Hemyock is a village in
flows through Hemyock. Hemyock was the former home of the St. Ivel dairy processing plant, formerly where the butter-spreads 'St. Ivel Gold' and 'Utterly-Butterly' were produced before being moved to a factory in the north of England. Hemyock was also the birthplace of the Young Farmers' Clubs.
Hemyock is the largest village on the
Blackdown Hills, which is now designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty(AONB). The parish has an area of about 2350 hectares, and lies on the NW of the Blackdown Hills.
The village has a very long history, some prehistoric remains may be found, from about 100 BC to well beyond. In the Middle Ages local iron ores were smelted in small bloomeries (furnaces) to produce pure iron. [cite web|url=http://www.hemyock.org/staticpages/index.php/20070119221551294|title=History of Hemyock|publisher=Hemyock web site|accessdate=2008-09-15] In Saxon times a battle was fought at Simonsburrow between the native Britons and King Ime's Saxon army, which put an end (temporarily) to the Kings expansion to the west.
The name Hemyock could have originated from the British stream name "Samiaco" (meaning summer), other authorities suggest a Saxon origin from a personal name "Hemman" coupled with a Saxon word for a bend or a hook (occi).
Hemyock was head of the Hemyock
Hundred, an administrative sub-division of the Shire countyof Devonshire, under to the system of government used during the Saxon period. The Domesday Bookrecords that the Hemyock Hundred consisted of the manorsof: Awliscombe, Bolham Water, Bywood, Churchstanton ( Somerset), Clayhidon, Culm Davy, Culm Pyne, Culmstock, Dunkeswell, Gorewell, Hemyock, Hole, Ivedon, Mackham, Weston.
On 5th November 1380, King Richard II granted Sir William and Lady Margaret Asthorpe a
licence to crenellatethe Hemyock manor house; meaning the permission to fortify it. [cite web|url=http://www.hemyockcastle.co.uk/licence.htm|title=Licence to Crenellate Hemyock|publisher=Hemyock Castle|accessdate=2008-09-15] Hemyock Castle has many similarities with the much better known Bodiam Castle, granted the licence to crenellate in 1385. Over the centuries, Hemyock Castle had many notable owners including Lord Chief Justice Sir John Pophamand General Sir John Graves Simcoethe first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canadain 1792. [cite web|url=http://www.heritagefdn.on.ca/userfiles/HTML/nts_1_2724_1.html#2726|title=John Graves Simcoe – Ontario's First Lieutenant-Governor |publisher=Ontario Heritage Trust|accessdate=2008-09-14] He is buried at Wolford Chapelnear Dunkeswell. The chapel is now owned by the Province of Ontario. [cite web|url=http://www.heritagefdn.on.ca/scripts/index_.asp?action=31&U_ID=0&N_ID=1&P_ID=8802|title=Wolford Chapel (Devonshire, England) |publisher=Ontario Heritage Trust|accessdate=2008-09-14]
English Civil Warit was held for Parliament, subjected to a brief but brutal siegeand eventually "slighted "to destroy its military value. Parts of the castle walls, towers and moat still remain. They are a scheduled ancient monument. The castle site is privately owned: Visits can be arranged for groups; there are also public open days.
St. Mary's Church is adjacent to Hemyock Castle, on the other side of St Margaret's Brook.
The Baptist Church is at the top of Station Road.
Hemyock is a typical upland settlement consisting of a central "town" surrounded by a number of hamlets (Culm Davey, Millhayes, Simonsburrow, Ashculme, Tedburrow, Madford, Mountshayne etc). From the 1500s to the early 1800s much of the parishes wealth came from the production of wool. The population remained fairly constant throughout the 1800s, and until the end of the
Second World War. Since then a number of housing estates have been built, and the population has increased to over 2000.
Hemyock remains a viable village, with a school, excellent medical facilities, two garages, two hairdressers, a pub, a building society, one convenience store, one Post Office, two playing fields, a Parish Hall and two churches.
The village has had some important national points of interest but like the WI members they are quickly disappearing.
The Cadbury family, of chocolate fame, did not originate here.
Hemyock was the terminus of the Culm Valley Railway that ran for about 100 years from the village to Tiverton Junction.
The first mechanically operated butter factory in the West of England was started at Mountshayne in 1886 by 4 local farmers, this was later transferred to Millhayes, subsequently becoming part of St. Ivel. It was closed in the 1990s. The site has been re-developed for housing.
The first Young Culm Farmers Club in England began here in 1921, and it continues to prosper as the Culm Valley Young Farmers Club.
* [http://www.hemyock.org/ Hemyock village website]
* [http://www.hemyockcastle.co.uk/ Hemyock Castle website]
* [http://www.hemyockcastle.co.uk/hemtrail.htm Hemyock village trail & map]
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