Devon is a truly fascinating place and with so much history, you won’t be surprised to learn that there are a number of fun, little known facts about the place. We’ve grouped together some of our favourites to introduce you to this gem of a county.
- Devon is home to England’s last castle
The last ever castle to be built in England was done so in Devon in the 1930s – which does seem rather late in the game to be building castles. People had actual houses and things by then. The castle in question is Castle Drogo which you’ll find outside the village of Drewsteignton. It was built after the ground’s owner brought the land in 1910 and asked for a castle to be built there. Sadly, the onset of World War 1 delayed the actual build by several years. It is the first castle to have electricity from the outset and to have been built for decoration rather than defensive purposes.
- Devon is the birthplace of the Jack Russell
Maybe this is why Devon is so dog friendly? A variation of the famous Jack Russell breed was originated in Devon after the Rev. John Russell had a small dog called Trump (we’re not joking) which bore many of the characteristics of the modern day Jack Russell and the Rev bred more since then.
- The last UK witch was executed in Devon
Witch Trails might be more famous over the pond, but there was a pretty big movement against witches, or people thought to be witches, in the UK too. Devon was the last county to execute alleged witches. The trail and execution took place in Exeter in the 1600s, the women (Temperance Lloyd, Susannah Edwards, Mary Trembles and Alice Molland) were accused of causing illness and death by casting spells on people.
- Europe’s oldest cinema is in Devon
Yep, Devon is home to the oldest bakery, the oldest hotel and the oldest cinema. You’ll find it in Torbay and is believed to be the oldest surviving purpose built cinema left in Europe. It first opened in 1914 and was big enough to have a whole orchestra perform!
- Devon invented the pasty
We saved the best until last. While our neighbours in Cornwall have laid a claim to the pasty, they didn’t invent it. Devon did. The earliest pasty recipe dates back 500 years and can be found in a book written and published in Devon. These days, you’ll find that Devon pasties look slightly different to Cornish ones, but essentially it’s Devonian.