Tavistock, England

Tavistock is a market town in the district of West Devon, in Devon, England. It is famous for being the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake. The town has a population of 11,000 people (2012 estimate).

More on Tavistock

The area around Tavistock has been inhabited long before recorded history. Prehistoric remains from the Bronze and Iron Ages have been recovered here, providing glimpses of life from long past.

The history of Tavistock goes back to the founding of Tavistock Abbey in AD 961. In 1105 the town received a royal charter from King Henry I, giving it the rights to hold a weekly market on Fridays. This market is still being held today. In 1116, an annual three-day fair was also granted to the town, to mark the feast of Saint Ruman, while annual Goosey Fair was held on the second Wednesday of October.

Sir Francis Drake was born here in 1540 (or 1542, according to some sources). The farmhouse where he was born has long been dismantled, but a Blue Plaque is mounted on the current farmhouse located in front of the original building. At the roundabout to the west of town is the original statue of Drake, a replica of which is the famous one in Plymouth Hoe.

Today Tavistock relies on tourism as one of its chief income earners. It was named the gateway to the

Cornish Mining World Heritage Site in 2006, helping bring more tourists to the town.

Visiting Tavistock

Take the M5 motorway from

Manchester to Exeter, then continue on the A30 road until Sourton Down, where you take the A386 road heading south till you reach Tavistock.

Sights & Attractions to visit in Tavistock

  1. Church of St Eustachius
    Anglican parish church dating back to 1318, though the present building dates to between 1350 and 1450.

  2. Church of St Mary Magdalene
    Roman Catholic church funded by the Duke of Bedford in 1867,

  3. Tavistock Abbey
    Officially the Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Rumon, this is a ruined Benedictine abbey in Tavestock.

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