Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.
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Eggesford or Eggsford
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the family of Reigny, from which it passed by successive female heirs to Coplestone and Chichester. The manor-house was rebuilt by Edward Lord Chichester (who married the heir of Coplestone) in the reign of James I. The daughter of Arthur Chichester, the first Earl of Donegal, brought this estate to John St. Leger, Esq. In 1718, it was purchased of Arthur St. Leger, the second Viscount Doneraile, by William Fellowes, Esq., on the death of whose grandson, Henry Arthur Fellowes, Esq. in 1792, it passed by his bequest to the Honourable Newton Wallop, son of John Earl of Portsmouth, by Urania, daughter of Coulson Fellowes, Esq. Mr. Wallop, who took the name of Fellowes in 1794, is the present proprietor and patron of the rectory.
Eggesford-house, then the seat of Lord Chichester, was taken by Colonel Okey in the month of December, 1645. (fn. n1) The house was rebuilt by William Fellowes, Esq., soon after his purchase of the estate in 1718. It is now the seat of the Honourable Newton Fellowes.
In the parish church are monuments of the families of Coplestone (fn. n2), Chichester (fn. n3), and Fellowes. (fn. n4) There was formerly an almshouse at this place, founded by Ibote Reigny, and endowed with lands, valued in 1547 at 4l. 10s. 6d. per annum. (fn. n5)
Two weekly markets at this place, to be held on Tuesday and Friday, with a fair for three days at the festival of St. John the Baptist, were granted, in 1294, to John de Bensted. (fn. n6) There are now two fairs for cattle, &c., held on February 2d, and June 24th, but they have dwindled almost to nothing, since the establishment of some great cattle markets in the neighbourhood.
The manor and hundred of Ermington, which had been part of the demesnes of the crown, were given by King Henry I. to Matilda Peverell (fn. n7), and continued for several descents in that family. In the year 1299, Sir Gilbert Fitz Stephen, being lord of Ermington, conveyed this estate to John Bensted, who procured a grant from the crown. (fn. n8) It was afterwards for several descents in the family of Stoner, who sold to Rouse. It continued in the family of Rouse when Sir William Pole made his collections. The lords of this manor had the power of life and death. (fn. n9) John Bulteel, Esq. is the present lord of the manor and hundred of Ermington, which were purchased with its royalties of free warren, free fishery, &c. &c. by his ancestor, of Hugh Lord Clinton, early in the last century. Mr. Bulteel possesses also the barton of Stretchleigh, or Strachleigh, the ancient seat and property of a family of that name, who continued to possess it for ten descents from the reign of Henry III. The heiress of Strachleigh brought it to Chudleigh, and one of the co-heiresses of Sir John Chudleigh, Bart., to Prideaux. It was purchased by Mr. Bulteel of certain trustees acting under the will of Humphrey Prideaux, Esq., of Place near Padstow in Cornwall, who died in 1792. The old mansion at Stretchleigh is inhabited by Mr. James Hook, who has a lease of the barton.
In the year 1623, a meteoric stone fell near Sir George Chudleigh's house at Stretchleigh: Risdon says that it weighed twenty-three pounds. In a scarce pamphlet, published soon afterwards, describing three suns seen at Tregony, in Cornwall, in 1622, its dimensions are stated to have been three feet and a half in length, two feet and a half in breadth, and one foot and a half in thickness. It is said in the pamphlet that it forced its way a yard deep into the ground; the same thing happened in the fall of the meteoric stone some years ago in Yorkshire. Risdon speaks of the Devonshire stone as composed of matter which appeared singed or half burnt for lime: the pamphlet above-mentioned states it to have been in hardness and colour not much unlike a flint, and adds that many gentlemen had pieces of it broken off from the main stone. There is still a tradition in the parish of the fall of this stone.
The manor of Woodland was, at an early period, the property and seat of a family of that name, the last of whom, Sir Walter de Woodland, was servant to the Black Prince. His daughters and co-heirs married Wybbery and Solers. By the heiress of one of these, or by one of these co-heiresses, re-married to Burell, the manor of Woodland came to the last-mentioned family, who possessed it for many descents. It is now the property of John Spurrell Pode, Esq., of Slade, in Cornwood.
The manor of Ivybridge, partly in this parish, belonged for several descents to the family of De Ponte Hederæ or Ivybridge, from whom it appears to have passed by marriage to Bonville. Lord Bonville gave it to his natural son, John Bonville, who gave it to his natural son of the same name. The last-mentioned John Bonville was founder of the family of Bonville, of Ivybridge, which continued for several descents. The heiress of this family brought the manor of Ivybridge to Croker, of Lyneham. It is now the property of Sir John Lemon Rogers, Bart.
The manor of Strode, in this parish, was the ancient property and residence of the Strodes, who possessed it in the reign of Henry III., and probably at an earlier period. About a century ago, it was alienated on a long lease for 500 years, now vested in Mr. Sampson Croker, having been purchased, about 1788, of H. Legassick, Esq.
The manor of Worthiheale, or Worthele, belonged, in the reign of Edward I., to the Pynes, afterwards to the Topcliffes. It is now the property of Edmund Pollexfen Bastard, Esq. M. P., having been purchased, not many years ago, of the family of Rich, who, in a monumental inscription in the parish church, are said to have possessed it for four centuries.
The manor and barton of Ludbrooke, partly in this parish and partly in Modbury, were for many generations in the family of Moysey, from whom they passed by descent to the late N. A. Bartlett, Esq., of Modbury. Ludbrooke is now the property and residence of his son, the Rev. N. A. Bartlett.
Preston or Pruteston, in this parish, belonged for many years to a branch of the Fortescue family. It was purchased in 1738 of Hugh Fortescue, Lord Clinton, by Courteney Crocker, Esq., of Lyneham, from whom it descended to Thomas Hillersdon Bulteel, Esq., the present proprietor.
In the parish church is an ancient monument (probably of the Strachleigh family) without inscription, also that of William Strachleigh, the last heir male of that family, who died in 1583, and his wife, the heiress of Gould. The heiress of Strachleigh married Christopher Chudleigh, son and heir of Sir Richard Chudleigh, Knight. The church of Ermington belonged to the priory of Montacute in Somersetshire. A moiety of the rectory now forms a sinecure clerical benefice, in the patronage of John Burridge Cholwich, Esq. The other moiety is a lay impropriation, vested in John Bulteel, Esq. The vicarage is in the alternate gift of the crown and of Mr. Cholwich.
EXBOURNE, in the hundred of Black Torrington and in the deanery of Oakhampton, lies about five miles from Hatherleigh, and about the same distance from Oakhampton. There is a cattle-fair at Exbourne on the third Monday in April.
The manor belonged to the ancient family of Moels or Mules, till the reign of Edward III., and was afterwards successively in those of Prous and Chudleigh. It was sold by the latter to Every, by whom it had been again alienated before 1600. This manor belonged, in 1774, to the Rev. Christopher Lethbridge (fn. n10), and is now the property of Sir Thomas Lethbridge, Bart.