Inwardleigh appears in the Domesday Book, where it is listed as belonging to Ingvar in 1066. Ingvar was a Viking thane (retainer) and member of the court of King Canute (reigned 1016-1035), and held several estates across southern Britain. Inwardleigh – meaning Ingvar’s meadow – is derived from his name.
After the Norman Conquest the estates passed to Baldwin FitzGilbert, who accompanied William at Hastings, and who subsequently administered Devon from Exeter as Sheriff of Devon.
The estates were subsequently owned first by the Coffin or Coffyn family, and then by the Portman family.
St Petroc’s Church was built in the 14th century on an earlier Norman church, and has been restored in the nineteenth century, although much of the earlier building is intact.
Folly Gate, on the main road through the parish, was on the turnpike from Okehampton to Hatherleigh, and may take its name from a nearby house. In 1928 Folly Gate army aerodrome was opened for visiting RAF squadrons. During WW2 it was a maintenance base and artillery spotter aircraft were based here. The airfield is now decommissioned and returned to agricultural use, but the WAAF quarters remain and have been converted to Folly Gate Village Hall.