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Getting In Touch with My British Side

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Getting in Touch with My British Side

For anyone who truly knows me, you know a small part of me wishes I was born British.  I do have the ancestry though!  We have some family that lives in England and we got to visit her for the second time last fall.    The first time we visited Chrissie was in 2005 when her husband, Gerald, was still alive.  He has unfortunately passed since then, but we did get to see her again.  Chrissie owns a small thatched roof cottage in a village that goes by the name of North Kings Nympton.  It took us around 30 minutes to get there from Exeter by car.  There is also a train station in Kings Nympton, although it does not drop you off in the village so you will still need a car or a really good set of legs.

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Where is Kings Nympton?

Kings Nympton is a parish and hill village in North Devon with the population between the village and outlying farms being around 380.  The village is a farming community with sheep, beef, and dairy cattle, and egg production being the main sources.

Is there anything in Kings Nympton?

There are two churches in the village: St. James’s Church and the Methodist Church.  There is also a 17th century thatched roof inn, The Grove Inn, in the center of town.  Very quaint and charming little village.

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The Grove Inn

The Grove Inn

The Methodist Church

The Methodist Church

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St. James's Church

St. James’s Church

The St. James’s Church was established by the Saxons in 980 A.D. The windowless north wall is all that remains of the original. The current church is in the Perpendicular style with some 14th, but mostly 15th century architecture. The pulpit is of the 18th century.

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The village is so small, that the steeple of St. James’s Church is visible from everywhere you stood.

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The graves of a lot of our ancestors were in the St. James Cemetery.  Although, I never knew any of these people, it was really awesome to know that someone I’m related to (even distantly) lived and died here.  Kind of surreal.

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No.2 Rose Cottage-Chrissie’s Home

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Evan, Chrissie and I

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We loved seeing all of these thatched roof cottages.

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Signs like this one were posted all over the village. Just seeing one of them was humorous enough, but the fact that they were everywhere was even better. Obviously, someone does not clean up after their pet and obviously someone else is not happy with it. You’d think in a town this small, they’d probably know who it was. Passive aggression at it’s finest!

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This one is even better. Very detailed and graphic!kingsnymptoncollage2

 Have you ever visited where your ancestors are from?  Were you fascinated or let down?

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Ashley is the mastermind behind A Southern Gypsy, a travel blog focused on adventure, outdoors and wildlfe, and is in the process of selling all her things and prepping for long term travel before she leaves for Southeast Asia in November. She writes about prepping, past travel experiences, life in Nashville and future travel plans.

51 Comments

  1. Kara

    October 24, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. Passive aggression for sure! Shows your Psychology degree was not a waste of time. :)

  2. Pingback: Interview: Ashley of SoutherGypsy.com -

  3. J from Travel on Inspiration

    November 6, 2013 at 5:44 AM

    Hey, I found your site from your interview with A Couple of Travelers.

    Welcome to little England, I’m glad you enjoyed getting in touch with your ancestors.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      November 6, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Thanks for checking it out! That was my 2nd time at Kings Nympton and it was definitely fascinating :)

      I look forward to going back to that area in the future.

  4. Glenda Cates

    April 5, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Great post and it looks like a cool place to visit and as for your question no I have not been able to visit any where but I would like to.

  5. Chris

    April 5, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    I always love reading posts on my homeland, especially when they are spots that I have never visited before! That picture of the sausage rolls…hmm, love my British cuisine, sorry for getting sidetracked. Anyway, these little hamlets are throughout England, in particular Devon which plays hosts to many that are so cool to just drive around or get out and explore.

    I just picture walking up and down the little village and popping in for some homemade Devon ice cream or English Cream Tea.

    Great post Ashley, I really love that you cherish your British heritages!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 6, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      All the comments from the British readers are about the sausage rolls haha…love that!

  6. Serena

    April 6, 2014 at 12:37 AM

    Lovely!!
    I also wish I was born British.
    Unfortunately I do not have any family there, but luckily I’m able to go there quite often.
    Even the smallest and humblest village is charming there!
    Your relative’s cottage is my dream house :-D

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 6, 2014 at 9:04 AM

      I love the cottage too Serena – so adorable and quaint!

