Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.
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Oakford, or Okeford
The manor belonged anciently to the Montacutes, earls of Salisbury, of whom it was purchased by Sir Lewis Pollard, one of the justices of the Common Pleas, in the reign of Henry VII. His great-grandson, Sir Hugh, sold it to Richard Spurway, Esq., of Tavistock, a younger brother of the Spurway family. After the death of Henry Spurway, Esq., in 1680, this estate was divided between co-heiresses. A fourth is now vested in Mr. R. H. Parkin, descended from one of the co-heiresses; the remainder, which in 1773 belonged to the Rev. Mr. Sanford, is now the property of James Hay, Esq.
The manor of Spurway, in this parish, has been, from an early period, in the Spurway family, and is now the property of the Rev. John Spurway, of Barnstaple. The manor-house, which was the seat of the elder branch of the Spurways, is now occupied by the farmer of the estate. Grede, in this parish, appears to have been the original residence of the Spurways, who, in the reign of Henry III., were described as Grede alias Spurway.
Hightleigh St. Mary, an extraparochial place, where was formerly a chapel, adjoins to Oakford. The manor belongs to the Right Honourable Lord Rolle, in whose family it has been for a considerable time.
Oakhampton, or Okehampton
OAKHAMPTON, or OKEHAMPTON, in the deanery of that name and in the hundred of Lifton, is an ancient market and borough-town, 22 miles from Exeter, and 198 from London. The villages of Chissacot and Meldon are in this parish, and the hamlet of Kigbear, which is in the hundred of Black Torrington.
The market is on Saturday, by prescription. There are six fairs; the second Tuesday after March 11.; May 14.; the first Wednesday after July 6.; August 5.; the first Tuesday after September 11.; and the first Wednesday after October 11. There is a great cattle-market on the Saturday before Christmas; and on the Saturday after Christmas a great holiday-fair, called a giglet.
Oakhampton sent members to parliament in the reign of Edward I. and Edward II. This long dormant privilege was restored in the reign of Charles I. The right of election is vested in freeholders and freemen by servitude, or their eldest sons. The present number of electors is about 200.
Oakhampton was incorporated by King James I. in 1623, and the charter was confirmed in 1684. The body corporate consists of a mayor, and seven other capital burgesses, eight assistants, a recorder, town-clerk, &c. A manufacture of serges was formerly carried on in this town, but it has been discontinued. The number of inhabitants in the town and parish, in 1801, was 1430; in 1811, 1440, according to the returns made to parliament at those periods.
During the civil war, Oakhampton was occasionally the quarters of each of the contending parties, but seldom more than a temporary station. Prince Maurice was there on the 17th of July, 1644. (fn. n1) The King was there on the 30th of July, and on the 16th of September. (fn. n2) Sir Richard Grenville was quartered at Oakhampton in December, 1645, with a considerable force, and had barricadoed the town; but, on the approach of Sir Thomas Fairfax's army, suddenly quitted his post, and retreated into Cornwall. (fn. n3) Sir Thomas Fairfax was at Oakhampton again in the month of March, 1646.
William the Conqueror gave to Baldwin de Sap, or de Brioniis, the honor or barony of Oakhampton. Richard, his son, inherited the barony, but dying without issue, it passed to Ralph Avenell, son of Emma, his second sister, the elder having had no issue. This Ralph having fallen under the displeasure of King Henry II. was dispossessed of his barony, which was given to Matilda, daughter of the said Emma by her second husband, William D'Averinches. Hawise, daughter of Matilda D'Averinches, by her husband the Lord of Aincourt, brought the barony of Oakhampton to William de Courtenay, son of Reginald, who came over into England with Eleanor, Queen of Henry II. The barony continued, without interruption, in the Courtenay family till the reign of Edward IV., when it was forfeited, together with the earldom of Devon. King Henry VII. restored the honors and estates to the Courtenay family, afterwards advanced to a marquisate: they were again forfeited by the Marquis of Exeter: the estates and the earldom were again restored. After the death of the last Earl of Devon, in 1556, the estates were divided among the co-heiresses, married to Arundell of Talvern, Trethurfe, Mohun (fn. n4), and Trelawney. Sir Francis Vyvyan, one of the representatives of Trethurfe, possessed an eighth so late as 1743. Another eighth was, for nearly a century, in the family of Northmore: it afterwards passed to Luxmoore, and from Luxmoore to Holland. One-fourth was some time in the family of Coxe. The Mohuns, who possessed one-fourth by inheritance, acquired another fourth and the site of the castle. These two-fourths of the manor came, by purchase, to the Pitts, who possessed them for many years. Lord Clive became possessed of these and another fourth by purchase. The whole, I believe, was purchased by Lord Clive, and was successively in the possession of his present Majesty, then Prince of Wales, and of Henry Holland, Esq. The present proprietor is Albany Savile, Esq., M. P. Mr. Savile is building a mansion for his residence, of Grecian architecture, a short distance from the town, to which he has given the name of Oaklands. The hundreds of Hayridge, Wonford, and West Budleigh, are still attached to the manor.
