A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park
January 20, 2023
Possible Duchy incursions into Walkhampton Parish near North Hessary Tor
It has been documented that during the late 18th and early 19th centuries the Duchy was in conflict with a number of parishes including Gidleigh, Throwleigh and Walkhampton. Regarding the latter, there appears to be some ‘physical’ evidence of this, insofar as there is an inscribed outcrop to the north and west of North Hessary Tor, marked with the letters “TOR”, which is preceded by and indecipherable ‘cartouche’.
Dave Brewer in his book Dartmoor Boundary Markers, 2nd edition (page 208) and in a letter to Dartmoor Magazine (Winter 1993 edition – page 29) supposes the inscription is related to an old map which was incorporated in a prospectus by Sir Thomas Tyrwitt, published in 1818, which extolled the virtues of having a railway to Princetown. On the map, it appears that the Duchy had claimed erroneously the line of the Forest Bounds from South Hessary Tor to ‘Rendlestone’, not through North Hessary Tor but to the north and west via the small outcrop which has the inscribed rock.
The inscription on the small outcrop can be difficult to photograph (especially the indecipherable part), so the author took advantage of a bright day with snow on the ground to record it. The Tyrwitt prospectus map can be found in the Brewer book. Couple this with and looking at the tithe map from circa 1840, it can be speculated what the erroneous boundary was, which had been claimed by the Duchy. This post is part speculation and the author would welcome receiving any additional information.