2008 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 11th
1,141,600
170 /km2 (440/sq mi)
Ranked 12th
754,800
Ethnicity 98.7% White
Politics
Devon County Council Logo
Devon County Council
http://www.devon.gov.uk
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament
Districts
Devon Ceremonial Numbered.png
  1. Exeter
  2. East Devon
  3. Mid Devon
  4. North Devon
  5. Torridge
  6. West Devon
  7. South Hams
  8. Teignbridge
  9. Plymouth (Unitary)
  10. Torbay (Unitary)

Devon (pronounced /ˈdɛvən/) is a large county in South West England. The county is also referred to as Devonshire, although that is an unofficial name, rarely used inside the county itself and often indicating a traditional or historical context. The county shares borders with Cornwall to the west and Dorset and Somerset to the east. Its south coast abuts the English Channel and its north coast the Bristol Channel.

Devon is the third largest of the English counties and has a population of 1,109,900. The county town is the cathedral city of Exeter and the county contains two independent unitary authorities: the port city of Plymouth and the Torbay conurbation of seaside resorts, in addition to Devon County Council itself. Plymouth is also the largest city in Devon. Much of the county is rural (including national park) land, with a low population density by British standards. It contains Dartmoor 954 km2 (368 square miles), the largest open space in southern England.[1]

The county is home to part of England's only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dorset and East Devon Coast, known as the Jurassic Coast for its geology and geographical features. It is also home to Braunton Burrows UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that covers the land in the north of the country that drains into the Altantic and covering the sea area to Lundy. Along with its neighbour, Cornwall, Devon is known as the "Cornubian massif". This geology gives rise to the landscapes of Dartmoor and Exmoor, which are both national parks. Devon has seaside resorts and historic towns and cities, and a mild climate, accounting for the large tourist sector of its economy.

Contents

History

Toponymy

The name Devon derives from the name of the Celtic people who inhabited the southwestern peninsula of Britain at the time of the Roman invasion c. AD 50, known as the Dumnonii, thought to mean "deep valley dwellers". In the Brythonic Celtic languages, Devon is known as Dyfnaint (Welsh), Devnent in Breton and Dewnans (Cornish). (For an account of Celtic Dumnonia see the separate article.)

William Camden, in his 1607 edition of Britannia, described Devon as being one part of an older, wider country that once included Cornwall:

THAT region which, according to the Geographers, is the first of all Britaine, and, growing straiter still and narrower, shooteth out farthest into the West, […] was in antient time inhabited by those Britans whom Solinus called Dunmonii, […] But the Country of this nation is at this day divided into two parts, knowen by later names of Cornwall and Denshire, […]
William Camden, Britannia.[2]

There is some dispute over the use of "Devonshire" instead of Devon, and there is no official recognition of the term "Devonshire" in modern times, except for the name of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment. One erroneous theory is that the "shire" suffix is due to a mistake in the making of the original letters patent for the Duke of Devonshire, resident in Derbyshire. However, there are references to "Defenascire" in Anglo-Saxon texts from before 1,000 AD (this would mean "Shire of the Devonians"),[3] which translates to modern English as "Devonshire". The term Devonshire may have originated around the 8th century, when it changed from Dumnonia (Latin) to Defenascir.[4]

Human occupation

Devon was one of the first areas of what is now England to be settled after the end of the last ice age. Dartmoor is thought to have been settled by Mesolithic hunter-gatherer peoples from about 6,000 BC. The Romans held the area under military occupation for around 250 years. Later the area became a frontier between Brythonic Dumnonia and Anglo-Saxon Wessex, and it was largely absorbed into Wessex by the mid 9th century. The border with Cornwall was set by King Athelstan on the east bank of the River Tamar in 936 AD

Devon has also featured in most of the civil conflicts in England since the Norman Conquest, including the Wars of the Roses, Perkin Warbeck's rising in 1497, the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549, and the English Civil War. The arrival of William of Orange to launch the Glorious Revolution of 1688 took place at Brixham.

Devon has produced tin, copper and other metals from ancient times. Devon's tin miners enjoyed a substantial degree of independence through Devon's Stannary Parliament, which dates back to the 12th century. The last recorded sitting was in 1748.[5]

Economy and industry

Like neighbouring Cornwall to the west, Devon is disadvantaged economically compared to other parts of Southern England, owing to the decline of a number of core industries, notably fishing, mining and farming. Consequently, most of Devon has qualified for the European Community Objective 2 status. The 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis harmed the farming community severely.[6]

Part of the seafront of Torquay, south Devon, at high tide

The attractive lifestyle of the area is drawing in new industries which are not heavily dependent upon geographical location[citation needed]; Dartmoor, for instance, has recently seen a significant rise in the percentage of its inhabitants involved in the financial services sector. In 2003, the Met Office, the UK's national and international weather service, moved to Exeter. Devon is one of the rural counties, with the advantages and challenges characteristic of these. Despite this, the county's economy is also heavily influenced by its two main urban centres, Plymouth and Exeter.[citation needed]

Since the rise of seaside resorts with the arrival of the railways in the 19th century, Devon's economy has been heavily reliant on tourism. The county's economy has followed the declining trend of British seaside resorts since the mid-20th century, with some recent revival. This revival has been aided by the designation of much of Devon's countryside and coastline as the Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks, and the Jurassic Coast and Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Sites. In 2004 the county's tourist revenue was £1.2 billion.[7]

Geography and geology

Heathland at Woodbury Common in south east Devon

The principal geological formations of Devon are the Devonian (in north Devon, south Devon and extending into Cornwall); the granite batholith of Dartmoor in central Devon; and the Culm Measures (also extending into north Cornwall). There are small remains of pre-Devonian rocks on the south Devon coast.[8]

Devon gave its name to a geological era: the Devonian era, so named by Adam Sedgwick because the distinctive Old Red Sandstone of Exmoor was studied by geologists here. The whole of central Devon is occupied by the largest area of igneous rock in South West England, Dartmoor. Devon's third major rock system[citation needed] is the Culm Measures, a geological formation of the Carboniferous period that occurs principally in Devon and Cornwall. They are so called either from the occasional presence of a soft, sooty coal, which is known in Devon as culm, or from the contortions commonly found in the beds.[9] This formation stretches from Bideford to Bude in Cornwall, and contributes to a gentler, greener, more rounded landscape. It is also found on the western, north and eastern borders of Dartmoor.

Ilfracombe, on the coast of North Devon.

Devon is the only county in England to have two separate coastlines; the South West Coast Path runs along the entire length of both, around 65% of which is named as Heritage Coast.[10] Devon has more mileage of road than any other county in England: before the changes to counties in 1974 it was the largest by area of the counties not divided into two or three parts. (its acreage was until 1974 1,658,288: only exceeded by the West Riding of Yorkshire).[11] The islands of Lundy and Eddystone are also in Devon.

