Churchstow is a village in the South Hams district of Devon, England. It is the parent of the town of Kingsbridge, and has existed since before the Norman conquest in 1066.
The name derives from the church which was built on the apex of a high ridge, the place thereafter being known as “church-stow.” “Stow” means a “holy place” in Saxon.
The main features of the village today are the Church of St Mary the Virgin, which is a late 14th century church, built entirely of the dark local slate, with a fine buttressed tower of the South Hams type, and the Church House Inn.
This is a fine historic Inn which began life as the centre of village life; being the original parish hall, eating place, ale house for the legal consumption of ale brewed by the churchwardens, somewhere to go to get warm before or after a church service, and a place to hold religious feasts, and belonged to the old Buckfast Abbey.
Everyday needs are met by the Village Stores and Post Office, run by Vic and Gill. There is a thriving Business Park, which provides services and employment to local people, otherwise the main activity is dairy farming.
Local people have a strong sense of community, whether born in the area or having moved in from outside. Community events, mostly centred around fund-raising for the Church and Church Hall, are well supported.