Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.
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The market was granted in or about the year 1342, to Peter de Brewose, to be held on Wednesday within his manor of Wytteford (Whitford (fn. n1) ), together with a fair for four days at the festival of St. Peter, ad vincula. (fn. n2) King John had before (in or about the year 1208) granted a fair at Culinton, to Thomas Basset, to be held for seven days, beginning on the octave of St. Michael. (fn. n3) A fair at Whitford for five days, at the festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, was granted to the said Peter in 1346. (fn. n4)
There are now two market days at Colyton; Thursday and Saturday. There was formerly a considerable market on Thursdays for corn, poultry, vegetables, &c.; but there is now little sold, except butchers' meat, on either day; and beef only on Thursday. The present fair days are May 1. and October 14. for cattle, &c. There is a large cattle fair at Colyford, a considerable village in this parish, on the first Wednesday after March 11. The borough of Colyford (fn. n5) enjoys certain privileges, and is governed by a mayor, annually elected, who has the profits of the fair. This village was the birth-place of Sir Thomas Gates, Governor of Virginia, and the discoverer of Bermudas or Somers Island.
During the early part of the civil war, Colyton was held for the king by Lord Henry Percy, who in July 1644 was dispossessed by the parliamentary garrison at Lyme. (fn. n6)
The manor of Colyton was in the crown at the time that the survey of Domesday was taken. King Henry II., granted it to Sir Alan de Dunstanville. His son, Walter, gave it to Sir Thomas Basset his nephew, together with that of Whitford. (fn. n7) One of the co-heiresses of Thomas Basset brought a moiety of the manor of Colyton to Sir William Courtenay; and in the reign of Edward II., his descendant, the Earl of Devonshire, purchased the remaining moiety of the representatives of the other co-heiress. Whitford passed by marriage to the Sandfords, whose heiress married Foliot, and afterwards Brewose. The manor of Whitford, with a moiety of the hundred of Colyton, was confirmed to Peter Brewose and Joan his wife (heiress of Sandford) in 1346. (fn. n8) This manor, which was held by the annual render of an ounce of silk, afterward became re-united to Colyton, in the possession of the earls of Devonshire; and having been forfeited and restored, continued in the Courtenay family till the extinction of the elder branch, when they were divided among the co-heiresses. Sir William Pole, when he made his collections for a history of this county, possessed the fourth share, which belonged to the Arundells, and had been purchased by his father. Lord Petre then possessed two-fourths, purchased of Trelawney and the heirs of Trethurfe; and Sir John Drake the remaining fourth, by purchase from Mohun. The late Sir John de la Pole, who had inherited the fourth share above mentioned, purchased, in 1787, Lord Petre's two shares, and soon afterwards the remaining fourth which had belonged to the Drakes. The whole is now the property of his son, Sir William Templer Pole, Bart.
Colcombe Castle was a seat of the earls of Devonshire. One of the last earls had begun to rebuild it on a magnificent scale, but it was left unfinished, and was in ruins when it came into the possession of Sir William Pole. Sir William rebuilt it and made it the place of his residence; his son Sir John, created a baronet during his father's lifetime, in 1628, then resided at Shute, which his successors have made their chief seat. Colcombe Castle has been deserted, and is now in a state of dilapidation: part of it has been fitted up as a farm-house.
The manor of Whitwell belonged anciently to the Lutterells; afterwards to the earls of Devonshire. It does not appear to have been restored with the manor of Colyton after the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter. In Sir William Pole's time it belonged to John Willoughby, Esq., whose grandfather had purchased it of the Fryes. The late Sir John de la Pole purchased it of Sir John Trevelyan, Bart., representative of the Willoughbyes; and it is now the property of his son, Sir William Templer Pole, Bart.
The manor of Tudhayes, or Minchenhome, is said to have belonged to the prioress and nuns of St. Katherine at Polsloe, near Exeter. This manor now belongs to the dean aud chapter of Exeter. The nuns of St. Katherine had a charter of privileges for their lands in Colyton in the year 1228. (fn. n9)
The manor of Farwood, in this parish, was given by Henry Tracy, Baron of Barnstaple, to the Abbey of Quarrer, in the Isle of Wight. After the Reformation it was purchased by the Haydons, who possessed it in Sir William Pole's time. At a later period, it was in the family of Davie (fn. n10) and is now the property of Mrs. Hunt.
The manor of Gatcombe belonged anciently to the family of Hillion, afterwards to that of Prouz (fn. n11); from the latter it passed by successive heirs female to Stowford and Wise. Sir Thomas Wise sold this estate in parcels, and it has since been divided into six tenements.
