Visiting Sir Walter Raleigh’s Village & Home in Devon




sir walter Raleigh

If you’re a fan of Elizabethan history or have been captivated by dramatic portrayals of Queen Elizabeth I’s life, you’ve undoubtedly encountered the name Sir Walter Raleigh. Personally, I love merging history with travel, so I embarked on a quest to uncover the local haunts of this infamous explorer in Devon.

Local East Devon folklore has it that Sir Walter Raleigh received his early education under the guidance of the vicar in East Budleigh and later attended a school in the neighbouring village of Ottery St Mary. Today, you can still catch a glimpse of the rectory building in East Budleigh, where Raleigh’s formative years might have unfolded. Although numerous academic accounts of Raleigh’s life exist (which I’ll share below), the details of his early days remain cloaked in mystery. What we can be certain of is his that his upbringing was at Hayes Barton far, around 1552. The current building pictured below was not as it was in Raleigh’s time, certainly not the magnificent medieval building we see today (Nicholls & Williams, 2011). It’s more likely that the structure he knew was an earlier, more rudimentary medieval dwelling that has evolved over time. In spite of the ambiguity surrounding Raleigh’s early life, I couldn’t resist the allure of East Budleigh, the village itself is old enough for you to get a sense of past history, leaving one to conjure visions of Raleigh’s youth.

This flamboyant and complex character has often attracted historical interest and controversy for his colonial exploits, and sensationally for attracting favour of the Queen herself only to be later imprisoned, tried and executed for treason against the crown.

Sir Walter Raleigh emerged from his father’s third marriage as the youngest of four sons on his father’s side and one of five sons from his mother’s side. Contrary to popular perception, Raleigh’s financial circumstances were far from comfortable. Remarkably, during his time at Oxford University, there’s a notable instance of him being compelled to borrow money from a fellow student, a debt that regrettably remained unpaid (Nicholls and Williams, 2011). This glimpse into his early financial struggles paints a more complex picture of the renowned explorer’s life.

Hayes Barton Farm, one mile out of East Budleigh. The road from the village to the farm is single track in part and is narrow. Important to note, this is a private property, this photo was taken some distance from the house, on the roadside. The house is NOT open to the public. Please respect the occupants privacy.

East Budleigh Sir Walter Raleigh’s Village

Despite the fact that Raleigh’s house is not as it might have been in Raleigh’s time we can get a sense of the local countryside and village of East Budleigh. The surrounding country makes a very pleasant drive and the undeveloped nature of local fields and historical village setting makes one feel little has changed here. If you are not familiar with West Country villages, East Budleigh is a delight to see, whilst not being overly popular with tourists and remains unspoilt. Even at the height of the season, you are likely to see few visitors in the area.

What to see in East Budleigh

A walk around the village centre of East Budleigh will not take very long however it is worth doing so due to the beauty and historical interest of the local buildings. The houses are built of a ‘cob construction’ which is quite a common build method in Devon and the West Country generally for houses of this period. Look out for the ancient holly tree in the high street (opposite the pub), the tree is a ‘mark tree,’ a place where in Saxon times prayers were made.

The photo was taken August 2023, you can see the village itself is very quite and picturesque.

Historical Pub

The Sir Walter Raleigh pub is a traditional 15th century pub run by the local community. The building itself has many of its original features and makes a good place to stop off for pub lunch or drink. There is also a holiday let above the pub should you wish for a longer stay. The pub itself is situated on the village ‘main’ street, nearby the church. There are regular events and a quiz night on a Monday, which I understand from friends is a good evening. Pubs have for a long time been and important part of village life, a place for the whole community to congregate.

East Budleigh All Saints’ Church

In the heart of the village you will find the All Saints Church. The Church and churchyard is worth a visit if you like to gain a sense of history, there is a self-guided trail around the churchyard if you are interested in old graveyards. Look out for the booklet in the church entrance (bring some coins to make a donation for the upkeep and printing). Between 1562 and 1916 some 7,436 burials were record at this church, although not all were given a headstone or wooden cross (Church pamphlet).

To give some highlights from the tour (marked by painted large stones)

Roger Conant Colonist – Massachusetts Governor, East Budleigh

Point 3 is an old mill stone (believed to have come from the mill belonging to the Conant family). Conant junior arrived in the Plymouth colony Massachusetts in 1624, he was credited for establishing the communities of Salem, Peabody, Beverly and Danvers, he was the first governor of Massachusetts. The location of the Conant family mill is within the village, where the large brick houses are, next to the Budleigh brook.

Point 9 a chest tomb to the Coldridge family, including Samuel Taylor Coldridge, this is not the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Samuel Coldridge was a map maker and surveyor working in Exeter in the early 1800s.

Worship is still practiced here and falls under the auspice of the Church of England. Check listing for church services.

Parking & Amenities in East Budleigh

There is a small public car park in East Budleigh, a community shop and pub.

Suggested Itinerary: Visit East Budleigh

Your text is well-written with no spelling or grammar mistakes. However, you have the phrase “or so” repeated twice in close succession, which can be streamlined for clarity:

“East Budleigh is definitely worth visiting if you enjoy history and charming traditional villages. However, it’s a small village, and a leisurely walk around would take no more than 30 minutes. My suggestion is to visit the local Sir Walter Raleigh pub after your walking tour, and then combine this trip with a visit to another picturesque local village, such as Otterton, especially Otterton Mill. Alternatively, you can follow one of the suggested walking routes listed below. Another enjoyable option is a pleasant and flat 4.7-mile walk from Otterton Mill to Budleigh Salterton along the salt marshes.”

Resources on Raleigh and East Budleigh

Nicholls, M. , & Williams, P. (2011). The Devon Man. In Sir Walter Raleigh: In Life and Legend

J. Youings, ‘Raleigh’s Devon’, in H.G. Jones (ed.), Raleigh and Quinn: the explorer and his Boswell (Chapel Hill, 1987).

Raleigh Mission Community

Sir Walter Raleigh Pub has a Facebook page, and a website

Walking route from Budleigh Salterton EX9 6JD to East Budleigh 7 miles one direction.

Look out for the Self-Guided trail pamphlet available in the church entrance (please provide small donation)

East Budleigh Community Shop

Roger Conant Colonist, Wikipedia Entry

Please note I do try to keep this site up to date, but as things change often, it is recommended that before travelling any distance you do your own checks.

If you wish to feedback on the site content please get in touch.

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