Holsworthy is a market town and civil parish in the north west of Devon, England. It is situated near the county border with Cornwall, and is 9 miles from the coastal resort of Bude. It is on the intersection of the A388 and A3072 roads, and lies on the River Deer, a tributary of the Tamar. The population increased by 15% from 1981 to 1999 and was estimated at 2,116: the census figure for 2001 is 2,256.
Holsworthy was located in the Black Torrington Hundred. It was a Registration District and subdistrict during the 19th century. In 1894 it was made part of the Holsworthy Rural District, but was made an urban district in 1900. In 1964 it reverted to being a member of the Rural District Council again. It is now a part of the Torridge District, the district municipality which covers that part of Devon.
Holsworthy is a historic market town with hundreds of years of history and is mentioned in the Domesday Book, as having been part of the estate of Harold Godwinson. The town has occupied a hill top site since Saxon times, and in 1154 became a safe trading centre (known as a port town). The date of the original charter for the market and charter fair is between 1154 and 1185.
At that time, the spokesman for the inhabitants was known as the portreeve and the ruling council as the court leet. The Court Leet used to hold their tribunals beneath the Great Tree, and a metal disc set in the road on Stanhope Street marks the site.
Holsworthy continues to have a thriving outdoor pannier market every Wednesday, along with one of the largest livestock markets in South West England. The livestock market has been held on the same site since 1905.