Coordinates: 50°51′18″N 3°23′35″W / 50.855°N 3.393°W / 50.855; -3.393

057332 cdaaab8b-by-Martin-Bodman.jpg
Cullompton: the town from the south west
Cullompton is located in Devon

 Cullompton shown within Devon
Population 7,609 (2001)[1]
OS grid reference ST020071
District Mid Devon
Shire county Devon
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district EX15
Dialling code 01884
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Tiverton and Honiton
List of places: UK • England • Devon

Cullompton is a civil parish and town in Devon, England, locally known as Cully. It is 13 miles (21 km) miles north-north-east of Exeter and lies on the River Culm. In 2010 it had a population of 8,639 and is growing rapidly.

The earliest evidence of occupation is from the Roman period and it was mentioned in Alfred the Great's will. As well as local manufacturing, the town is home to a large number of commuters. It is home to the grade I listed buildings of St Andrew's parish church and the Walronds.



Toponymy and orthography

The derivation of the name Cullompton is disputed. One derivation is that the town's name means "Farmstead on the River Culm"[2] with Culm probably meaning knot or tie (referring to the river's twists and loops).[2] The other theory is that it is named after Saint Columba of Tir-de-Glas,[3] who is said to have preached in the area in 549 AD.[4] There are 40 recorded spellings of Cullompton between the first recorded use of the name and present day,[5] and even as late as the mid nineteenth century 3 spellings were in use: the post office spelt it Cullompton; in their 1809 first edition the Ordnance Survey map used Cullumpton and the railway station sign said Collumpton. The railway station sign was changed to Cullompton in 1874 and the Ordnance Survey used Cullompton in the edition of their map published in 1889.[6] It is affectionately known as Cully.[4]

Roman period

Excavactions on site near Shortlands lane

On St Andrew's Hill, to the north-west of Cullompton town centre, two Roman forts were discovered in 1984 by aerial photography carried out for Devon County Council. The earlier, smaller fort (the boundary ditches of which showed up in cropmarks) was later replaced by a second, larger fort. The ramparts of this second fort are preserved on two sides as modern field boundaries with substantial earthen banks with hedges on top. The banks on the other two sides were removed shortly before the site was recognised as Roman. The site was made a Scheduled Monument in 1986. The aerial photography also revealed two subsidiary military enclosures or annexes to each fort. In 1992 a geophysical survey was made of the fort and areas to the east and west and this was followed by a trial excavation to the west of the site. These confirmed the existence of two forts, and the ditch of the second fort was excavated. Pottery from the site was dated from around 50-70 AD, which is consistent with a previous date of before 75 AD based on finds from fieldwalking.[7] A Roman settlement near Shortlands Lane was excavated in 2009. A large quantity of Roman pottery, burial remains and fragments of hypocaust tile from the second and third century was found.[8]

Saxon period to the eighteenth century

In 872 Alfred the Great bequeathed Columtune and its lands to his son Æthelweard. In 1087 William the Conqueror gave the manor to Baldwin, his wife's favourite nephew. It was subsequently held by the Earl of Devon for many years until in 1278 Amicia Countess of Devon willed it to the Abbot and Convent of Buckland Monachorum. With the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was sold to Sir John St Ledger.[4] The five prebends of Cullompton (Colebrook, Hineland, Wiever, Esse, Upton) were presented by William the Conqueror to Battle Abbey in Sussex and were later held by St Nicholas Priory, Exeter.[9]

