Okehampton in West Devon,
Historic "Gateway-to-Cornwall" Town on the edge of Dartmoor.
Web-Site in operation since 2000 at no cost to public funds.
Author and WebMaster:
Derek W Palmer EMail
Nature and Location
Okehampton is a bustling market town, of population about 7000, in central Devonshire at the north edge of the Dartmoor National Park. It is quickly assessible from the main, A30, dual-carriageway highway that goes through Devon and Cornwall. The City of Exeter in Devon is about 25 miles (approx. 40 km) to the east along the A30 and the Cornish town of Launceston is about 17 miles (approx. 27 km) to the south-west along the same highway.
The area now occupied by Okehampton has a long history. It is known that Iron Age people lived here before and around AD 0, that before AD 70, following the invasion of Britain by the Emperor Claudius in AD 43, the Romans built a fort (found by aerial photography in 1975) close to what is now Okehampton and also at nearby North Tawton, and that the Saxons had a settlement and a church (now part of a much later building) in the area.
However, it was Baron Baldwin de Brionne , one of the knights of William the Conqueror, who, by building a castle, established the basis for the present town of Okehampton as an important trading and market centre throughout the centuries in this part of Devonshire. Baron de Brionne was William's Royal Sheriff of Devonshire, and his castle in Okehampton is the only Devon castle listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. The present castle, on the same site, is that rebuilt and considerably enlarged in the early 1300s by Earl Hugh Courtenay, of the powerful Courtenay family of the County. In 1539, its owner, the Marquis of Exeter, was executed by order of King Henry VIII, and it gradually fell into disuse from then onwards.
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