Petrockstowe (or Petrockstow) is a small village and civil parish in
the district of
Torridge in Northern Devon, England. Its population in
2001 was 379, hardly different from the figure of 385 recorded in
1901. The southern boundary of the parish lies on the River
Torridge, and it is surrounded, clockwise from the north, by the
parishes of Peters Marland, Merton, Huish, Meeth,
The village lies about four miles NNW of the town of
is some two miles west of the A386 road, accessible only by minor
2.2 Heanton Satchville
3 Community facilities
7 Notable people
10 Further reading
11 External links
The place was called Petrocestoua in the
Domesday Book in 1086, in
1150 Petrochestona, and in 1202 Petroc. By 1272 it was called
Patrichestowe and Petrokestowe in 1297. In 1535 it was called Stowe
S"e'i Petroci. All the names mean St Petroc's place, for the patron
saint Petroc. Stowe means "place of burial or the shrine of relics
of the saint". By 1910, it was also called Padstow.
The village is referred to by both spellings of
Petrockstow, with two of the signs entering the village reading
Petrockstowe and two reading Petrockstow.
Bronze Age burial mounds just outside the village, but
the first documentary mention of the place is in the Domesday Book.
St. Mary's Abbey of Buckfast was the lord in 1066 and 1086 and
tenant-in-chief in 1086. Nearby places include: Allisland,
Heanton, Hele, Little Marland and Varleys. Sometime after
Petrockstowe was owned by someone other than the abbey. In the
12th century, Robert Warelwast, Bishop of Exeter, restored the manors
Petrockstowe and Ash, also in Petrockstowe, to Buckfast Abbey.
It was also owned by the abbey during the reign of Edward I
(1272-1307). Author Karen Jankulak, states that the name of the
village, Petrockstowe, "suggests a pre-Norman cult of St Petroc
(although probably after the ninth century)" and "undoubtedly" by
1177, at the time of the theft of Petroc's relics. Buckfast Abbey
"possessed the advowson" which gave them the right to nominate the
parish priest. Its abbeys were supported by income producing property
and tithes, temporalities and spiritualities.
By 1822, it was called both Stow St. Petrock and Petrockstow, and it
was located in the Hundred of Shebbear and Deanery of Torrington.
In the 19th century the village had a school, funded by Lord Clinton,
and many businesses such as a tannery, blacksmiths, shoemakers and
Petrockstow railway station
Petrockstow railway station was about a mile away from the village.
Torrington and Marland Railway was built in the late 19th
century to carry ball clay to Torrington from the Marland and Meeth
clay pits. In 1925 this became the basis of the northern section
of the North
Devon and Cornwall Junction Light Railway, which remained
a private line until 1948 when it became part of the Southern Region
of British Railways. The
Beeching Axe closed the line to
passengers in 1965, but it remained open for freight until
In the south-east of the parish, at Ash Moor, there are opencast
workings for ball clay that extend into the neighbouring parish of
Meeth; these clay deposits are in a geological feature known as the
Petrockstow Basin, and have been worked for hundreds of
The parish church, St. Petroc's Church, is dedicated to Saint
Petroc. The church has diagonal buttresses, obelisk pinnacles and
an old west tower. Within the church is a Normon font with a Jacobean
cover. It has some late medieval stained glass and a Jacobean pulpit.
Two stained glass windows were made by Kempe Studios in 1891 and
1896. The church was "largely rebuilt" between 1878 and 1880,
retaining the 14th century arcade, 15th century tower and features of
an earlier Norman church. Except for its north arcade tower, it
was described by Hoskins as "dull". It does, however, still
have an early 14th-century font with a 16th-century cover, and in the
vestry, some medieval glass.
On the north wall of the church are affixed two monumental brasses of
Henry Rolle (left, westernmost)[nb 1] and his wife Margaret Yeo
(d.1591),[nb 2] the heiress of the manor of Heanton Satchville within
the parish (right, easternmost). The two brasses were probably
originally one, with the Rolle shield in the centre.
