Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.
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BAMPTON, a small market town in the hundred of that name and in the deanery of Tiverton, is about seven miles from Tiverton, 20 from Exeter, and 163 from London, by way of Wivelscombe. The principal villages in this parish are Petton and Shillingford.
There are now two small weekly markets at Bampton, Wednesday and Saturday; chiefly for butchers' meat. The fairs are the Tuesday in Whitsun week, and the last Thursday in October; they are chiefly for cattle and sheep: the October fair is one of the largest in the West of England, the number of sheep brought to it yearly, being from 12 to 14,000. There are also two great markets in the year for cattle; the Wednesday before Lady-Day, and the last Wednesday in November. The clothing trade was formerly carried on to a considerable extent at Bampton; in 1772 it was on the decline, and has since been entirely given up.
The honour or barony of Bampton (fn. n1) was given by William the Conqueror to Walter de Douay, whose son, Robert de Bampton, had an only daughter married to William Paganell. The heiress of Paganell married Sir Milo Cogan, whom Sir William Pole calls the great soldier and undertaker of the Irish Conquest. The grandson of Sir Milo was the first of the Cogan family who possessed Bampton, which passed by successive female heirs to Fitzwarren, Hankford, and Bourchier, Earl of Bath. It is now the property of the Honourable Newton Fellowes, having been purchased by William Fellowes, Esq. and Sir John Fellowes, ancestors of the late Mr. Fellowes, of William Arnold, Gent. in the year 1720.
The lords of Bampton had the power of life and death within this manor. (fn. n2)
Richard Cogan had a licence from the crown, in the year 1336, to castellate his mansion-house at Bampton, and to enclose his wood of Uffculme and 300 acres of land for a park. (fn. n3) The keep of Bampton Castle near the town denotes its site, but there are no remains of the buildings. It was the residence of the Cogans and their successors, down to the time of the Bourchiers, some of whom are said to have been buried in the parish church, but there are no memorials of them. The site of the castle is now the property of Robert Lucas, Esq. An old mansion, called Castle Grove, was the residence of his ancestors the Tristrams, who probably purchased it of the Bourchiers.
Deuvale, in this parish, belonged successively to the families of Dennis, Cruwys, and Tristram. It was some time since the property of the late Rev. Mr. Newte (fn. n4), and now belongs to J. N. Fazakerly, Esq. M.P.
In the parish church is the monument of John Tristram (fn. n5), Esq. the last of the Deuvale family, who died in 1722, and that of Dorothy, daughter of Sir George Farewell, Knt. and wife of George Fleetwood, D.D. Archdeacon of Totnes, 1669. There were three chantries in this church founded by the Earl of Bath, Humphrey Calwoodley, and John Braddon, Esq., valued severally at 7l. 17s., 6l., and 5l. 6s. 8d. (fn. n6)
Charles Chichester, Esq. of Calverleigh is impropriator of the great tithes, and patron of the vicarage. The advowson of the rectory belonged formerly to the prior of Bath: under an act of parliament passed in 1439, the church of Bampton was given to the abbot of Buckland in this county, and the great tithes appropriated to that monastery. (fn. n7)
There is a meeting-house at Bampton for the Particular Baptists. At Petton, in this parish, nearly four miles from Bampton, is a chapel of ease, at which divine service is performed once a month; at Shillingford is a dilapidated chapel.
BARNSTAPLE, in the deanery of that name and in the hundred of Braunton, is an ancient market and seaport town, 40 miles from Exeter, and 194 from London. It is pleasantly situated near the confluence of the Taw and the Yeo.
It does not appear when the market at Barnstaple was granted. A record in the Tower (fn. n8) states, that the lords of the manor had, from an early period, claimed a fair at the festival of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary; and it appears, in the inquisitions hereafter mentioned, that in the reign of Edward III. they claimed a market on Wednesday and Friday. Queen Mary's charter, hereafter mentioned, grants the burgesses a market on Friday, and a fair for five days, beginning on the eve of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. The market days in 1759 continued to be on Wednesday and Friday. The principal market is now on Friday, when there is a great supply of provisions of all kinds; there are small markets on Tuesday and Thursday. The fair is now on the 19th of September for cattle and horses: there are great markets for cattle on the Friday before April 21. and the second Friday in December.