Inland, the Dartmoor National Park lies wholly in Devon, and the Exmoor National Park lies in both Devon and Somerset. Apart from these areas of high moorland the county has attractive rolling rural scenery and villages with thatched cob cottages. All these features make Devon a popular holiday destination.

In South Devon the landscape consists of rolling hills dotted with small towns, such as Dartmouth, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Salcombe, and Totnes. The towns of Torquay and Paignton are the principal seaside resorts on the south coast. East Devon has the first seaside resort to be developed in the county, Exmouth and the more upmarket Georgian town of Sidmouth, headquarters of the East Devon District Council. Exmouth marks the western end of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

North Devon is very rural with few major towns except Barnstaple, Great Torrington, Bideford and Ilfracombe. Devon's Exmoor coast has the highest cliffs in southern Britain, culminating in the Great Hangman, a 318 m (1043 ft) "hog-backed" hill with an 250 m (820 ft) cliff-face, located near Combe Martin Bay.[12] Its sister cliff is the 218 m (716 ft) Little Hangman, which marks the edge of Exmoor. One of the features of the North Devon coast is that Bideford Bay and the Hartland Point peninsula are both west-facing, Atlantic facing coastlines; so that a combination of an off-shore (east) wind and an Atlantic swell produce excellent surfing conditions. The beaches of Bideford Bay (Woolacombe, Saunton, Westward Ho! and Croyde), along with parts of North Cornwall and South Wales, are the main centres of surfing in Britain.

Climate

Devon has a mild climate, heavily influenced by the North Atlantic Drift. In winter snow is relatively uncommon away from high land, although there are exceptions, such as the snowfall of February 2009. The county receives generally warm summers compared to the rest of the United Kingdom, due to its southerly location.

Climate data for Devon
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 46 46 50 54 59 64 66 66 64 59 52 48 56
Average low °F 39 39 41 43 46 52 55 55 54 48 45 41 46
Average high °C 8 8 10 12 15 18 19 19 18 15 11 9 13.5
Average low °C 4 4 5 6 8 11 13 13 12 9 7 5 8
Source:

Ecology

Ponies grazing on Exmoor near Brendon, North Devon

The variety of habitats means that there is a wide range of wildlife (see Dartmoor wildlife, for example). A popular challenge among birders is to find over 100 species in the county in a day.[13] The county's wildlife is protected by the Devon Wildlife Trust, a charity which looks after 40 nature reserves. The botany of the county is very diverse and includes some rare species not found elsewhere in the British Isles other than Cornwall. Botanical reports begin in the 17th century and there is a Flora Devoniensis by Jones and Kingston in 1829, and a Flora of Devon in 1939 by Keble Martin and Fraser.[14][15] There is a general account by W. P. Hiern and others in The Victoria History of the County of Devon, vol. 1 (1906); pp. 55–130, with map. Devon is divided into two Watsonian vice-counties: north and south, the boundary being an irregular line approximately across the higher part of Dartmoor and then along the canal eastwards.

Rising temperatures have led to Devon becoming the first place in modern Britain to cultivate olives commercially.[16]

Politics and administration

The administrative centre of Devon is the city of Exeter. The largest city in Devon, Plymouth, and the conurbation of Torbay (including Torquay, Paignton and Brixham) have been unitary authorities since 1998, separate from the remainder of Devon which is administered by Devon County Council for the purposes of local government.

Devon County Council is controlled by the Conservatives, and the political resprentation of its 62 councillors are: 41 Conservatives, 14 Liberal Democrats, four Labour, two Independents and one Green.[17] At a national level, Devon has five Conservative MPs, three Liberal Democrat MPs, and three Labour MPs.

In December 2007, the Department for Communities and Local Government referred Exeter City Council's bid to become a Unitary Council to the Boundary Committee for England, as they felt the application did not meet all their strict criteria. The Boundary Committee was asked to look at the feasibility of a unitary Exeter in the context of examining options for unitary arrangements in the wider Devon county area, and reported back in July 2008 recommending a "unitary Devon" (excluding Plymouth and Torbay), with a second option of a "unitary Exeter & Exmouth" (combined) and a unitary "rest of Devon". These proposals were put out to consultation until September 2008 and the Committee was expected to make final recommendations to the Secretary of State by the end of the year. As a result of a number of legal challenges to the process and also dissatisfaction on the part of the Secretary of State with the manner in which the Boundary Committee is assesing proposals, it now looks likely that a recommendation will not be forthcoming until March or April 2009.[18]

Cities, towns and villages

The inner harbour, Brixham, south Devon, at low tide

The main settlements in Devon are the cities of Plymouth, a historic port now administratively independent, Exeter, the county town, and Torbay, the county's tourist centre. Devon's coast is lined with tourist resorts, many of which grew rapidly with the arrival of the railways in the 19th century. Examples include Dawlish, Exmouth and Sidmouth on the south coast, and Ilfracombe and Lynmouth on the north. The Torbay conurbation of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham on the south coast is perhaps the largest and most popular of these resorts, and is now administratively independent of the county. Rural market towns in the county include Axminster, Barnstaple, Bideford, Honiton, Newton Abbot, Okehampton, Tavistock, Totnes and Tiverton.

The boundary with Cornwall has not always been on the River Tamar as at present: until the late 19th century a few parishes in the Torpoint area were in Devon and five parishes now in north-east Cornwall were in Devon until 1974. (However for ecclesiastical purposes these were nevertheless in the Archdeaconry of Cornwall and in 1876 became part of the Diocese of Truro.)

Religion

Celtic and Roman practice were the first religion in Devon, although in the first centuries AD, Christianity in Devon began. Western Christianity was introduced into Devon along with the rest of Great Britain. Over time it became the official religion, superseding previous Early Christianity in Devon was spread largely by the saints. Devon like other parts of Britain, is sometimes associated with the distinct collection of practices known as Celtic Christianity[19] but was always in communion with the wider Roman Catholic Church. Many Cornish saints are commemorated also in Devon in legends, churches and placenames.

Saint Petroc is said to have passed through Devon, where ancient dedications to him are even more numerous than in Cornwall: a probable seventeen (plus Timberscombe just over the border in Somerset), compared to Cornwall's five. The position of churches bearing his name, including one within the old Roman walls of Exeter (Karesk), are nearly always near the coast reminding us that in those days travelling was done mainly by sea. The Devonian villages of Petrockstowe and Newton St Petroc are also named after Saint Petroc and the flag of Devon is dedicated to him.