  7. Molly S

    April 6, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    I love that you wish you were born British! This little hamlet looks lovely. I’ve been to the south-west once, a long time ago, and I’d love to go back. Up here in the north of England, there’s not the same pretty thatched cottages and countryside – everything’s a bit more harsh and rugged. Still beautiful, just not in the same way. And loved the pic of the sausage rolls!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 6, 2014 at 9:03 AM

      Isn’t it weird how different two places that are relatively close together can be?

  8. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    April 6, 2014 at 2:02 AM

    Thanks for sharing this! Would you believe I live in England and yet have never ventured down to the south west part properly to have a look around! Am heading there for a few days later in the year so look forward to discovering more!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 6, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      I hope you get to venture out some since you’ve never been there! :)

  9. Emma

    April 6, 2014 at 2:53 AM

    Such a gorgeous part of the world… I love my country, and miss it so much (and sausage rolls!) :D

  10. Dave Cole

    April 6, 2014 at 3:49 AM

    I did this with my family in Scotland when I was young. Still vividly recall the rolling green hills as seen from the cemetery and the tiny pub we ate in near the old lands. Having the personal connection really enhances the trip, doesn’t it?

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 6, 2014 at 9:01 AM

      It really does. This village might not seem like a lot to most people but I loved it and probabyl because of that personal connection :)

  11. Jude

    April 6, 2014 at 5:37 AM

    A lovely part of the country and very rural! We had a good holiday in North Devon a few years ago: http://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/?s=devon
    I like the photo of the headstone.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 6, 2014 at 9:00 AM

      Thanks so much Jude! I really enjoy visiting Devon :)

  12. Syd

    April 6, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Ha. The dog poop signs are hysterical. I also really like the thatched roof. My mom’s family is from Slovenia and I am hoping to spend a few weeks traveling there with my mom later this year. A heritage trip for both of us– I’m super excited.

  13. Marie-Carmen

    April 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Yep really graphic the last one…
    I did visit the village where my family is from though for us it’s a bit hard, due to Franco many archives have been destroyed so it’s hard to trace it all, though still love the place where my grandpa is from!

  14. Caitlyn

    April 6, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    I have a bit of an obsession with thatched roof cottages. They’re just so lovely and twee and I always think ‘England’ when I see them. :)

  15. frankaboutcroatia

    April 6, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Oh Ashley I’ve never knew you wished to be born British. And this all looks very stylish. My father’s family comes from the village called Orah (which translates to Walnut). Which doesn’t sound classy at all.

  16. Lauren

    April 6, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    I have lots of relatives from Scotland – my background is a mix of Scottish/English/Irish/French (mostly Scottish & English) combined with Ukranian! Quite the mix! I know some of my relatives from Scotland and it is on my list of places to visit just so I can meet some of them! Love this post – what a quaint and charming town :)

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      That’s awesome – I hope you get to meet them one day :)

  17. Jess

    April 6, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    That village is so cute! I’ve never visited the UK, but every time I watch enough BBC America I start to think I should.

  18. Adelina | PackMeTo

    April 6, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    Sometimes I wish I had British roots and had a British accent (I’m sure if I did, I wouldn’t find it as cool). Thinking about it actually, technically I do have British roots. My parents were both born in Hong Kong when it was under British rule and they had British passports. Sort of but not quite. Haha! I love how charming this village is. I feel like I would enjoy wandering around this place.

  19. Phoebe @ Lou Messugo

    April 7, 2014 at 5:09 AM

    Looks like a lovely place to have relatives; quintessentially English. I went to visit Australian relatives when I left high school and stayed the best part of 6 years!!