Yardbury belonged, soon after the Conquest, to the ancient family of Bauceyn, whose heiress married Sir Richard Hiwis. From Hiwis it passed by successive female heirs to Hawley and Coplestone. Sir William Pole purchased this estate of the Coplestones, and sold it to William Westofer, Esq., who died in 1622: his heiress married William Drake, Esq., younger son of the Drakes of Ash, whose descendant, Francis Horatio Nelson Drake, Esq., of Wells, is the present proprietor. Yardbury, now a farm-house, was for some generations the seat of this branch of the Drakes. Stowford was the property and residence of a family of that name, whose heiress married Walrond in the reign of Edward I. Sir William Pole's father purchased it of the Walronds. At a later period it was in the Marwoods, and is now the property of James Marwood Elton, Esq., of Green way, whose mother was one of the co-heiresses of that family. Nore was, for several descents, in the family of Sticklinch, from which it passed to Keleway. It was purchased of the heirs of the latter by the Poles, who had purchased also Hedhayne, which belonged to the Frankcheneys. Both these estates belong to Sir W. T. Pole, Bart. A large house in Colyton, which had been some time a seat of the family of Yonge, was conveyed by the late Sir George Yonge, to Sir John De la Pole, in exchange for lands in Tallaton. It was some time the residence of Sir W. T. Pole: the greater part of it has since been taken down.
In the parish church, which has lately been enlarged by subscription, (aided by the Society for enlarging and building parish churches,) are several monuments worthy of notice: the tomb of a grand-daughter of King Edward IV. (daughter of William, Earl of Devonshire,) has been already described. (fn. n12) There are monuments for William Westofer, Esq., 1622; William Drake, Esq., 1680; and several of the family of Samson. (fn. n13) At the east end of the south aisle is a small chapel, the burial-place of the Poles. Here lies Sir William Pole, the antiquary, whose collections for this county have been so often quoted: the inscription on his grave-stone is obliterated. There is a monument for his father, William Pole, Esq., (descended from the Poles of Poole, in the hundred of Wirrall in Cheshire,) who died in 1587; for Anne (fn. n14), first wife of Sir William, (one of the co-heiresses of Sir William Periam, Chief Baron of the Exchequer,) who died in 1605; and his son, Sir John Pole, Bart., 1628, with his effigies in armour, and that of his wife. There is the monument also of Sir William Pole, Bart., Master of the Household to Queen Anne, who died in 1741. (fn. n15) On the outside of this chapel is the monument of John Paumier, Esq., 1798.
The vicarage-house is an ancient structure, built by Thomas Brerewood, vicar, in 1529: the arms of Bishop Veysey, with this date, are over the door. Over a window is this inscription "Peditatio totum, meditatio totum;" and in the window the arms of Bishop Veysey, the initials T. B., and several briar-trees bound together as the device of Brerewood.
The Chantry-roll (fn. n16) of 1547 records a free chapel at Colcombe, at which Divine service was performed on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, founded by an Earl of Devon, and endowed with lands, then valued at 6l. 12s. 4d. per annum; a chapel of St. Edmund, in the borough of Colyford, in which was a chantry, founded by an Earl of Devon, and endowed with lands then valued at 8l. 3s. per annum; and a chapel within the manor of Whitford, a mile from the parish church, in which was a chantry, founded by the Marquis of Exeter, and endowed with lands, then valued at 5l. 12s. 4d. per annum. An estate consisting of chantry lands, being the whole or a part of those above mentioned, was, after the Reformation, purchased by Erle. Sir Walter Erle sold this estate in 1616 to the Samson family, and it is now the property of their descendant, Samuel Samson, Esq. There were formerly chapels also at Gatcombe and Leigh in this parish. (fn. n17)
The parish registers at Colyton commence in 1538, being the date of their first institution. The original volumes (fn. n18) have been preserved, and they appear to have been kept with great accuracy.
Some valuable estates in Colyton were given for charitable purposes, in the reign of Henry VIII., and vested in a corporation of feoffees, called the Chamber, or twenty men, consisting of such persons as have, or whose fathers had, an estate in the parish. There are now only four feoffees. (fn. n19) The trust must be filled up when they are reduced to three. The lands were part of the forfeited estates of the Marquis of Exeter. The profits of the tolls, at the markets and fairs, now not above 5l. per annum, and some lands called Lovehayne and Buddlehayes, said to be now about 80l. per annum, were purchased of the crown by Stowbridge, and given by that family to charitable uses. An estate at Colyford, said to be about 25l. per annum, was given for the purpose of paying poor persons' rents. Lands at Hampton, in the parish of Shute, said to produce a net rent of about 20l. per annum, were given for the purpose of paying 5l. per annum to a schoolmaster, the residue to be bestowed at the discretion of the feoffees. The clear rental of the whole of the estate held in trust by the feoffees is 148l. per annum. The feoffees now pay the schoolmaster a salary of 30l. per annum, for which he teaches 20 boys. This school appears to be an old establishment: the date on the school-house is 1612.
COLYTON RALEIGH, in the hundred of East Budleigh and in the deanery of Aylesbeare, lies about eleven miles from Honiton, and about the same distance from Exeter. Bystock, Kingston, Stoneyford, Stoford, and Hawkerlane, are villages in this parish.
The manor came into the possession of the Ralegh family in the reign of Henry III., by marriage with the heiress of Chilton. It continued in the Ralegh family till Sir Walter Ralegh's time, if not later, and was afterwards in the Dukes. It is now the property of the Right Hon. Lord Rolle.
