Maristow House in the parish of Bickleigh formerly Tamerton Foliot , Devon, England, is a large country house set in landscaped parkland, on the River Tayvey to the north of Plymouth. It was built in about 1560, rebuilt in the mid-18th century and further remodelled in the early 20th century. Between 1798 and 1938 it was the residence of the Lopes family ,Barons Rowborough. The house was ruined by fire after World War II, but was restored and converted into apartments in the late 1990s by Kit Martin. It is a grade 2 listed building, having been so designated on 29 March 1960.


The Heywood family built an imposing Georgian mansion here in the 1760s. In 1798, after the death of James Modyford Heywood, the house and estate were bought by the Jamaican-born Manasseh Masseh Lopes, the son of a rich plantation owner, whose family later gained the title of Baron Rowborough. The house was extended and altered in 1907. The Lopes remained seated at Maristow until 1938, after which the house served a variety of purposes: a servicemen's hospital during World War II; a retirement home for clergy; a residential school, and a field-study centre. Above the house rises the spire of St Martin's chapel, built in 1871 as a successor to an earlier 14th century chapel. Following two disastrous fires, the house has now been restored and converted into twelve private homes.

The house has an E-shaped plan and consists of two storeys and an attic. It is built of rubble stone which has been rendered, and the dressings are stone. The mansard roof is slated and has a modillion cornice and a balustraded parapet. The wings project forwards from the west front, the three-storey porch being in the centre of the facade. It has large Ionic pilasters and a segmental pediment. The arms of Lopes and an iron balcony top the round-arched doorway. The west front has bays arranged in a 2:3:1:3:2 format, whereas the south front has a 2:3:2 arrangement.

The interior was partly gutted by fire in the 20th century, but the 18th century staircase survived as did some of the plasterwork and some 18th century moulded door architraves. The ground floor room in the north-eastern corner of the house has 18th century moulded panelling, a moulded plaster ceiling, overdoors with segmental open pediments, a fireplace with eared architraves, and an overmantel carved with wooden festoons.

Saturday 26 September 2015

St. Rumon

St. Rumon
(Born c.AD 515)
(Welsh-Rhufon, Latin-Romanus, English-Ronan)
Rumon is a saint of some controversy. He is chiefly the patron of Tavistock in Devon, but also apparently of several churches in Cornwall and Brittany where he is variously called Ruan or Ronan. It is note completely certain that the character referred to in each was the same man.
According to the relic lists ofGlastonbury, Prince Rumon was a brother of St. Tugdualand, therefore, one of the sons of KingHoel I Mawr(the Great) of Brittany. Tradition says he was educated in Britain – probably Wales – but that he later accompaniedSt. Breacaon her return from Ireland to her Cornish homeland. Like Tudgual, he had presumably travelled to Ireland to learn the Holy Scriptures. He is said to have lived in a hermitage on Inis Luaidhe, near Iniscathy, and was eventually raised to the episcopacy. In Cornwall, he founded churches at Ruan Lanihorne (on the River Fal), Ruan Major & Minor (near the Lizard Peninsula), a defunct chapel in Redruth and at Romansleigh in Devon; but he quickly moved on to Cornouaille in Brittany, with St. Senan as his companion.
Rumon met up with St. Remigius in Rheims, which would place him in Brittany around the early 6th century, the probable time of his birth if he was a son of Hoel Mawr. At any rate, he settled first at St. Rénan and then moved on to the Forest of Nevez, overlooking the Bay of Douarnenez. He seems to have acquired a wife, named Ceban, and children at some point. He may be identical with Ronan Ledewig (the Breton), father of SS. Gargunan and Silan. His lady wife took a distinct dislike to Rumon’s preaching amongst the local pagan inhabitants and considered him to be neglecting his domestic duties. The situation became so bad that she plotted to have Rumon arrested.
Hiding their little daughter in a chest, Ceban fled to the Royal Court at Quimper and sought an audience with the Prince of Cornouaille – supposedlyGradlon, though he lived some years earlier. She claimed that her husband was a werewolf who ravaged the local sheep every fortnight and had now killed their baby girl! Rumon was arrested, but the sceptical monarch tested him by exposing the prisoner to his hunting dogs. They would have immediately reacted to any sign of wolf, but Rumon remained unharmed and was proclaimed a holy man. His daughter was found, safe and well, whilst his wife appears to have received only the lightest of punishments. Despite this, her troubling making persisted and Rumon was forced to abandon her and journey eastward towards Rennes. He eventually settled at Hilion in Domnonia, where he lived until his death.
There was much quarrelling over Rumon’s holy body after his demise. His companion had thought to keep one of his arms as a relic and brutally cut it off. A disturbing dream soon made him put it back though. Later, the Princes of Cornouaille, Rennes and Vannes all claimed the honour of burying him in their own province. The matter was decided by allowing him to be drawn on a wagon by two three-year-old oxen who had never been yoked. Where they rested, he would be interred. However, the body would not allow itself to be lifted onto the cart, except by the Prince of Cornouaille; so it was no surprise when the cattle chose Locronan in the Forest of Nevez, near his former home.
It is unclear when Rumon’s relics left Locronan – despite the 16th century shrine still to be seen there today. It was suggested by Baring-Gould & Fisher that they were removed to safety in Britain during the Viking coastal attacks of AD 913 & 14. Tradition says they were taken to Quimper, thence to Ruan Lanihorne in Cornwall. In AD 960, however, Earl Ordgar of Devon founded his great Abbey of Tavistock , on the edge of Dartmoor. He translated the body of Rumon into the abbey church with much pomp and ceremony and there it remained, working miracles for nearly six hundred years: until the Dissolution of the Monastery in the late 1530s. Some relics, however, may have made their way back to Brittany, by the 13th century, including, perhaps, his head.
Rumon’s feast day is variously given as 1st June (in Brittany), 22nd July (in Ireland) and 28th August (in England); perhaps around AD 560.Britannia EBK Biographies: St. Rumon