The trade of this place has long declined, the harbour being blocked up with mud; but in 1759, it continued to be an established port for landing wool for the serge-makers from America and Ireland. No wool is now imported. There is a considerable coasting trade for the importation of coals, and culm, chiefly from Wales, merchandise from Bristol, and the exportation of timber and bark.
An open portico near the river, called the Quay Walk, being an exchange for the merchants, &c., was rebuilt by subscription in the reign of Queen Anne, whose statue, with the date of 1708, was the gift of Robert Rolle, Esq. of Stevenstone. The building was finished in the mayoralty of Robert Incledon, 1713.
Risdon says, that Barnstaple was incorporated by King Henry I., and that King John enlarged its privileges. Among the records in the Tower are some inquisitions taken in the reign of Edward III. (fn. n9) in consequence of a dispute then subsisting between the lord of the town and the burgesses. The evidence on these inquisitions was much at variance: it was sworn on one side, that the burgesses had the power of disposing of their tenements by will, of sending two burgesses to parliament (fn. n10), of electing a mayor and coroner, of the return of writs, of being taxed by themselves, of being free of pontage, murage, &c., of the assize of bread and beer, of keeping a ducking stool and pillory, of holding a fair for four days at the festival of St. Mary Magdalen, &c. &c. These privileges were said to have been granted by King Athelstan, whose charter had been lost. On the other hand, all this was denied on oath; and it was said, that the burgesses did not choose a mayor but by the consent of the lord of the town (then James de Audelegh), and that it would be much to the prejudice of the Lord, of the King, and of the abbot of Clive, and others, if the King should confirm the claims of the burgesses. The result of the dispute is not known, but it appears that the prayer of the burgesses was not complied with. King Edward IV., by his charter of the 17th of his reign (fn. n11), recites and confirms a charter of King John, who had confirmed to the burgesses the legal customs which they enjoyed in the time of his great-grandfather, particularly noticing the customs of London. This appears to confirm their right of choosing a mayor. King Edward's charter confirms also exemption from tolls, &c. Until the reign of Queen Mary it was governed by a mayor and bailiffs. Under her charter, the corporation consists of a mayor and 24 capital burgesses, of whom the two seniors are to be aldermen, and to assist the mayor. The charter of King James the First adds a highsteward, recorder, &c.
It seems by the returns made in the reign of Edward VI., when there were said to have been 2000 "houselyng people (fn. n12)" at Barnstaple (fn. n13), that the population was nearly the same as in 1801, when the total number of inhabitants returned under the population act was 3478; in 1811, they had increased to 4019.
An old journal, kept by a town clerk of Barnstaple, in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James I., of which there are two or three copies in Barnstaple, although the original appears to have been mislaid, contains much curious matter. The notes relating to the variation of the price of corn in the reign of Queen Elizabeth are particularly interesting.
In 1586, it is first observed, that corn was very dear; wheat sold at 8s. per bushel, rye at 6s., barley at 5s. 4d. In the month of February following, it is noted, that the justices sat for the direction of corn to be brought to market; surveyors were appointed in every parish to view barns and mows, and to take account of store: every person was allowanced to a peck a week. But the writer observes, "what good this order will do many doubt, because new corn being dear, they fear this order may make it dearer, as it did last year."
About May, it is observed, that little or no rain had fallen for six or eight weeks, "whereby more dearth and scarcity was to be looked for." The season, however, appears to have been particularly favourable to the spring corn; for in August, although wheat had risen to 10s., rye was at 2s. 8d., and barley at 2s. 3d., "by reason," as it is observed, "of the plenty of new corne."
1588. Wheat 2s. 8d., barley 1s. 8d., rye 1s. 10d., oats 11d. Before the end of this year, wheat rose to 4s. 5d., but afterwards fell to 3s., and all provisions, in the early part of the ensuing year, were so plentiful, that the best beef sold for 1d. a pound. Rye and barley were 1s. 6d. per bushel. On the Friday before Easter, 1589, there were 110 fat oxen in the market, the like having never been seen before.
By reason of continual rains, wheat rose the same year to 11s., barley to 7s. 4d. The earl of Bath, upon letter from the council, came to Barnstaple, and fixed a standard price for corn; wheat to be 9s., rye 6s., barley 5s., oats 5s., the vender being threatened with duress if he sold for above that price. In consequence of this order, small quantities were brought to market, and the townsmen could not procure corn for money.