The history of Christianity in the South West of England remains to some degree obscure. Parts of the historic county of Devon formed part of the diocese of Wessex, while nothing is known of the church organization of the Celtic areas. About 703 Devon and Cornwall were included in the separate diocese of Sherborne and in 900 this was again divided into two, the Devon bishop having from 905 his seat at Tawton (now Bishop's Tawton) and from 912 at Crediton, birthplace of St Boniface. Lyfing became Bishop of Crediton in 1027 and shortly afterwards became Bishop of Cornwall.

The two dioceses of Crediton and Cornwall, covering Devon and Cornwall, were permanently united under Edward the Confessor by Lyfing's successor Bishop Leofric, hitherto Bishop of Crediton, who became first Bishop of Exeter under Edward the Confessor, which was established as his cathedral city in 1050. At first the abbey church of St Mary and St Peter, founded by Athelstan in 932 and rebuilt in 1019, served as the cathedral.

Later history

In 1549, the Prayer Book Rebellion caused the deaths of thousands of people from Devon and Cornwall. During the English Reformation, churches in Devon officially became affiliated with the Church of England. The Methodism of John Wesley proved to be very popular with the working classes in Devon in the 19th century. Methodist chapels became important social centres, with male voice choirs and other church-affiliated groups playing a central role in the social lives of working class Devonians. Methodism still plays a large part in the religious life of Devon today, although the county has shared in the post-World War II decline in British religious feeling.

The Diocese of Exeter diocese remains the Anglican diocese including the whole of Devon. A Roman Catholic diocese was established at Plymouth in the mid 19th century.[20]

Symbols

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Devon County Council

There was no established coat of arms for the county until 1926: the arms of the City of Exeter were often used to represent Devon, for instance in the badge of the Devonshire Regiment. During the forming of a county council by the Local Government Act 1888 adoption of a common seal was required. The seal contained three shields depicting the arms of Exeter along with those of the first chairman and vice-chairman of the council (Lord Clinton and the Earl of Morley).[21]

On 11 October 1926, the county council received a grant of arms from the College of Arms. The main part of the shield displays a red crowned lion on a silver field, the arms of Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cornwall. The chief or upper portion of the shield depicts an ancient ship on wavers, for Devon's seafaring traditions. The Latin motto adopted was Auxilio Divino (by Divine aid), that of Sir Francis Drake. The 1926 grant was of arms alone. On 6 March 1962 a further grant of crest and supporters was obtained. The crest is the head of a Dartmoor Pony rising from a "Naval Crown". This distinctive form of crown is formed from the sails and sterns of ships, and is associated with the Royal Navy. The supporters are a Devon bull and a sea lion.[22][23]

The County Council adopted a "ship silhouette" logo after the 1974 reorganisation, adapted from the ship emblem on the coat of arms, but following the loss in 1998 of Plymouth and Torbay re-adopted the coat of arms. In April 2006 the council unveiled a new logo which was to be used in most everyday applications, though the coat of arms will continue to be used for "various civic purposes".[24][25]

Flag

Devon also has its own flag which has been dedicated to Saint Petroc, a local saint with dedications throughout Devon and neighbouring counties. The flag was adopted in 2003 after a competition run by BBC Devon.[26] The winning design was created by website contributor Ryan Sealey, and won 49% of the votes cast. The colours of the flag are those popularly identified with Devon, for example, the colours of Exeter University, the rugby union team, and the Green and White flag flown by the first Viscount Exmouth at the Bombardment of Algiers (now on view at the Teign Valley Museum), as well as the county's most successful football team, Plymouth Argyle. On 17 October 2006, the flag was hoisted for the first time outside County Hall in Exeter to mark Local Democracy Week, receiving official recognition from the county council.[27]

Place names and customs

The beach at Westward Ho!, North Devon, looking north towards the Taw and the Torridge estuaries

Devon's place names include many with the endings "coombe/combe" and "tor" – Coombe being the Brythonic word for "valley" or hollow (cf Welsh 'cwm') whilst tor derives from a number of Celtic loan-words in English (Old Welsh twrr and Scots Gaelic tòrr) and is used as a name for the formations of rocks found on the moorlands. Its frequency is greatest in Devon, where it is the second most common place name component (after 'ton', derived from the Old English "tun" meaning farm, village).

Devon has a variety of festivals and traditional practices, including the traditional orchard-visiting Wassail in Whimple every January 17 and the carrying of flaming tar barrels in Ottery St. Mary, where people who have lived in Ottery for long enough are called upon to celebrate Bonfire Night by running through the village (and the gathered crowds) with flaming barrels of tar on their backs.[28] Berry Pomeroy still celebrates "Queen's Day" for Elizabeth I.

Education

Devon has a mostly comprehensive education system. There are 37 state and 23 independent secondary schools. There are three tertiary (FE) colleges and an agricultural college (Bicton College, near Budleigh Salterton). Torbay has 8 state (with 3 grammar schools) and 3 independent secondary schools, and Plymouth has 17 state (with 3 grammar schools – two female and one male) and one independent school, Plymouth College. East Devon and Teignbridge have the largest school populations, with West Devon the smallest (with only two schools). Only one school in Exeter, Mid Devon, Torridge and North Devon have a sixth form – the schools in other districts mostly have sixth forms, with all schools in West Devon and East Devon having a sixth form. The county also plays host to two major UK universities, the University of Exeter (split between the Streatham Campus and St Luke's Campus both in Exeter and a campus in Cornwall); in Plymouth the University of Plymouth, the fourth largest university in the UK is present, along with the Marjon's College to the city's north. Both the universities of Exeter and Plymouth have co-formed the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry which is based in Plymouth. There is also Schumacher College.

Cuisine

The county has given its name to a number of culinary specialities. The Devonshire cream tea, involving scones, jam and clotted cream, is thought to have originated in Devon (though claims have also been made for neighbouring counties); in other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, it is known as a "Devonshire tea".[29][30][31] In New South Wales, Australia, Devon is a name for luncheon meat (processed ham).

In October 2008, Devon was awarded Fairtrade County status by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Sport

Devon has been home to a number of customs, such as its own form of wrestling. As recently as the 19th century, a crowd of 17,000 at Devonport, near Plymouth, attended a match between the champions of Devon and Cornwall. Another Devon sport was outhurling which was played in some regions until the 20th century (e.g. 1922, at Great Torrington). Other ancient customs which survive include Dartmoor step dancing, and "Crying The Neck".