At Bystock is the seat of Edward Divett, Esq., which belonged formerly to a branch of the Drakes (fn. n20), and was in 1773 the property and residence of William Jackson, Esq.
The dean of Exeter has the rectory and the rectorial manor of Colyton Ralegh, and is patron of the vicarage. The ancient rectory-house, which has the remains of a chapel, stands near the church: it is inhabited by cottagers.
Comb-in-Teignhead, or Comb-in-Tinhead
The manor of Comb-in-Teignhead belonged, in the reign of Henry III. to the family of De Albo Monasterio or Blanchminster. It was afterwards in the Cliffords (fn. n21), whose heiress brought it to Prideaux; and at a later period in the Bourchiers, earls of Bath; by whose representative, Sir Bourchier Wrey, Bart., it was sold, not many years ago, in severalties, and is now divided between ten or twelve proprietors.
The manor of Netherton, in this parish, belongs to Henry Reynolds, Esq. Buckland Baron belonged, in the reign of Henry II., to the family of Baron or De Baronia, in which it continued for eight generations. It was afterwards in the family of Folkeray, whose heiress brought it to Huckmore, or Hockmore, and the heiress of Hockmore to Gould of Sharphampark in Somersetshire. It is now the property of Lord Viscount Kilcourcy in right of his mother, the Countess of Cavan, who was daughter and heiress of the late Mr. Justice Gould. The remnant of the old mansion of Buckland Baron is occupied by labourers.
In the parish church are some memorials of the family of Hockmore. (fn. n22)
In this church there was, in ancient times, a priest called Folkeray's Stipendiary, whose duty it was to officiate on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The stipend given by Gregory Folkeray in 1547 was 4l. 13s. 4d. Sir Bourchier Wrey is patron of the rectory. (fn. n23)
The manor of Haccombe is chiefly in this parish. (fn. n24)
The market was granted, in or about the year 1264, to Nicholas FitzMartin, to be held on Thursday, together with a fair for four days, beginning on Whitsun-Eve. (fn. n25) In 1759 the market was held on Tuesday (fn. n26) : but it has been discontinued beyond the memory of any person now living: a small covered space in front of the poor-house is still called the market. There is a fair on Whit-Monday. In 1801 the number of inhabitants in this parish was 819, in 1811 only 732.
Westcote says, that in his time the inhabitants of Comb Martin were chiefly employed in making shoemakers' thread, with which they furnished the greater part of the county. Brice observes, that the lands about Comb Martin were noted (1759) for producing the best hemp in the county, and that in great abundance. The thread is no longer made here, nor the hemp cultivated. The trade of Comb Martin is inconsiderable: coals are imported from Wales, and there is a small exportation of corn and bark. A considerable quantity of lime is burnt here.
In the reign of Edward I., 337 men were brought out of Derbyshire to work the silver mines at this place. They are said to have been at that period very productive, and to have furnished money for the wars, in the reign of Edward III. They were again worked with success in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by Sir Beavis Bulmer. About twenty years ago, an unsuccessful attempt was made to work these mines: they were again opened in 1817, and worked to some extent; but the produce was not such as to reward the adventurers for their exertions, and the work has been abandoned.
The manor of Comb was given by William the Conqueror to Martin de Tours, ancestor of the Lords Martin, from whom it passed by inheritance to the Lords Audley. It was granted, with Dartington, &c., to the Hollands, and to Margaret Countess of Richmond. After having reverted to the crown, it was granted to the Pollards. Sir John Pollard dismembered the manor. A considerable estate, formerly the demesnes of the manor, is called the Four Lords' Lands, is now in severalties, in consequence of having been divided between the four daughters of R. Roberts, Esq., who possessed it in the latter part of the seventeenth century. The present proprietors are G. S. Fursdon, Esq., T. D. Tregonwell, Esq., Mr. John Pyke, and Mrs. Gill. The manor and barton-house were sold to Hancock; and having been afterwards in the Buller family, passed by marriage to the late Admiral Watson, and are now the property of his son Sir Charles Watson, Bart. The manor-house is occupied by a labourer.
Dr. Harding, the zealous advocate for popery, and opponent of Bishop Jewell, was of the Buzzacot family, and a native of this parish. (fn. n30)
COMB-PYNE, in the hundred of Axminster, and in the deanery of Honiton, lies on the borders of Dorsetshire, about three miles from Lyme-Regis, about four from Axminster, and about the same distance from Colyton.
This manor, anciently called Comb-Coffin, passed, at an early period, by marriage, from the family of Coffin to that of Pyne: the co-heiresses of the latter married Umphraville and Bonville. The manor became eventually wholly vested in Bonville; and having passed to Grey Duke of Suffolk, was forfeited by attainder. It was afterwards, for several generations, in the family of Petre: it is now in severalties. William Knight, Esq., has a moiety; and Mrs. Edwards of Chard, and Mr. Joshua Cuff, a fourth each. The advowson of the rectory is divided in like manner.
