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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Lydford, or Lidford, is a parish, with a station 1½ miles south of the village, 207½ miles from London, in the Tavistock Division of the county, Hundred of Lifton, petty sessional division, rural division, rural district, county court district and rural deanery of Tavistock, archdeaconry of Plymouth and diocese of Exeter, 8 miles north from Tavistock and 14 from Launceston.


This place, during the Saxon period, and subsequently, was a borough; it is recorded to have been the capital of England when Alfred the Great established his head-quarters here before Winchester; it returned two members to Parliament from 1301 until 1307; at the beginning of the reign of Edward I. the assizes were held here and at Exeter alternately.


Lydford Station is the junction of the Southern Railway with the Launceston, Tavistock and Plymouth line of the Great Western Railway. The Plymouth, Devonport and South Western junction railway, constructed in 1889 from Lydford to Plymouth furnishes the Southern Company with an independent line to Plymouth. Electricity is available. Water is supplied by the Tavistock Rural District Council.


The church of St. Petrock, Lydford

The church of St. Petrock, Lydford

©Richard J. Brine


The church of St. Petrock is a building of granite, incorporating remains of an older structure of freestone; it is in the Early Perpendicular style, with some traces of Early English work, and consists of chancel, nave of three  bays, south aisle, north aisle and vestry, south porch and an embattled western tower with crocketed pinnacles, containing 5 bells, recast with additional metal in 1789, from a previous peal of three, and with a new treble bell, cast in 1921. In 1890, the north aisle and vestry were added and the church restored: during 1924 - 6, the church was restored internally, a new reredos was provided, a new floor was laid, the nave re-seated with carved oak  benches, the ends of which are held to be the finest examples of bench ends of modern days; each end is carved out of a solid block of oak and has a sunken panel on which is carved the figure of a saint &c: the east end of the the south aisle was formerly a chapel and retains a hagioscope pierced through the entrance to the staircase (of which some stairs remain) leading to the rood loft, and a piscina; a mutilated female figure in alabaster, found hidden behind some high box pews in 1873, is preserved in the vestry; the font is carved out of a solid block of Hurdwick stone; in shape of which it is in the well-known "tub" form. The porch, which belongs to the Early English period, retains a stoup on the east side; the only piece of old Lydford glass is in the head of the eastern-most window of the north aisle. A most interesting window is behind the priest's seat in the chancel, being filled with two medallions of ancient 15th century Flemish work and sundry old glass in medley, some of which is reputed to have come from Salisbury Cathedral. The stained east window was erected in 1879 by Daniel Radford Esq. of Lydford Bridge, in memory of his brother George W. Radford, Esq. and there are other memorial windows. The rood screen was erected in 1905 by the Radford family in memory of Daniel Radford.


The Rev. W. K, Chafy Chafy*, curate in charge of the parish, 1875-76, spent about £3000 in completely refurnishing the church, repairing and adding to the rectory house and building new stables. In the churchyard is a tomb with a long and very singular inscription to George Routleigh, a watchmaker. The register of baptisms dates from 1716; that of marriages from 1719; that of burials from 1726; there are 140 sittings. The living is a rectory. It included, until 1912, Princetown, Huccaby and the Postbridge, net yearly value £417, including 1½ acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of HM the King through avoidance in the Duchy of Cornwall, and held since 1902 by the Rev. George Smith Thorpe MA of St. Catherine's College, Cambridge, who is a surrogate.


There is a Methodist chapel, built of stone, with sitting for 100 persons. There is a granite cross on Bray's Tor. Lydford Castle, now in ruins, was erected at some point subsequent to the Conquest, as a protection of this part of the county; the remains consist chiefly of the keep, situated on an artificial mound on one side of a wide, sloping area, enclosed by double parallel earthworks; the fortress can be approached only from the north-east, and was once, no doubt, a piece of considerable strength; the castle was in a decayed state in 1650, but continued to be in some degree habitable until about 1820, when the lead roof was stripped off. Here the Stannary Courts were formerly held. The Castle is now scheduled as an ancient monument and is being restored by HM Office of Works, though the freehold is vested in the Duchy of Cornwall.

(*This is the man's correct name and is not a misprint)


Lydford Cascade

The Lydford Cascade

Believed to be the work of local photographer Howard Trewent Heath and taken c. 1898. Howard Heath died in 1904 aged only 39. He was the son of William Heath of Buckland Monachorum, who was one of the pioneers of Dartmoor photography.


The river Lyd, which flows through the parish, rises about 3 miles above Lydford and is spanned by the picturesque bridge of one arch, thrown across a ravine 70 feet in depth. This bridge was widened and the approached improved by the Rural District Council in 1930 at a cost of £2000; immediately below is Lydford Gorge, a well-known beauty spot, about two miles length, which is the property of H. T. Radford Esq. The stream flows over its rocky bed for about a mile and a half from the bridge, where it is joined by the stream which forms the well-known Lydford Cascade, which has a fall of about 100 feet. The path to the waterfall runs through the grounds of the Manor Hotel. About one mile above the village, on the course of the River Lyd, is another waterfall commonly called "Kitt's Steps".


The land is mainly owned by the farmers. This parish contains 50, 861 acres of land and inland water, inclusive of the Dartmoor Forest Quarter, which extends over 50,000 acres. The population in 1931 was 2218 in the civil and 488 in the ecclesiastical parish.


By Order in Council, dated 13 June, 1913, Brentor Lands, Peter Tavy Lands and Bridestowe Lands were separated from the civil parishes to which they respectively belong and annexed to Lydford for ecclesiastical purposes.


By Order dated 15 May 1914, Mary Tavy Lands were separated from the civil parish to which they belong and annexed to Lydford for ecclesiastical purposes.


Money Order and telegraph Office (letters should  have DEVON added).

RAILWAY STATIONS: Southern Railway and Great Western

Omnibuses to Tavistock and Okehampton pass through daily.



Alexander, A. C. F, Longbridge

Baker, Adolphus R, Eastdown

Bennett, Colin Noel, Shellaford

Boundy, Miss, Langworthy

Browning, Gareth

Duke's, Mrs, Widgery's

Lang, Samuel, Chillon

Loveband, Mrs., Narracott

Phillips, Miss, Heatherlands

Stevens, Mrs.,Lismoyne

Thorpe, Rev. George Smith MA (rector & surrogate), The Rectory

Walker, Misses, Moor Lodge


Alford, Edmond, blacksmith

Bickle, Harold (proprietor L. Screech), carpenter

Brook, William Henry, shopkeeper

Castle Inn (proprietor Charles T. Cowley)

Cook, Francis H., farmer, Oaten Hill

Cook, Walt, tailor

Dartmoor Inn (proprietor Harry Heathman)

Fry, Frank, thatcher

Hannaford, James, butcher

Huggins Brothers, builders

Kennard, William, farmer, Downtown.

Manor Hotel (proprietor L. H. Baly)

Martin, Alfred, dairy farmer

May, W. M & Sons, carpenters

May, Fred, poultry farmer, Shellaford

Morland Guest House, (proprietor Mrs. H. Pengelly)

Moorside Private Hotel (proprietor Mrs. G. C. Binns)

National Provincial Bank

Pengelly, James B.,farmer, Doe Tor

Petherick, Cecil Redvers, cycle repairs

Petherick, E. M. B., (Miss), grocer & post office

Petherick, John Phillips, builder

Phillips, Albert, farmer, Luxmore

Roper, George. motor engineers

Webb, Frances and Ellen (Misses), private hotel

Yeo, Ernest, farmer, Bearwalls.


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