The barons of Oakhampton were hereditary sheriffs of Devon, and keepers of the castle of Exeter, till the reign of Edward III. They held eight manors in demesne, in which they had the power of life and death; they had also several advowsons, and the patronage of the abbey of Ford and the priory of Cowick. They held also three fees of the see of Exeter, and were stewards to the bishops at their enthronization, being entitled to all the vessels with which they were served at the first course. Ninetytwo fees were held of this great barony.
About half a mile from Oakhampton are the ruins of the castle, which was the ancient seat of the barons. The park was disparked and alienated by King Henry VIII., at the instance of Sir Richard Pollard. In Sir William Pole's time it was the inheritance of Mary, daughter of Sir John Fitz, whose ancestor had purchased it after the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter. It is now the property of Charles Luxmoore, Esq., who possesses also the manors of Halstock and Meldon, which were purchased a few years ago of Lord Viscount Courtenay. (fn. n5) The manor of Kigbear is the property of John Newton, Esq., who purchased it, about the year 1806, of Partridge.
Oakhampton church is situated on a hill above the town: having been rebuilt, it was consecrated, in 1261 (fn. n6), but the greater part of the present structure is of later date. In this church are monuments of Tomasia, wife of Peter Godolphin, 1608; John Hayne, Esq., (a native of Oakhampton, sent up to London by charity, and eventually registrar of the diocese of Canterbury,) ob. 1719; Henry Luxmoore, surgeon, 1801; and John Eastabrooke, Esq., commander of the London East Indiaman, 1804. In the town is a chapel, belonging to the corporation, in which Divine service is performed at the Quarter Sessions, and on some other public occasions. There was formerly a chapel at Halstock.
The great tithes of this parish, which had been appropriated to the priory of Cowick, are now vested in Arthur Holdsworth, Esq. The advowson of the vicarage was lately vested in the trustees of the will of the late Rev. Aaron Hole, by whom it has been sold to Albany Savile, Esq.
At Brightley, in this parish, was an abbey, founded by Richard de Rivers, Earl of Devon, and afterwards removed by his sister and heir to Ford, in the parish of Thorncomb. On the site are the ruins of a chapel, now the property of Mr. Savile.
Mr. Richard Harragro, in 1623, gave 50l. for the endowment of a freeschool at Oakhampton. There is still a school-room and a house for the master; but the funds are wholly lost, and no master has of late years been appointed.
There are two charity-schools, containing together 75 children, supported by subscription and a funded property of about 250l., gradually raised by surplus balances. The children are clothed chiefly by the benevolence of Albany Savile, Esq., and Mr. Huyshe, the present vicar.
Monk Oakhampton, or Okehampton
MONK OAKHAMPTON, or OKEHAMPTON, in the hundred of Black Torrington and in the deanery of Oakhampton, lies two miles and a half from Hatherleigh, and about eight from Oakhampton. The small village of Burrows is in this parish.
It is probable that, at a very remote period, the manor had belonged to some monastery. At the time of the survey of Domesday, the manor of Monacochamtone belonged to Baldwin de Brioniis, lord of the barony of Oakhampton, who then held it in demesne. In the reign of Henry III. this manor belonged to the family of Langford, from whom it passed by successive female heirs to De la Mare, De la Grave, Ancell, and Salle. The latter possessed it in the reign of Henry VI. The co-heiresses of Salle married Berry and Pyne. It was some time in the family of Clevland, and is now the property of Mr. Samuel Piper, who possesses also the barton of Wood.