The manor of Comb-Ralegh was anciently called Comb-Baunton, and afterwards Comb-Matthew, from its owners of those names. Sir John Ralegh became possessed of it before the year 1350; his daughter Alice brought it to St. Aubyn, and the heiress of St. Aubyn to Dennis. The daughter of Sir Gilbert Dennis brought this manor to an illegitimate son of Lord Bonville. After this it was, for some generations, in the descendants of Maurice Moore, Esq., who married a co-heiress of Bonville. Serjeant Drewe purchased it of the Moores in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. This manor was, a few years ago, in moieties between the families of Drewe and Luttrell: it is now the sole property of the Rev. James Bernard of Shaugh, in the parish of Luppit, having been purchased by the late James Bernard, Esq., of Crowcombe Court, in Somersetshire.
Ellis Hayes, which belonged to the family of Nott, and since to John Blagdon, Esq., is now the property of Miss Graves, (daughter of Sir Thomas Graves,) who resides at Woodbine-hall, in this parish. Abbotts is the property and residence of Mrs. Drewe, widow of the Rev. Herman Drewe.
In the church-yard at Comb-Ralegh is the tomb of Mr. Sheldon, the late celebrated anatomist, with the following inscription:—"Conjugal affection raises this marble to the memory of John Sheldon, Esq., F. R. S., professor of anatomy in the Royal Academy. Rapidity of conception, regulated by sound judgment and profound skill, ranked him among the ablest practitioners of his age; nor was he less celebrated for deep researches in philosophy, or the various acquirements of general knowledge. Simple elegance of manners and dignity of deportment, united in a benevolent heart, endeared him to man as closely as unaffected piety commended him to God. Died Oct. 8. 1808, aged 56 years." William Drewe, Esq., is patron of the rectory.
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the Avenells, from whom it passed successively to Cole and Beville. I find nothing of a later date of the manor of Cookbury. The manor of Stapledon, in this parish, was the property and residence of the ancient family of that name (fn. n31), whose heiress brought it to Hankford: from the Hankfords it passed, by successive female heirs, to Boteler Earl of Ormond, and St. Leger. It was purchased of the St. Legers by Humphrey Speccot, Esq., in whose family it continued several generations. A co-heiress of Speccot brought this manor in marriage to Thomas Hele, Esq., of Babicombe, and the heiress of Hele to Sir Jonathan Trelawney, Bart., Bishop of Exeter. The widow of Col. Edward Trelawney, governor of Jamaica, being possessed of this manor by her husband's devise, bequeathed it, in 1778, to her sister Mary, wife of Daniel Stott, Esq. Mrs. Stott devised it, in 1783, to her daughter (by her first husband, Dr. Wigan,) Mary Trelawney, the wife of the Hon. Rose Herring May, one of his Majesty's counsel for Jamaica, (and descended from the Mays of Mayfield in Kent,) with remainder to her seven daughters, six of whom (now surviving and resident at Bath) are the present proprietors. Cookbury is a daughter-church to Milton Damarell, being included in the same presentation.
CORNWOOD, in the hundred of Ermington and in the deanery of Plympton, lies about eight miles from Modbury, and about eleven from Plymouth. The villages of Cross and Latten, and part of Ivybridge, are in this parish. There are cattle-fairs at Cornwood on the first Monday in May, and the fourth Monday in September.
The manor of Cornwood belonged, in ancient times, successively to the families of Raddon, Britville, de Bathonia, or Bathe, and Metsted. The Courtenays became possessed of it about the middle of the fourteenth century, and it continued to be their property till the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter. At a later period this manor, with the mansion of Delamore or Dallamore, belonged to the Coles, who built Delamore-house, and afterwards to the Belmaines, from whom it passed to Maynard. It was purchased of the latter by George Treby, Esq., one of whose co-heiresses brought it to Benjamin Hayes, Esq., father of Treby Hele Hays, Esq., of Dallamore, who is the present proprietor.
Slade, in this parish, was the property and residence of a family of that name; afterwards of the Coles, who were of Slade, from the reign of Richard II. till the early part of the seventeenth century, when this estate was sold to Savery. The Spurrells purchased it of Savery, and it is now the property and residence of their representative, John Spurrell Pode, Esq.
Fardell was, in the reign of Henry III., the property of Warren FitzJoell, whose heiress brought it to Newton, and the heiress of Newton to Ralegh of Smallridge. This was one of the principal seats of the Raleghs, and it has been supposed (but erroneously (fn. n32) ) that the celebrated Sir Walter Ralegh was born here. Fardell was most probably his occasional residence. It was sold by his son, Sir Carew, to Elizæus Hele, who bequeathed it, with other estates, to charitable uses. The bequest did not take effect, as far as related to Fardell, which was recovered by the heir at law, and continued in the family till 1740, when it was given, by the last heir male of this branch, to Mr. Pearce of Bigbury, by whose executors it was sold to Sir Robert Palk, Bart. The greater part of this estate has since been purchased by Mr. Spurrell Pode, and the remainder by Sir John Lemon Rogers, Bart. The old mansion of the Raleghs, which belon gs to Mr.Spurrell Pode, is occupied as a farm-house.
