Tavistock History

Tavistock History

Description

Tavistock’s history has seen the bustling town of today transform from an ancient abbey to an official market town, giving Devon industry from its canal and railway, as well as its famous seafaring son – Sir Francis Drake himself. For a town tucked in rural West Devon just miles from Dartmoor, Tavistock has seen it all. Tavistock holiday cottages are well-placed for those with a passion for history.

The Goosey Fair

The longest running Tavistock tradition is also one of the most important remainders of its history. The annual Tavistock Goosey Fair has taken place in the town since 1116, and although much-changed, proudly continues with its original community spirit! Tavistock was granted its market grant by the king in the year 1116 and launched a 3-day fair every August.

The fair was later moved to September 29, and it moved again with the 1752 calendar to the second Wednesday of October – which remains to this day. Once an opportunity to buy a Christmas goose in time to fatten it up, today’s Tavistock Goosey Fair is a more family-orientated attraction.

Sir Francis Drake

Tavistock’s most famed resident was born in the town in between 1540 and 1544, and was to become one of the most influential seamen in Britain’s history. Francis was the eldest of 12 boys, although his birth was unfortunately unrecorded. Although raised in Chatham, Kent, Drake later returned to Devon and became Mayor of Plymouth in 1581.

During this time Drake arranged the construction of Plymouth’s water supply, which still serves the city today, and purchased his home, Buckland Abbey – now open to the public. Drake’s most famous professional moment was his victory against the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Tavistock Canal

The Tavistock Canal’s completion in 1817 was a turning point in the town’s history and was the idea of Tavistock engineer, John Taylor. Largely built by prisoners of war from France, the canal aimed to increase industry to Tavistock with access for boats as they headed to the quay. The canal also powered several waterwheels, further boosting Tavistock production and trade.

The Tavistock Canal saw the transportation of slate, silver-lead ore and copper ore to the quay, and many good in the opposite direction and was successful for nearly 40 years. The canal’s influence petered after the arrival of the railway in 1844.

Benedictine Abbey

The town known today as Tavistock was originally constructed around a Benedictine Abbey, an impressive building founded in the year 974 AD by the Earl of Devonshire. Overlooking the River Tavy, the abbey was reconstructed after damage by Vikings in 997 AD.

The Benedictine Abbey remained a significant religious hub for the South West until the Dissolution ordered by King Henry VIII in 1539. Remains of the abbey can still be seen today as visitors walk around the town, a fascinating reminder of the long and varied Tavistock history that has led to the town they visit today.

Tavistock’s history has seen the bustling town of today transform from an ancient abbey to an official market town, giving Devon industry from its canal and railway, as well as its famous seafaring son – Sir Francis Drake himself. For a town tucked in rural West Devon just miles from Dartmoor, Tavistock has seen it all. Tavistock holiday cottages are well-placed for those with a passion for history.

The Goosey Fair

The longest running Tavistock tradition is also one of the most important remainders of its history. The annual Tavistock Goosey Fair has taken place in the town since 1116, and although much-changed, proudly continues with its original community spirit! Tavistock was granted its market grant by the king in the year 1116 and launched a 3-day fair every August.

The fair was later moved to September 29, and it moved again with the 1752 calendar to the second Wednesday of October – which remains to this day. Once an opportunity to buy a Christmas goose in time to fatten it up, today’s Tavistock Goosey Fair is a more family-orientated attraction.

Sir Francis Drake

Tavistock’s most famed resident was born in the town in between 1540 and 1544, and was to become one of the most influential seamen in Britain’s history. Francis was the eldest of 12 boys, although his birth was unfortunately unrecorded. Although raised in Chatham, Kent, Drake later returned to Devon and became Mayor of Plymouth in 1581.

During this time Drake arranged the construction of Plymouth’s water supply, which still serves the city today, and purchased his home, Buckland Abbey – now open to the public. Drake’s most famous professional moment was his victory against the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Tavistock Canal

The Tavistock Canal’s completion in 1817 was a turning point in the town’s history and was the idea of Tavistock engineer, John Taylor. Largely built by prisoners of war from France, the canal aimed to increase industry to Tavistock with access for boats as they headed to the quay. The canal also powered several waterwheels, further boosting Tavistock production and trade.

The Tavistock Canal saw the transportation of slate, silver-lead ore and copper ore to the quay, and many good in the opposite direction and was successful for nearly 40 years. The canal’s influence petered after the arrival of the railway in 1844.

Benedictine Abbey

The town known today as Tavistock was originally constructed around a Benedictine Abbey, an impressive building founded in the year 974 AD by the Earl of Devonshire. Overlooking the River Tavy, the abbey was reconstructed after damage by Vikings in 997 AD.

The Benedictine Abbey remained a significant religious hub for the South West until the Dissolution ordered by King Henry VIII in 1539. Remains of the abbey can still be seen today as visitors walk around the town, a fascinating reminder of the long and varied Tavistock history that has led to the town they visit today.

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