Landkey is a small village in the county of Devon in the south-west of England with a population of 2274. It is situated 3 miles from the nearest town of Barnstaple.


It is widely believed by the locals that Landkey was founded by Sir Francis Drake in 1586 as a settlement to escape from the Spanish Armada. This 'mistruth legend' has, however, been disputed by historians.

It is more widely accepted that the name of the village, Landkey, is derived from the "Llan of Kea", 'Llan' is the south-western Brythonic (and Welsh) for an area of ground around a church or chapel, which in this case was Saint Kea's hermitage. Kea and a brother Celtic monk, Filia, are known to have worked together in the evangelisation of these parts, probably in the late 5th century. The coming of the Saxons often caused the changing of Celtic church dedications to those of more universally accepted and known saints. However, place names are more difficult to change. Thus Saint Kea's name persists in the village name of 'Landkey' and some 6 milies away Filia's name is contained in the village of 'Filleigh'. Today, the dedication of both parish churches is to St. Paul.

t Paul's Church


The small South transept is the Acland Chapel, and contains a fine coloured monument to Sir Arthur Acland (1610) and his wife. The Aclands, one of the most notable of Devon families, originated at Acland Barton, from which they took their name in Henry II's time. They continued to own it until 1945, when Sir Richard Acland sold it to the tenant. The parish now forms part of the "Benefice of Swimbridge with West Buckland and Landkey"; the current incumbent is the Revd. Peter Bowers.

Mazzard fruits

Landkey is also famous for its Mazzard fruit which was discovered by local farmers in the early 1900s. Landkey Parish Council have rescued Mazzard trees from the brink of extinction. The variety of sweet cherry was once common in North Devon, but had almost died out. The parish council won a £35,000 matching grant through the Countryside Agency's Millennium Green project to pave the way for creating a two-acre orchard as part of a wider Millennium Green project. All the 2ft-high saplings were bought from Thornhayes Nursery at Cullompton whose owner Kevin Croucher had also grafted the precious mazzard buds onto infant trees. All the mazzards prunus avium - in varieties Greenstem Black, Black Bottler, Dun Small Black and Hannaford are thriving on the picturesque six-acre green.

Full credit is due to parish council chairman and mazzard advocate Dick Joy who helped to save North Devon's very own cherry from extinction following 80 years of steady decline. He reports every tree is in good health and making tremendous growth. []

Venn Quarry

Venn Quarry is located in open countryside 3 km to the south-east of Barnstaple. It lies to thenorth of Codden Hill, equidistant between the villages of Bishops Tawton and Landkey. It produces a high PSV gritstone, for which there is an increasingly important market for wearing courses in road making and repair. In addition, the quarry also produces aggregates for the construction industry and materials for a concrete batching plant located at the eastern end of the site. Quarrying for gritstone commenced at Venn in the 1930s, which predated the introduction of the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 and it has been in continuous operation since. There have been a number of planning permissions granted for extensions to both theworking area and for mineral waste tipping.

Venn Quarry was mothballed on the 8th of September 2006.

Buildings and landmarks

Landkey is famous for many well known buildings and landmarks, these include:

* The Castle Inn
* Ring o' Bells
* St Paul's Church
* Venn Quarry
* Post Office
* Landkey Primary School
* Codden Hill

In 1987, it was suggested that Landkey should be demolished. However, such plans were thwarted by local protestors, and the council decided to expand the village instead.

Former residents

* John Gay (1685-1732)

External links

* [ Landkey Community Page]
* [ Landkey Primary School League Table]
* [ Ring o' Bells Landkey]

See also

*Annery kiln


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