Bovey Tracey, Devon
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Medieval rood screen in the parish church of St Peter, Paul, and Thomas of Canterbury
Legend tells that one member of the family, William de Tracey, built the parish church of St Peter, Paul, and Thomas of Canterbury in remorse for his part in the murder of Thomas a Becket in 1170. The 12th century Manor House may have been de Tracey's dwelling.
The church is notable for its 14th century west tower and collection of late medieval misericords. The most impressive historic feature, however, is the finely carved rood screen.
In 1259 a later De Tracey, Henry, was granted the right to hold a weekly market and an annual 3-day fair.
A medieval gateway known as Cromwell's Arch is all that remains of a medieval priory on the site now occupied by the Baptist church. Or is it? No historical record mentions a priory here, so where does the archway come from?
There is a fascinating Civil War story linked to the town. In early 1646 the town was a base for a Royalist regiment under Lord Wentworth. The Royalists were caught unprepared when Oliver Cromwell led soldiers into Bovey Tracey under cover of darkness, and captured over 400 horses. Though they also captured several officers playing cards in an inn, many more escaped.
A persistent legend suggests that the Royalists escaped by tossing coins from windows to distract the poorly paid Parliamentary troops. In the confusion caused by the Parliamentary soldiers scrambling for money in the street, the Royalists were able to escape. On the following day, Cromwell met and defeated a Royalist force outside town, in what has been dubbed The Battle of Bovey Heath. The Heath is now home to a nature reserve run by the Devon Wildlife Trust.
The old railway station is now home to the Bovey Tracey Heritage Centre, with displays on local history. Another historic building is Riverside Mill, built in 1854 to supply water to a nearby house. Just outside town is Parke House, headquarters of the Dartmoor National Park Authority.
About Bovey Tracey
Address: Bovey Tracey, Devon, England
Attraction Type: Village
Photo Credit: Derek Harper, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Hound Tor Deserted Medieval Village - 4 miles (Historic Building)
West Ogwell Church - 4.1 miles (Historic Church)
Ugbrooke Park - 4.3 miles (Historic House)
Bradley Manor House - 4.7 miles (Historic House)
Widecombe-in-the-Moor, St Pancras Church - 5.6 miles (Historic Church)
Church House - 5.6 miles (Historic Building)
Torbryan, Holy Trinity Church - 6.6 miles (Historic Church)
Grimspound - 7.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
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