Cheriton Bishop Village

Cheriton Bishop is a village situated near the north eastern edge of Dartmoor. It is in the mid Devon District Council area and about 10 miles from Exeter and 13 miles from Okehampton.

The village was probably founded in Saxon times and is principally a farming community although many people living in the village commute daily to work in Crediton (6 miles) or Exeter (10 miles). Its location in the heart of Devon makes it ideal for touring the County.

At the end of the M5 motorway at Junction 31 near Exeter the trunk road divides in two - The A 38 dual carriageway to Plymouth, the Tamar Bridge and south east Cornwall, and the other, the A30 dual carriageway, provides an alternative route to Cornwall via Truro to Penzance. It is this major trunk road which skirts the village.

The A 30 from Penzance to Hyde Park Corner ran through Cheriton Bishop until 1978 when the dual carriageway from the end of the M5 was opened. This by passes the village and a new bridge over this major road, which was opened in February 2001, provides villagers with a safe exit and entry onto the dual carriageway.

Of Saxon origins, the village was certainly established by 1086 since it is mentioned in the Doomsday Book as CERITONA which is probably derived from CYRIG = church and TON= farm. The suffix BISHOP was applied in the 13th Century.

The original Cheriton Bishop was a collection of houses, two public houses, the "Rest and be Thankful" (now Pinecroft) and "The Ring O`Bells" (now Sunnyvale) a school and post office clustered very close to the parish church - this was known as CHERITON TOWN. However in the 17th and 18th Century the ridgeway road at CHERITON CROSS was developed into a turnpike road complete with Toll House(see image below). The stagecoach route from London and Exeter west passed through the village with a change of horses (stage) at the Royal Hotel at Crockernwell. The ancient Cross at Cheriton Cross is of uncertain origin and is now near to the war memorial.

It was along this road, the Penzance to London Highway, that the Commander of HMS Pickle brought news of Nelson's victory and death at Trafalgar by post chaise from Falmouth to the Admiralty in London.

And so gradually, over the years the centre of gravity of the village moved from Cheriton Town to Cheriton Cross. The pubs in the "Town" ceased trading and new ones appeared at Cheriton Cross. A blacksmith, farrier and butcher had a busy trade on the main road. In the 1930s the increase in motor traffic brought petrol pumps to the New Inn at the junction of the Yeoford Road, these were later replaced by pumps at the tea rooms named Chequers on the site of what is now Chestnut Close.

It is worth recalling that at CROCKERNWELL, which was once in Cheriton Bishop parish, the then Royal Hotel was used as a courthouse for the area petty sessions
and it is said that Judge Jeffries in the late 17th Century held courts of Assize here and that following the Monmouth Rebellion he tried rebels here.

Two miles south of Cheriton Bishop towards the village of Dunsford, is GREAT FULFORD HOUSE, home of the Fulford family who have served the nation through the ages with distinction. The family were the principal landowners in this area. In 1645 during the Civil War, General Fairfax for Parliament had besieged the City of Exeter held by the Royalists. His headquarters were at Barley House overlooking the City but the siege lines to deny supplies entering the City were wide, extending from Ottery St Mary to Crediton and the Teign Valley. At this time Great Fulford was garrisoned by Royalist troops but following a battle or skirmish the occupation of the House fell into Parliamentarian hands.
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