Devon has three professional football teams, based in each of its three most populated towns and cities. Competing in the Football League Championship, Plymouth Argyle F.C. are the biggest and most successful team in the county whilst Exeter City F.C. play in Football League One. Torquay United compete in the Football League Two. Plymouth's best performance came in 1987 when they finished seventh in the Football League Second Division, while Torquay and Exeter have never progressed beyond the third tier of the league. The county's biggest non-league club is Tiverton Town F.C. which competes in the Southern Football League Premier Division.

Rugby Union is popular in Devon. Two teams – Plymouth Albion and Exeter Chiefs – are, as of 2009, in the Championship (the national second tier). In basketball, Plymouth Raiders play in the British Basketball League. Tamar Valley Cannons, also based in Plymouth, are Devon's only other representatives in the National Leagues. Motorcycle speedway is also supported in the county, with both the Exeter Falcons and Plymouth Devils succeeding in the National Leagues in recent years.

There are four rugby league teams in Devon. Plymouth Titans, Exeter Centurions, Devon Sharks from Torquay and East Devon Eagles from Exmouth. They all play in the Rugby League Conference.

Devon also boasts a field hockey club who play in the National Premier League, the University of Exeter Hockey Club

Horse Racing, particularly point to point racing and National Hunt Racing is also popular in the county, with two National Hunt racecourses (Exeter and Newton Abbott, and numerous point to point courses. There are also many successful professional racehorse trainers based in Devon.

Famous Devonians

Devon is known for its mariners, such as Sir Francis Drake, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Richard Grenville, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Chichester. The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the crime writer Agatha Christie, the painter and founder of the Royal Academy, Sir Joshua Reynolds, the dog breeder John "Jack" Russell and frontman Chris Martin from the English rock group Coldplay were born in Devon. Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard and Christopher Wolstenholme from the English group Muse all grew up in Devon. Actor Bradley James was born in Devon. Trevor Francis, former Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City professional footballer was born and brought up in Plymouth. Peter Cook the satirist, writer and comedian was born in Torquay, Devon and singer Joss Stone was brought up in Devon. Ted Hughes (poet) lived in Devon and his funeral and cremation were held in Devon. England, Leicester Tigers and British Lions Rugby player Julian White MBE was born and raised in Devon and now farms a herd of pedigree South Devon Beef. Matthew Goode, an actor, was raised in Devon.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designatedareas/nationalparks/dartmoor.aspx|Natural England: Dartmoor retrieved 13 May 2009
  2. ^ "William Camden, Britannia (1607) with an English translation by Philemon Holland - Danmonii". The University of Birmingham. http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/cambrit/cornwalleng.html. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  3. ^ "Manuscript A: The Parker Chronicle". http://asc.jebbo.co.uk/a/a-L.html. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  4. ^ Davies, Norman (2000). The Isles: A History. pp. 207. ISBN 0333692837. 
  5. ^ "Devon's Mining History and Stannary parliament". users.senet.com.au. http://users.senet.com.au/~dewnans/Devon_Stannary_History.html. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  6. ^ In Devon, the county council estimated that 1,200 jobs would be lost in agriculture and ancillary rural industriesHansard, 25th April 2001
  7. ^ Devon County Council, 2005. Tourism trends in Devon.
  8. ^ Edmonds, E. A., et al. (1975) South-West England; based on previous editions by H. Dewey (British Geological Survey UK Regional Geology Guide series no. 17, 4th ed.) London: HMSO ISBN 0-11-880713-7
  9. ^ Edmonds, E. A.; McKeown, M. C.; Williams, M. (1975). "Carboniferous Rocks". South-West England. British Regional Geology. Dewey, H. (4th ed.). London: HMSO/British Geological Survey. pp. 34. ISBN 0118807137. 
  10. ^ Dewey, Henry (1948) British Regional Geology: South West England, 2nd ed. London: H.M.S.O.
  11. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1972; p. 631
  12. ^ http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/index/learning_about/moor_facts.htm|Exmoor National Park, National Park Facts |accessdate=2009-05-10
  13. ^ http://www.thebedandbreakfastguide.co.uk/DaysOut/devon.html
  14. ^ Jones, John Pike & Kingston, J. F. (1829) Flora Devoniensis. 2 pts, in 1 vol. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green
  15. ^ Martin, W. Keble & Fraser, G. T. (eds.) (1939) Flora of Devon. Arbroath
  16. ^ Paul Simons (2007-05-14). "Britain warms to the taste for home-grown olives". London: Times Online. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/weather/article1785059.ece. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  17. ^ "Tories take over county council". The BBC. 2009-06-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/8084708.stm. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  18. ^ "Boundary Committee publishes draft proposal for Devon". The Boundary Committee for England. 2008-07-07. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/news-and-media/news-releases/boundary-committee-news-centre/structural-reviews/boundary-committee-publishes-draft-proposal-for-devon. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  19. ^ Bowen, E. G. (1977) Saints, Seaways and Settlements in the Celtic Lands. Cardiff: University of Wales Press ISBN 0 900768 30 4
  20. ^ "Diocese of Plymouth". http://www.plymouth-diocese.org.uk/. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  21. ^ Fox-Davies, A. C. (1915) The Book of Public Arms, 2nd edition, London
  22. ^ W. C. Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry of England and Wales, 2nd edition, London, 1953
  23. ^ A brief history of Devon's coat of arms (Devon County Council)
  24. ^ Council's designs cause logo row (BBC News)
  25. ^ Policy and Resources Overview Scrutiny Committee Minutes, April 3 2006
  26. ^ BBC - Devon Community Life - Devon gets its own flag
  27. ^ Devon County Council Press Release, 16 October 2006
  28. ^ "Ottery Tar Barrels". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/discovering/legends/ottery_tar_barrels.shtml. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  29. ^ Mason, Laura; Brown, Catherine (1999) From Bath Chaps to Bara Brith. Totnes: Prospect Books
  30. ^ Pettigrew, Jane (2004) Afternoon Tea. Andover: Jarrold
  31. ^ Fitzgibbon, Theodora (1972) A Taste of England: the West Country. London: J. M. Dent

Further reading

  • Oliver, George (1846) Monasticon Dioecesis Exoniensis: being a collection of records and instruments illustrating the ancient conventual, collegiate, and eleemosynary foundations, in the Counties of Cornwall and Devon, with historical notices, and a supplement, comprising a list of the dedications of churches in the Diocese, an amended edition of the taxation of Pope Nicholas, and an abstract of the Chantry Rolls [with supplement and index]. Exeter: P. A. Hannaford, 1846, 1854, 1889
  • Pevsner, N. (1952) North Devon and South Devon (Buildings of England). 2 vols. Penguin Books
  • Stabb, John Some Old Devon Churches: their rood screens, pulpits, fonts, etc.. 3 vols. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1908, 1911, 1916

External links

Coordinates: 50°42′N 3°48′W / 50.7°N 3.8°W / 50.7; -3.8


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Devon [1] (also known, far less commonly, as "Devonshire") is a large county in England's West Country, bordered to the west by Cornwall and to the east by Dorset and Somerset. Uniquely amongst English counties, Devon has two separate coastlines: to the south, on the English Channel and to the north, on the Irish Sea and Bristol Channel. These are studded with resort towns, harbours and (more recently) surfing beaches. Devon is also home to two National Parks - Dartmoor and Exmoor* - and includes the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel / Irish Sea. N.B. Exmoor is shared with Somerset, which has the larger share.

