The Royal Oak Inn, Meavy, Devon - The perfect Dartmoor hideaway for drinking and dining. The best village inn near Plymouth with good beer, real ale, and fine food.

Hidden Subheading

History

 

How The Royal Oak Inn came to be owned by the Parish Council

 

Many visitors are interested to know a little of the history of the Royal Oak Inn. The building is documented as being in existence since 1510. There is evidence that there was almost certainly a brew house here from as early as 1102. The pub was originally owned by the church and was known as The Church House Inn.

 

From some point during the 19th Century the task of letting the pub was given to the Guardians of the Poor of the Tavistock Union. However, the Meavy Parish meeting retained responsibility for choosing the tenant. Since the merger of the parishes of Meavy, Sheepstor and Walkhampton to form Burrator Grouped Parish in 1974 the building has been owned by Burrator Parish. The Landlord leases the pub from the parish and the lease income is used to ensure a low parish precept, part of the council tax for properties within Burrator Parish Council.

 

At the beginning of the 20th century the Royal Oak Inn, though owned by Meavy Parish, was still let by the Guardians of the Poor of the Tavistock Union. Meavy at the time was not a Parish Council, it was a rural parish having a Parish Meeting. A parish meeting could not conduct such business as letting a property, but the Tavistock Union could under the provisions of the ‘Union and Parish Property Act 1835’.

 

However the Local Government Act 1894 gave provision for a County Council to give powers to a Parish Meeting any of the powers conferred on a Parish Council. Amongst these powers was the right to let property and conduct business on behalf of the parish ratepayers. But it wasn’t until 1903 that the ratepayers of the parish decided it was time for them to manage their own affairs.

 

At the Meavy Parish Meeting of 7th August 1903 a resolution was put with respect to parish property: “That this parish meeting of the ratepayers of the Parish of Meavy desires the County Council of Devon to confirm upon the Parish Meeting of the said parish of Meavy the powers contained in sub-section 10 of section 19 of the Local Government Act of 1894”. In other words, they wanted to take over letting the Royal Oak Inn. Devon County Council conferred the required powers in an order dated 26th September 1903.

 

But clearly things moved slowly in Meavy at this time, because it is not until 25th January 1904 that a Parish Meeting was held to consider the order. At this meeting a sub-committee was appointed to call upon Mr Bickle the tenant of the Royal Oak Inn to confer with him as to the terms of his tenancy. This sub-committee consisted of Ian Northmore, Isaac Moses and Rev. Richard Tyacke. In the transfer to the Parish Council of Meavy a condition was made that one room should always be available for use by the Parish Church Council.

 

Perhaps there was dissatisfaction among the ratepayer that a sub-committee of three was too small, we will never know. But at the next Parish Council Meeting on 26th February this sub-committee was enlarged. The minutes show that a proposal was made by Mr R. B. Johns seconded by Mr Bickle: “that Mr Ian Daw and the two overseers, namely W. Williams and James Northmore, be added to the sub-committee appointed at the last meeting, and that it be left to the sub-committee to make such alterations in the sanitary arrangements of the Royal Oak Inn as shall satisfy the licensing justices.” The bill of 11 Guinees for the resulting sanitary improvements was paid from the rates.

 

This sub-committee was the precursor of what is now called ‘The Royal Oak Inn Committee’. The Inn has been the responsibility of ratepayers for over 100 years.

 

The building remains the property of Burrator Parish Council. So far as I am aware it is the only pub in England & Wales owned by a Parish Council. The current landlord, Mr Stephen Earp, leases the pub from the Parish Council. Originally the balance of funds from the lease where intended to be used for the benefit of the residents of the Parish of Meavy, but now the funds are just used to keep down the Burrator Parish Precept which is added to the council tax for properties within Burrator Parish Council.

 

Michael Parle

 

(ref. Meavy Parish Meeting minute books, items no. 1255/1 and 2727/10 held at Plymouth and West Devon Record Office)

 

 

 

Who has lived at the Royal Oak Inn?

 

1841 Census

Meavy Public House
 

Name

Sex

Age

Birth Year

Occupation

Where Born

WARE, Nicholas

M

40

1801

Inn Keeper

Devon

 

WARE, Margret

F

30

1811

 

Devon

 

WARE, Jane

F

15

1826

 

Devon

 

WARE, Lucey

F

10

1831

 

Devon

 

WARE, Armonal

F

5

1836

 

Devon

 

WARE, Henry

M

9m

1840

 

Devon

 

KINAR, Jane Mary

F

15

1826

 

Devon

 

 

1851 Census

Meavy Public House
 

Name

Relation

Condition

Sex

Age

Birth Year

Occupation

Where Born

 

SELLECK, Francis

Head

Married

M

27

1824

Publican

Shaugh, Devon

 

SELLECK, Mary Ann

Wife

Married

F

23

1828

Publican Wife

Shaugh, Devon

 

SELLECK, Elizabeth Jane

Daughter

 

F

1

1850

Publican Daughter

Shaugh, Devon

 

BUTLAND, Joseph

Lodger

Unmarried

M

34

1817

Labourer

St Charls, Devon

 

 

