Widecombe History Group - The Dunstone Project


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Dunstone is a small hamlet on the outskirts of Widecombe Village, about half a mile from the village centre. It was originally a Saxon settlement.

Dunstone is mentioned in the Domesday book, when the manor was handed over to Ralph de Pomeroy. (Please see Devon Domesday Book.) At this time it was known as DUNESTANETUNA. We are digging into the origin of this name. It may of course refer to the ’tun’ or farm of Dunestan or Dunstan, which is a Saxon name. See here for some variations on this.

Dunstone is in the Domesday Book because it was an estate at the time the Book was compiled. Widecombe is not mentioned, probably because it was not an estate as such and therefore not covered by the Book, which concentrated on estates.

It is sobering to think that people have lived in this hamlet, perhaps where the present houses are located (some of which are medieval longhouses), for over a thousand years.

For another version of the stories below, dating from the 1860’s. please see John Webber’s Poem.

The ’Dun Stone’

The Dun Stone - 1920 (117760 bytes)This is a photograph of the last time the tithes were collected on the Dun Stone, click on it for a larger version.

The cast are, possibly:

  • Mr Sawdye, Agent, later of Sawdye and Harris
  • Arthur Hern of Venton
  • and one other, so far unidentified.

and the date is sometime in the 1920’s apparently.

The Dun Stone - today (96001 bytes)This is a picture of the same scene today. It is virtually the same apart from the absence of the large tree (and the people, of course).

The stone is said to have indentations on the top, ’cups’ or ’basins’, into which the monies handed over as tithes were placed.

Dunstone Cross

The story of the Dunstone Cross is also worth recounting.

In the 1860’s, the then vicar decided he would like the Dunstone Cross in his garden and so it was removed from its site in Dunstone (who is to argue with the Deity??).

In the 1980’s Mary Hamlyn wanted to do something to be remembered by and it was suggested that returning the Dunstone Cross to its original position would be a worthwhile memento (she lived in Dunstone). The negotiations with the incumbent vicar were completed and the arrangements made to reinstate the cross.

This is a picture of the cross as it appears today.Dunstone cross (116181 bytes)

We are trying to locate a picture of the reinstatement ceremony and will post it here when available.

Several of the houses in Dunstone are described in Jenny Sanders book on Devon Longhouses.

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The information on this page was last modified on December 17 2016 20:32:38.


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