First published in 1954 DEVON is the essential historical study of the county, valued as much for the information it contains as for the style in which the author communicates to the reader the study of the past. DEVON has a great sense of its own separate history. Throughout the centuries it was relatively isolated, with two long coastlines and comparatively short land boundaries, both ancient: Celtic Cornwall to the west and the rest of England to the east. Until the 19th century communications were very poor and Devon developed a distinct culture, economy, dialect and landscape – contributing to its strong local pride and character. That Devon is different is a fact, and helps explain the interest in its history shown by Devon folk and their many visitors.
A great history deserves a great historian. W.G. Hoskins was a Devon man and one of England’s foremost economic and social historians. He pioneered the study of landscape history and initiated the modern approach to local history. His seminal work Devon is universally regarded as a major masterpiece of local history, both in its research and its writing. Throughout the half century since its first appearance it has been reprinted many times, has been held up as a model throughout Britain, and has always remained the unchallenged, essential, authoritative history of Devon. This new, revised edition, with an up-to-date Introduction, a new, extensive bibliography, the most recent population and similar statistical figures, reproduces the author’s classic text in full, including the Gazetteer – at over two hundred pages a book in itself, describing every place, hamlet to city, in the county – and his superb collection of contemporary photographs. The book is packed with detailed information, as remarkable in its high quality as its huge quantity.