South Hele belonged to a branch of the family of Hele. It is now the property of Sir John Lemon Rogers, Bart., who has the manor of Blachford in this parish, and the barton of Wisdom, which one of his ancestors had purchased of the Heles. John Rogers, Esq., being then of Wisdom, was created a baronet in 1698. South Hele and Wisdom are now farm-houses. Blachford (fn. n33) has been of late years the seat of the Rogers' family, but is at present inhabited by the tenant of the estate, the family occasionally occupying the principal apartments.
In the chancel of the parish church is the monument of Robert Belmaine, Esq., of Dallamore, 1627; in the south aisle, that of Sir John Rogers, Bart., who died in 1745; in the north aisle, that of Benjamin Burell, Esq., a captain in the navy of Charles I., who died in 1715, at the age of 91; and in the north transept, that of Matthew Fortescue, Esq., 1770.
Sir John Lemon Rogers has lately purchased the great tithes of Cornwood of the priests, vicars of the church of Exeter, under the powers of the land-tax redemption act. The Bishop of Exeter is patron of the vicarage. At Ivybridge, in this parish, is a chapel built by subscription, about the year 1790. Divine service is performed in it, but it has not been consecrated.
A school-house has been lately built at Cornwood by subscription, and has been endowed with 10l. per annum by the Rev. Duke Yonge, the present vicar. (fn. n34)
CORNWORTHY, in the hundred of Coleridge and in the deanery of Totton, lies about four miles from Totnes, and six from Dartmouth, near the beautiful scenery of the Dart. East Cornworthy and Allats are villages in this parish. Cornworthy is spoken of as a borough in ancient records. (fn. n35)
At this place was a priory of nuns, of the order of St. Austin, founded, according to Risdon, by an ancestor of the Edgcumbes; according to Sir William Pole, (which is more probable,) by the lords of Totnes. (fn. n36) Its revenues were estimated at the time of the dissolution at 63l. The priory estate was granted, in 1560 or 1561, to Harris and Williams: it continued, for some generations, in the family of Harris. Of late years the priory estate, and the impropriate tithes, have been in the Basset family. It was sold by Lord de Dunstanville, about the year 1800, to Mr. John Holditch, the present proprietor, in whose family it is still vested.
A manor in Cornworthy (Corneorde) was held in demesne, at the taking of Domesday survey, by Joel de Totneis. The manor of Cornworthy, which belonged to the Boones, was sold, after the death of Thomas Boone, Esq., in 1679, by the Earl and Countess of Warrington, to John Harris, Esq., of whom it was not long after purchased by John Seale, Esq., of Mount Boone. This was sold some years ago to — Torring, in whose family it is still vested. The manor of East Cornworthy has long been in the family of Cholwich.
In the parish church is a monument in memory of Sir Thomas Harris, serjeant at law, and Dame Elizabeth his wife; the latter died in 1610. In the south aisle is that of John Seale, Esq., of Mount Boone, 1777.
Coryton was, from a very early period, the property and seat of a family of that name, who afterwards removed into Cornwall. About the year 1600, John Coryton, Esq., sold this manor to Sir Thomas Wise, from whose family it passed by marriage to the Tremaynes. It was sold, together with the advowson of the rectory, by the late Arthur Tremayne, Esq., and is now the property of William Newman, Esq. In the chancel is the following inscription in memory of a former rector:—
The manor was, in ancient times, successively in the families of Roche and Le Jew. From the latter it passed by marriage to Yeo. The co-heiresses of Yeo brought it in moieties to Rolle, and through the Durants to Arundell of Trerice. It now belongs to the Right Hon. Lord Clinton, who has also the manor of Culbeer, in this parish.
Womberford belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the ancient family of Worthiall, who sold it to Frye of Yarty. It passed from the latter by marriage to Andrews, and is, or was lately, the property of Mrs. Ann Andrews.
Countesbury or Countisbury
The manor of Countesbury belonged to the abbot and convent of Ford. There is now no manor in this parish: the principal landed property belongs to G. A. Barbor, Esq., of Fremington. The late Lord Somerville purchased a farm in this parish, near the river Lyn, and made some additions to the house for his occasional residence; it is now the property of his son, the present lord, but is about to be sold.
CREACOMB, in the hundred of Witheridge and in the deanery of South Molton, lies about eight miles from South Molton. The barton and advowson belonged, for many generations, to the Harris family, who sold this estate about the year 1795. The barton is now the property of Mr. John Comins. The advowson is vested in the Rev. John Burgess Carslake, the present incumbent.
CREDITON (fn. n37), in the hundred of that name and in the deanery of Kenne, is an ancient market-town eight miles from Exeter, and 183 from London.
