Located roughly midway between Kingsbridge and Salcombe in the rolling hills of the South Hams and some two miles from the coast the village of Malborough could, in 1861, boast no fewer than 497 houses and a population of 2,388. Today the population is considerably smaller and many of the properties are second homes.
There is free car parking both at the Village Hall and in the Village Square. There are also public toilets in the Square, open 24 hours, next door to the Post Office. The Co-op also has toilets for their customers open during opening hours.
The village has an Anglican and a Baptist church, two pubs – The Royal Oak and The Old Inn, a large village hall and playing fields with children's play equipment and an outdoor gym, a hotel, a primary school and a football team.
The Malborough Amateur Dramatic Group, who have presented a pantomime in the village hall every January since 1979, draws members from Malborough, Kingsbridge and the surrounding local area. The Kingsbridge Amateur Dramatic Society also perform their productions in the village hall. And there is an active youth club, held at the Baptist Church.
A regular bus service, the 606, runs to both Kingsbridge and Salcombe.
The 1881 Census of England and Wales shows Malborough as having had a total population of 2,434 men, women and children. Of those, the table listing the occupations of males and females in the village suggests there were a total of 422 men and 733 women in various types of employment. Of the men 130, or nearly one in three, worked in agriculture, while a further 62, or 14.7%, were involved with the ‘Conveyance of men, goods and messages’. No fewer than 382 of the 733 women were shown as having an ‘Unknown occupation’, many presumably being housewives and mothers, while another 142 provided ‘Domestic Service or Offices’ and 62 were ‘Workers and Dealers in Dress’.
On 11 May of that year the local school reported, “many children have absented themselves … owing to two serious wrecks in the neighbourhood” and, earlier in the same year, noted “attendance has been rather poor this week as many people are busy with their gardens, in which the children work”.
Yet 20 years later at the start of the 20th Century in 1901, from a previously thriving community two decades earlier, the population had declined dramatically to a mere 564 individuals.
The Grade I listed Church of All Saints dates from the 13th Century and is built from local Soar stone, with some of the blocks being as much as 8 feet in length. Unfortunately, over time, the stone can become porous. The oldest feature of the church is the font, which dates from around 1170. The western tower is of there stages, surmounted by a fine spire.