As one of the oldest parishes in Devon, there is a diverse history to uncover in Ottery St Mary and that’s not all. Just how well do you know the town? Here’s some trivia to amaze your friends and family next time you visit.

  • Ottery St Mary is the birthplace of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who helped found the romantic movement in Britain.
  • It is the only place in England that has a tar barrels celebration. Every November, the village holds its annual Tar Barrels event, where flaming tar barrels are carried in a procession down to a large bonfire. Many people think this is a tradition left over from the gun powder plot but no one really knows how or why it began.
  • Ottery has a Japanese Bell on display.
    It was gifted to the town from their friends in Otari, Japan.
  • Ottery St Mary inspired the home of the Weasley family in Harry Potter.
    Fans of the books will know that they live in a house in a village called Ottery St Catchpole. The author attended university in nearby Exeter, which is likely where they came across Ottery St Mary.
  • Ottery has more than 100 listed buildings
  • It is also home to the oldest mechanical clock in England
  • Ottery St Mary’s parish church, St Mary’s is inspired by Exeter Cathedral and features many similarities.
  • There is an annual celebration of local pixies being banished.
    According to legend, the pixies were very upset by the installation of bells in the church and kidnapped the bell ringers, holding them captive in Pixie’s Parlour. The bellringers were freed and the pixies banished, but every year, local children re-enact the incident.