Thursday, 4 July 2013

A wander westwards and back through time.

We live in a little village called East Ogwell and nearby is the hamlet of West Ogwell. It is such a lovely way to get the daily dose of exercise done ..... a wander from East to West.

I found an old document whilst sorting my late Mother In Laws house. It is an extract from Kelly's Directory. So many interesting snippets.

The name of Ogwell occurs in Doomsday as Wogewill---- "Wogg" being the name of some primitive tribe, and "will" meaning a dwelling place.

From a survey of Devon by Tristan Risdon published in 1714 West Ogwell was held by Julian Boyville in the time of King Henry the Third. After which it came into the possesion of the Earls Of  Devon and was purchased by the ancestors of Sir Richard Reynell. The Ogwells, East and West will always be associated with one of Devon's most interesting and enterprising families,the Reynells. Sir Richard Reynell built Forde House, in nearby Newton Abbot, another the Rectory in East Ogwell and a third,the Great House at West Ogwell.

So leaving our village with pretty cottages on the corner.

 And magical doors in the hedgerows we wandered the lanes to West Ogwell.

Everything seems so lush and verdant especially after our return from a very hot and dry area in Southern Spain.

Grey skies make walking easy,pleasant and relaxing. A lovely way to wander.
Between the two villages there are allotments in a field. I love allotments and missed ours when we had to give it up because of our somewhat nomadic lifestyle since we have retired.

What a perfect location. So a finger post showing our destination. The hamlet of West Ogwell.

How I love the glimpses of rolling Devonshire countryside.

And soon the little lane reaches the scattering of houses and barns. I once wanted to move just this little distance westwards but out teenage children held up their hands in horror. Too quiet,too peaceful,too remote and too far to walk to town.

I love the little barns best. Quirky and sweet. But just around the corner the opposite end of the scale -- a grand barn!

And, whenever I walk to West Ogwell I love to wander a little further to the little church It is now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust. 

It is a small Cruciform Church with 80 sittings built in the perpendicular style. It dates from the thirteenth century. Its total interior length including the belfry is only 52 feet and total breadth across the trancepts 32 feet.The tower has 3 bells all probably cast in 1681. in the front,now converted into a chapel, was once the Squires pew which used to be comfortably furnished,like a little room complete with fireplace which is still there.

The churchyard is pretty and the views stunning.

Next to this little gem, a history of days gone by there is a very grand house. It seems totally out of place and not in keeping with such a tiny hamlet.

Nowadays it is a retreat attracting people from all over the world.

But, It used to be simply known as West Ogwell House. 
Referring back to Kelly Directory --it states that "The Reynells ,who were not only squires, but served as priests at Ogwell were very highly thought of by the king."
The first to receive a knighthood was Thomas Reynell who was born in the old Manor House at East Ogwell in 1555.
He obtained 500 acres at West Ogwell and resolved to build a new house there for himself and his growing family. To do this he took into his service a gang of Spaniards, captured by Sir Francis Drake during the defeat of the Amada . They were at the time imprisoned in what is still called "The Spanish Barn" at Torre Abbey in Torquay.

When I was a little girl it was a convent and my step father was the doctor who tended to the nuns. Once thriving, it became to me, a place of great sadness.
One by one the nuns died and were buried in the churchyard next door and eventually there was just a handful of nuns living in this very big, old grand house.
A retired vicar lived just opposite our house in East Ogwell and he used to hold services with the nuns but he always used to chuckle that
" They had finished most of their devotion before I even got out of bed in the morning but I lead evensong which helps them to sleep well!"

So, a lovely walk westwards and definitely a trip down memory lane.

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