Ilfracombe In Devon
Ilfracombe In Devon
Map of Devon
Map of Devon
  • Exeter - cathedral and university city, county town of Devon
  • Plymouth - largest city in Devon

Understand

The name "Devon" derives from the Celtic people who inhabited the southwest of Britain at the time of the Roman invasion, the Dumnonii. Devon's flag is green, with a black and white cross.

Devon has produced tin, copper and other metals throughout its history. Tin was found in the granite of Dartmoor, and copper in the areas around the moor. In the eighteenth century, Devon Great Consols mine (near Tavistock) was believed to be the largest copper mine in the world.

Devon has the highest coastline in southern England and Wales on it's Exmoor seaboard. The "hob-backed" hills of the exmoor national park tumble down to the coast on Devon's Bristol Channel coast, culminating at the awesome "Great Hangman", a 1043ft hill with a cliff-face of 820 foot, while the "Little Hangman" has a cliff-face of 716 foot. The best way to see these cliffs is from a boat trip from Ilfracombe or (occcassionally) Lynmouth or Swansea; the ferry sevice from Penarth in South Wales to Ilfracombe also passes by this massive coastline (see below).

Devon's Hartland point is the south-west limit of the Bristol Channel; in other words where the Bristol Channel meets the atlantic ocean. The northern limit is St Anne's Head in Pembrokeshire, forty-eight miles from Hartland Point.

Many of the rocks that make up Deveon are exceptional specimens of a geological Era, in homage to this, the geological period is called the 'Devonian', between 416 million years ago and 360 million years ago; Devon's Geological Sites include:

  • Dawlish Sea Wall, fine examples of wind blown 'Young Red Sandstone' deposits with Langstone rock, a 250 million year old Conglomerate rock
  • Exceter Castle is an old volcano (volcanic rocks were used in the construction of the Roman buildings) and there are fine exposures of Limestone in Torquay

The larger towns and cities in Devon have small but developing lesbian and gay communities, notably in Plymouth, Torquay and Exeter. Plymouth and Exeter have annual Pride events. In the more rural areas of Devon homophobia can be common and discretion is advised.

The Devon County Council Site [2] has more information on Geological Tourism

Get in

By train

Exeter has two main train stations, St. Davids (where most long-distance services call,) and Central. Central, unsurprisingly, is closer to the centre of town, but the two are within a short walk of one another.

If visiting from Cornwall, the railway will take you across the Royal Albert Bridge from Saltash (in Cornwall) into Devon. When crossing this bridge, you will enjoy marvelous views of the River Tamar, which it crosses.

If visiting from the south, the railway line between London (Waterloo) and Exeter via Salisbury will transport you into east Devon, with connections with other parts of Devon at Exeter (St Davids station).

If visiting from Somerset and places north of London and Bristol, the Great Western Main Line will take you to Tiverton Parkway station (a few miles away from Tiverton itself) and then to Exeter. It will then carry on to Newton Abbot (where the line to Torquay and Paignton diverges from the main line) to Plymouth and then to Cornwall.

By road

The M5 is the only motorway to enter Devon. Coming from Bristol to the north-east, it terminates in Exeter, where it splits into the A30 and the A38.

There is a once-daily Megabus service to Exeter from London Victoria (and vice versa,) but this ultra-economy service can be very uncomfortable and very late.

A park and ride service is available, see National Park and Ride Directory [3]

By boat

It is possible to travel to Ilfracombe in North Devon from Penarth and Swansea in South Wales on the paddle steamers Waverly and Balmoral. The Penarth to Ilfracombe journey is particularly scenic, as you also get to see the picturesque towns of Lynton, Lynmouth, the "Valley of the Rocks" and the awesome Great Hangman (the highest cliff in Devon at 1043ft). Leisurely traveling to Devon on a paddle steamer is certainly superior to driving there on the often congested M5!!! There is also a strong possibility of a fast catermaran Ilfracombe ferry [4] to Swansea in a year or two's time.

By plane

There is one (small) international airport in Devon, Exeter International (http://www.exeter-airport.co.uk). Regional flights from Gatwick, Mancherster, Leeds and Bristol also go to Plymouth Airport (http://www.plymouthairport.com).

Get around

Latitudes and Longitudes in Devon can be obtained from an interactive travel map at Stairway to Devon [5].

  • Dartmoor National Park [6]
  • Exmoor National Park [7]
  • the Dorset and East Devon Coast, or Jurassic Coast [8], a World Heritage site
  • Lundy Island [9], an island in the Bristol Channel, an important conservation site with England's only statutory Marine Nature Reserve
  • Buckfast Abbey [10]
  • Devon's Crealy Great Adventure Park, Crealy Great Adventure Park, Sidmouth Road, Exeter, Devon, EX5 1DR, 01395 233 200, [11]. Great family days out at Devon's top theme park.  edit
  • Fly Fishing, +44 (0) 1363 82786, [12]. The rivers around Devon have Trout, Sea Trout and Salmon. Guides can provide equipment & instruction on fly fishing for all experience levels.  edit

Eat

The cream tea, involving scones, jam and clotted cream, is a local speciality and may well have originated in Devon (although neighbouring counties also claim it); in many countries, however, this combination is known as Devonshire Tea.

Stay safe

Devon is a very safe place to live and visit. Crime levels are well below the average for England, this is in part a reflection of Devon's rural population distribution.

Get out

The county of Cornwall lies to the west of Devon, Dorset and Somerset to the east and north.

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also devon

Contents

English

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Devon

Plural
-

Devon

  1. A county of England bordered by Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset, the Bristol Channel and the English Channel.
  2. Any of a number of places in US and Canada.
  3. A male given name derived from the place name, or a variant of Devin.
  4. A female given name of modern American usage, derived from the place name.