The market was granted in or about 1309, to Walter Stapeldon Bishop of Exeter, to be held on Tuesday, together with two fairs, each for nine days, at the festivals of St. Mark and of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. (fn. n38) The market is now held on Saturday for corn by sample, provisions, &c. It is still a considerable market, but was formerly much larger: it is said, that seventy bullocks were sold weekly by the butchers, when the woollen trade was at its greatest height. There are now three cattle fairs; those of May 11. and September 21. are held in the East Town; that of August 21. in the West Town. If the 21st should be on Friday or Saturday, the last-mentioned fair is held on the Tuesday following. There is a great market also for cattle on the Saturday preceding the last Wednesday in April, esteemed one of the largest marts for bullocks in the west of England. Crediton sent burgesses to the parliament at Carlisle in the reign of Edward I. (fn. n39)
This town had been one of the principal seats of the woollen manufacture from its first introduction into the county. The serge-market was removed from Crediton to Exeter in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The manufacture of serges continued to be extensive till after the great fire in 1743, when fourteen or fifteen hundred serges are said to have been made weekly. The manufacture still exists here upon a less extensive scale. There is a manufactory of dowlas and other coarse linens at Fordton in this parish, and a large corn-mill.
A dreadful fire broke out in the Western Town at Crediton, on Sunday the 14th of August, 1743, in the afternoon, when 460 houses were burnt down, and sixteen persons perished in the flames. The damage, at a low estimation, was computed at 40,000l. Another destructive fire happened on the 1st of May, 1769. In 1801, there were 1045 houses in this parish; 4929 inhabitants; of whom 3166 were employed in trade, manufactures, and handicraft; in 1811, 5178; when there were 730 families so employed, the total number of families being stated at 1163.
The parish of Crediton contains eight tithings: the Borough; the towntithing; Yewford; Yewton; Woodland; Knowle; Canon-fee; and Rudge. The principal villages are Yewford, Yewton, and Hookway, in the tithing of Rudge: Penton, near the town, may be considered as part of its suburb.
Crediton was taken possession of in 1549 by the rebels, who fortified themselves in some barns adjoining the town. Sir Peter and Sir Gawen Carew having advanced with their forces to Crediton, set fire to the barns on their refusing to surrender, and drove them out. Crediton was occasionally occupied by the royal and parliamentary forces during the civil war. Prince Maurice's army was quartered there for a considerable time in 1644. They retreated for a while on the approach of the Earl of Essex, the beginning of July, but returned thither soon afterwards, and were reviewed by the king on the 27th. Sir Thomas Fairfax took possession of Crediton on the 8th of December, 1645. He marched thither with his army on the 10th of February, 1646, and stayed there till the 14th. (fn. n40) He was quartered at Crediton again on the 29th of March. (fn. n41)
The manor and hundred of Crediton (fn. n42) belonged to the bishops of Devonshire from a very early period, as parcel of their barony. Here were the cathedral and the palace of the bishops, till Bishop Leofric, in the year 1050, removed the see to Exeter. The manor and hundred of Crediton continued to belong to the bishops, and the palace probably to be their occasional residence, till the reign of Henry VIII., when Bishop Veysey surrendered them to the crown. In the same reign the Bishop, but with great reluctance, conveyed the park to Sir Thomas Dennis. (fn. n43) The manor and hundred of Crediton appear to have been granted to Lord Darcye of Chiche, and having been restored to the see together with the park, were all conveyed by Bishop Babington in 1595 to William Killigrew, Groom of the Chamber, with the borough, markets, fairs, the demesne of Knolle, &c. &c. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Robert Killigrew, Vice-Chamberlain to Anne of Denmark. (fn. n44) In 1637, the devisees of Sir Robert Killigrew sold the park to Sir John Chichester of Hall, of whose family it was purchased in 1673, by Mr. Stephen Toller of Exeter; from him it passed by inheritance to Northleigh, and under the will of Mrs. Susanna Northleigh, to the daughters of her niece, Elizabeth Tuckfield (fn. n45), of whom it was purchased by Mr. George Lambert Gorwyn, the present proprietor. The manor was afterwards for some descents in the family of Strode. Samuel Strode, Esq., of Peamore, was lord of the manor and hundred in 1790. This estate was afterwards sold to Parnell, of whom it was purchased by Benjamin Cleave, Esq., the present proprietor. The fee-farm rent of 146l. 8s. 3¼d. per annum, formerly payable out of this manor to the crown, was granted by King Charles II. to Francis Lord Stawell, Sir Charles Harbord, and others. It is now vested in Thomas Porter, Esq., of Rockbeare, in right of his wife, whose name was Heathfield.
Downes, in the town-tithing, the seat of James Buller, Esq., was formerly the property and residence of the Goulds, whose heiress brought it, after the death of William Gould, Esq., in 1726, to the Bullers. Mr. Justice Buller was born here in 1746.
Little Fulford, now called Fulford Park, many years the property and residence of the Tuckfield family, is partly in this parish. It is now the seat of their representative, Richard Hippisley Tuckfield, Esq., by whom the mansion has, within a few years, been rebuilt. It was begun about 1810, Mr. Hakewill being the architect.
Yewe, in the tithing of Yewton, was formerly held under the bishops by the barons of Oakhampton, by the service of being stewards at their inthronization; for which service they had all the vessels in which the bishop was served at the first course. The barton of Yewe has been for a considerable time in the family of Pidsley, by purchase from the Trelawneys, and is now the property of the Rev. Simon Pidsley. Yewton Arundell belonged, from a very early period, to the ancestors of the Arundells of Lanherne: it was sold about the year 1600 to the ancestor of Sir Stafford Northcote, Bart., who is the present proprietor.
