Feniton - old and new

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:19 15 October 2018

Feniton. Ref edr 18 18TI 2318. Picture: Terry Ife

Feniton. Ref edr 18 18TI 2318. Picture: Terry Ife


East Devon has some delightful villages to explore, right across the area.

Feniton. Ref edr 18 18TI 2332. Picture: Terry IfeFeniton. Ref edr 18 18TI 2332. Picture: Terry Ife

Feniton could be considered as unusual as, while it is a village, it is split into two parts - the old and the new.

Old Feniton includes St Andrew’s Church, a number of traditional thatched cottages, and a tributary to the River Otter, which is Vine Water.

It is generally thought that this stretch of water inspired the name of Feniton.

According to Devon, by W G Hoskins, ‘the church is entirely 15th century work except the small north transcept’.

Feniton. Ref edr 18 18TI 2315. Picture: Terry IfeFeniton. Ref edr 18 18TI 2315. Picture: Terry Ife

Mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, the oldest surviving part of the church is a small part of masonry in the north wall.

Over the centuries, there have been various restorations, the most recent of which, in 2010, was carried out following flood damage in 2008.

The newer part of the village has previously been known as Sidmouth Junction as it developed around the railway station, which itself has operated under various names over the years.

According to Devon Railway Stations, by Mike Oakley, it originally opened in 1860, with services being run between London and Exeter by the London and South Western Railway.

Feniton. Ref edr 18 18TI 2313. Picture: Terry IfeFeniton. Ref edr 18 18TI 2313. Picture: Terry Ife

It has been named as Feniton, Ottery and Sidmouth Road, Feniton for Ottery St Mary, Ottery Road and Sidmouth Junction, with the last coinciding with the opening of the branch line to Sidmouth.

Although it closed to passengers in 1967 under the Beeching cuts, it was reopened in 1971, with one platform, with passengers able to get trains to Exeter and London.

The architecture of Feniton offers visitors a contrast of the traditional designs of days gone by and the more modern designs that have developed in more recent times, as the village has expanded.

The parish of Feniton includes the hamlets of Colesworthy, Higher Cheriton and Curscombe within its boundaries, and is surrounded itself by further rural parishes.

On a bright autumn day, why not take the opportunity to explore what Feniton has to offer.

For more features from East Devon Resident, click here.

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