I watched the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring again recently and it just reminded me of what an absolutely wonderful film that it is.
I have not watched it in what must be nearly 10 years and there are so many little magical moments etched on my memory such as the scene below where they arrive at Bree.
The whole Hobbiton in the shire storyline really does make me think of what my own County of Devon and Village of Spreyton where I grew up might have been like had we in an imaginary alternative reality grown up in middle earth.
Spreyton has its own folk songs and stories such as that of Uncle Tom Cobley and all! A folk song about a resident of Spreyton who set off with a number of people from Spreyton to Widecome on the other side of Dartmoor to get to Widencombe Fair.
There is a print of the song and story below and my Dad has one of these prints hanging in his home
Next is a photo of a what is known as Devon long house, this one is called Stockhay Cottage and was where I live for some of my time when in Spreyton.
Stockhay was given a Grade II listing in 1988. The Historic England description is as follows:
Grade II. House, formerly small farmhouse and linhay. Mid-late 17th century farmhouse, mid 19th century linhay, modernised circa 1970. Plastered cob and stone rubble; stone rubble stack topped with 20th century brick; thatch roof.
The thatched roof once nealy caught alight when my father put some logs in the fire that got to hot and set the chimney, the fire brigadge were called and came out and prevented the fire from setting fire to the thatched roof.
The property was also one in which had plenty of wildlife around it. We would have hornets that would nest in the thatch and also bats that would be living up in the roof space too.
I also have a photo of Spreyton from the air, as you can quickly see it is surrounded by fields, wildlife, farms and greenery.
The first mention of Spreyton is in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is called Espreitona or Spreitone. The name is Anglo-Saxon and means “settlement in the brushwood” (from spraeg (brushwood) and tun (settlement or farm). Spraeg has also given us the modern word “spray”, as in a spray of flowers. The Anglo-Saxons settled Devon in around 700 AD. Spreyton may well have been chosen by one of those early settlers as the site for establishing a farm – although it is not inconceivable that it was a Celtic settlement before then.
The settlement would probably have started as a single farm. Dependants and labourers would have settled nearby and other families would have joined them, leading eventually to the typical Devon village with a central settlement surrounding a church and a series of scattered hamlets and farms.