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Welcome to the Tavistock Local History Society


The society, founded in 1984, exists to advance the education of the public in relation to the history and heritage of Tavistock and the surrounding area.


Each month, we organise, in the winter months, talks of local historic interest by expert speakers and, in the summer months, visits to local areas. Every two months we issue a detailed Newsletter. We organise the publication of a number of books and booklets. We are engaged in research projects and help run guided tours for the public.



Tavistock was founded in Saxon times, destroyed by Danish raiders, nurtured by Benedictine monks and then controlled by the Russells and the Dukes of Bedford until the great 1911 sell off. Over time it was a market town, a significant producer of woollen cloth, a parliamentary borough and one of Devon’s three original stannary towns (where tin was assessed, coined and sold). It was also an important centre for local imports and exports through the port of Plymouth.


Most of Tavistock’s distinctive stone buildings date from the 19th century when the population boomed after huge deposits of copper were discovered locally and the huge Devon Consols Mine was established. The town is now the eastern gateway to the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

Home page photography provided courtesy of Simon Dell and Gemma Sakamoto.

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