In 1278 the town was granted its first market to be held on a Thursday.[4] In 1356 the town gained its first water supply by a deed of gift of the Abbot of Buckland.[4] The water (known as the Town Lake or watercourse) came from a stream rising at Coombe Farm and flowed into a pond near Shortlands. From there it flowed in several open channels to all parts of the town. Water bailiffs were employed to protect the interests of the town and a tradition of "possessioning" took place. This was a ceremony which took place every seven years where a group of townsfolk would inspect the channel and ensure that it was not being abused. The first recorded possessioning was in 1716.[4] In the mid nineteenth century the water courses were used for boiling vegetables, surface drainage and emptying cesspools. A Board of Health Inspector in 1854 concluded that "typhus and other epidemic diseases are so prevalent here more so than in any other parish in the Union". They were eventually only used to keep the streets clean and continued to flow until 1962 when the town council decided that they were not willing to pay for their upkeep.[4] In 1678 a local innkeeper, John Barnes was hanged after being found guilty of highway robbery. He had waylaid, with the help of accomplices, a coach travelling from Exeter to London and made off with about £600 but he was recognised by the guards from Exeter, where he had been a taverner.[4] A second highwayman, Tom Austin, was hanged in August 1693[4] after a series of robberies and murders including those of his aunt and her children.[4]

The Cullompton Company of Volunteers was first raised in 1794 and continued until 1810.[4] The first Nonconformist congregation began in 1662 when the vicar of Cullompton, Revd William Crompton, was ejected from the established church. He continued to preach and a Protestant Dissenters meeting house was built in 1698 which became the Unitarian Chapel. In the eighteenth century there was a prevalence of Dissent with the local vicar recording in 1736 that of a population of 3358 there were 508 Presbyterians, 133 Anabaptists and 87 Quakers. By 1743 the first Baptist Chapel had been built. John Wesley's journal records preaching near the town in 1748.[4]

Nineteenth century to present

In 1805 and 1806 the last bull-baiting in the town took place. On 7 July 1839, a severe fire destroyed many houses in Cullompton. About two thirds of the town burnt with 145 houses and other buildings being destroyed.[4]. A subscription for rebuilding was set and donations of £5 were made by Barne and Son, tanners of Tiverton, and Cullompton tanners Mortimore and Selwood.[10] The town acquired its first steam driven fire engine in 1914 which cost £100 and was paid for by voluntary subscription.[4] In 1847 a riot occurred in the town due to the high price of wheat. Three houses were attacked, including the house of Mr Selwood, the owner of a local tannery and also a maltster. He was accused of speculatively buying 2000 bushels of corn and his house (in Pound Square) was attacked, almost all the windows were broken and furniture was also damaged.[10]

The old library with the new one being built behind.
The new library under construction in February 2011.

In 1857, the first Police Station was rented with 3 cells and a petty session courtroom. In 1974 a new police station was built.[4] The parish council was formed in 1894.[4] In April 1903 a petition objecting to the renewal of alcohol licences for local inns, signed by 450 people, was presented to the Brewsters sessions (Magistrates court meetings in England where pub licences are renewed or granted).[11] A deputation sent to the session explained that the number of licensed houses was too large in proportion to the population. In 1917, the cattle market was moved from being held in the Higher Bullring to a field near the station. The first cinema was opened in the Victoria Hall in 1918 by Bill Terry. Cullompton got its first permanent library in 1938 in a building on Exeter Hill, and in 1977 the town was twinned with Ploudalmézeau in Brittany, France.[4][12]

In 1920, a public company was formed to provide an electricity supply for Cullompton. The company merged with the Bradninch Electricity Company in 1927 to form the Culm Valley Electricity Supply Co. Ltd. A gasworks was set up in Cullompton in 1865 for the Cullompton Gas Light and Coke Co. This was taken over by the Devon Gas Association and nationalised in 1949. The gasworks was closed in 1956 and Cullompton was then supplied from Exeter.[4] In 1998 the Cullompton website was set up and in 2000 CCTV was installed in the main street.[4]

Another serious fire occurred on 17 October 1958, when Selwood's tannery in Exeter Street was gutted by fire; the site was then used for a supermarket.[4] It was run as a Gateway store and then as a Somerfield. Following the takeover of Somerfield by The Co-operative Group, it closed on 28 August 2010, with the loss of seven full time and 41 part time jobs. The closure was due to its poor trading performance.[13]

