A Brief History of the Parish

Many people wonder why the parish is called ‘North Huish’ when the biggest village in the parish is Avonwick. In fact, Avonwick is a (relatively) modern addition to the parish - the Tennis Club is older than the village!

North Huish existed long before Avonwick and had the only church within the parish boundary.

Avonwick was only named in 1870, and parts of the village were in different parishes until the 1970s, when the boundaries were altered to move the shop, church and nearby properties into North Huish parish.

The Census recorded 499 residents in the parish in 2021.



Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of ScotlandAvonwick is a village in the county of Devon, England. It is within the parish of North Huish. The River Avon runs through the village - its name derives from avon meaning river, and wick an old word for village, but the settlement was not called Avonwick until the 1870s, previously being known as Newhouse. It was styled on early maps as Avon Wick, a spelling which persisted on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps until 2015.

Avonwick has rapidly grown in size over the last few years with three developments, including Higher Moor and the 'Jubilee Cottages' in 2012, Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee year. The parish had a population of 360 in the 2001 census but by 2015 there were about 188 households and over 470 residents in the parish of North Huish, thanks to the building of new houses in Avonwick.

The village contains one of only a few proprietary chapels remaining in the country, a pub, one of the oldest lawn tennis clubs in the world and a garage. Until 2018 it also had a small shop.

Avonwick railway station opened in 1893 about half a mile (1 km) outside the village (it was only half in the parish!), but closed in 1963.

North Huish

1888 OS Map of North HuishNorth Huish, being the former centre of the parish, has a number of ancient estates and houses. The village itself is tiny - unlike Avonwick, it has not been significantly enlarged - but it does have the parish's only street lamp.

The parish church (dedication unknown but said to be St. Mary) was dedicated by Bishop Grandisson on 15 June 1336. Like Diptford, it has a medieval spire. The body of the church is probably early 14th century work, enlarged in the 15th by the addition of a south aisle. The granite font is dated 1662.

Bickham bridge, which was historically the border with Diptford, is on the site of a very old crossing of the Avon. It is mentioned as a bridge in a charter of King Edgar dated 962 (beoccan bricge) and appears to have joined two important ridgeways on the hills E. and W. of the Avon valley. The present bridge may well be of 16th century date.

A Story of North Huish and Avonwick by Christine Scott

Image showing the bookThis book traces the fascinating history of these quiet villages from grandeur to transportation to Australia. It is compiled from memories, official records and photographs.

This small country parish has a fascinating history from early settlements and important ancient manors, the growth of the villages around the grand families with their beautiful houses and large estates, through the coming of the railway, the changes in farming and social attitudes, to the life of the villages today.

There are many stories and memories from local families, of everyday life, working for the gentry, managing through difficult times, sport and leisure, famous people, and even a murder.

It is a large A4 hardback book with 120 black and white photographs. Author Christine Scott was born in the South Hams, lived near Avonwick all her life and was active in the local history society for over 30 years.

The book was published in December 2010, on Mrs Scott's 80th birthday. It is out of print, but often available second hand.