South Brent

South Brent

Infobox UK place
official_name= South Brent
country= England
region= South West England

area_total_km2 =
population= 2847
os_grid_reference= SX697603
latitude= 50.42806
longitude= -3.83583
post_town= SOUTH BRENT
postcode_area= TQ
postcode_district= TQ10
dial_code= 01364
constituency_westminster= Totnes
shire_district= South Hams
shire_county= Devon

South Brent is a large village on the southern edge of Dartmoor, in the valley of the River Avon, population 2998 (2000), five miles north-east of Ivybridge, and next to the Devon Expressway which connects Exeter (32 miles to the north-east) and Plymouth (18 miles to the west).


It was originally a woollen and market centre with two annual fairs. Now the village centre is within the boundaries of Dartmoor National Park, and it is a thriving community with shops, public houses, businesses, school, village hall and community centre.

A railway station serving the village was opened on the South Devon Railway on 15 June 1848. It served as the junction for the branch line to Kingsbridge from 19 December 1893. The station closed in 1964, though for some years there has been a movement to reopen it in order to reduce commuter traffic on the roads.

cope and features

The parish includes the small hamlets of Aish, Charford, Harbourneford, Lutton, Diptford, Brent Mill, and many scattered farmhouses. On Brent Hill, the steep hill just outside the village from which it takes its name (Old English brant – steep), are the ruins of an ancient building, supposed to have been a chapel, and of a windmill, built about 1790. On the high moorlands are many hut circles, enclosures, and barrows, all dating from the Bronze Age. The manor of Brent belonged to Buckfast Abbey from the time of the foundation of the abbey in the early 11th century and was bought at the Dissolution by Sir William Petre, a large receiver of monastic spoils in South Devon. The panoramic view from the top of the hill is one of the most impressive in the county.

The massive Norman tower of St Petroc’s Church (now at the west end) was apparently the central tower of a cruciform building, the west portion of which was demolished at some date, perhaps in the early 14th century when the existing nave was rebuilt with two transepts. In the early 15th century these transepts were enlarged into aisles. The fine font, of red sandstone, is late 12th century in date, and is similar in style to others in neighbouring churches. On the south of the churchyard is the manor house, part of which is 15th century in date. In 1436 the vicar, the Rev John Hay, was dragged out of the church and murdered while officiating at divine service. The door through which he was taken has been walled up, though the old doorway is just visible.

South Brent primary school supports about 250 children. The buildings are modern and replace the old school which is now a community centre.

South Brent is located just south of Dartmoor. Locals complain that South Brent experiences higher rainfall than surrounding towns and villages. It seems likely that the hills of Dartmoor do affect the microclimate of South Brent.

The Dartmoor historian William Crossing (1847-1928) lived in the village from 1872 onwards.


*Wall, Greg: "The book of South Brent" (Halsgrove, 2005)

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