The town had a major expansion in the 1970s as the construction of a bypass in 1969, and its conversion into part of the M5 in 1975, made it a popular commuter town. It was expanded again during the closing years of the 20th century and the first few years of the 21st century. The Mid Devon Local Development Framework Proposals plans for 95 new dwellings a year, and 4,000 square metres (43,000 sq ft) of new employment floorspace a year between now and 2026.[14]

In March 2010, it was announced by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, that the town's magistrates' court was to be closed due its poor facilities and lack of rooms. It had been suggested that the site might be developed as town hall or the site used as a car park.[15] This plan ended when a group formed to oppose the proposal to purchase the site for a new town hall were elected to two thirds of the council seats in May 2011.[16] In June 2011, it was announced that two local businesspeople had purchased the site. Their favoured plan is to demolish the building and provide more car parking. However, they are considering other options.[17]

In June 2011 two men were arrested in Cullompton after being seen acting suspiciously. They were remanded in custody in connection with an alleged plot targeting soul singer Joss Stone. [18]

In September 2011, a new library opened. It replaced the previous library which was on Exeter Hill. The new library was four times the size of the old library and cost three million pounds.[19]

Economic history

Cullompton has a long history of manufacturing, first with wool and cloth manufacture, then later leather working and light industry.

Cloth trade

In the 15th century the weaving of fine kersies and later serges was introduced to the area by weavers from the continent. This was largely a cottage industry and merchants would have premises where the fleeces would be combed and sorted. John Lane was one of the best known local cloth merchants (see Lane's Aisle in the section on St Andrew's church below).[4] In the seventeenth century, Higher and Lower King's Mills were fulling mills for the local industry.[10] In 1816 Mr Upcott employed 60 weavers and 'many spinners'. The Wellington based firm Fox Brothers had a branch factory built in 1890 and made high quality woolen and worsted cloth until 1977. During World War I, their entire output was of khaki cloth, employing over 200 people. In 1910, hand weaving was revived, which evolved into machine knitted garments.[4]


Tanning in Cullompton goes back to at least the sixteenth century and in the nineteenth century there were three tanneries: Crow Green, Lower King's Mill and Court Tannery. The Crow Green tannery was situated at the south-west end of the town and was already in existence in 1816. It had a water-powered bark mill and 47 tan pits at that date. It was owned by the Selwood family for much of the 19th and 20th centuries and was often referred to as Selwood's tannery. It suffered from fires in 1831, 1867 and 1958. In 1881 it employed 48 people and over 100 in 1958 (8% of the local workforce at the time). It finally finished operation in 1967 when the leather side of the business was sold to a Yorkshire firm. The building to the north-west of Exeter Hill, which formerly housed the water-powered bark mill, is now an antiques warehouse and the remains of the leet and tail race can still be seen. The other half of the site, to the south-east of Exeter Hill, was later used for a supermarket. The tannery at Higher King's Mill was active between about 1830 and 1875 and employed 12 labourers in 1851 and 9 a decade later. Court Tannery was established by 1871 and had closed by 1906. It was located at the north end of the town behind Court House, which was the residence of the owners of the tannery. In 1971 it employed 21 men and was probably steam-powered. A local tanner, James Whitby along with George Bodley and John Davis patented an improved bark mill (used to grind bark for producing tanbark used in the tanning process).[10] In addition to tanning, the leather industry included a leather dressing works (founded in 1921 and which closed in 1982) and a glove maker, Drevon and Brown.[4]

Higher Kingsmill as it is now

Paper making

Paper was first made at Higher Kingsmill as early as 1750. Records show that the mill was owned by a Mr Simon Mills in 1757 and was taken over by a Mr Theodore Dart in 1799. There followed a number of different owners of whom one of the most significant was Albert Reed who purchased the mill in 1883. His brother, William Reed, established a partnership with a Mr C King Smith. The Reed & Smith group (which acquired New Taplow Mill in 1950) became one of the biggest papermakers in the UK. A Fourdrinier machine was installed in 1892 and continued to make paper at Higher Kings until about 1972. A new machine was built in 1956 to make blue sugar bags and other products, and has been modified over the years to make different grades of paper and card. St Regis acquired Higher Kings in the early 1980s and since then the mill has diversified into making a very wide range of recycled coloured papers and boards.[20][21][4]

