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Place Names

Devon's place names include many with the ending horrabridge guesthouse 'coombe/combe' or 'tor' - Coombe being the Brythonic word for 'valley' or hollow whilst tor derives from a number of Celtic loan-words in English (Old Welsh twrr and Scots Gaelic trr) used as a name for the formations of horrabridge guesthouse rocks found on the moorlands. Its frequency is greatest in Devon, where it is the second most common place name component (after 'ton', derived from the Old English 'tun' meaning farm, village).

Devon has a variety of festivals and practices. One example of these include the flaming tar barrels in Ottery St. Mary, where people who have lived in Ottery for long enough are called upon to celebrate Bonfire horrabridge guesthouse Night by running through the village (and the gathered crowds) with flaming barrels of tar on their backs.

The county has given its name to a number of culinary specialities. The Devonshire cream tea, involving scones, jam and clotted cream, is thought to have originated in Devon (though claims have also been made for neighbouring counties); in other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, it is known as a "Devonshire tea". In New South Wales, Australia, Devon is a name for luncheon meat (processed ham). The name changes in different states of Australia (for example, 'Fritz' in South Australia, 'Polony' in Western Australia) but all describe the same type of meat.

Sport

Devon has been home to a number of customs, such as its own form of wrestling. As recently as the 19th century, a crowd of 17,000 at Devonport, near Plymouth, attended a match between the champions of Devon and Cornwall. Another local sport was 'outhurling' which was played in some regions until the twentieth century (e.g. 1922, at Great Torrington). Other ancient customs which survive include Dartmoor step dancing, and 'Crying The Neck'.

Devon has three professional football teams, based in each of its three most populated towns and cities. Competing in the Football League Championship, Plymouth Argyle F.C. are the biggest and most successful team in the county whilst Exeter City F.C. play in Football League Two. Torquay United compete in the Conference National. Plymouth's best performance came in 1987 when they finished seventh in the Football League Second Division, while Torquay and Exeter have never progressed beyond the third tier of the league. The county's biggest non-league club is Tiverton Town F.C. which competes in the Southern Football League Premier Division.

Rugby Union is popular in Devon. Two teams Plymouth Albion and Exeter Chiefs are, as of 2007, in National Division One. In basketball, Plymouth Raiders play in the British Basketball League. Tamar Valley Cannons, also based in Plymouth, are Devon's only other representatives in the National Leagues. Motorcycle speedway is also supported in the county, with both the Exeter Falcons and Plymouth Devils succeeding in the National Leagues in recent years.

Famous Devonians

The county is known for its mariners, such as Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Walter Raleigh. The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the crime writer Agatha Christie, the painter and founder of the Royal Academy, Sir Joshua Reynolds, the dog breeder John "Jack" Russell and frontman Chris Martin from the English rock band Coldplay were born in Devon.

Devon has a mostly comprehensive education system, except for four grammar schools: in Colyton, Churston and a boys' and girls' school in Torquay. There are 37 state and 23 independent secondary schools. There are three tertiary (FE) colleges and an agricultural college (Bicton College, near Budleigh Salterton).

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