  20. sandy

    April 7, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Here through A-Z (playing catch up maybe I’ll be able to join you next Sunday for the other linky fun) http://travelingsuitcase.blogspot.com/2014/04/enough-and-everything-when-traveling.html

    I’ve done lots of genealogy and would love to visit Germany where my Dad’s side is from, though Mom’s is English is so much longer ago it never has called out to me. Love you pictures of the village, reminds me of my favorite movie, “The Quiet Man”. Just read a book I think you’d enjoy, the village in it sounds so similar, it’s called “War Brides” by Helen Bryan.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 7, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      I’m definitely going to check out that movie and book. I hope you will join us next Sunday! :)

  21. Amber

    April 7, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    Awww, those thatched roof cottages are absolutely adorable! I love it! I’ve never been to that part of England, as my boyfriend is from up North in West Yorkshire. I have to say, since I’m here at the minute, that I’m impressed with the blue skies you’ve captured! It’s been windy, grey, and hazy just about every day up here! Cheers.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 7, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      I love the thatched roofs as well! So very England haha

  22. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    April 7, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    That’s so cool that you got to visit where your ancestors are from. It looks like such a charming village, and I especially like that 2nd scoop-the-poop sign. Curiously, the condo where I live has an explicit “No canine pooping allowed” policy, even if you have every intention of scooping it up afterwards. I briefly considered visiting where my grandparents are from in China but then decided that the big, touristy cities were all that my hubby and kids could handle.

  23. Celine

    April 7, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Oh English country villages are just the cutest aren’t they! That’s such a pretty cottage with a thatched roof.

    My parents live in a similar little village (although it’s in Surrey and most of the houses have tiled roofs now, which is a shame), I always love visiting there, so peaceful. Gorgeous photos, and well done for capturing such beautiful blue skies – a rarity in the UK ;-)

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 8, 2014 at 7:13 AM

      It sucks that thatched roofs are slowly disappearing :( Thanks Celine! :)

  24. Lisa

    April 7, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    I sometimes wonder about doing a trip like that. My father is part cherokee and i have debated visiting the cherokee reservation in north Carolina.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 8, 2014 at 7:09 AM

      You should Lisa! Native American history is really interesting to me anyway so that’s pretty cool :)

  25. Sammi

    April 8, 2014 at 2:45 AM

    As an English dog owner, I see those signs all the time and nothing annoys me more than when people don’t clear up after their dogs, especially on pavements, or worse on the school road where small kids are walking up and down all the time. Gross!

    It’s really awesome that your relatives are from Devon- just two counties away from me! Kings Nympton is slightly bigger than the village I work in, by the sounds of things (we’ve slightly less than 300 people). It’s always good when a pub can stay open in such a small quiet place.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 8, 2014 at 7:07 AM

      That’s awesome Sammi-I didn’t realize just how small your village was until you compared it :)

  26. Ace CB @ Life in Dutch

    April 9, 2014 at 1:12 AM

    How great to be able to connect to your roots like that! We made a trip to Dublin last year, and while my family didn’t come from the city (as far as we know) it was amazing to just be “where it all started.” To be able to see a little village with visible ties to your ancestors like you did really is amazing. =)

  27. Katrina

    April 9, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Lovely post! I’ve not yet visited my ancestral roots, but would love to. As far as I can tell, it would take me to Vastergotland, Sweden, and to the British Isles. My mum is doing a lot of research on ancestry.com so one day we can visit those places!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      April 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      That’s awesome Katrina! I’d love to know my full ancestry so I could do more exploring :)

  28. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey

    April 11, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    So great you got to dig up your roots, such a great post…. Um, that is until I saw that poop photo. Somethings can not be unseen…

  29. Eileen

    April 18, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    This is adorable. I also might have spent a better part of m childhood quoting the BBC and wishing I as born with nobler blood (haha!)

    Luckily I’m getting hitched to a Brit (just a coincidence!), but I love visiting his family in Wales, it looks similar in those beautiful old churches and pubs. Lovely post!

  30. Tam @ Travelling Book Junkie

    April 26, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    What a great post. Not only is it wonderful that you got to explore your ancestry but the dog poo warning signs are fantastic. I don’t think I have ever seen as community that are quite so passionate about dog littering before! :)

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