Cabinet making

Luxtons cabinet makers was founded in 1800 and grew until it employed 50 people, with workshops at Cockpit Hill and Duke Street. After World War I they opened a retail shop in Fore Street and it kept going doing retailing and repairs until the mid 1960s. William Broom started a business in 1920 and employed 7 or 8 workmen until the 1930s when the Great Depression meant the firm was reduced to only William Broom by the start of the Second World War. After the war, the firm concentrated on repair work and antiques restoration. It closed in 1990.[4]


Mark Whitton founded Whitton's in the early 1900s carrying timber with a horse and cart. After the First World War the company carried coal to the gas works and local paper mills. In 1923 they bought their first Sentinel steam lorry and carried paper to Bristol and returned with animal feed. During the Second World War they were run by the Ministry of Transport and after the war were nationalised to become part of British Road Services. The brothers who had owned the company moved back into haulage, setting up a new firm which went into receivership in the 1970s and was then bought by Wild Transport of Exeter in 1973.[4]

Other industries

In 1746, Thomas Bilbie moved to the village, from Chew Stoke in Somerset, to establish a bell foundry in Shortlands Lane.[22] It continued until 1850 when the business was moved to Exeter.[4]. St Michael's and All Angel's in Alphington has a peal of 8 bells cast by Bilbie in Cullompton, at a cost of £108 12 shillings and 8 pence in 1749.[23]

There was also a jam factory, 'Devon Dale Jam' in the 1930s. There have also been flour mills, and a foundry. Around 1900, the mill at the end of Middle Mill Lane was an axle works and had a boiler delivered and is labelled as an axle works on the 1904 Second Edition Ordnance Survey map. The two other mills on the leet, Higher and Lower Mills, are marked as being corn mills on the same map.[4]


The town and civil parish of Cullompton has three wards: North (6 councillors), South (7 councillors) and Outer (2 councillors).[24] Since 1995 the town has had a mayor elected by the councillors.[citation needed] It is part of Mid Devon District Council and there are three Cullompton wards in the district council North (2 councillors), South (2 councillors) and Outer (1 councillor).[25] It is also part of Devon County Council and is represented through the Cullompton Rural ward.[26]

From Saxon times it was part of the hundred of Hayridge.[27] From 1894 to 1935 it was part of Tiverton Rural District and prior to that it was part of Tiverton Sanitary District[citation needed]

It is part of the Tiverton and Honiton constituency and its MP is Neil Parish.[28]


Cullompton is 4 miles (6.4 km) miles south-east of Tiverton,[29] 13 miles (21 km) miles north-north-east of Exeter and 149 miles (240 km) miles west-south-west of London.[30] It is at about 70 m above sea level[30], the parish covers nearly 8,000 acres (32 km2) and stretches for 7 miles (11 km) along the Culm valley.[4]


Population of Cullompton 1801-2010

At the 2001 Census Cullompton had a population of 7,609,[1] but National Health Service FHSA figures for 2010 estimate the parish population at 8,639.[31] The population changed little from the start of the 19th century until the 1960s, remaining at around 3,00 (see chart). However it increased rapidly in the last part of the 20th century. Cullompton's population growth looks set to continue as Mid Devon's core strategy foresees 95 new dwellings being built per year in the period to 2026.[32]

In 2001 there were 5,464 people aged 16 to 74 of whom 3,665 were economically active and employed, 1,556 were economically inactive and 131 economically inactive but unemployed.[33] Figures in 2001 on ethnic composition for Mid Devon as a whole were: White British 97.57%, White other 1.24% and White Irish 0.4%[34] and for religious composition 75.40% Christian, 15.98% no religion.[35]