1596. "Upon letters to Mr. Maior, of this town, from Mr. Norrys and Mr. Martyn, in London, mentioning the dearth and scarcity of rye, and price thereof,—that no lesse than a whole shipp's quantity was to be had, contaynyng 700 quarters; Mr. Maior and his brethren had a meeting thereon, who debated; but upon the wyllyngness of Mr. Nicholas Downe and John Delbridge, they were all willing to procure a whole shipp's lading: divers consented to lend 10l. which extended to 12 hundred pounds: George Stanburye, of this town, was appoynted to travayl to London, to assist Mr. Norrys in obtayning this corne. God speed him well, that he may procure some corne for the inhabitants of this towne, in this time of scarcity, that there is but little coming to the market; and such snatching and catching for that little; and such a cry, that the like was never heard. People which do want seede do pay 12s. for a bushel of wheat, and much ado to get it."
"Intelligence from Norrys and Stanburye, that they had bought a quantity of rye, and that the justices of peace, having set a price upon corn, now gave leave to the country to sell at large, hoping the market would be thereupon supplied: but there cometh less and less, and they aske 15s. a bushel for wheat, and commonly sell for 12s. 6d. and 8s. for barley; continual rain day and night. Mr. Downe and Mr. Delbridge, burgesses of this town, purchased a quantity of rye and sold it at 9s. a bushel to the poor; wheat sells for 14s. a bushel, oat-malt at 3s. 8d., barley at 9s. The justices of the county raised contributions to send to Dantzic for rye."
1597. April. Wheat sold for 18s. a bushel, barley 13s., rye 14s., oats 4s. 10d. Rye was afterwards 15s. Arrived three ships that were sent from hence to Dantzic with rye. Now in July, by reason of continual rain, wheat sold last Friday for 20s. a bushel.
The deputy of the King's clerk of the market came about the county, and caused all corn to be sold by the Winchester measure, countenanced by the justices of the peace, to the admiration of many, and thought to be a great grief.
"On St. Luke's day this year, there was a trental of sermons at Pylton, so that divers as well men as women rode and went thither: they called it an exercise or holy faste; and there some offered as they did when they went in pilgrimage; and the like was kept at Sherwell to the admiration of all protestants."
It appears that the spring assizes were held at Barnstaple in 1590. Two places were made for the judges to sit in, one against the Quay-hall, the other by the north end of Mr. Collibear's house; both covered with reeds. "There came hither but one judge, Lord Anderson; he came to town the Monday in the afternoon to the Keyhall place there, where he sat all the assizes, read the commission, charged the grand jury, and adjourned. On the Tuesday, the judge, Lord Bath, and other gentlemen, dined with Mr. Mayor. Martyne, the gaoler, kept some of his prisoners in the house, late Bailiffs, in this towne, and others on ye Castle green under tyltes with sayles. The judge lodged at Mr. Doddridge's, the sheriff at Magdalen, &c. &c." The gibbet was set up on the Castle green, and 17 prisoners hanged, whereof four of Plymouth for a murder.
1591, Aug. 30. "The Lord Bishop came to towne, was met in Southgate street by the maior and maisters in their scarlet gowns. A scholar made a speech; afterwards the bishop dined with the mayor; he confirmed divers children at the Castle green: on the second day such a multitude came in from the country, that he could scarce pass the street. On a sudden, he turned up Crock street, and went to his lodgings, and went out of towne almost forthence. The people lamented that they had lost a fine harvest day."
1606. A great flood; the damages estimated at 1000l.; by report five or six feet higher than ever was known by any living; several houses much damaged and some thrown down; in one house a man and his two children killed.
