History of the Village
The name of Down St. Mary comes from the Saxon word "Dun " meaning "Hill" and is first recorded in 1040 as being in the gift of King Harthacanute. He granted tenure to the Abbot of Buckfast.
Down St. Mary was mentioned in Domesday Book in 1085 along with the other manors of Chaffcombe and Wolfin [now Morchard Road].
The Church of St Mary dates from the 12th Century and a carved tympanum from that period can be seen over the south door, believed to show Daniel and the lions. The Tower is reputed to have been built around 1413 after a hurricane destroyed the earlier one. Much of the church was rebuilt in 1871 and the chancel has been described as a fine example of that period. The pulpit is made of brass and iron with a pattern of roses and fleur-de-lys set with stones that look like jewels.
The Church contains a fine series of carved bench-ends from the 16th Century and a screen erected in Victorian times. This was constructed by a local craftsman, W. H. Bushell and incorporates parts of the original screen.
As well as the restoration of the church, Rev. Mr. Radford was responsible for the building of the Vicarage and the Village School [now the Village Hall] as well as a row of cottages decorated with sgraffito work.
In 1978 local builder, Alfred Howard, built the bus shelter, a good example of a cob construction with a thatched roof. Nearby stands the old Village Pump. Mr. Howard also dedicated an area called Howard's Spinney for the use of the public.
Down St. Mary - a Parish and its People 2002
Cherry, Bridget & Pevsner, Nikolaus Devon [The Buildings of England] 1989
Hoskins W. G. Devon [A new survey of England] 1954
Mee, Arthur Devon [The King's England] 1938