In 2001 the proportion of people living and working in Cullompton was 43% with 19% of the town's working population employed in Exeter.[32]


Mole Valley Farmers, Cullompton

In 2001 the retail sector in Cullompton met fairly local needs only.[32] The town currently has a single supermarket, a Tesco, which opened on 9 September 2008 despite opposition from Somerfield.[36] The Somerfield supermarket later closed in August 2010.[13] The local trade association closed in September 2008 after a relaunch in April. According to local businesswoman Ms Tyas-Peterson, this "reflects that Cullompton is a dying town" and the new Tesco will "make or break the town".[37] Mole Valley Farmers has a store in the town which sells a wide range of goods including farm requirements to garden supplies and hardware.[38]

The Cullompton street market came to an end in the late 1950s but was revived for a trial period of seven weeks starting on Saturday 28 June 2008[39] but takings for traders were disappointing after an initial few weeks which were good.[37] The town also has an indoor market in the town hall every Wednesday[39][40] and a monthly farmers' market held on the second Saturday of every month.[41] The first market was held on 13 June 1998 after an idea and much work by Tracey Frankpitt, who was consulted by the producers of the long running radio soap opera The Archers and it was mentioned in one of the episodes.[4] It is the oldest event of its kind in the South West.[42]

Kingsmill industrial estate

Kingsmill industrial estate

Mid Devon District Council owns 11 industrial units at the Kingsmill industrial estate[43] which are let by a variety of businesses. Business based on the estate include Gregory Distribution,[44][45] who have 27,000 square feet (2,500 m2) of temperature controlled storage which they use for a contract to deliver chilled and frozen goods to Spar stores in the southwest.[46] There is also a flour mill, milk depot,marketing and advertising agency as well as an industrial clothing shop.[47] Higher Kings Mill is a paper mill owned by St Regis. It manufactures recycled coloured papers and boards. [20][21]

Culture and community

The town has an annual Christmas parade to celebrate the switching on of the town's Christmas lights[48] and a festival week in the summer which includes the annual town fayre (formerly known as the Cullompton Town Picnic and Classic Car Show).[49]

The town has a 'community hub' called 'The Hayridge' which opened in September 2011 and has a library, cafe, free Wi-Fi, IT suites and conference facilities and is currently open six days a week. The office space is used by Adult Community Learning which had previously been based at Cullompton Community College.[50][51]

St Andrew's church is sponsoring the construction of the new 9,250 square foot Cullompton Community centre, which is being built on land next to the church, and is due to open in 2011. The main meeting area will have a capacity for 180 people seated and there are to be five further meeting rooms, offices, kitchens and toilets.[52]

A major recreational area for the town is the Cullompton Community Association's fields which cover 32 acres in the centre of the town. Many town events are held on the CCA Fields such as the circus, whippet racing and a firework display. The Cullompton Community Association is a registered charity and was formed in 1970 to help provide a recreation area for the town. It purchased the fields at a cost of £11,500. The site (next to the riverside walk along the leat) was chosen as the water meadows needed to be maintained to help prevent flooding and because it was close to the cricket and bowling clubs. [4][53]

In February 2008 the Culm Valley Integrated Centre for Health opened in Cullompton.[54] The services provided at the site include: the College Surgery Partnership which is a large general practice with ten doctors;[55] complementary therapies provided by Culm Valley Natural Health;[56] self care groups groups[54] a health food café, physic garden and a pharmacy run by Alliance Boots.[57]

The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust has a residential centre for the rehabilitation of 23 adults with acquired brain injury called 'The Woodmill' in Cullompton. It is the trust's most southern assessment and rehabilitation residential centre in the United Kingdom and was set up in May 1998.[58][59]

The Cullompton United Charities manages nine local Almshouses and the town centre facility known as Community House and also provides financial grants for various purposes.[60]


