Copplestone (anciently Copleston, Coplestone etc.) is a village, former manor and civil parish in Mid Devon in the English county of Devon. It is not an ecclesiastical parish as it has no church of its own, which reflects its status as a relatively recent settlement which grew up around the ancient "Copleston Cross" (see below) that stands at the junction of the three ancient ecclesiastical parishes of Colebrooke, Crediton and Down St Mary.
Copplestone Cross (centre), viewed from south-east; right: the A377 Road to Barnstaple, continuing left to Exeter; centre: the A3072 Road to Holsworthy and Launceston
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The small parish is surrounded clockwise from the north by the parishes of Sandford, Crediton Hamlets, Colebrooke, Clannaborough, and Down St Mary. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 894, increasing to 1,253 in 2011. It is situated right in the middle of Devon half way between Exeter and Barnstaple on the A377, nestled in a valley. Copplestone is a major part of the Yeo electoral ward whose total ward population was 3,488 at the above census.
The Tarka Line railway goes through the middle of the village and calls at Copplestone railway station. Copplestone is surrounded by hills and is not far from Dartmoor, visible to the east and Exmoor to the north, a little farther away. The surrounding countryside has been used for agriculture from before Roman occupation of the area.
In the centre of the village, standing at the junction of the three parishes of Colebrooke, Crediton and Down St Mary, is the Copplestone Cross, a granite pillar, said to be either a boundary stone or the surviving shaft of a decorated late Saxon cross. It stands 3.2 metres high, and is 0.6 metres square, covered with intricate relief sculpted decoration. The granite for the cross must have been brought some 9 miles from Dartmoor, which suggests it had some deep cultural significance. It was mentioned as Copelan Stan in a charter dated 974. Putta, the second and last Bishop of Tawton (reigned 906-910), was murdered in 910 whilst travelling from his see at Bishops Tawton, on the River Taw 2 miles south of Barnstaple in North Devon, to visit the Saxon viceroy Uffa, whose residence was at Crediton. It is believed that Copplestone Cross, situated 6 miles north-west of Crediton and 22 miles south-east of Bishops Tawton, was erected in commemoration of his murder at this spot.
Manor of Coplestone
- Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p.276
- "Map of Devon Parishes" (PDF). Devon County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Mid Devon Retrieved 27 January 2010
- "Parish Population 2011". Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- "Yeo ward 2011". Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- Hoskins, W.G., A New Survey of England: Devon, London, 1959 (first published 1954), p.372
- Baring-Gould, Sabine (1834-1924), A Book of the West, Being an Introduction to Devon & Cornwall, Vol. I, Devon, London, 1900, p.98
- Chattaway, Joseph, An Historical Sketch of the Danmonii: Or Ancient Inhabitants of Devonshire, 1830, p.79
- Pole: "Putta was next Bishop of Tawton & was slayne in his journey towards Crediton to visitt the Kinge", as recorded by John Hooker (d.1601) (Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.27)