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Ottery St Catchpole was a small village located in Devon, England. It was presumably named after a Saint Catchpole.


The village had both a Muggle and a magical community, the latter quietly established after the passing of the Statute of Secrecy in the 17th century.[1] Four wizarding families were known to live around Ottery St Catchpole: the Weasleys, the Fawcetts, the Diggorys, and the Lovegoods.[2]

Known locations

The Burrow

The Burrow

The Burrow was the home of the Weasley family, located in the south of the village and hidden behind hills and trees. On the other side of the village from the Burrow was a fairly large hill called Stoatshead Hill. This was also Harry Potter's temporary home.[2]

Small cottage

A small cottage surrounded by a cluster of low hills was located a few hours' walking distance from the Weasley home, described as having a neat little kitchen with geraniums on the windowsill. It seemed to be deserted by the time Harry, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger walked past it, suggesting that the residents either had gone into hiding or went missing as a result to the war. This may have been the family home of either the Diggory family or the Fawcett family.

The Lovegood House

Lovegood House

The Lovegood family resided in a house shaped like a rook not too far from the Burrow. It was hidden among the hills and surrounded by gardens.[1]

Paper shop

There was a paper shop in the Muggle part of the village where a very pretty girl worked as a shopgirl, whom Fred and George Weasley had a liking for.[3]

Post office

There existed a post office within the village which housed a telephone. On 1 September 1994, Molly Weasley went to the post office to use the phone, despite her unfamiliarity with using one, and ordered three ordinary Muggle taxis to drive Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and the Weasley family to King's Cross Station in London.

Stoatshead Hill

Stoatshead Hill

Stoatshead Hill was a steep hill located outside the village of this town, and was one of two hundred sites throughout Britain selected to house Portkeys to the 1994 Quidditch World Cup. There were large tufts of grass and holes built by rabbits that people could fall in.

Forest

There existed a small forested area near the Burrow in the village.

Known residents

The paper shop in the village

Etymology

The name is most likely a reference to the real Devon town of Ottery St Mary. Ottery St Mary is near Exeter, the city where Rowling went to university, so it is plausible that she visited it, or at least had heard of it. There are also several locations near Ottery St Mary that include "Burrow" in their names, possibly making them namesakes for the Weasleys home. The word Ottery means "on the river Otter." Catchpole gives an impression of a Quidditch goal post or, perhaps, a fishing rod. However, Merriam-Webster defines "catchpole" as a Middle English term for a sheriff's deputy, usually assigned to collect a debt - possibly a humorous reference to the impoverished Weasleys.

Behind the scenes

  • In the video game series for the seventh film, the areas of Ottery St Catchpole leading up to the Lovegoods were full of Whomping Willows, and in early 1998 infested by Inferi summoned there by Death Eaters on Voldemort's orders.[4] As this is a task in the game, it cannot be considered canon.

Appearances

Notes and references