The two Rolle brasses in the parish church shown together, with Henry
Rolle and his ten sons kneeling in prayer behind him.
His wife, Margaret Yeo Rolle, and their eight daughters kneeling
Arms of Henry Rolle of Petrockstowe: Or, on a fesse dancette between
three billets azure each charged with a lion rampant of the first
three bezants a mullet for difference
The village also has a
Methodist chapel which was built in 1933 to
replace an earlier chapel of 1842, which is now used as a barn.
Main article: Heanton Satchville, Petrockstowe
There are very few traces of the mansion of Heanton Satchville
surviving today, but it was at one time "one of the most imposing
houses ever to exist in Devon". In 1674, it was the second largest
house in Devon. The manor was mentioned in the Domesday Book,
and was then owned by the Sachvilles and Kelligrews, before it passed
into the hands of the Yeo family. By 1359 it was owned by William Yeo
when he was Sheriff of Devon. Margaret Yeo, the sole
heiress of Robert Yeo, married Henry Rolle, (died about 1620), and
thus the manor passed to the Rolles, now represented by the Barons
Clinton. The house was destroyed by fire in 1795, after which
the Trefusis family purchased a mansion in nearby Huish, renamed it
Heanton Satchville, and made it their seat.
The village pub, The Laurels Inn, dates to the 17th century when it
was a coaching inn on the route between Launceston and Lynton. Since
then, according to the village website, it has been used as a
magistrate's court, a home for fallen women of the parish, a lodging
house, a coffee tavern and a private house before re-opening as a pub
in the 1970s. Opposite the pub, on the site of the old village
school, is the Baxter Hall, a modern village hall, opened by Lord
Clinton in 1978 and refurbished in 1998. Baxter Hall, named after
Ethel Baxter who donated the monies for its construction, is a
multi-purpose hall for community social events. It has a stage, large
hall, kitchen and skittles equipment.
The village also has a play area, an extensive recreation area and a
cricket ground. The Recreation Ground, covering 8.5 acres, has a
nine-hole pitch and putt golf course, skate ramp, cricket pitch, field
shelter, and pavilion with a clubroom, kitchen, changing rooms and
toilet. It is located a short walk from the village centre, and is
next to the Tarka Trail.
The Tarka Trail, a 180 miles (290 km) circuit, runs from
Braunton and in this area follows the route of the former North Devon
and Cornwall Junction Light Railway. The portion near
generally flat. It comes within about a mile of the centre of the
village, passing through the old
There are two nature reserves in the area,
Meeth Quary and Ash Moor,
both owned by the
Devon Wildlife Trust.
Meeth Quarry has wetland, open
water and woodland habitats which support 18 species of national
importance and six threatened wildlife habitats. Ash Moor, interlinked
Meeth Quarry, is on the Tarka Trail. Shallow scrapes and ponds
support dragonflies, birds, butterflies and other insects.
The Tarka Trail, combining footpath and cycleway (NCN route 3),
follows the former track of the North
Devon and Cornwall Junction
Light Railway across Bury Moors.
Katy Hallet, The Guardian, mosaic sculpture. On the
Tarka Trail by
Ladywell Wood. The lettering includes quotes from "Tarka the Otter".
Ash Moor nature reserve
Limited bus service is provided by Beacon bus services at the Chapel
Close bus stop as of June 2013, including: There are several
train stations in the area. Airports in the area include Newquay
Cornwall Airport and Exeter International Airport.
Across Patchill Plantation, looking across the top of the wood and the
Farm buildings near Hook Farm
Magpie Contrasting conditions of thatch, and contrasting ages of
buildings. This little group is on the lane from Sheepwash to Patchel
Westacott, a farm seen along the lane from Filleighmoor Gate to
John Bassett Martin, (1847-1944) Pre-eminent Victorian Journalist and
Freemason. Born in
Petrockstowe on 2 October 1847.
