The North Devon town of Barnstaple has a claim to being the oldest borough in England. Its location on the River Taw, from which shipping could reach the Bristol Channel, enabled it to grow as a major port in the south-west of England in the Middle Ages. The wool trade brought prosperity to Barnstaple and the town that grew up around the port has a recognisable layout from this period. Although the wool trade had declined by the eighteenth century, the town developed other industries, and the surviving nineteenth-century market building is evidence of the continuing importance of Barnstaple to the surrounding area.
In this book local authors Denise Holton and Elizabeth J. Hammett take the reader on a fascinating A-Z tour of the town's history and the surrounding area, telling the story of its buildings, places and people along the way. Fully illustrated with photographs from the past and present, A-Z of Barnstaple will appeal to all those with an interest in this North Devon town.
Denise Holton is a writer and local historian and has lived in North Devon for over 25 years. She worked for the Town Council for 16 years and was the manager of Barnstaple Heritage Centre for most of that time. Denise is interested in all aspects of history, but her specialist subjects include ancient history and the history of costume. She plays several musical instruments and enjoys watercolour painting. Elizabeth was born and educated in Barnstaple. Her ancestors have lived in the town for at least 150 years and in North Devon for centuries. She has been interested in history for as long as she can remember and has written several articles, as well as the previous book on Barnstaple's history with co-author Denise Holton. She has been a volunteer at Barnstaple Heritage Centre for 13 years. Her work there includes leading tours of Barnstaple and researching and writing about the town's history.