The port of Barnstaple fitted out three ships for the fleet which defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. (fn. n14) During the civil war, Barnstaple was strongly attached to the interests of the parliament. It was first taken for the king by Prince Maurice the beginning of September, 1643. (fn. n15) It appears not to have been long easy under the royal yoke, for Sir Edward Walker speaks of its second revolt in July, 1644. (fn. n16) The journal already quoted has this passage: "1644, July 1, a day never to be forgotten by the inhabitants of Barnstaple for God's mercy and favour, shown in that miraculous deliverance of them from that bloody conspiracy of some of our neighbours in inviting or bringing in 5 or 600 horse and foot, being French, Irish, and some English, against the said town with purpose to have put all therein to the sword, and to have possessed themselves of the whole town, but were repulsed and driven away by the small power the townsmen had; our warning and notice was but two days before. On the 9th of July, one Howard, a lieutenant, who was taken prisoner in the fight, was hanged at the HighCross at Barnstaple." Vicars's account of this transaction is, that the town of Barnstaple, being left with a small garrison, rose and took possession of the town, and that the Earl of Essex sent Lord Roberts and Sir Philip Stapleton with a party of horse, who repulsed Digby and others sent by Prince Maurice to the relief of the loyalists. (fn. n17) The Earl of Essex then put a garrison into the town. (fn. n18) In the month of September following, General Goring summoned Barnstaple, which at that time was but weakly garrisoned. The town surrendered on terms, and the garrison quitted it on the 17th, leaving 50 pieces of ordnance. (fn. n19) About the month of October, 1645, Whitelocke tells us, that the clubmen of Devonshire declared for the parliament, and killed Sir Leven Apsley, the governor of Barnstaple, and divers of his party. (fn. n20) Whitelocke's information appears to have been in this particular incorrect. The governor of Barnstaple, Sir Allen Apsley, was not killed; indeed he survived till after the Restoration. Barnstaple continued to be a royal garrison till nearly the close of the war. In the month of March, 1646, Sir Thomas Fairfax blockaded the town, and took Tawstock house, belonging to the Earl of Bath. (fn. n21) The king's forces, who were quartered in the town, betook themselves to the castle on the third of April. (fn. n22) Sir Thomas Fairfax soon afterwards approached in person with his army, and both the town and castle were surrendered to him on the 10th, on conditions nearly similar to those granted to the garrison of Exeter. (fn. n23)
King William the Conqueror gave the barony of Barnstaple to Joel de Totnes. William de Braose, his great grandson, had a daughter married to Robert Fitzpernell, Earl of Leicester, to whom he gave part of the barony. King John granted the barony of Barnstaple to Henry Tracy, from whom it descended to the Martins. (fn. n24) The elder co-heiress of the last Baron Martin brought it to Philip de Columbers, who died without issue. The barony of Barnstaple passed in consequence to the Lords Audley, descended from the other co-heiress. James, Lord Audley, who distinguished himself at the battle of Poictiers, possessed it in right of his mother, and is supposed to have resided at the castle. On failure of male issue in the Audleys, it fell to the crown by virtue of an entail, and was granted, by Richard II., to Robert Vere, Earl of Oxford, for the purpose of defraying the expence of the conquest of Ireland; to be held only till that purpose was accomplished. (fn. n25) The King gave it afterwards to his half-brother, John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon. After the death of Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, it came again to the crown. Margaret, Countess of Richmond, had a grant of it for life in 1487. Queen Mary granted it to Thomas Marrow, Esq., ancestor of Sir Arthur Chichester, Bart. the present proprietor, under whom the castle manor is held in perpetuity by the corporation, subject to an annual rent of 14l. 18s.
Joel de Totnes is said to have built a castle at Barnstaple, of which, in Leland's time, "there were manifest ruins and a piece of the dungeon." There are now no remains of it (fn. n26): the site is held on lease under Sir Arthur Chichester by John Rothwell, Esq. who resides in a modern-built mansion.
The above mentioned Joel de Totnes founded a priory of Cluniac monks at Barnstaple, and made it subordinate to the monastery of St. Martin de Campis in Paris: it was afterwards made denizen, and continued till the Reformation, when its revenues were estimated at 123l. 6s. 7d. clear yearly value. The site was granted to William, Lord Howard, and Margaret his wife. From the Howards it passed to Reginald Portree: one of the coheiresses of the last mentioned family brought this estate to the Sydenhams, of whose descendants, the Northmores, it was purchased by the grandfather of R. N. Incledon, Esq. the present proprietor.
In the year 1353, Robert Rowe gave a piece of ground to the hermitbrethren of St. Augustine, for the purpose of erecting thereon a church and other necessary buildings for their habitation. (fn. n27) No traces are to be found of this convent of Austin friers, nor any further particulars relating to it.
