We’ve put together a selection of local histories and perspectives perfect for shedding some light on Crediton’s story, and the surrounding area.
Crediton Through the Ages is a perfect introduction to the town. Starting with Crediton’s 300 million year old Permian geology, Crediton Through the Ages works forward through early settlements, religious establishments, various industries, the Prayer Book Rebellion and Civil War, the fire, and institutions and individuals – all of which have contributed to the town’s unique character.
Another overview title for those curious about Crediton’s history is the aptly named Curious Kirton, written by Rev. Geering, Reverend in Crediton for 16 years. It gives an insight into the quirky elements of the town that make it unique.
For more recent Crediton history, The Crediton Workhouses looks at the history of provision for the poor and describes the beginning of almshouses in Crediton in the 1500s. In the late 1600s Acts of Parliament were passed establishing ‘Corporations of the Poor’ in 14 towns in England and Crediton was amongst these. The first permanent Crediton workhouse began in 1698 to the north of the parish church.
Another close-up to one area of Crediton’s History is St Lawrence Chapel Crediton, a fascinating guide to what is known of St Lawrence chapel’s history from 1242 and it’s different purposes.
Crediton sustained various industries for hundreds of years. Opened in 1870s, the sweet manufacturer Bristow’s of Devon played a part in the evolution of confectionery manufacturing and was a large Crediton employer. Written by Frank Bristow, Sticky Toffee Stories is an anecdotal history of the company. A hand-written copy of the recipe for Cho-hone – an early form of milk chocolate – is reproduced in the book.
Unlike the earlier more factual accounts of Crediton’s history, Crediton Memories (from the Crediton History Series) and Changing Lives both look at personal narratives of locals.
In 2014, as part of activities marking the beginning of the First World War, Crediton Museum launched the exhibition ‘Echoes of the Great War’. John Heal, involved in the exhibition, has since written a publication about how the local community was affected by and managed between 1914 and 1918, Life in Crediton in World War One. His in-depth research looks into conscription in the local area, Belgian refugees, and the pressures on farmers to provide food.
Crediton is, of course, situated amongst many other beautiful and interesting parts of Devon. Those interested in the surrounding villages should take a look at Cheriton Fitzpaine: A Sence of Community, which explores the values, attitudes and resilience of the close-knit community in Cheriton Fitzpaine.
Nestled between hamlets and villages throughout Devon are stunning country houses and the stories and histories behind their doors. Hugh Mellor’s Country Houses of Devon is an excellent, well-researched book about house, history, architecture and families.
And where there are people, there are pubs! Devon boasts a wonderful array of pubs – from moorland taverns to ancient coaching inns, and from harbourside hostelries to backstreet beerhouses. Devon Pubs: A Pictoral Retrospective is a handy companion, with photographs of pubs past and present.