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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Dean Prior Church

Dean Prior Church , dedicated to St. George

© Richard J. Brine


Dean Prior is a parish on the road from Exeter to Plymouth*, 2 miles south-west from Buckfastleigh Station on the Ashburton branch of the GWR, 4½ south-west from Ashburton and 7 north-west from Totnes. It is in the Totnes division of the county, Stanborough Hundred, and Stanborough and Coleridge  petty sessional division, union, county court disrtict, rural deanery and archdeaconry of Totnes and diocese of Exeter. The church of St George is a building of stone in mixed styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 5 bells. In 1864, the chancel and bells were thoroughly restored by subscripttion and in 1904, a sum of £150 was expended on  the restoration of the tower and interior.


In the south aisle is a handsome monument of Sir edward Giles, knighted at Whitehall 23rd of July 1603 before the coronation of James I; he died in 1642; There is another to the memory of the poet Herrick, author of the Hesperides, who was vicar here 1629 to 1674 and though ejected under the Protectorate was reinstated by Charles II. The ancient screen was removed before 1875 and there are 500 sittings. The register dates from the year 1553 and contains an entry of The burial of Robert Herrick, vicker, 15th October 1674. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £300 with the  residence and 93 acres of glebe, in the gift of Lord Churston MVO; OBE, and held since 1878 by the rev. Charles John Perry-Keeene, BA, of Pembroke College, Oxford. At the entrance to the church yard is a granite cross erected to the memory of the men of this parish who fell in the great War 1914 - 1918. Charities producing £6.10s are distributed in bread and money. In this parish is a wood, covering 300 acres through which flows on of the tributaires of the River Dart, on which is a pretty waterfall. The principal land owners are is Sir Henry Palk- Carew, Bart. and R. A. D. Fleming Esq. The soil varies considerably being chiefly sandy loam, subsoil slate and limestone. The crops are wheat, barley, oats, roots and pasture. Area: 4136 acres including 1400 of Wood; reateable value £2734. the popularion in 1911 was 264.


SEXTON: Richard Churchward

Post office: George Henry Hext, sub-postmaster. Letters received from Buckfastleigh, the nearest moneyorder and telegraph office 1 ½ miles distant.

PUBLIC ELEMENTARTY SCHOOL (MIXED) Erected in 1835 for 70 children. Mrs. Madge Chuter, Schoolmistress.


Coulton, Walter Elliott, JP;CA; Well Park

Perry-Keene, Rev. Charles john, BA; The Vicarage

Thorpe, James


Andrews, Hector, farmer, Zampson

Arscott, Frederick (Mrs.) shopkeeper

Bickford Bros, cowkeepers, Dean Combe

Blatchford, John henry, farmer, Sherriton

Broomfield, Walter, gamekeeper to Lord Churston

Coulton, W. R & Sons, farmers & landowners, Dean Court

Coulton, Walter Elliott, JP; CA; farmer & landowner, Addislade

French, John, farmer, Nurston

Hext, George Henry, blacksmith & Post office

Hoare, Fred, wheelwright

Hodge, William, cowkeeper

Irisih, Hayford Poulston, farmer, Smallacombe

Mitchell, Robert, miller (water), Dean Mill

Richards, Stanley, farmer, White Oxen

Southcombe, Lilian, shopkeeper

Tooley, James Southern, farmer, Tor Dean


* Today, the parish, and indeed the whole community is cut in two by the A38 which passes just feet from the door of the church. This is a fast and busy road and has been the scene of  fatal accidents in recent years caused by parishioners attempting to reach the church by crossing this road on foot. The church can be reached by car and there is a car park at its rear as well as a small pull-off by its lych gate on the Plymouth-bound side of the A38.


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