All About Ottery St Mary


MapOTTERY ST MARY PARISH is one of the oldest and most historic towns in England, sheltered by rolling hills and surrounded by picturesque villages - ALFINGTON, ESCOT, GOSFORD, FENNY BRIDGES, FAIRMILE, METCOMBE, WIGGATON AND TIPTON ST JOHN.

The Parish occupies mainly the valley of the Otter from which it takes its name, but it reaches East and West to higher ridges from which there are superb views over a luxuriant countryside. William of Orange dined here in Ottery in 1688 on his way to London to claim the throne from James II.

In 1645, Ottery St Mary became a busy garrison town under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax. History books indicate that Oliver Cromwell visited and stayed in our town when he came to survey the progress of his Army in the south west of England. During his stay Fairfax and Cromwell set up
their campaign headquarters in Ottery's Chanters House.

Samuel ColeridgeOttery St Mary has proved to be an inspiration for a host of literary greats down the centuries. Of course Samuel Taylor Coleridge,was born here in 1772 and spent most of his childhood here. His Father was both a Vicar and a School Master in Ottery St Mary.

Ottery St Mary is also the setting for a large part of William Makepeace Thackeray's famous novel "Pendennis". Larksbeare, a residence in the parish of Ottery then occupied by his stepfather, is where Thackeray used to spend his holidays when at Charterhouse, and may be taken as the "Fairoaks" of the story. Thackeray became an honorary Otteregian and was also a friend of the Coleridge's Escot, nearby is probably "Clavering Park" whilst "Clavering St Mary" is Ottery itself. Ottery St Mary has also featured in the Harry Potter books as Ottery St Catchpole.

ChurchThe Town offers a variety of goods and services to surrounding areas. A large part of the town is included within the Conservation area which includes parkland.

Ottery St Mary Parish Church was modified from its original structure in 1337 by John de Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter. This was originally of Norman design and was extended and modified so that it looked like a "mini replica" of Exeter Cathedral. The Weathercock is over 500 years old and is believed to be the oldest situated in Europe.

Ottery St Mary has a purpose built Sports Hall and a variety of recreation facilities. Other facilities include a Library, the King's School, Coleridge Medical Centre and Hospital.