In the parish church are monuments or inscribed grave-stones for Richard Beaple, merchant, 1643; Richard Ferris, merchant, founder of the school, 1649; Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Robert Fane and wife of Louis Incledon, Esq. 1655; Arthur Acland, Esq. 1690; John Stevens, (the last of his family,) 1719; Sir Nicolas Hooper, serjeant at law, 1731; Elizabeth Burton, some time an actress at Drury-lane theatre, 1771; Henry Gardener Tippetts, Esq. 1796; Elizabeth, widow of William Carmichael, Esq. of Edinburgh, 1811; William Cockburn, Esq., lieutenant-colonel in the East-India Company's service, 1814; William Collibear (fn. n28), Esq.; George Thomson, Esq.; Edward Thomson, Esq., barrister at law; the Rev. George Thomson, his brother; and Robert Townsend, Esq. There are no dates on the monument which commemorates the five last mentioned persons. The Rev. George Thomson died in 1782. (fn. n29)
Leland mentions four chapels at Barnstaple; St. Thomas-a-Becket at the east end of the bridge (fn. n30), then desecrated, Allhallows at the north gate, St. Nicholas at the west gate, and another, all then in use. There are now no remains of St. Thomas or Allhallows. The chapel of St. Nicholas has been desecrated; it is now called the Quay hall, and is used by the corporation as a warehouse. The fourth mentioned by Leland was probably the chapel of our Lady in the churchyard, in which were two chantries; one founded by Thomas Holman, vicar of Barnstaple, valued at 7l. per annum, the other, called St. James's chantry, founded by Henry Redmyn, and valued at 10l. 18s. 1d. perannum, of which 5l. was allowed to a priest, and the remainder appropriated to repairs, or to the poor. (fn. n31) The last-mentioned chapel had been used for some time by French refugees till after the middle of the last century; it is now occupied as the grammar-school.
The tithes of Barnstaple were appropriated to Malmsbury Abbey, to which monastery the church had been given by King Athelstan. The impropriation has passed with the priory estate, and is now vested in R. N. Incledon, Esq.
In the year 1715, there were meeting houses at Barnstaple of the Independents and Presbyterians; the congregations were united about the middle of the last century. In the year 1770, the late Mr. Samuel Badcock, an eminent dissenting divine, afterwards much distinguished by his abilities as a reviewer, particularly by his severe strictures on Priestley and Madan, was elected pastor of the Barnstaple meeting, which situation he retained till 1778. An account of the dissenting meeting at Barnstaple (fn. n32) was drawn up by Mr. Badcock, who afterwards conformed to the church establishment, and was ordained by Bishop Ross on the title of the curacy of Broad Clist.
Joseph Hanmer, who established the non-conformist congregation, was grandfather of Gay the poet. Gay is said to have been a native of Barnstaple (fn. n33), as were Sir John Doddridge the judge, an eminent lawyer and antiquary, and his nephew, John Doddridge, Esq. (fn. n34)
A grammar-school had, in ancient times, been kept by one of the priests of the chantry of St. Nicholas in the parish church of Barnstaple. The present grammar-school was founded by Richard Ferris, who died in 1649, and endowed by him with a rent-charge of 10l. per annum, besides which it has no other endowment, expect 4l. per annum, being the interest of 100l. given by the Rev. John Wright in 1760, and secured on the Barnstaple turnpike. The master is appointed by the corporation, who have the privilege of nominating two boys on the foundation. Bishop Jewel, his antagonist Professor Harding, Gay the poet, Dr. Musgrave the antiquary, and most probably Sir John Doddridge, received their education at this school. Mr. Robert Luck, some time its master, published a volume of poems, in which he alludes to Gay having been his pupil.
The English charity-school, in which from 40 to 50 boys and 20 girls are clothed and educated, was founded about the year 1710. Its income consists of the rent of lands purchased with sundry benefactions (fn. n35), and producing 110l. per annum, the interest of 470l. stock, and annual collections to the amount of about 20 or 30l. There is also a school for about 100 children on Dr. Bell's system, established in 1813, and supported by donations and subscriptions.
William Canford, alias Cranford, alias Cranworth, gave a rent-charge of 6s. 8d. to the poor in Alms lane, now Whitpit lane, in the year 1553. Elizabeth Paige, in 1656, gave 100l. for rebuilding or repairing the alms-houses in this lane, and 50l. for their endowment; the income of this sum, 2l. 10s. per annum, is now paid by the corporation. Robert Apley had, in 1604, given a house and land to this charity, now let at 15l. per annum. John Phillips, in 1734, gave 2l. per annum. There are eight paupers in this alms-house.