1861 Census

Royal Oak Inn
 

Name

Relation

Condition

Sex

Age

Birth Year

Occupation

Where Born

 

SELLECK, Francis

Head

Married

M

36

1825

Publican & Farmer 18 Acres

Shaugh, Devon

 

SELLECK, Mary Ann

Wife

Married

F

34

1827

Publican Wife

Shaugh, Devon

 

SELLECK, Elizabeth

Daughter


F

12

1849

Publican Daughter

Shaugh, Devon

 

SELLECK, Mary Ann

Daughter


F

10

1851

Scholar

Meavy, Devon

 

SELLECK, George

Son


M

8

1853

Scholar

Meavy, Devon

 

SELLECK, Eliza

Daughter


F

7

1854

Scholar

Meavy, Devon

 

SELLECK, Richard

Son


M

6

1855

Scholar

Meavy, Devon

 

SELLECK, Francis

Son


M

5

1856


Meavy, Devon

 

SELLECK, Thomas

Son


M

3

1858


Meavy, Devon

 

SELLECK, Elizia

Daughter


F

1

1860


Meavy, Devon

 

HAMBLY, Ann

Servant

Unmarried

F

22

1839

Dairymaid

Blackawton

 

 

1871 Census

Publick House, Meavy
 

Name

Relation

Condition

Sex

Age

Birth Year

Occupation

Where Born

 

SMALE, Henry

Head

Married

M

31

1840

Carpenter Licensed Victualler

Monkokehampton, Devon

 

SMALE, Mary Bickley

Wife

Married

F

25

1846

Carpenter Wife

Cornwood, Devon

 

SMALE, William Vivan

Son


M

6m

1870


Meavy, Devon

 

LOWDEN, Priscilla

Servant

Unmarried

F

28

1843

General Servant

Meavy, Devon

 

 

1881 Census

The Royal Oak
 

Name

Relation

Condition

Sex

Age

Birth Year

Occupation

Where Born

 

WARREN, Edward

Head

Married

M

48

1833

Publican

Widdicombe, Devon

 

WARREN, Sarah

Wife

Married

F

41

1840


Sheepstor, Devon

 

WARREN, Edward

Son


M

12

1869

Scholar

Mayo, Ireland

 

WARREN, Isabella

Daughter


F

9

1872

Scholar

Mayo, Ireland

 

WARREN, George

Son


M

5

1876

Scholar

Berkhampstead, Herts

 

WARREN, Louisa

Daughter


F

6m

1880


Berkhampstead, Herts

 

 

1891 Census

Royal Oak Inn
 

Name

Relation

Condition

Sex

Age

Birth Year

Occupation

Where Born

 

BICKLE, Richard H

Head

Married

M

31

1860

Inn Keeper

Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, Mary L

Wife

Married

F

30

1861


Devonport, Devon

 

BICKLE, John A

Son


M

9

1882

Scholar

Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, Louisa E

Daughter


F

5

1886

Scholar

Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, Richard H

Son


M

3

1888

Scholar

Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, George

Son


M

1

1890


Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, John A

Brother

Single

M

26

1865

General Labourer

Meavy, Devon

 

HOCKINGS, Mary E

Servant

Single

F

18

1873

General servant (domestic)

Churston, Devon

 

 

1901 Census

Royal Oak Inn
 

Name

Relation

Condition

Sex

Age

Birth Year

Occupation

Where Born

 

BICKLE, Richard

Head

Married

M

42

1859

Innkeeper

Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, Mary

Wife

Married

F

46

1855


Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, John

Son

Single

M

19

1882

Seaman R N

Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, Louisa

Daughter

Single

F

15

1886


Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, Richard

Son

Single

M

13

1888


Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, George

Son

Single

M

11

1890


Meavy, Devon

 

BICKLE, William

Son

Single

M

5

1896


Meavy, Devon

 

 

1911 Census

Royal Oak
 

Name

Relation

Condition

Sex

Age

Birth Year

Occupation

Where Born

 

BICKLE, Richard H

Head

Married

M

51

1860

General Labourer And Innkeeper

Devon, Meavy

 

BICKLE, Mary W

Wife

Married*

F

58

1853


Devon, Meavy

 

BICKLE, George

Son

Single

M

21

1890

General Labourer

Devon, Meavy

 

BICKLE, William W

Son

Single

M

15

1896

General Labourer

Devon, Meavy

*Years Present Marriage has lasted: 12; Total Children Born Alive: None

 

 

1939 Register

Royal Oak Inn
 

Name

Sex

Date of Birth

Condition

Occupation

 

Wralting, William H

M

27/03/1879

M

Licensed Victualler

 

Wralting, Gertrude J

F

23/11/1876

M

Landlady helps in ?, Retired Royal Marines Musician

 

 

  

Meavy Oak Tree and Village Green, c1830

Meavy, the oak tree, church and pub, c1834, from a drawing by N.M.Condy

 

Meavy Green and Royal Oak Inn, painting c1900

from a painting c1900

 

Meavy Green c1906

Meavy Green, 1906

 

Meavy Green, 1934

Meavy village green, 1934

 

Royal Oak Inn under snow 2009

December 2009