Synonyms

Translations


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

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Devon

<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center; background: white;">File:Flag of Devon.svg
</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center; background: white;">Motto: Auxilio divino (Latin: By divine aid)</td></tr>

File:EnglandDevon.png
Geography
Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region South West England
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 4th
6,707 km² (2,589.6 sq mi)
Ranked 3rd
6,564 km² (2,534.4 sq mi)

<tr><th>Admin HQ</th><td class="label">Exeter</td></tr><tr><th>ISO 3166-2</th><td>GB-DEV</td></tr>

ONS code 18
NUTS 3 UKK43
Demographics
Population
- Total (2006 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 11th Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
1,122,100
167/km² (432.5/sq mi)
Ranked 12th Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
740,800
Ethnicity 98.7% White
Politics
File:Devon county council logo small.svg
Devon County Council
http://www.devon.gov.uk/

<tr><th>Executive</th><td>Liberal Democrats </td></tr>

Members of Parliament
Districts
File:Devon Ceremonial Numbered.png
  1. Exeter
  2. East Devon
  3. Mid Devon
  4. North Devon
  5. Torridge
  6. West Devon
  7. South Hams
  8. Teignbridge
  9. Plymouth (Unitary)
  10. Torbay (Unitary)

File:Torquay.devon.750pix.jpg Devon is a large county in South West England, bordered by Cornwall to the west, and Dorset and Somerset to the east. It is unique among English counties, in that it has two separated coastlines, on the English Channel and Bristol Channel branches of the Atlantic. Although Devon is the official county name, Devon and Devonshire are commonly used interchangeably in general use, with Devonshire often indicating a traditional or historical context.

Devon is the third largest of the English counties, with a population of 1,109,900. The county town is the cathedral city of Exeter, and the county contains two independent unitary authorities, the port city of Plymouth and the Torbay conurbation of seaside resorts, in addition to Devon County Council itself. Much of the county is rural or National Park land (365 square miles or so, or about 945 km², are occupied by Dartmoor), and it has consequently, by British standards, a relatively low population density.

The Dorset and East Devon Coast, otherwise known as the Jurassic Coast for its geology and geographical features, is the only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in England. Geologically, Devon, along with its neighbour Cornwall, is known as the "Cornubian massif". This geology gives rise to the unique landscapes of Dartmoor and Exmoor, both National Parks. In addition to these, Devon has many seaside resorts and several historic towns and cities, plus a mild climate, accounting for the large tourist sector of its economy.

There is some dispute over the use of Devonshire instead of Devon, and there is no official recognition of the term 'Devonshire' in modern times. Theories have included that the 'shire' suffix is due to a mistake in the making of the original letters patent for the Duke of Devonshire, resident in Derbyshire. However, there are references to 'Defenascire' in old English texts from before 1000AD,[1] which translates to modern English as 'Devonshire'. The term Devonshire may have originated around the 8th century, when it changed from Dumnonia to Defensascir.[2]

Contents

History

Main article: History of Devon

Devon was one of the first areas of England settled following the end of the last ice age. Dartmoor is thought to have been settled by Mesolithic hunter-gatherer peoples from about 6000 BC. The name 'Devon' derives from the name of the Celtic people who inhabited the southwestern peninsula of Britain at the time of the Roman invasion c. 50AD, known as the Dumnonii, thought to mean 'Deep Valley Dwellers'. The Romans held the area under military occupation for approximately 25 years. Later the area became a frontier between Brythonic Dumnonia and Anglo-Saxon Wessex, and it was absorbed into Wessex by the mid-9th century.

Devon has also featured in most of the civil conflicts in England since the Norman Conquest, including the Wars of the Roses, Perkin Warbeck's rising in 1497, the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549, and the English Civil War. Perhaps most notably, the arrival of William of Orange to launch the Glorious Revolution of 1688 took place at Brixham.

Devon has produced tin, copper and other metals from ancient times. Devon's tin miners enjoyed a substantial degree of independence through Devon's stannary parliament, which dates back to the twelfth century. The last recorded sitting was in 1748.

Devon is also known for its mariners, such as Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Walter Raleigh. The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the crime writer Agatha Christie, the painter and founder of the Royal Academy, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the dog breeder John "Jack" Russell were born in Devon. The county was also the childhood home of psychology pioneer Raymond Cattelland more recently the home of comedian Bill Bailey. A devon is also a breed of milk and meat cow. They came from England to America in 1623.

Economy and industry

Main article: Economy and industry of Devon

Like neighbouring Cornwall to the west, Devon has been disadvantaged economically compared to other parts of southern England, owing to the decline of a number of core industries, notably fishing, mining and farming. Consequently, most of Devon has qualified for the European Community Objective 2 status, particularly around Exmoor, Bideford Bay and the Hartland Point peninsula which is somewhat cut off from industrial Britain by road and rail transport (although North Devon is only 20 miles, or 32 km, by boat from Swansea in Wales). The 2001 Foot and Mouth (Hoof and Mouth) disease outbreak harmed the farming community severely.[3] Nearly half of the holdings of the Duchy of Cornwall are in Devon, including a large area of farmland.

Since the rise of seaside resorts with the arrival of the railways in the 19th century, Devon's economy has been heavily reliant on tourism. The county's economy has followed the trend of British seaside resort decline since the mid-20th century, with some recent revival. This revival has been ball sack aided by the designation of much of Devon's countryside and coastline as the Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks, and the Jurassic Coast and Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Sites. In 2004 the county's tourist revenue was UK£1.2 billion.[4]

The attractive lifestyle of the area is drawing in new industries which are not heavily dependent upon geographical location; Dartmoor, for instance, has recently seen a significant rise in the percentage of its inhabitants involved in the financial services sector. In 2003, the Met Office, the UK's weather service, moved to Exeter.

Devon is one of the rural counties, with the advantages and problems characteristic of these. Despite this, the county's economy is also heavily influenced by its two main urban centres, Plymouth and Exeter.

Geology, landscape and ecology

File:Heath.jpg File:CIMG4019.JPG The Dartmoor National Park lies wholly in Devon, and the Exmoor National Park lies in both Devon and Somerset. In addition, Devon is the only county in England to have two completely separate coastlines. Both the north and south coasts offer dramatic views: much of both coastlines is named as Heritage Coast, and the South West Coast Path runs along the entire length of both. Inland, the county has attractive rolling rural scenery, and villages with thatched cob cottages. All these features make Devon a popular holiday destination. The variety of habitats means that there is a wide range of wildlife (see Dartmoor wildlife). A popular challenge among birders is to find over 100 species in the county in a day. The county's wildlife is protected by the Devon Wildlife Trust, a charity which looks after 40 nature reserves.

