Coordinates: 50°20′57″N 3°53′13″W / 50.349111°N 3.886896°W / 50.349111; -3.886896

View down Church Street, Modbury
Modbury is located in Devon

 Modbury shown within Devon
Population 1,454 (2001)[1]
OS grid reference SX63835946
    - London 181 mi (291 km)  
Parish Harford
District South Hams
Shire county Devon
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PL21
Dialling code 01548
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament South West Devon
Website Modbury Parish Council website
List of places: UK • England • Devon

Modbury is a town and parish in the South Hams region of the English county of Devon. It is situated on the A379 road, which links it to Plymouth and Kingsbridge. The current parish population is approximately 1,500.



The name Modbury is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon name, Moot burgh from 'Moot' meaning either 'Mud' or 'Meeting' and 'Bury' meaning 'Fortified Enclosure'.


Modbury is recorded in the Domesday Book.

The population of the town was greatly reduced as a consequence of the Black Death.

Katherine 'Kat' Ashley née Champernowne (? - 1565) governess to Elizabeth I was probably born in or near the village.

John Batterson Stetson, founder of the Stetson cowboy hat company in the U.S., is descended from Modbury natives Robert Stetson and Honour Tucker (who emigrated to Massachusetts c. 1634).[2]

Civil War

It was the site of two battles in the English Civil War. The first battle was a minor royalist victory on December 9, 1642, when a small Royalist force put to flight a smaller Parliamentarian force.

The second Battle of Modbury occurred on February 21, 1643 when the Royalists forces, expecting an attack by Parliamentarian forces assembled at nearby Kingsbridge, had fortified the town. Outnumbered approximately four to one, and running short of ammunition, the royalists retreated. This victory was largely instrumental in the lifting of the Siege of Plymouth, and the driving of the encircling Royalist forces into Cornwall.

19th century

By 1801, the population of Modbury had risen to 1,813, with almost half engaged in the wool trade. The impact of the mechanisation of the wool industry was to have a dramatic effect on the economic prosperity and population of the town in the mid 1820s and later. Many workers left the town and headed to large cities in search of employment; others left the country altogether, emigrating to America.

The railway line bypassed Modbury, contributing still further to this decline. Modbury remained an important market town until as late as 1944 when the cattle market ceased.

Plastic bag ban

In April 2007 local traders declared that for environmental reasons, they would no longer give customers plastic bags.[3][4][5] This initiative led to other communities, such as Ilam in Staffordshire and Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, to pursue similar enterprises.[6]

Modbury Rovers FC

Modbury has a recreation field with a football pitch, tennis courts, and a tarmac all-weather surface used mainly for skateboarding. This is the home of Modbury Rovers, who are managed by Alex Pitcher and compete in the Plymouth and West Devon Combination League.


External links

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