Tedbourne, or Venny Tedbourne, was the original residence of the Tuckfield family, who settled at Crediton as woollen-manufacturers, and are said to have been the first clothiers who established a foreign trade. It is still the property of their representative, R. Hippisley Tuckfield, Esq., of Fulford Park, who is proprietor also of the manor of Posberry, in this tithing. Posberry had belonged, at an early period, to a family of that name, whose heiress brought it to the Pollards.
Knowle, in the tithing of that name, was formerly parcel of the bishop's demesne. It was lately the property of Robert Lydstone Newman, Esq., and Henry Tuckfield, Esq., now of John Sillifant, Esq., of Combe Lancells, in Colebrooke.
Comb, or Spencer Comb, in this tithing, belonged to Spencer, who married the heiress of Hody in the reign of Richard II. Having passed by marriage to Prideaux, it was sold to Sir Simon Leach in the reign of James I., and afterwards became the property of Periam. At a later period, it was, for several generations, in the Rowes, and is now the property of the Rev. Mr. Spinkes, in right of his wife, who was daughter of Mr. Parker, the late owner.
Higher Dunscombe, in the tithing of Rudge, was for many generations a seat of the Bodleys. It was purchased of that family by the Goulds, in the reign of James I., and is now the property of their descendant, James Buller, Esq., of Downes, who possesses also Lower Dunscombe, purchased by his ancestors, the Goulds, of Sir William Courteen.
The barton of Fordton was many years the seat of a younger branch of the family of Prowze. Mrs. Honor Prowze, who died in 1773, gave it to the Rev. William Stacey. It is now a divided property, having been inherited by his sisters and co-heiresses.
Trowbridge, in this tithing, was the property and residence of Peter de Trowbridge in the reign of Edward I. This barton was sold by the Trowbridge family, about the year 1720, to Samuel Strode, Esq., whose son conveyed it to Giles Yarde, Esq.: it now belongs to Miss Elizabeth Yarde, one of his daughters and co-heiresses. Trowbridge-house is occupied by her uncle, John Yarde, Esq., who is the male representative of that ancient family.
Leland, speaking of Crediton, says, "The place wher the old cathedral church of Crideton stoode, is now occupied with buildinges of houses by the newe churche-yarde side. The olde churche was dedicate to St. Gregory. The churche there now stonding hath no maner or token of antiquite." It is a handsome and spacious structure of the later Gothic, consisting of a nave and two aisles: it is probable that it had not been built many years when Leland visited Crediton, in the reign of Henry VIII. (fn. n46) In this church is the monument of Sir William Periam, Chief Baron of the Exchequer (fn. n47), with his effigies, in his judge's robes; a monument for John Tuckfield, who died in 1630, with his effigies in a ruff between two medallions. There are other memorials for the family of Tuckfield (fn. n48), and for those of Prowze (fn. n49), Shilston (fn. n50), Mundy (fn. n51), and Yarde. (fn. n52)
There are now no traces of a tomb of one of the bishops, nor of the monument of Sir John Sully (fn. n53) and his lady. There is the grave-stone of John Lyndon, Dean of the Collegiate Church, who died in 1482.
The collegiate church of the Holy Cross at Crediton consisted originally of eighteen canons or prebendaries, and eighteen vicars, which number having been reduced, was restored by Bishop Bronscombe in the thirteenth century. Bishop Grandisson appointed four choristers and four singing men, or lay vicars; three of the prebendaries, being the principal dignitaries of the church, bore the titles of Precentor, Treasurer, and Dean. The latter, who had the cure of souls, was called also perpetual vicar. Before the Reformation, the nave is supposed to have been reserved for the use of the parishioners, the choir having been appropriated to the members of the college. The prebends were called De la Pole, Hempstill, Stowford, Alre, Rigge, Woodland, Carswell, Coombe or Prustcombe, La Crosse, Cridie, and West Sandford. (fn. n54) The prebendaries, restored by Bishop Bronscombe, had no corps, but derived their income from other sources. The revenues of the college amounted to 322l. per annum, at the dissolution.
The collegiate church of Crediton was dissolved by King Edward VI., who vested the small tithes of Crediton, Sandford, and Exminster, in twelve governors (fn. n55), of whom nine were to be of Crediton, and three of Sandford, to be elective by the remainder upon every vacancy. Queen Elizabeth confirmed King Edward's charter of incorporation to the governors, and gave them the great tithes of the said parishes, reserving to the crown a rent of 100l. per annum, which is now vested in Sir John Davie, Bart. The vicar, who is elected by the governors, has 400l. per annum (fn. n56), and a parsonage-house and garden; the assistant minister 200l. The church of Crediton is a peculiar of the bishop's. There is a decayed chapel at the west end of the town, dedicated to St. Lawrence, belonging formerly to an hospital, the warden of which was appointed by the bishop. Near this chapel was a hermitage, founded by Bishop Brewer in 1243. (fn. n57) There were formerly chapels at Yewe, and at Yewton-Arundell. The walls of the former are still standing. There are meeting-houses at Crediton of the Unitarians and Independents. The Particular Baptists have a small congregation, who meet in a licensed dwelling-house. Micaiah Towgood, the late eminent Presbyterian divine, who died at Exeter at a very advanced age in 1792, was minister of the dissenting congregation at this place from 1737 to 1749: he distinguished himself by his zealous exertions in behalf of the poor sufferers by the fire of 1743, for whose benefit he preached a sermon, published under the title of "Afflictions Improved." His most popular work, "A Dissenting Gentleman's Letters," was written (1745) whilst he was minister of the congregation at Crediton.