The street plan of the town still reflects the medieval layout of the town. Most shops lie along Fore Street with courts behind them linked by alleyways. The length of the high street reflects the prosperity of the town from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century when it was a centre of the cloth trade.[61] There are two grade I listed buildings in Cullompton: the fifteenth century parish church (St Andrew's) and the Walronds at 6 Fore Street. There are also seven grade II* listed buildings and ninety grade II listed buildings.[4] The centre of the town is a conservation area - the only one in the Mid Devon area.[62] Hillersdon House, a Victorian manor house is near to the town centre and within the parish.[63]

The Walronds before renovation work began

The Walronds

The Walronds was probably built in 1605 which is the date over the hall fireplace. John Peter, a lawyer, acquired the property by marriage into the Paris family and his initials are over the fireplace. The plan is a traditional one with the ground floor hall divided from the entrance passage by a screen. The main range has three storeys and there are two wings which are both two storeys high. In the upper south-east room is a barrel shaped ceiling and a second fireplace with the date 1605. The association with the Walrond family only dates from the eighteenth century.[61]

It is now owned by Cullompton Walronds Preservation Trust which was registered as a charity and as a private company limited by guarantee in the spring of 1997. It inherited half the building in 2005 from Miss June Severn and bought the other half. However, a survey has indicated that £948,000 will be need to restore the property. As well as restoring the building the aim is to retain the three rooms adjoining the path from Fore Street for public use. These comprise a meeting room, a kitchen and a lavatory. These rooms are already in use for meetings, coffee mornings, etc. Additionally it is hoped to convert the garden which stretches back to Shortlands Lane into a park for the people of the town.[64] In 2008 the building became the only building in Mid Devon to be put on English Heritage's Buildings at Risk Register and has received £250,000 from Devon County Council and £100,000 from Mid Devon District Council for restoration work. Emergency repairs costing £15,000 were carried out during 2008.[65] In July 2010 the Heritage Lottery Fund announced that it would provide a grant of £1.75 million to help complete the restoration.[66] Work began with the erection of scaffolding in August 2011 and it is expected to be completed by the summer of 2013.[67]

St Andrew's Church

St Andrew's Church from the South West. Lane's Aisle can be seen at the side of the church

St Andrew's Church is set back from the main street but despite this its tower is a landmark which is highly visible from the surrounding area. The tower is 100 feet (30 m) tall with pinnacles on top which add a further 20 feet (6 m) to its height.[9] On the west face are the badly damaged remains of a Crucifixion scene with figures of Edward VI and St George to either side.[68] The tower also has a large clock face by Norman of Ilfracombe dating from about 1874.[9] Despite being the first part of the church to be seen when approaching from the main street, it is however the most recent part of the church, being built 1545-1549. The tower is built in the local red sandstone with carved parts in Beer and Ham Hill stone.[61]

The nave and chancel are carried on 5 pairs of piers and the interior has a boarded wagon roof coloured in blue, crimson and gold which stretches the whole length of the church. At the time of the construction of the Bristol and Exeter Railway, William Froude - the engineer given responsibility for this section of the line by Isambard Kingdom Brunel - inserted iron stringers to prevent the walls from spreading as a result of vibrations from the trains.[9] A screen runs across the whole width of the church. At the end of the nave is a Jacobean gallery with 4 oak pillars about 9 feet (3 m) tall. The central window of the North Aisle is a World War II memorial and a World War I memorial is on the other side.[9] Moores Chantry (the last bay of the North Aisle) contains some original box pews and at the rear of the church are two large pieces of oak which make up a Golgotha which once rested on top of the Rood Screen. They are carved with rocks, skulls and bones. They were probably removed from the church in 1549 and cut into 2 pieces. For many years they remained in the graveyard.[9]

On the south side of the church is the first major addition to the church: Lane's Aisle. This was built 1526-1529 by a local cloth merchant, John Lane. It is fan vaulted in a style inspired by the Dorset aisle at Ottery St Mary and some of the carvings are similar to John Greenway's Chapel at Tiverton. John Lane and wife are buried at the east end of the aisle.[68]

Cullompton Manor House

Cullompton Manor House. The building just in the left of the shot is the adjacent house, Veryards

