Village History

Tedburn St Mary, with a population of approximately 1500 lies in the most attractive countryside, 7½ miles West and North of Exeter, between that city and Okehampton. There are two modern housing developments, plus a sheltered housing scheme for the older generation who wish to remain in the village.

The original village was situated in and around the Parish Church of Saint Mary (dating from the thirteenth century).  What we now consider to be the centre of the village was known as ‘Taphouse’, referring to an inn at the crossroads where the Crediton and Exeter roads meet, and it was Taphouse which eventually came to be called Tedburn St Mary.

There are many reminders of the Tedburn of years ago – stone and cob buildings of cottages and farmhouses, the Methodist Church built in 1930, and the old Methodist School Room dating from 1859 and now a dwelling.  The cemetery adjoining the little Chapel of Rest was formed in 1886, and is under control of the Parish Council, who in recent years approved a separate committee to undertake the restoration of the Chapel itself, which otherwise might not have survived.

The King’s Arms Inn dates back to the early 1600’s – it is believed Charles II called here on his way to Cornwall.  The Red Lion Inn on the opposite side of the main road is also a well established place of refreshment.

Tedburn Fair the origins of which go back a long way, is held in September of each year, and is one of our major events.

The Primary School was opened in 1877, and presently has four classes with over a hundred pupils on the roll.

The Village Hall is a spacious, well appointed building, excellently maintained, and well booked by local organisations.  It can also be booked for private functions.

There is a Recreation Field available to all, and is to be found a short way down the Whitestone Road.  Another sporting area for football has been created within the village, namely Barley Park, home of the Tedburn St Mary Football Club.

In 2001 Tedburn won the prestigious title of National Village of the Year, the award was presented by Prince Charles to the ‘Village of the Year Committee’ at an awards ceremony in London.

Until the 1950’s the village revolved mainly around agriculture, and was renowned for its cider making.  However, in spite of decline of these industries, the village has maintained an irrepressible community spirit, having a great number of organisations which are open to varied age groups.

Due to its geographical position with easy access to both Exeter and Okehampton it has attracted many people – and has something to offer everyone who comes.

Text kindly supplied by Lilian Woolnough

If you have any information about Tedburn St Mary that you would like to share, please contact Karen Fletcher on 07999 490637 or Malcolm Little on  01647 61511

3 thoughts on “Village History

  1. Members of the Sanford family came to New Zealand in the 1900s and I believe som of our ancestors still live in the village. My grandmother was a Sanford

  2. Hello – There doesn’t seem to be a contact for general enquires, so please forgive me if this is inappropriate.
    I was in the village yesterday, (01/04/19 – no, this isn’t one of those). I was looking for the Trafalgar Way plaque which turned out to be further away from the point of reference I was given than expected.
    I spoke to a resident who ultimately was able to help. During the course of our chat, he said that the main road through the village isn’t the historical route. He said it passed down by the church. It doesn’t seem likely but wasn’t prepared to challenge him as he’s obviously lived in the village a looong time.Could it be that this alternative route predates the turnpike which would necessarily need to shorten the main route to Exeter and be wide enough for increasing traffic.
    Are you able to shed any light on this matter please?

  3. Hi. I have traced my ancestors to this village to the late 1500 and 1600s and wandered what they would do for employment

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