Crediton is said to have been the birth-place of St. Boniface, Archbishop of Mentz, by whose influence with Ethelbald, King of Mercia, the Holy Scriptures are said to have been read in this country in the English language. (fn. n58)
There is an almshouse for four poor persons on Bowtonhill in Crediton, founded by Humphry Spurway, who died in 1557, and endowed with lands in Witheridge, leased on lives at about 10l. 10s. per annum. The pensioners have 7½d. a week each, a gown once in three years, and some linen yearly. John Davie, Esq., in or about the year 1620, founded an almshouse near the church-yard for four poor persons, two of Crediton, and two of Sandford, and endowed it with 20l. per annum. The pensioners in this house receive 1s. 6d. a week each.
The grammar-school was founded, or rather re-founded, by the charter of King Edward VI.: it is probable that it existed under the old establishment. King Edward's charter appoints a salary of 10l. per annum to be paid to the master out of the small tithes. Queen Elizabeth, when she gave the great tithes to the corporation, increased the salary to 13l. 6s. 8d. The governors now pay the master a salary of 30l. per annum: he is accommodated with a house for the reception of borders, and allowed 5l. per annum for each Crediton boy educated at the school. Four boys, three of Crediton, and one of Sandford, were to be educated gratis under Queen Elizabeth's charter, and to be called Queen Elizabeth's Scholars. There are three exhibitions of 6l. 13s. 4d. each belonging to this school, to be held five years, at either university.
John Tuckfield, in 1707, gave 100l. (which in 1786 produced 6l. per annum) for educating ten poor boys. Thomas Colliton, in 1734, gave 10s. per annum, and Mary Harris, 1783, 2l. per annum, for educating poor children. With these funds, and the interest of 1400l., 4 per cent., the amount of various benefactions, of which 600l. was given by a native of Crediton, of the name of Purchase, was supported a school called the Blue-Coat School. This school was considerably enlarged a few years ago, and re-established upon Dr. Bell's system, being kept in a large building erected by James Buller, Esq., at Penton, near Crediton. (fn. n59) The funds have been aided by voluntary subscription, and a contribution of 20l. from the funds, at the disposal of the twelve governors, the whole amounting to about 180l. per annum.
Mr. Samuel Dunn, in 1794, gave 600l. 5 per cent. annuities, to the twelve governors of Crediton, to be appropriated to a school in which six of his descendants should be taught writing, navigation, the lunar method of taking the longitude, planning and surveying, &c. The rent of certain lands, given by some persons now unknown, for teaching poor children, and now producing about 30l. per annum, have been appropriated to this school.
CULMSTOCK, in the hundred of Hemiock and in the deanery of Tiverton, is a decayed market-town, near the borders of Somersetshire, 22 miles from Exeter, and 152 from London. The market, now much declined, is held on Friday, for butchers' meat. A new market-house had been built, not many years ago, by the dean and chapter of Exeter. I can find no record of the grant of the market or fairs. There are two cattle-fairs, May 21st, and the Wednesday before September 29th. Cloth is sometimes sold at this fair, but the clothing trade, which was formerly considerable at this town, is now very much declined; and the place has become, in consequence, much depopulated.
The manor of Culmstock (fn. n60), which belonged in ancient times to the bishops of Exeter, has long been vested in the dean and chapter; under whom it is held on lease by the daughters of the late Rev. Thomas Culme of Tothill, near Plymouth.
Prestcot, or Prescot, was at an early period (fn. n61) the property and residence of a family of that name. In the reign of Henry IV. it was given by the last heir male to William Almescombe, Esq., on condition of his taking the name of Prestcot. After this it came to the family of Barnhouse, and from them by successive marriages to Southcote and Ridgway. Sir George Cary, of Cockington, purchased it of Lord Ridgway: it continued some time in the Cary family, but has been sold in parcels, and is still a divided property.
Wood was for many generations the property and residence of a family of that name. Sir William Pole speaks of it as then lately sold by George Wood, their representative: I cannot find that any estate of this name is now known.
The great tithes of Culmstock are vested in the dean and chapter or Exeter, and they are patrons of the vicarage, which is in their peculiar jurisdiction. There was formerly a chapel at Prescot in this parish. There are meeting-houses for the Quakers, Particular Baptists, and Wesleyan Methodists. The Baptists' meeting is at Prescot.