John Penrose, in 1624, gave the residue of his estate for the purpose of building and endowing an alms-house for four poor persons; the land given by the founder is now let at 114l. 5s. per annum. Richard Beaple, in 1644, gave the sum of 420l. laid out in land, which now produces 31l. per annum, and the third of his personal estate, with which a house was purchased, let at 8l. 8s. per annum. William Palmer, in 1651, gave land to this charity, now let at 17l. 11s., beside which, it has about 9l. per annum, the interest of money given by several benefactors. There is a chapel belonging to this alms-house, which is situated in Litchden Street.
Thomas Horwood, in 1658, gave land for building an alms-house, and for its support; the land is now let at 52l. 10s. per annum. Eight dwelling houses were built, in each of which two paupers are placed. They receive 5s. a month each.
Beaford, or Beafford
The chief manor belonged to the Champernownes of Umberleigh, from whom it passed to the Willingtons, Beaumonts, Lord Daubeney, and the Bassets. It afterwards belonged to Sir Thomas Monk. Of late years it has been in the family of Ivie, and is now the property of John Handford, Esq. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of capital punishment. (fn. n36)
Upcott belonged, at an early period, to a family of that name, whose heiress brought it to Davie: it now belongs to Mr. Thomas Snell. The Davies had, for many generations, a seat at Oldacomb or Owlacomb in the parish of Roborough. Woolly was anciently in the Murdakes, from whom it passed by successive female heirs to Hatch, Mallet, and Acland. It is now the property of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, Bart.
There were formerly chapels at Upcott and Woolly. J. Ivie, Esq. is patron of the rectory. There was a chantry in the parish church, founded by Lord Daubeney, heir of the Beaumonts. (fn. n37)
Beaworthy, Beauworthy, or Beworthy
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the family of Bloyhow, whose heiress married Beaple. The daughter and heir of Sir Ralph Beaple brought it to Sir Nigel Loring, one of the first knights of the Garter, who, in or about the year 1366, had a licence for making a park at Beaworthy. (fn. n38) The manor now belongs, by inheritance from the Arscotts, to Sir Arscot Ourry Molesworth, Bart. who is patron of the rectory.
Beer-Ferrers, or Bere-Ferrers
Risdon says, that the manor was given by William the Conqueror to Alenson, from whom the small market town of Beer-Alston in this parish took its name. In the reign of Henry II., it belonged to Henry de Ferrariis or Ferrers, ancestor of the numerous branches of the ancient family of Ferrers in Devonshire and Cornwall. Sir William de Ferrers had, in 1337, a licence for castellating his manor house at this place. (fn. n39) The elder coheiress of Martin Ferrers, before the close of the fourteenth century, brought Beer-Ferrers to Alexander Champernowne, and the heiress of his son, John Champernowne, Esq., to Robert Willoughby, Lord Brooke. Robert, the second Lord Brooke, left Beer-Ferrers to the issue of his second wife. By an agreement between the parties, it fell to the share of Charles Mountjoy, Earl of Devonshire, who had married one of the daughters. His natural son, who was created Lord Mountjoy and Earl of Newport, became possessed of this estate by his father's gift, and sold it to Sir John Maynard, serjeant-at-law. It is now the property of Lord Valletort, by inheritance from his mother, one of the daughters and coheirs of John, Earl of Buckinghamshire (fn. n40), whose ancestor had married one of the co-heiresses of Maynard. (fn. n41)
Ley or Legh, in this parish, was for many years the property and residence of the family of Ley. Having been alienated from that family, it is said to have been re-purchased by Sir James Ley, who was created by King James, Baron Ley of Ley, and by Charles I., in 1626, Earl of Marlborough. The manor of Ley is now the property of T. T. Fuller Elliott Drake, Esq.
In the parish church are some ancient monuments of the families of Ferrers and Champernowne, and others of a more modern date. (fn. n42) There was a collegiate chantry in this church for six priests, founded by William de Ferrers in 1328, and endowed with the advowson of the church of BeerFerrers. (fn. n43) Lord Valletort is patron of the rectory.
Sir John Maynard, who died in 1690, gave lands, now producing a rent of 20l. per annum, for the education of poor children; besides a house and garden, valued at 15l. per annum, for the master's residence.
