MDE20877 - Countisbury (Place)


Countisbury was mentioned from before the Conquest and later given to Forde Abbey.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Countisbury was 'Contesberia' in Domesday. It was held by William Capra. Before the conquest it was held by Ailmer. Later it was given to Forde Abbey by Henry de Tracy. It continued with the Abbey until the dissolution. Early descents given. [1] The settlement of Countisbury was mentioned as 'Contesberia' in 1086, 'Cuntesberia' in 1177, 'Cundeburye' in 1238 and 'Cunisbere in 1577. [2] Countisbury may be a rare survival of British culture after the Saxon colonisation of Devon. The name derives from the british word 'Cunet' meaning hill and the Old English word 'Burg' suggesting a fortification. NT ref. 100260 [3] Countisbury is a natural defensive site & was the scene of a battle in 878AD between English and Dane when it was referred to as 'Arx Cynuit'. The name probably derives from a Celtic personal name which includes the Celtic element 'Cuno' meaning 'hound'. [4] The historic core of Countisbury is depicted on the Countisbury Tithe Map and later First and Second Edition 25 inch Ordnance Survey maps. [5-7] An earthwork platform was noted to the southwest of the church during a watching brief in 2021. This may have formed part of the historic core of the settlement. The HER GIS data has been amended appropriately. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Monograph: Reichel, O. J.. 1928-1938. Hundreds of Devon: The Hundred of Shirwell in Early Times. P. 404,461,466,478,486,487,491.
  • <2> Monograph: Gover, J.E.B., Mawer, A. and Stenton, F.M.. 1931. The Place-Names of Devon: Part One. VIII. P. 62.
  • <3> Report: Berry, N.. 2004. Archaeological and Historic Landscape Survey of Kipscombe Farm, Countisbury. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. P. 4.
  • <4> Article in monograph: Coates, R. + Breeze, A, + Horovitz, D.. 2000. Countisbury: A Breeze. Celtic Voices English Places: Studies of the Celtic impact on place-names in England. Part 4: Some Devon Place-Names. 126-8. P. 126-8.
  • <5> Map: <1841. Countisbury Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <8> Report: Rainbird, P. and Payne, N.. 2021. A new electricity cable route on land at Countisbury Common, Countisbury, Exmoor, Devon: Results of an archaeological watching brief. p4, 5, Figure 2e; Plates 7-8.



Grid reference Centred SS 746 496 (268m by 267m) (Historic mapping)
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 19132
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/84
  • Local Plan - Historic Core
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA108049

Record last edited

Apr 20 2021 1:23PM


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