History of Kentisbeare and The Wyndham Arms
Kentisbeare or Kentisbeer, is an old parish that lies 3 miles north-east of the ancient market town of Cullompton. It was mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 as Chentesbere and later as Kentelesbere (1242), so it’s history quite possibly dates back to at least Saxon times if not earlier. It may have got it’s name from the fact that it lies on the River Kenn but another theory is that the name may have come from someone by the name of Centa or Centle living here in earlier times.
Kentisbeare’s parish church of St Mary dates back to the 15th Century. St Mary’s tower has a stone turret built in red and white checks, which is unique to the County. The aisle was built by John Whytyng who died in 1529 and his tomb lies inside the church. Another tomb in the church belongs to Mary Wooton, the great aunt of Lady Jane Grey.
As with many other Devon parishes, Kentisbeare had quite a few farms in the area. Common to other farming communities, an annual cattle Fair was held in the parish on Whit Wednesday. This annual Fair was still in existence in 1893.
Kentisbeare had three public houses in 1850, ‘The Honest Heart’, ‘The Golden Lion’ and ‘The Wyndham Arms’ (Hotel and Posting House), although by 1893 there was only one ‘The Wyndham Arms’.
Along with it’s pubs, Kentisbeare also had a number of ‘Beersellers’ and it was common for these to have another occupation and trade beer as a sideline.
The original building of The Wyndham Arms is the one on the right as one faces the pub from the square and the other side came later, as shown in the drawing that hangs in the Bar. The only noticeable change is that the front entrance is now blocked off, this took place in the early 1980′s.
The building certainly looks much as it did at the turn of the 20th Century, just before the Great War. This is depicted by a photograph which hangs in the main bar of a tea party held in the square to celebrate the coronation, probably of George V.
The pub has had many owners and landlords – too many to mention here. Enterprise Inns bought it for their portfolio around 2000. It had been neglected over a long period of time and so, in 2008, with tremendous support of the local community and in association with Enterprise Inns, it was fully restored to the wonderful pub and restaurant that it is today.