The small market and borough town of Beer-Alston, two miles from Beer-Ferrers, is, as before mentioned, in this parish. The market was granted in or about the year 1294, to be held on Wednesday, together with a fair for three days at the festival of St. Andrew. (fn. n44) There was, in 1716, a small market on Thursday; no market has been held for many years.
Beer-Alston first sent members to parliament in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The right of election is in the holders of burgage-tenures, of which the present number is 53. Serjeant Maynard, Lord Keeper Cowper, and Lord Chancellor King, were some time representatives of this borough. The Earl of Beverley is now lord of the borough. There was formerly a chapel at Beer-Alston, and another at Ley. There is a meeting-house of the Presbyterians at Beer-Alston.
The ancient silver-mines at Beer-Alston, which had been so profitable in the reign of Edward I. (fn. n45), were worked by Serjeant Maynard soon after he purchased the manor, but without success. They were re-opened in the year 1811, and still continue to be worked.
The manor belonged to the ancient family of Belston, whose co-heiresses, in the reign of Henry III., married Speccot, Chamberlayne, and Fulford. The issue of Speccot took the name of Belston, and became possessed of two parts of the manor, which passed by purchase to Beaumont. Beaumont's share of the manor belongs now to the Right Honourable Lord Rolle. Fulford's share, with the advowson, was purchased of that family, in 1784, by the Rev. Joshua Hole, father of the Rev. William Hole, the present proprietor.
Westcote says, that this place was originally called Bury, and that he had seen deeds, by which, it appeared that it had belonged to the family of Nerbert. In the reign of Henry III., it was the property of Ralph de Bury, the common ancestor of the numerous and widely spreading family of Berry, now extinct, at least in all its principal branches. The manor continued in the Berrys till 1708. In 1712, it was purchased, under an order of the Court of Chancery, by the ancestor of Joseph Davie Basset, Esq. of Watermouth. Mr. Basset is proprietor also of the manors of East Haggington (fn. n46) and Woolscott in this parish, purchased of the Rev. John Pine Coffin; and the barton of East Stowford.
In the parish church are some monuments of the Berry family. (fn. n47)
Richard Roberts, Esq. who possessed the advowson about the year 1700, having left four daughters co-heiresses, it has since been in severalties; Mary, wife of Mr. James Pearce, who presented in 1777, being possessed of one of these, devised it to the Bishop of Exeter and his successors; Mr. Basset, being possessed of another, has the next presentation; the Rev. Powell Edwards has a third; and the fourth is subdivided, being vested in the representatives of one of Mr. Roberts's daughters.
Bishop Jewel was born in this parish. (fn. n48)
Berry or Bury Pomeroy
The villages of Longcombe, Weston, Bourton, Afton, and Weekaborough are in this parish. Bridgetown, adjoining to Totnes, is also in the parish of Berry Pomeroy. At this village is a holiday fair on the 25th of July. It was formerly a cattle fair.
King William the Conqueror gave the manor of Bury or Berry to Ralph de Pomerai or Pomeroy, one of his favourite officers, who built a castle here, and made it the seat of a barony or honour. Sir John de Pomeroy, the ninth in descent from Ralph, dying without issue, gave Berry Pomeroy to Sir Thomas Pomeroy, of a younger branch, who had married one of his sisters and co-heiresses. His descendant of the same name, having been deeply concerned in the rebellion of 1549, is said to have saved his life by making over the manor and castle of Berry Pomeroy to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset (the protector) (fn. n49), ancestor of Edward Adolphus, nowDuke of Somerset (fn. n50), who occasionally resides at Berry Pomeroy.
The ruins of the castle (fn. n51), which are considerable, form a very picturesque object. Its site is about a mile from the parish church. There is a deerpark at Berry-Pomeroy.
Loventor, in this parish, was held, at the time of taking the Domesday survey, by Ralph de Pomerai under Joel de Totnais. It was afterwards successively in the families of Arundell and Damarell. About the year 1600 it belonged to the Lydes (fn. n52), who continued to possess it till about the year 1780. It is now the property of Sir Frederick Baker, Bart, whose father, when he was created a baronet, was described as of this place. Loventor house is occupied by a sister of the late Sir George Baker, Bart.
In the parish church are some handsome monuments of the Seymour family. (fn. n53) The Duke of Somerset is impropriatorof the great tithes, which belonged formerly to the priory of Merton in Surry, and patron of the vicarage.