^ Inscribed in Roman capitals below is the following text: "Here lyeth
the body of Henry Rolle Esquieer fourth sonne of George Rolle of
Stevenston who maryed Margaret Yeo daughter and sole heire unto Robert
Yeo Esquir decesed and had issue by hir sonnes & doughters
nyneteene". On a speech scroll issuing from Henry Rolle's mouth the
words MORS MIHI LUCRUM, from St Paul's Epistle to the Philippians,
1:21 (Mihi enim vivere Christus est et mori lucrum, translated in the
King James Bible
King James Bible as: "For to me to live is Christ and to die is
gain"). The Rolle armorials, with difference of a mullet, here
intended to denote a fourth son (omitted from drawing), are shown each
side of him: Or, on a fesse indented azure between three billets of
the second each charged with a lion rampant of the first three
bezants. Above is shown the crest of Rolle, a cubit arm with clenched
fist (omitted from the drawing).
^ Affixed in modern times immediately to the right of the brass of
Henry Rolle is that of his wife Margaret Yeo, heiress of Petrockstowe
manor. Inscribed below is the following Gothic text: "Here lyeth the
bodye of Margaret the wife of Henry Rolle Esquier, daughter and hayre
of Robert Yeo Esquire who deceased the Vth day of January and in ye
yeare of Our Lorde God 1591". From her mouth issues a speech scroll
inscribed: "My children feare the lorde", referring to Psalms 34:11:
"Come ye children hearken unto me I will teach you the fear of the
Lord"  A human skull is shown directly in front of her face,
symbolising death, and perhaps her contemplation of that event. Shown
either side of Margaret is a shield bearing the arms of Yeo: Argent, a
chevron sable between three drakes azure, which arms can be seen in
stained glass reset in incomplete form in the vestry window. Above
is shown the crest of Yeo, apparently a lapwing bird, with crest
feathers and long peacock-like tail reaching the ground (omitted from
the drawing).
^ a b c d Harris, Helen (2004). A Handbook of
Tiverton: Halsgrove. pp. 133–4. ISBN 1-84114-314-6.
^ "Map of
Devon Parishes" (PDF).
Devon County Council. Retrieved 20
^ Bertil Blomé (1929). The place-names of North Devonshire.
Appelbergs boktryckeri arktiebolag. p. 48. Retrieved 27 June
^ a b Edmund McClure; Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great
Britain). General Literature Committee (1910). British place-names in
their historical setting. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
p. 279. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
^ Roger J. P. Kain; Rodney E. J. Fry; Sarah A. H. Wilmot (20 July
1995). The Tithe Maps of
England and Wales: A Cartographic Analysis
and County-by-County Catalogue. Cambridge University Press.
p. 138. ISBN 978-0-521-44191-9. Retrieved 27 June
^ a b "History". petrockstowevillage.co.uk. Retrieved 20 June
^ a b c d e Hoskins, W. G. (1972). A New Survey of England:
ed.). London: Collins. pp. 452–3.
^ "Petrockstow". Open Domesday. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
^ "Places near Petrockstow". Open Domesday. Retrieved 27 June
^ H. C. Darby; G. R. Versey (11 September 2008). Domesday Gazetteer.
Cambridge University Press. pp. 89–90.
ISBN 978-0-521-07858-0. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
^ a b c d Karen Jankulak (2000). The Medieval Cult of St Petroc.
Boydell & Brewer. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-85115-777-1.
Retrieved 27 June 2013.
^ a b c Lysons, Daniel; Lysons, Samuel (1822). Magna Britannia: being
a concise topographical account of the several counties of Great
Britain. 6. Cadell. p. 387.
^ Farmer, R. (November 2005). "
Petrockstowe Station railway premises".
BackTrack. 19: 649.
