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24 September 2014

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Holsworthy banner
Charles Cornish
Holsworthy Town Centre and Charles Cornish
Holsworthy is a thriving market town situated in North Devon.

Forty miles in one direction and you're in Exeter, 40 in another and you're in Plymouth.

It's Charles Cornish's home town and he loves it. Let him show you around.

A-Z of other Home Town features in Devon

RHS Rosemoor Gardens

Devon coast to coast cycle route


Holsworthy website
North Devon

Devon Museums

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In Saxon times the manor of Holsworthy was one of many Port Towns.

Each Manor had its Court Leet which was presided over by the Portreeve. He was responsible for collecting tolls and duties paid by traders.

The Port in Portreeve refers to a walled or enclosed town, a place of safe harbourage of goods.

The word reeve comes from the Saxon 'Gerfa' meaning steward. The powers and duties of the Court Leet have long since ceased but the tradition' is still carried on.

Every year on the eve of St Peters Fair the elected Portreeve and his officers hold a court in the Memorial Hall.

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Holsworthy was first mentioned in the Domesday Book as being the estate of Harold, son of Godwin, 1053 and known as Haroldsworthy, although then it was spelt Haldurdi or Hadiward.

Today Holsworthy has a population of over 1700 in the urban areas and 286 in the hamlets.

Auctioneer at livestock sale
Looking for the best bid
at Holsworthy livestock market

The town's prosperity is much reliant upon agriculture, although some light industry has been developed over recent years.

Holsworthy boasts one of the largest livestock markets in the South West.

Markets are held each Wednesday and Thursday and it's a lively business.

Keeper of the port
Holsworthy is known as a port town. Worthy being a Saxon word for enclosure: a safe harbourage for goods.

Hence we still have a Portreeve: Keeper of the port, the oldest judicial office in the county.

From 1823 to 1891 a canal ran from Bude to Holsworthy. Two wharfs are still in existence.

The church tower
The church with it's 21.5 metre tower

The Anglican church, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is thought to date from 1130 (the first recorded mention is 1268).

The porch is Norman and the tower is over 21 metres high.

The fine peal of eight bells was recast in 1949 and a Carillon plays a variety of tunes, the most famous of which is "The Holsworthy Church Bells", composed by Samuel Sebastian Wesley, the grandson of Charles Wesley.

A fine Methodist church was rebuilt in 1910 and we've also a Roman Catholic chapel on the outskirts of town, dedicated to the martyr Cuthbert Mayne.

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