BICKINGTON, in the hundred of Teignbridgeand in the deanery of Moreton, lies about three miles from Ashburton (to which it is a daughter church), and four from Newton-Abbot. The village of Chipley is in this parish.
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry II., to Sir Joel, a younger son of the Giffard family, who took the name of Bickington. The heiress of Bickington, in the reign of Edward III., brought it to Marwood, from which family it passed by successive female heirs to Wichalse and Trevanion. The last mentioned family possessed it when Sir William Pole made his collections. I cannot learn that there is now any manor. The principal barton belongs to Mr. John Bickford. The Furslands had a seat in this parish. (fn. n54)
The manor was given by Geoffrey de Dinant to Hartland Abbey. After the Reformation, it was in the Arscotts, and is now the property of the Right Honourable Lord Rolle, in whose family it has been a considerable time.
In the parish church are memorials of Sir Amos Pollard, Bart, of Bickington barton, who died in 1701; and Thomas Pollard, Esq., his son, who died in 1710. Lord Rolle is impropriator of the great tithes, which belonged to Hartland Abbey, and patron of the vicarage.
HIGH BICKINGTON, in the hundred of North Tawton and in the deanery of Barnstaple, lies about eight miles from Torrington, about ten from Barnstaple, and about the same distance from South Molton. The villages of Little Bickington, North and South Hele, and Stowford, are in this parish.
There was formerly a market on Wednesday at High Bickington, which continued till about the year 1725. The market house has been removed within the memory of persons now living. Two fairs, held May 14 and October 2, were continued till after 1773. (fn. n55) The fair on the 14th of May has been revived for cattle, &c. within these ten years, and is well attended.
The manor of High Bickington belonged, at an early period, to the Champernownes, and passed by successive female heirs to Willington, Beaumont, and Basset. It is now the property of Joseph Davie Basset, Esq. of Watermouth. Bickington Loges, which was granted at an early period by the Champernownes to Loges, and continued in that family till the reign of Edward II., is now parcel of the manor of High Bickington.
The barton of Langley belonged formerly to the Brittons, whose heiress married a younger son of the Pollard family. The representative of this branch was usher to Queen Elizabeth and James I. It has been some time extinct. Langley was afterwards successively in the families of Barry and Buck. By the latter, it was sold to George Smith, Esq. the present proprietor, who resides at Langley.
There are some memorials in the parish church for the Addington family. (fn. n56)
The manor of Bickleigh belonged, in the reign of Henry II., to the ancestor of a family of that name, whose heiress, after a few descents, brought it to Belfago or Balvage. It was afterwards for some generations in the family of Pointington, from whom it passed to Courtenay. Bickleigh became, in consequence, the seat of a younger branch of that ancient house, whose heiress brought it to a younger branch of the Carews. One of the co-heiresses of Sir Henry Carew of Bickleigh, the last of this line, married Sir Thomas Carew of Haccombe, who was created a baronet in 1661. This manor is now the property of his descendant, Sir Henry Carew, Bart. The old mansion, some time one of the seats of this ancient family, is in ruins: it was turretted and moated.
The manor of Chuderleigh belonged, in the reign of Henry II., to Walter Crok, whose grandson appears to have taken the name of Chuderleigh. The heiress of this family, after eight descents, married Champernowne of Modbury. Sir Richard Champernowne sold it to Sir Simon Leach in the early part of the 17th century. It is now the property of Sir Henry Carew, Bart.
In the parish church are some monuments of the Carew family. (fn. n57) The celebrated Bampfylde Moore Carew, commonly called King of the Beggars, was son of Theodore Carew, rector of Bickleigh. He was born in 1690, and, after his extraordinary and various peregrinations and adventures, spent the two last years of his eventful life at this his native place, and was buried in the church-yard in the year 1758. Here also was buried Major John Gabriel Stedman, who published the History of Surinam, and died in the year 1797. There is no memorial of either.
The manor of Bickleigh was given to the monastery of Buckland, in 1278, by Amicia, Countess of Devon. After the dissolution it was given to the family of Slanning, from whom it passed, by successive female heirs, to Modyford and Heywood. After the death of James Modyford Heywood, Esq. in 1798, it was sold to Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes, Bart. who is the present proprietor of this manor and of the barton of Hele. Sir M. M. Lopes is impropriator also of the great tithes which belonged to the abbey of Buckland and patron of the vicarage.