Kilkhampton stands central to its parish of 8206 acres. To the west are fine views down deep-wooded coombes toward the Atlantic ocean. Eastward is a bleaker landscape separated from Devon by the upper reaches of the river Tamar and its twin man-made lakes.
The fields, roads, woods and paths are a living record of the history of the parish. Some fields still have the graves of Bronze Age people who lived and worked thousands of years before written history. Later Iron Age folk trod the ridgeway which divides this parish, now the A39 road, and which passes through our town and commercial centre. Enclosures situated to the southeast and west of the village may have been farmsteads or forts of those people.
When the Saxon kings ruled Wessex a settlement was established here called Kilketon. Several Strip Fields and a Lord’s Meadow survive from those times.
From the 12th century until recent times one family owned most of this parish under the name Grenville of Stow, later by descent Carteret and Thynne of Penstowe. The most famous of these was Sir Richard of the ship “Revenge”, and Sir Bevil of the Civil War whose monument may be seen in our church. We have an interesting Motte and Bailey Castle, situated west of the village that was certainly occupied by a Grenville in the 13th century.
About the year 1300 Kilkhampton was a Borough, permitted to hold markets and three fairs per year; so we may call this place ‘Town’ instead of village. The economics of the parish have always been based upon agriculture. Generations of farmers cleared and husbanded the land, and the pattern of their field hedges records their progress. We should expect to see cattle and sheep sharing the landscape.