^ Mitchell, V.; Smith, K (1994). Branch Lines to Torrington. Midhurst:
Middleton Press. ISBN 1-873793-37-5.
^ "Discovering Britain's lost railways" Atterbury, P: Basingstoke, AA
Publishing ISBN 978-0-7495-6370-7
^ "Freight details". Disused Railways. [permanent dead link]
^ "The Production and Properties of
Devon Ball Clays". Watts Blake
Bearne. 1984. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
^ Bridget Cherry; Nikolaus Pevsner (1991). The Buildings of England:
Devon. Yale University Press Academic. p. 627.
ISBN 978-0-300-09596-8. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
^ "Churck of St. Petrock, Petrockstowe, Devon". British Listed
Buildings. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
^ "Saint Petroc's Church".
Petrockstowe Village. Retrieved 27 June
^ Quote from King James Bible
^ Lauder, Rosemary (2002).
Devon Families. Tiverton: Halsgrove.
pp. 67–68. ISBN 1-84114-140-2.
Methodist Chapel". petrockstowevillage.co.uk. Retrieved 20 June
^ a b Lauder, Rosemary (2005). Vanished Houses of North
Devon Books. pp. 49–50.
^ "Heanton [Satchville]". Open Domesday. Archived from the original on
12 July 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
^ a b Vivian, Lt. Col. J.L., ed. (1895). The Visitations of the County
of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 &
1620. Exeter: For the author by H. S. Eland. p. 834.
^ Thomas Westcote (1845). A View of Devonshire in MDCXXX: With a
Pedigree of Most of Its Gentry. William Roberts.
^ a b Lysons, p. xc-xci, xciii, xcix-c.
^ "The Laurels Inn". petrockstowevillage.co.uk. Retrieved 20 June
^ "Baxter Hall". petrockstowevillage.co.uk. Retrieved 20 June
^ "Our Village". petrockstowevillage.co.uk. Retrieved 20 June
^ "Recreation Ground".
Petrockstowe Village. Retrieved 28 June
^ "Tarka Trail".
Petrockstowe Village. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
^ "Nature Reserves:
Meeth Quarry and Ash Moor".
Retrieved 28 June 2013.
^ "List of Transport Services from Petrockstowe". Carlberry - Travel
Search. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
Petrockstowe - Chapel Close". Find the Stop. Retrieved 28 June
^ "Tools - Enter Petrockstowe". The Train Line. Retrieved 28 June
^ "Local links".
Petrockstowe Village. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
^ anon (1915). Representative British Freemasons. London: Dod's
Peerage Limited. pp. 238–240.
"Hometown Petrockstowe, Devon". BBC. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
M. J. Messenger (1982). North
Devon clay: the history of an industry
and its transport. Twelveheads Press. pp. 13, 68, 83.
Dorothy H. Rayner (4 June 1981). Stratigraphy of the British Isles.
CUP Archive. p. 359. ISBN 978-0-521-29961-9.
Peter Wright Scott; Colin Malcolm Bristow (2002). "The ball clay and
china clay industries of Southwest
England in 2000". Industrial
Minerals and Extractive Industry Geology: Based on Papers Presented at
the Combined 36th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals and 11th
Extractive Industry Geology Conference, Bath, England, 7th-12th May,
2000. Geological Society. pp. 17–18, 20, 23.
David St John Thomas (2010). Remote Britain: Landscape, People and
Books. frances lincoln ltd. p. 263.
Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and
Art (1879). "On the Deposits of Petrockstow". Report &
Transactions. pp. 422–428.
E. M. Durrance; Edwin Brian Selwood; Deryck J. C Laming (April 2002).
The Geology of Devon. University of Exeter Press.
Devon County Minerals Local Plan" (PDF).
County of Devon. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
Media related to
Petrockstowe at Wikimedia Commons
Towns, villages and hamlets in the
Torridge District of Devon, England
Newton St Petrock
St Giles on the Heath