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Hemyock Castle
Ancient Heart of the Blackdowns

Heritage Open Days 1998 in Hemyock

Picture of Hemyock Castle Gatehouse

Hemyock will again be taking part in this hugely popular celebration of culture and heritage.

This year there will be a special display of Crafts and Photographs of Southern Sri Lanka.

During Sunday afternoon on September 13th you may follow a trail around the centre of the village viewing and spotting some of the old landmarks such as the Parish Pump. In St Mary's Parish Church you can not only examine the interesting architecture of this ancient church but the nimble will have the opportunity to climb the bell Tower and from the top survey the parish and surrounding beautiful Blackdown Hills. In the Church the 150 year old Tithe Maps and Tithe Apportionments will be on display. In addition you will be able to view a display of photographs and read accounts of Bygone Hemyock. These have been kindly lent and provided by several parishioners and may well form the basis of a village history to commemorate the Millennium.

Across the stream bordering the Western Churchyard wall is Hemyock Castle where you can follow the trail around the moated Medieval castle ruins. Displays illustrate 700 years of the history of the site which was a fortified manor house before it became a castle. During the English Civil War it was garrisoned for Parliament against the King. Royalist captives were imprisoned until they either changed sides or their ransoms were paid by their friends. Due to this role as a prison, when the king was restored to the throne the castle was "slighted" – the walls and towers were breached so that it could not be held against the king again. The old manor house became a farm house and the old castle buildings were adapted. For the next 300 years until the early 1970s, Hemyock Castle was Castle Farm.

At the Castle, there will be a special display of Crafts and Photographs of Southern Sri Lanka, by members of the Janashakthi Bank micro credit union – a self-help organisation founded in Southern Sri Lanka to overcome the famine, poverty and cultural divisions caused by civil war.

Weather permitting on September 13th, you may well meet members of the "Sutton Household" (the local 17th century re-enactment group) around the grounds of Hemyock Castle. They will show how Hemyockians may have lived and looked during the troublesome years of the Civil War.

During the afternoon, teas will be available at neighbouring St Mary's Church. Then at the end of the afternoon, all are warmly invited to attend Evensong led by our Rector Margaret Cameron.

If you would like to add to further to the collection of Hemyock history either by lending photographs or providing memories of life in this interesting village, please contact us, or leave your name, address and telephone number with any of the Stewards during your visit.

We look forward to seeing you during Sunday afternoon on September 13th.

Heritage Open Days are co-ordinated by The Civic Trust with funding from the Department for National Heritage. Hemyock Castle receives no funding and makes no charge for entry on Heritage Open Days. Donations are collected for Sight Savers of Southern Sri Lanka.

Part of European Heritage Days – a Council of Europe Initiative.

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Hemyock Castle, Hemyock, CULLOMPTON, Devon, EX15 3RJ, UK.
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