• West Hill Village Devon

    With around 2000 residents, West Hill is a fairly large village, located 8 miles east of Exeter and 10 miles west of Honiton. Ottery St Mary is the closest town, just two miles away and offering all the usual town amenities including the Town Council, a library, police station, many varied shops as well as several pubs and places to eat.

  • The Village of West Hill has a relatively short history when compared with most Devon villages, many of which date back to the Doomsday Book. The 1843 Tythe Map of the area shows West Hill as part of the Fluxton Tithing and as a rural district of Ottery St Mary. At this time there was no church, school or inn all usually associated with a village. Unfortunately there were no named houses on this map. In 1843, nearly all the land at West Hill was owned by Sir John Kennaway and the houses and cottages were invariably leasehold.

    Change came to Victorian West Hill with the completion of St Michael's Church in 1846 and the opening of West Hill School in 1876. By most definitions of a typical village, West Hill as a village seems only to date back to those times.The 1889 the Ordnance Survey Map shows about 60 dwellings in the village. There were seven large houses at this time including West Hill Court, Bendarroch House, the first Vicarage (approached from Toad Pit Lane), The Gap, Hawthorne Dene (now called Mariners), Fir Grove and Summercourt. The named farms on the map were; Brickhouse, Castle, Highland, Perry's and Primrose. There were also seven or eight unnamed smaller farms and a few dozen farm cottages, many of cob construction. The Smithy (on the site of the current supermarket), the mill (Foxenholes) and the Congregational chapel (now part of a house in Lower Broad Oak Road) complete the list of buildings in 1889.

    The 1905 Ordnance Survey Map of Ottery St Mary District shows the West Hill village growing and new houses like Wurlie (now Elsdon) and West Lodge.
    Bovett states that a small school for infants only existed at West Hill from about 1857, described as a Church Union School. It was almost certainly provided by Sir John Kennaway on land adjoining a cottage called "Breaches" that he owned between the village and Foxenholes Mill. The school-room was built alongside the cottage but is now no longer there. On 10th July 1876 the Ottery St Mary West Hill Board School opened with 49 scholars on the first day.