Cullompton Manor House is a grade 1 listed building with sections built in 1603 (dated panel and initials TT for Thomas Trock on the top corner of the front of the house) and 1718 (on a lead cistern head of a drainpipe, are the letters (L) S/WT (R) and the date 1718). It was originally a private residence and now forms part of the Manor House Hotel. It has a jettied half timbered front with four gables and stone end walls with upper windows on carved brackets. It was probably built in the sixteenth century but was refurbished in 1603 for Thomas Trock, a clothier. The original structure consisted only of the front part, in which there were three rooms and a passage on the ground floor, three rooms opening into each other on the floor above, and above again. The front room on the left was the former hall with large oak panels of the Queen Anne period, and a moulded and beamed ceiling. Part of an earlier newel stair which descended to the hall or kitchen survives above a back staircase. The house was remodelled in 1718 for William Sellock. At the front of the building is a hooded shell porch of the early 18th century supported on pilasters and the back of house is also early 18th century of red and blue brick, with windows with thick glazing bars beneath a hipped slate roof with coved eaves. It was given the name of The Manor House in 1850 by J. S. Upcott who owned the property at that time. During World War II it was requisitioned by the army and used to billet officers. The adjacent house, Veryards, was originally a separate residence but was bought by the owners of the Manor House Hotel and incorporated into the hotel in the 1980s.[4][3][61][69]

Cullompton Leat

Running parallel to the main high street is a leat with a public footpath running along it. The leat runs from Head Weir, north of Cullompton, and takes its water from the Spratford Stream. It flows past three former watermills (Upper, Middle and Lower Mill) and then empties into the Culm near First Bridge. It is uncertain when the leat was first made but the south end of the leat and Lower Mill are shown on an early seventeenth-century map. The leat is no longer in use for powering mills and the Environment Agency is not interested in managing the leat nor keeping it flowing so the Cullompton Leat Conservancy Board was formed to restore and maintain the Leat in 2005.[70]

Cullompton High Street - this is the former route of the A38 and is now one of the areas with air quality problems
A train crosses a bridge over the river Culm near Cullompton and heads north for Taunton. To the left is the M5 Motorway


Junction 28 of the M5 lies within the parish of Cullompton and a short distance from the town centre. Other major road links are the A373 to Honiton and the former A38 to Exeter which runs through the town, and is now the B3181.[71] As of 2001 61.6% of people living in Cullompton travelled to work by car or van and 83% of households had at least one car.[72] In October 1969 a bypass was completed[3] but after only five years this was upgraded to form part of the M5.[73] Since this time traffic coming from the south of Cullompton to the M5 junction has had to pass through the centre of the town. There are now problems with air quality in the town and Mid Devon District Council have made the whole of the built up area in Cullompton an Air Quality Management Area.[74] In addition traffic on the exit slip road leaving the M5 northbound often backs up onto the motorway.[73] The Highways Agency wants to improve traffic flow by widening roads, introduce traffic lights and reopen the left hand land of the slip road, which will cost £1.3m. This cost is to be covered by businesses moving to Cullompton.[73] There are two routes for relief roads being considered by Mid Devon District Council - a western route and an Eastern route. If a lower growth option is chosen it is proposed that only the western route would be constructed. An alternative Outer Eastern Relief Road crossing the M5 at Old Hill was rejected as the existing bridges would need rebuilding, making the cost prohibitive.[75] There is some opposition to both routes - a group called Cullompton Against Western Relief Road has been formed to oppose one route[76] and there is opposition to the eastern route which passes through the Cullompton Community Fields.[77] The town council's opinion is that the only way to solve Cullompton’s traffic problems is to build both roads[78] and there is also a campaign for a new motorway junction south of Cullompton.[79]