The grand Tavy Cleave, one of the famous beauty spots of the moor, is just south of Amicombe Hill. The Tavy, one of the many rivers that spring from the morasses around Cranmere, here tumbles — in summer a cooling stream, in winter an impetuous torrent—among scattered boulders and crags at the foot of the bare hills. Very different is this scene from Lydford Gorge, but far more typically moorland. There is no woodland here, but the gaunt flanks of granite upheavals, and a restless stream gushing through stark lichened rocks. Grim summits cap the ravine; below are bogs that in wet seasons may be formidable.
Of the peril of losing one’s way on Dartmoor we learn something when we come to Amicombe Hill. Here are the stones known as Bronescombe’s Loaf and Cheese, which call to memory an adventure of
Bronescombe, Bishop of Exeter in the thirteenth century, whose tomb, is in the Cathedral. He was much beloved of the people, and the part that he plays in folklore proves how strongly he impressed his personality upon them. It is said that the bishop and his chaplain lost their way in crossing the moorland, and at last found themselves on Amicombe Hill.
Tired and hungry, the former said to his companion:
“ Our Master, when tempted in the wilderness, was
offered bread created from the stones.

If the same



Few places in Devon have a greater antiquity than Tavistock, if we take the Saxon period into chief account. The * stock’ of the Tavy was the most important settlement made by the Saxons on that river, and long before the Conquest it assumed the characteristics of a provincial centre of population and wealth. It was remarkable, until 1885, as being the only Parliamentary existing borough in the county not municipal; for it had never received any charter of incorporation, although it had been represented since the 23rd of Edward I.; and it retained as it’s chief officer the ancient Saxon portreeve, elected by the voices of his fellow-freeholders. The old village commune of the earliest Teutonic settlers had therefore direct succession in Tavistock. But even this does not fully indicate the antiquity of organized human settlement in the vicinity. It is a fact that must have a meaning, if this can only be defined, that nearly all the ancient inscribed stones of Devon are found upon one parallel in the south-west of the county, between Stowford on the north and Yealmpton on the south, the line passing through Tavistock as a kind of centre. These all give token of ecclesiastical influence; and two, by the Ogham writing which they bear, proof also of Irish intercourse. They probably indicate there

