Tetcott Jester Walk around the Estate

About this route

This walk is in the far west of Devon in a remote part of the Tamar Valley.  For many centuries, this atmospheric location has been the centre of a local estate which this walk explores.  It is one of the Ruby Trails, a series of walks originally set up in the morth-west of Devon to encourage visitors to the area to help the local economy of this very rural part of devon.

Getting Around

No public transport to Tetcott.  Follow the signs to Tetcott from the A388 Holsworthy-Launceston road.  The main hamlet known as Lana has a parish hall and plenty of parking and is where the walk starts and finishes.

No facilities on route
Two stiles. No steep climb
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OS Maps

Landranger (1:50,000) No 190 Bude and Clovelly
Explorer (1:25,000) No 112 Launceston and Holsworthy

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Interesting information

During the 1700s the then owners the Arscotts, had a jester, a dwarf known as Black John; he and his master was a throw-back to the Middle Ages.  His ghost is still said to haunt the Manor – listen for tinkling of bells, especially if the light is fading!

Pillars dating from the 1700s mark the entrance to the grounds of the Manor House.  The parkland is confusingly called The Wilderness which may refer back to its previous condition before it became parkland, or is an ironical reference to its relatively tidy and sophisticated appearance.

The Church dates to the 13th century, relatively early for Devon, although the tower was added in the 15th century.  Inside are memorials to the Arscotts and an ornate Arscott family pew.

Tetcott Manor itself is a lovely house with a complex architectural history; its origins date back to the mid 1500s.  Around 1700, a new brick manor house was built immediately to the east; a very early example of brick building in Devon, the first being Exeter’s Custom House in 1680.  However this brick building was demolished in 1831 when the Molesworths inherited the estate as their main seat was in Cornwall until they returned to Tetcott in 1925.

Beardown Plantation was originally planted as a source of timber for the estate and is now a valuable wildlife refuge. You may see a deer or buzzards soaring in the sky above.  Ancient woodland can be found in the Lana Lake (the name lake is an old saxon word for stream) as the damp valley bottom has never been properly cultivated.

Luffincott Church, although medieval in origin, was completely rebuilt in the 1700s.  Virtually untouched since then, it is unusual in being a very rare example of an unrestored Georgian church.  Notable from the outside are the domestic-type Georgian windows.  No longer used for worship, it is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

An unusual historical fact relates to the disappearance of the parish parson in 1904.  Not known to be in financial trouble – or to have any woman troubles – he simply walked out one evening and disappeared, with only what proved to be false sightings by the sexton afterwards.

Photo of Tetcott Mano House and outbuildings
Tetcott Manor House

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