The Bristol and Exeter Railway opened a station at Cullompton when the railway opened on 1 May 1844. It closed to passengers on 5 October 1964,[3] the site now being used for the M5 motorway Cullompton services. The nearest railway station is now Tiverton Parkway.[80] Devon County Council’s Travel Transport Plan includes the re-opening of Cullompton Railway Station.[81] The 1, 1A and 1B buses run by Stagecoach provide regular bus services to Tiverton and Exeter. There is also a town circular bus run by Dartline, and an express bus run by First Somerset & Avon which runs from Exeter to Taunton and stops at Cullompton.[82]


Cullompton has two primary schools: St Andrews Primary School which is a medium-sized primary school with approximately 230 pupils in Key Stages 1 & 2, and nine classes[83] and Willowbank Primary School.[84] The secondary school is Cullompton Community College. It opened in 1968 on the present site and became fully comprehensive in 1979. It is now a co-educational comprehensive school for students aged between 11 and 16 with approximately 650 students on roll and in December 2003 it secured sponsorship of £50,000 from The Co-operative Group to enable it to become a Business and Enterprise college.[85][86]

Religious sites

As well as the Parish church, St. Andrew (see Landmarks), there are several other religious sites. The Roman Catholic church, Saint Boniface, was built in 1929 by Manuel de las Casas who was descended from the uncle of Bartolomé de las Casas.[4] The Methodist church in New Cut is the third chapel on the site. The first was started in 1764 and the current building was built following a fire in 1872 which did serious damage to the chapel built in 1806.[4] The Unitarian chapel on Pound Square dates from 1913 following the collapse of the previous building in 1911. It is the oldest nonconformist congregation in Cullompton.[4] Hebron Evangelical Church was built in 1962.[4] The Baptist Church is the site of a meeting house erected in 1743 on High Street.[4]

Sports and leisure

Padbrook Park golf course

Local teams and clubs

Cullompton Rugby Club was formed in 1892 and played on thirteen different grounds in and around the town before their current ground - Stafford Park - was purchased in 1980.[87] In 2008-9 the senior 1st XV team won the Western Counties West League finishing the season unbeaten.[88] On Saturday 9 May 2009 they won the EDF Energy Senior Vase by beating Tyldesley 8-7 at Twickenham.[89] Exeter Chiefs prop Ben Moon formerly played for Cullompton and has now played for the England unders 20s.[90] Ladies Rugby started at Cullompton in 1997 and now the team has two qualified coaches. They currently play in the National Challenge 2 South West.[91] Former Cullompton flanker Izzy Noel Smith, currently playing for Bath has been capped for the England Women's A team.[92]

The local football team is Cullompton Rangers who were formed in 1945 and play in Premier Division of the South West Peninsula League. Their ground is called Speeds Meadow. There was also a women's football team - Cullompton Rangers L.F.C. who were formed when Exeter City L.F.C. amalgamated with Cullompton Rangers AFC.[93] In 2011 the club folded when the manager was forced to leave and a replacement could not be found.[94]

Cullompton cricket club was established in 1891 and they play at Landspeed Meadow, by the Cullompton Community Association Fields.[95] There are also a variety of other clubs including several bowls clubs and badminton, running, squash, and Taekwondo martial arts clubs.[96][97]

Sports and leisure facilities

The town has a sports centre, Culm Valley Sports Centre, which is currently run by Mid Devon District Council. It was opened in 1985 and facilities include a fitness studio, an all weather pitch, a sports hall, squash courts and a sauna.[98] The town is also home to Padbrook Park - a golf course and sporting and recreational centre which first opened in March 1992.[3] The facilities include a Parkland Golf Course, a Golf School, a 40 bedroom hotel, conference suites, health & fitness centre, indoor bowls, fishing lake, beauty salon, restaurants and a sports bar [99]

Notable people

The architect Charles Fowler was born in Cullompton[100] and the Puritan clergyman Thomas Manton was town lecturer here for a time.[101] The engineer William Froude lived in Cullompton and was churchwarden from 1842-44.[102] WG Hoskins died on 11 January 1992 in Cullompton.[103] The singer Joss Stone lives near Cullompton.[18]


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