Of six such monuments found upon the line noted, three will be found within the vicarage garden at Tavistock, placed there by an enthusiastic antiquary of the past generation— the Rev. E. A. Bray. Two of thesr

stones came from Buckland Monachorum . One, which stood in a field, bears the inscription in Roman character, — 1 DOBUNNI FABRII FILI ENABARRI,’ Or simply "NABARR" — the reading adopted by Mr. C. Spence Bate. This latter word is repeated as * Nabarr ’ in Ogham, and it is a singular fact that the stone supplied the last letter wanting— ‘ b ’— to the completion of Dr. Ferguson’s South British Ogham alphabet. The second Buckland Monachorum stone was found by Mr. Bray in use as the support of the roof of a blacksmith’s shop. Here the legend is, * sabini filim accodecheti.’ The third, which had been adapted, as a foot-bridge over a little stream nearTavistock, appears to run, "neprani fili conbevi" though the last word has been read ‘ condevi.’ Of the other three inscribed stones of this group the most interesting was found lying across a brook near Fardel, Cornwood, and is now in the British Museum. This is also bilingual, with the legend both in Roman and in Ogham characters, slightly varied. It was the first stone found in England with an Ogham inscription. The legend runs, "sangranvi fanoni maqvirini ." The Stowford stone stands in Stowford churchyard, a sepulchral monument , which appears to commemorate a certain ‘ guniglei.* The lettering is very rude and peculiar site. Lustleigh, as we shall see, affords another illustration of this; though, from the fact that the stone there has been diverted from its original purpose, by no means of so marked a character. But the history of Tavistock itself begins with the establishment of the Abbey of St. Rumon. Ordulf, son of Orgar, Ealdorman of Devon, is the reputed founder. He is one of the semi-mythic heroes of the Saxon race who may be found in almost every county, a man of amazing strength— a giant, whose sport it was to stride a stream and cut off with one blow of his hunting-knife the heads of animals brought him for the purpose. He was commanded to build the Abbey in a vision, and his wife was guided by an angel to the site. There is thus ample room for discriminating criticism as to the circumstances attending the foundation, even if we ignore the counter tradition that it was the joint work of Ordulf’s father, Orgar, and himself. This much, however, does seem certain, that the Abbey was founded about the year 961; and that in 997 it was destroyed by the Danes during the inroad in which they carried fire and sword from the mouth of the Tamar to Lydford. The monastery must then have been of great size and very wealthy, though we may reject the statement that Ordulf’s magnificence made it large enough for 1,000 men. It had, however, come under royal patronage. Ordulf’s sister was that Elfryth (or Elfrida) whose career forms one of the most notable features of Anglo-Saxon annals. Though familiar, her story forms part of Devonian history, and falls into place here. Eadgar, hearing of the beauty of Elfrida, sent Eftelwold to view, with instructions to report if rumour consequences of his deceit, implored his wife to besmirch her loveliness for awhile. She, finding that whereas she was simply the wife of a noble she might have been a queen, resented the fraud, and heightened her attractions to the utmost of her power. The King came, saw, and was overcome. ^EtSelwold was conveniently killed by accident while hunting the following day with the monarch, we may presume on Dartmoor, and his widow mounted the throne. Her sons were Eadmund and iESelred, and after the murder of his half-brother, Eadweard the Martyr, by Elfrida’s orders, at Corfe Castle, the latter succeeded to the crown, and became the liberal patron of the Abbey of Tavistock. To this connection was due the fact that after its destruction by the Danes the Abbey was rebuilt with so much greater grandeur that it eclipsed every religious house in Devon, in the extent, convenience, and magnificence of its buildings.It was fortunate, too, in its early heads. Lyfing, who from his eloquence obtained the title of £ Wordsnotera,’ and in whom the Sees of Devon and Cornwall were united at Crediton, was one of them. His successor was Eldred, afterwards Archbishop of York, who crowned William the Conqueror. The final dedication was to St. Mary and St. Rumon.

‘ Domesday ’ places Tavistock Abbey far as the head of the religious houses in Devon, in the extent and value of its estates. Fourteen manors, besides a house at Exeter, were its landed possessions; an

Rivers and navigable creeks, p. 36. Tamar, Lynher, p. 38. Tide, or Tidi, p. 40. Seaton, ib.
Loo, or Eaft-Loo, ibid. ProfpoCt of Loo Bridge," ib. Duloo, or Weft Loo river, p. 41. fawy, ib.
Fal, 42, and it’s harbour. Hel, or Heyl river in Kerricr, p. 43. Lo or Low river in Kerrier, p 44.
Heyl in Penwith, ibid. Ganal creek, p. 45. River Alan, al Lamel, ibid. Wade navigable rivers in
may be made notbeneficial, p. 47. Subject: to obftrudtions, p. 49.