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Widecombe in the Moor
Map ref SX7176

The Cathedral of the Moors - Widecombe The beautiful village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor is a well-known Dartmoor tourist attraction welcoming visitors at all times of the year. Widecombe lies in a valley created by the East Webbern river. The name Widecombe is derived from 'Withy-combe' - meaning 'Willow Valley'.

Your first glimpses of the village of Widecombe in the Moor is of a picturesque little hamlet that nestles snuggly between rolling green hills of Devon farmland, with a spectacular backdrop of granite tors and moorland. The village has a coach and car park, as well as the usual collection of craftshops and tea rooms serving refreshments.

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At the centre of the village is a triangular shaped green, with a collection of mature trees. The trees have seating fixed around their trunks, allowing you to sit and relax, whilst you enjoy the stunning views of the church set against a moorland vista.

The church of St Pancras is aptly named the 'Cathedral of the Moors'. The church spire is a well known local landmark, visible for many miles. The church was originally built in the 14th century, and enlarged over the following two centuries, partly on the proceeds of the local tin mining trade.

Crossing Dartmoor,  on route to Widecombe in the MoorNext to the churchyard is Church House built in 1537 as a brew house for the production of church ales. Church House is now managed by the National Trust, having been a brew house, school house and alms house at various times in its history. The old Sexton's cottage is also part of the complex, currently being utilised as a National Trust and Dartmoor National Park Information Centre and shop.

Widecombe Fair

The village of Widecombe in the Moor, is world-famous for its fair, held annually on the second Tuesday in September. The Fair gave rise to the well-known folksong 'Widecombe Fair' and the characters of Uncle Tom Cobley and All. The village fair probably began as a simple market, but it has grown over the years into a local institution, with gymkhana, and pony shows, demonstrations, competitions, sheep and cattle shows, numerous sideshows, races and refreshments.

The words for the folk song were first published in 1880 by the vicar of a nearby parish, after he heard them sung by a old countryman.

 

Widecombe Fair

 

"Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare,
All along, down along, out along, lee,
For I want for to go to Widecombe Fair,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

"And when shall I see again my grey mare?"
All along, down along, out along, lee,
"By Friday soon, or Saturday noon,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

So they harnessed and bridled the old grey mare
All along, down along, out along, lee,
And off they drove to Widecombe fair,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

Then Friday came, and Saturday noon,
All along, down along, out along, lee,
But Tom Pearces old mare hath not trotted home,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

So Tom Pearce he got up to the top o' the hill
All along, down along, out along, lee,
And he seed his old mare down a-making her will,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

So Tom Pearce's old mare, her took sick and died,
All along, down along, out along, lee,
And Tom he sat down on a stone, and he cried
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

But this isn't the end o' this shocking affair,
All along, down along, out along, lee,
Nor, though they be dead, of the horrid career
Of Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

When the wind whistles cold on the moor of the night
All along, down along, out along, lee,
Tom Pearce's old mare doth appear gashly white,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

And all the long night he heard skirling and groans,
All along, down along, out along, lee,
From Tom Pearce's old mare in her rattling bones,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."


 

 
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