Parish History

Located within the South Hams, South West Devon is the parish of Buckland Tout Saints.

Set in beautiful Devon countryside, the parish takes its second name from the 'Toutsaints' family who held the manor in 1238. The St. Peter's Church was rebuilt in 1779 and thoroughly restored in the early 1870s. Buckland Tout Saints Hotel (formerly Buckland House) is a Georgian house sitting within a wooded park land on a much older site. Courtlands contains much 15th and 16th century work disguised by later alterations. Bearscombe, a large farmhouse of late 16th century date, was formerly called Woodmanston and corresponds to the manor of Buckland held by one Odeman or Wodeman in 1086. Its present name derives from the Beares who lived here in the 17th century, of whom "Justice Beare," a notorious persecutor of nonconformists, was one. The extensive slate quarries in this parish, which had a large export trade to Holland before the war of 1781, closed down in the late 19th century.

Historically, it formed part of Stanborough Hundred. It falls within Woodleigh Deanery for ecclesiastical purposes. The Deaneries are used to arrange the typescript Church Notes of B.F.Cresswell which are held in the Westcountry Studies Library. The population was 9 in 1801 and 37 in 1901. A parish history file is held in Kingsbridge Library. You can look for other material on the main local studies database. Further historical information is also available on the Genuki website.

Extract from Devon by W.G.Hoskins (1954), included by kind permission of the copyright holder: BUCKLAND TOUT SAINTS in beautiful wooded country, takes its second name from the Toutsaints family who held the manor in 1238. The church (St. Peter) was rebuilt in 1779, but was thoroughly restored in the early 1870s. Buckland House, in a well-wooded park, is a Georgian house on a much older site. Courtlands contains much 15th and 16th century work disguised by later alterations. Bearscombe, a large good looking farmhouse of late 16th century date, was formerly called Woodmanston and corresponds to the manor of Buckland held by one Odeman or Wodeman in 1086. Its present name derives from the Beares who lived here in the 17th century, of whom “Justice Beare,” a notorious persecutor of nonconformists, was one. The extensive slate quarries in this parish, which had a large export trade to Holland before the war of 1781, closed down in the late 19th century.

The Blizzard of February 1978

The blizzard of February 1978 was one of the worst blizzards for over 100 years affecting the South West of England, with Devon particularly badly hit. The weather front carrying the snow was expected to move right across the south and continue to the Midlands, but stalled over the South West. By late on 19 February, 13.4 inches (34cm) of level snow was reported at Exeter Airport, with snowdrifts of over 24ft. Enormous drifts on the moors blocked scores of roads, paralysing the transport network. Power lines were brought down and for three days many parts of Devon had no electricity or running water. Supplies of food and water were flown into the worst hit areas by helicopter. Below are a few pictures taken by the late Bronwen Cuming of Ledstone.

A Little History of Torr Quarry

From BBC's website as part their Doomsday project the link to which can be found here.

Torr Quarry is situated on a ridge of high ground south east of Woodleigh, near the Kingsbridge to Totnes road. An outcrop of a hard volcanic basalt, called Elvan was first quarried here in 1934 when Torr Quarry opened. There were once 50 workmen employed at the quarry but gradually the quarry became worked out and in August 1984 the last rock was extracted. However the quarry has not closed, rock is brought in from other quarries for crushing, and seven men are still employed at the works. In addition there is a ready mix concrete works, and a depot for concrete blocks.  Nearby there is a South Hams District Council Works Depot. Altogether it is a busy area, and in spite of the end of quarrying there seems to be more diversification now. 

Recollections from Parish People

From Patricia Cove’s excellent book Buckland tout Saints – a Parish History, Louie Baker, nee Cole, was born at Threeways in Ledstone and Mabel Rundle, nee Stone, was born at the Pound House. Mabel’s mother had lived in Brook Cottage in Goveton, and her parents were Coles. Threeways was a farm and its buildings were behind Jasmine Cottage. At one time the Cole family owned all three farms in Ledstone, except for Centry Cottage and Bozdech Orchard.  George Heath was the thatcher and lived at Sunbeam Cottage, which was then 3 houses. He and his son also sheared sheep, by hand of course, and his son could shear 100 a day. They remember Harvest Suppers and whist drives in Goveton Schoolroom, and village outings to Bantham and Thurlestone. Mrs. Elliot used to give Christmas parties for Ledstone children. The chapel at Ledstone, between Chapel Cottage and Jasmine Cottage, had a wooden floor and pews, and the minister used to come once a week from outside. Mrs. Baker (not Louie), used to play the organ at Buckland Chapel, and Mr. Baker (E.J.) of Goveton, used to play billiards with Squire Brunskill. When Brunskills had a vacancy for a parlourmaid etc. they would enquire at the school whether any children were leaving. Mabel got her job at the Manor House in this way when she was 14. Sheep used to be driven every year through Ledstone, on their way back from Dartmoor to their winter keep. Another overnight stop for them was Alleron in Loddiswell.