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Doccombe Rock

This is a very large, isolated outcrop on the far eastern side of Mardon Down that is part involved with an old overgrown newtake wall that runs right through it. The main rock is best seen from below where it presents as an impressive huge, jagged overhang. Views from this spot sat on top of the rock are exhilarating especially southward where a long way down in the valley below is the hamlet from which it takes its name.

It is somewhat surprising that the Rock appears to receive no mention in the literature given its prominence in the area. That said the Down here is choked with bracken and briar for most of the year that discourages visitors, so a winter trip is advised.

It seems that Doccombe and its Manor has a most interesting background that is described by the Moretonhampstead History Society as follows: "On December 29th, 1170, Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered by four knights in Canterbury Cathedral. This was the culmination of a dispute over the control of the church and its courts between Becket and King Henry II that had led the king at Christmas to utter in despair: 'Will no-one rid me of this turbulent priest?!'. The knights had to do penance when they found out subsequently that the king had not meant his drunken words to be taken literally."

The story is continued: "For his part William de Tracy set off for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land but caught a disease en route and made his last will and testament as he lay dying in a monastery in Italy. In a charter dated at some time between February 1173 and July 1174 de Tracy granted 'one hundred shillings of land in Moreton, namely Doccombe' to support a monk of Christchurch Priory Canterbury to pray 'for the salvation of the living and the repose of the departed.' This is the first recorded reference to Doccombe Manor found so far and for the next 367 years its 1500 acres on the north-east corner of Dartmoor remained under the control of the Benedictine monks who used the building of Canterbury Cathedral for their Priory." Despite all this, it is disappointing that there is no mention of the obvious Rock overlooking the hamlet.

Doccombe Rock
The map above is not a navigation tool and we recommend that the grid reference shown below is used in conjunction with an Ordnance Survey map and that training in its use with a compass is advised.
Grid Ref:
SX 7794 8749
Tor Classification:
Rock Type:
Tim Jenkinson

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