The landscape of the south coast consists of rolling hills dotted with small towns, such as Dartmouth, Salcombe, Totnes amongst others. The towns of Torquay and Paignton are the principal seaside resorts on the south coast. The north of the county is very rural with few major towns except Barnstaple, Great Torrington, Bideford and Ilfracombe. East Devon has the first seaside resort to be developed in the county, Exmouth and the more upmarket Georgian town of Sidmouth, headquarters of the East Devon District Council. Exmouth's popularity as a seaside resort faded as it was one of the last towns to get a rail link. Until 1861 visitors had to take a coach from Exeter or a ferry from Starcross. Exmouth marks the western end of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Devon has also given its name to a geological era: the Devonian era (the era before the carboniferous stage), so-called because the distinctive red sandstone of Exmoor was studied by geologists here. Devonian sandstone/slate is also found in neighbouring Cornwall (such as Tintagel, where the castle is made from Devonian slate), and across the Bristol Channel in Wales (the Gower peninsula/Pembrokeshire/Brecon Beacons has the same lumpy sandstone cliffs and hog-backed hills as Exmoor). This is because around 7000 years ago the Bristol Channel did not exist, instead there was a large bay stretching between Pembrokeshire and Devon. Where the Bristol Channel is now was mainly a flat plain, although the Cambrian mountain system of Wales continued over to (what is now) Exmoor and Dartmoor. Devon's other major rock system is the carboniferous sandstone which stretches from Bideford to just outside Bude in Cornwall, which is generally better quality than the Devonian sandstone, and also contributes to a gentler, greener, more rounded landscape.

Devon's Exmoor coast has the highest cliffs in southern Britain, culminating in the Great Hangman, a 1043 ft (318 m) "hog-backed" hill with an 820 ft (250 m) cliff-face, located near Combe Martin Bay. Its sister cliff is the 716 ft (218 m) Little Hangman, which marks the edge of Exmoor. The coast of Devon, along with Wales and Cornwall, has more miles of Heritage Coast than any other region. Around 65% of Devon's coastline is Heritage Coast. Just as one county, Devon has more Heritage Coast than the entire length of both South-East and North-West England. Both Devon's northern and southern coasts are impressive, in particular Hartland Point, which is the where the Bristol Channel meets the Celtic Sea/Atlantic Ocean.

Rising temperatures have led to Devon becoming the first place in modern Britain to commercially cultivate olives.[5]

Politics and administration

The administrative centre of Devon is the city of Exeter. The city of Plymouth, the largest city in Devon, and the conurbation of Torbay (including the towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham) are now unitary authorities separate from the remainder of Devon which is administered by Devon County Council for the purposes of local government.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is currently considering whether Exeter City Council should become a new unitary authority.[6][7]

Devon County Council, controlled by the Liberal Democrats[8], consists of 33 Liberal Democrats, 23 Conservatives, four Labour and two independent councillors.[9] At a national level, Devon has five Conservative MPs, three Liberal Democrat MPs, and three Labour MPs.

File:Exteter Cathedral 2923rw.jpg

Cities, towns and villages

For a complete list of settlements see list of places in Devon.

The main settlements in Devon are the cities of Plymouth, a historic port now administratively independent, Exeter, the county town, and Torquay, the county's tourist hotspot. Devon's coast is lined with popular tourist resorts, many of which grew rapidly with the arrival of the railways in the 19th century. Notable examples include Dawlish, Exmouth and Sidmouth on the south coast, and Ilfracombe and Lynmouth on the north. The Torbay conurbation of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham on the south coast is perhaps the largest and most popular of these resorts, and is now administratively independent of the county. Rural market towns in the county include Axminster, Barnstaple, Bideford, Honiton, Newton Abbot, Okehampton, Tavistock and Tiverton.

Symbols

File:Devon arms.png There was no established coat of arms for the county until 1926: the arms of the City of Exeter were often used to represent Devon, for instance in the badge of the Devonshire Regiment. When a county council was formed by the Local Government Act 1888 it was required to adopt a common seal. The seal contained three shields depicting the arms of Exeter along with those of the first chairman and vice-chairman of the council (Lord Clinton and the Earl of Morley).[10]

The county council received a grant of arms from the College of Arms on October 11, 1926. The main part of the shield displays a red crowned lion on a silver field, the arms of Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cornwall. The chief or upper portion of the shield depicts an ancient ship on wavers, for Devon's seafaring traditions. The Latin motto adopted was Auxilio Divino (by Divine aid), that of Sir Francis Drake. The 1926 grant was of arms alone. On March 6, 1962 a further grant of crest and supporters was obtained. The crest is the head of a Dartmoor Pony rising from a "Naval Crown". This distinctive form of crown is formed from the sails and sterns of ships, and is associated with the Royal Navy. The supporters are a Devon bull and a sea lion. [11] [12] In April 2006 the council unveiled a new logo which was to be used in most everyday applications, though the coat of arms will continue to be used for "various civic purposes".[13] [14]

File:Flag of Devon.svg Devon also has its own flag which has been dedicated to Saint Petroc, a local saint with dedications throughout Devon and neighbouring counties. The flag was adopted in 2003 after a competition run by BBC Devon.[15] The winning design was created by website contributor Ryan Sealey, and won 49% of the votes cast. The colours of the flag are those popularly identified with Devon, for example, the colours of the rugby union team, and the Green and White flag flown by the first Viscount Exmouth at the Bombardment of Algiers (now on view at the Teign Valley Museum), as well as the county's most successful football team, Plymouth Argyle. On 17 October 2006, the flag was hoisted for the first time outside County Hall in Exeter to mark Local Democracy Week, receiving "official recognition" from the county council[16].

Culture

File:Westwardho.beach.arp.750pix.jpg

Devon's place names include many with the ending 'coombe/combe' or 'tor' - Coombe being the Brythonic word for 'valley' or hollow whilst tor derives from a number of Celtic loan-words in English (Old Welsh twrr and Scots Gaelic tòrr) used as a name for the large formations of rocks commonly found on the moorlands. Its frequency is greatest in Devon, where it is the second most common place name component (after 'ton', derived from the Old English 'tun' meaning farm, village).

Devon has been home to a number of unique customs, such as its own form of wrestling. As recently as the 19th century, a crowd of 17,000 at Devonport, near Plymouth, attended a match between the champions of Devon and Cornwall.

  • Another Devon sport was 'outhurling' which was played in some regions until the twentieth century (e.g. 1922, at Great Torrington).
  • Other ancient customs which survive include Dartmoor step dancing, and 'Crying The Neck'.
  • Devon also has a rich variety of festivals and practices. One example of these include the flaming tar barrels in Ottery St. Mary, where people who have lived in Ottery for long enough are called upon to celebrate Bonfire Night by running through the village (and the gathered crowds) with flaming barrels of tar on their backs.

