Views of Whimple village

 

 Whimple - Placename Background
The English Place Name Society have concluded that the name Whimple was originally a stream name being a compound of the Welsh words corresponding to " Gwym" - White, and " Pwll" - Pool or Stream . This is questionable as there are onlya few small streams in the area, one of which rises at a spot known locally as The Holy Well at Holly Ball which is just over theboundary in the Parish of Talaton. But there is no" pool" or " lake", neither is there any chalk or white sand; so why " white" ?

An alternative interpretation of the name is derived from another Celtic word "gwymp" meaning fine or fair, hence "gwymppwll"meaning "fine stream". Although a history is not recorded it is reasonable to assume that in Saxon times Whimple had a small wooden two-cell church on the current slightly elevated site. It was an ideal location on which to build their huts, nestling as it does, in a pleasant spot on the western slope of a ridge dividing the Otter and Clyst Valleys and watered by many streams.
The present church, with the exception of the tower, was rebuilt in its former style and was re-consecrated on April 26th, 1846. The recorded incumbents date back to the resignation of William Pincerna who was succeeded by Roger de Dertiford on 23rd May 1258.
In 1001 Exeter was besieged but, thanks to King Athelstan's fortifications, did not surrender. The Danes retreated and camped at Pinhoe, where a battle was fought. The English were defeated and the Danes moved eastward burning Pinhoe, Broadclyst and possibly Whimple, on their way.


Farming has been the lifeblood of the village for centuries. Flax was common at one time, followed by hops in the early 1800's when the quality was reported to be superior to those from Sussex and Kent. Whimple in the 19th century had a brick and tile works at Strete Ralegh, collecting raw materials locally from still visible pits. The bricks were slightly larger than those produced today and samples can be seen at The White House, the Corner Shop and the former wartime Fire Station. There was also a Tannery, referred to as a 'Tan Pit' on the Tithe Map of 1842, which ceased to function between 1850 and 1857. Latterly, cyder making has predominated but change is once again taking place. Machines are gradually replacing men on the farms and horticulture is taking some agricultural land for nursery gardening. Whimple is now growing rather rapidly within its boundaries as extensive housing developments spring up on former business sites and encroach upon orchards and farm land, bringing about new challenges for the next generation

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