Early History and origins
There is no mention of Woodacott in Domesday Book, however Week, which is rendered at Wiche, is mentioned.
A rough translation of this is:
3 ploughs can plough it. The Lord has 1 plough and the villeins have 1 ploughs. It has 3 villeins and 3 serfs, 5 acres of wood, 10 acres of meadow, 15 acres of pasture. It is worth 20 shilling.
In both 1066 and 1086 the Lord is given as Aldred, brother of Odo and it is quite a small settlement paying very little tax.
In ancient times the name was spelt WODECOTE and was said to be the home of Aungerede de Wodecote.
Woodacott and Week in 1839
Today Woodacott is divided into the area around the green and adjacent to Week, and Lower Woodacott, but at the time of the Tithe map in the 1839 there was almost no settlement around what is now the Green with the only buildings being Frogapool and the original Chapel on the north corner of the cross roads. Week is shown as quite a substantial settlement as is what we now call Lower Woodacott.
Woodacott on the Tithe map Detail showing Week
Back in the 1900s Lower Woodacott consisted of several smallholdings and a lane that is now not in use joined up with a cart track that went down towards Portlane bridge. This was constantly in use at that time and can be seen on the Tithe map.
More recent History
Mains water arrived in 1952 just ahead of Lashbrook and in 1957 Woodacott got electricity. The hamlet was served by a mobile butcher and a baker and an egg merchant called on the inhabitants to buy their eggs. As he came on a Wednesday, most of the parishioners were at the Holsworthy Livestock Market so he would leave the money for their eggs on the table.
The old Post Office Graham (Harry) Sanders at the garage, c. 1970
A post office ran at Parkville for a number of years and it them moved to the Manor Inn, then to Windy Cross, and finally to Oakleigh back in Woodacott, closing in 1996. The shop at Windy Cross also sold many items and the locals would bring their catch of rabbits there to be weighed then put on a train bound for the London Market. The Blacksmiths opposite the Village Green also sold cigarettes, tobacco and petrol. If a villager wanted a can of petrol and the proprietor was closed he would leave it outside for the buyer to collect and pay later, this is now an important engineering workshop.
The Wesleyan / Methodist Chapel
The first Woodacott chapel (shown left) was built in 1833 and is shown on the 1839 map on the north of the cross roads in the centre if the hamlet. Then in 1891 this was replaced by the current building and the original chapel became the Sunday School. The Chapel closed for worship in February 2018.
Local farmers helped with carriage of materials and stones to build it with were brought from a local quarry. There are foundation stones in the front wall – details are in the Gravestones Project records.
Postcard of the new Chapel – date ?
The Chapel and Green today