Sport

Famous Devonians

Main article: Notable people from Devon

Devon as a descriptor

File:Devon.brixham.750pix.jpg

See also

References

  1. ^ Manuscript A: The Parker Chronicle. Retrieved on 2007-06-29.
  2. ^ Davies, Norman (2000). The Isles: A History, 207. ISBN 0333692837. 
  3. ^ In Devon, the county council estimated that 1,200 jobs would be lost in agriculture and ancillary rural industriesHansard, 25th April 2001
  4. ^ Devon County Council, 2005. Tourism trends in Devon.
  5. ^ Paul Simons (2007-05-14). Britain warms to the taste for home-grown olives. Times Online. Retrieved on 2007-09-20.
  6. ^ Exeter City Council - One council for Exeter
  7. ^ Communities and Local Government - Proposals for future unitary structures: Stakeholder consultation
  8. ^ BBC News Article, 7 May 2005
  9. ^ Devon County Council, List of Councillors by party affiliation.
  10. ^ A. C. Fox-Davies, The Book of Public Arms, 2nd edition, London, 1915
  11. ^ W. C. Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry of England and Wales, 2nd edition, London, 1953
  12. ^ A brief history of Devon's coat of arms (Devon County Council)
  13. ^ Council's designs cause logo row (BBC News)
  14. ^ [http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/democracycommunities/decision_making/cma/cma_document.htm?cmadoc=minutes_spr_20060403.html Policy and Resources Overview Scrutiny Committee Minutes, April 3 2006]
  15. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/community_life/features/devon_flag.shtml
  16. ^ Devon County Council Press Release, 16 October 2006

External links

General information about Devon

Tourist information

Photographs

  • Dartmoor Virtual Tour Landscape Leaps: Dartmoor 360°. Interactive Virtual Tour of Dartmoor National Park, Devon, England




This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Devon. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

This article uses material from the "Devon" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

[[File:|right|framed|A map showing where Devon is in England (coloured red)]] Devon is a county of England. It is sometimes called Devonshire although this is not its correct name. It is in the southwest of the country. Devon is the second largest county in England, and has the longest road network of any county in England.

Contents

History

After the last ice age, Devon was one of the first places in England where people started to live. Archaeologists have found many old places in Devon with ancient buildings. For example, many ruins of old buildings have been found in an area called "Dartmoor", which is now a National Park.

Devon gets its name from the Dumnonii, a name that the invading Romans gave to the Celtic tribe in that area. The Romans invaded Devon about AD 50. The name Dumnonii means "a person who lives in a deep valley", and it comes from the hills and valleys of the area. The Roman army stayed in Devon for about 25 years. Their base was in the city of Exeter.

It was a long time before anyone else invaded Devon. Saxons came to Devon in the 7th century, and the King of Wessex may have attacked in 614. There was a conflict between Devon and Wessex for 200 years. Some historians think that Wessex won the war by about 715 but others think this did not happen until at least 936. Eventually Wessex took control, but the Kings of Devon still had some power.

A person living at the time called William of Malmesbury said that in Exeter both Britons and Saxons were equal in 927 but that King Athelstan of Wessex then chased the Britons from Exeter. From place names and church dedications it seems that the British did not go far and later came back into Exeter because an area in the city was called "Britayne" until recently.

A large number of Devon placenames include (or are) the word "combe" (e.g. Ilfracombe). This word comes from the Brythonic (Celtic) language and is like the Welsh word "cwm". Another typical Devon word is "tor" which is also Brythonic, and like the Welsh word "twr". Both of these words are often found in neighbouring counties, but Devon has the greatest number. Overall Devon has a number of other placenames that are Brythonic and others that come from Old English, and a few that come from Norse. Devon's placenames are like those of western Somerset and eastern Cornwall which was also part of the old kingdom of "Dumnonia".

Starting in the 9th century, groups of Viking raiders tried to invade Devon. This continued until the Norman Conquest. The name of Lundy Island comes from the Viking language, which was called Norse. The Vikings are remembered for moving the cathedral from Crediton to Exeter.

Devon has been involved in most of the civil conflicts in England since 1066:

  • During the Norman Conquest of England, Exeter was surrounded by William the Conqueror's army for 18 days.
  • In 1140, the towns of Exeter and Plympton were both defended against King Stephen.
  • There were small battles in Devon during the Wars of the Roses.
  • The army of Perkin Warbeck surrounded and attacked Exeter in 1497.
  • The Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549: rebels from Cornwall and Devon marched towards London.
  • The towns of Exeter and Dartmouth were both besieged (surrounded by the enemy) during the English Civil War.
  • When William of Orange invaded Britain in 1688 (the Glorious Revolution), he landed at Brixham.

There are many famous (well known) people from Devon, especially seamen. For example, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Walter Raleigh all come from Devon. Many other famous people were also born in Devon: for example, the author Agatha Christie was born in the town of Torquay.

Flag

File:Flag of
The flag of Devon

Devon has its own flag. It is linked to St Petroc, who is a local saint with links to Devon and nearby counties. The flag was chosen after winning a competition on the BBC Devon website in 2003.

Economy

Devon is less wealthy than many parts of England, for example the south east. This is because the traditional industries of Devon, for example fishing, mining and farming are declining. The European Union has given parts of Devon help (Objective 2). For example grants of money have been given to help new industries grow. Tourism has become more important recently as a part of the economy of Devon.

An epidemic of Foot and Mouth disease in 2001 led to many farmers losing their cattle, so they lost a lot of money. Other industries also lost a lot of income because of this.

Politics

The main city of Devon is Plymouth. Exeter is where the county council is based. The county of Devon is split up into districts. Each district is run by a district council. Some things are the job of the county council and others are the job of the district council. There are also smaller town and parish councils inside the districts.

Plymouth and Torbay are not run by the county council, but have their own special councils. These councils do the jobs of both a county and a district council. These type of areas are called unitary authorities.

Districts in Devon

File:Devon Ceremonial
A map showing the districts of Devon

The numbers on the map are linked to the numbers below.

  1. Exeter
  2. East Devon
  3. Mid Devon
  4. North Devon
  5. Torridge
  6. West Devon
  7. South Hams
  8. Teignbridge
  9. Plymouth (Unitary)
  10. Torbay (Unitary)

Members of Parliament

  • Ben Bradshaw
  • Angela Browning
  • Geoffrey Cox
  • Oliver Colvile
  • Linda Gilroy
  • Nick Harvey
  • Adrian Sanders
  • Alison Seabeck
  • Anthony Steen
  • Gary Streeter
  • Hugo Swire
  • Richard Younger-Ross

Cities, towns and villages

This is a list of the main towns and cities of Devon:

Interesting places

Rivers

Other websites

This audio file was created from an article revision dated 2006-10-12, and does not play the most recent changes to the article. (Audio help)

Note: The links below are not in simple English.








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