Offwell gave name to a family, who, at an early period, possessed the manor, and whose co-heiresses married Park (or De Parco) and Orway. These families had two-thirds, and Roger de Vere the remaining third of the manor. Park's share passed to Courtenay, and by marriage to Dinham. Vere's share passed through the families of Mules, Gilbert, and Norbury, to Lord Bray; Orway's was subdivided into parcels. At a later period, the family of Collins was settled for some descents at Offwell, and possessed the manor: the heiress of this family appears to have married Southcote. The manor has since been dismembered, and no manerial rights are now exercised in the parish.
The barton of Colwell gave name to a family which possessed it for six generations; it afterwards passed successively to Park and Courtenay, and through the Peverells and Hungerfords to the Earl of Huntingdon, who sold it to Collins. East Colwell now belongs to Mr. Inglett Fortescue, in right of his wife, one of the co-heiresses of Marwood. West Colwell, which had been several years in the Southcote family, has recently been purchased by the Rev. Dr. Copleston, Provost of Oriel College, in Oxford. The Rolle family had a manor, or nominal manor, called Culbeer, in this parish, which, in 1773, belonged to the Countess of Orford. It is now the property of Lord Clinton.
In the parish-church are memorials of the families of Southcote and Collins (fn. n7), and the tomb of an ecclesiastic, with a cross flory. The Rev. John Bradford Copleston is patron of the vicarage.
The manor of East Ogwell was held under Ralph de Pomerai, at the time of the Domesday survey, by William Pictavensis, or Peytevin, from whose descendants it passed, by successive marriages, through the families of Malston, Stighull, and Reynell (fn. n8), to that of the present proprietor, Pierce Joseph Taylor, Esq., who is patron also of the rectory. Holbeame, in this parish, gave name to a family who possessed it for twelve generations; the heiress married Marwood, who sold Holbeame to Robert Petre, Esq. Sir George Petre, the great nephew, sold it to John Peryam, Esq., of Exeter. Mr. Peryam bequeathed it to Richard Reynell, Esq., of Creedy, whose daughter brought it to Sir Richard Reynell, of Ogwell. It is now the property of Mr. Taylor.
Sir Richard Reynell gave two fields to this parish, now let at 10l. per annum, out of which the burial-place of his family and certain poor-houses were to be repaired, the remainder to be appropriated to the instruction of poor children.
The manor of West Ogwell was also in the Peytevins (fn. n9), and is now the property of Mr. Taylor; but it does not appear to have passed by the same uninterrupted descent as that of East Ogwell. Sir William Pole says that it was some time in the earls of Devon, of whom it was purchased by the Reynells. West Ogwell house is the seat of P. J. Taylor, Esq., who is patron also of the rectory.
OTTERTON, in the hundred of East Budleigh and in the deanery of Aylesbeare, lies on the river Otter, about three miles and a half from Sidmouth, and six from Exmouth. The principal villages in the parish are Northmost-town, Pitson, Passford, and Pinn.
The manor of Otterton was given by King William the Conqueror to the monastery of St. Michael, in Normandy. King John founded here a priory of four monks, subject to the monastery of St. Michael, and endowed it with the manors of Otterton, Sidmouth, and East Budleigh. These monks were to celebrate Divine service, and distribute bread to the poor, weekly, to the amount of 16s. (fn. n10) The priory and its lands, having been seised as alien property, were granted by King Henry to the abbess and convent of Sion. At the time of the dissolution, this priory was valued at 87l. 10s., and was granted as parcel of the possession of the monastery of Sion, in 1539, to Richard Duke, Esq., clerk of the augmentations, whose ancestors had resided at Otterton ever since the reign of Edward III., and probably had been lessees under the monastery. Otterton continued to be the property and seat of the Dukes till the death of Richard Duke, Esq., in 1741. This gentleman bequeathed Otterton to his nephew, John Heath, Esq., who took the name of Duke, and died without issue, in 1775. In or about 1777, the manor of Otterton was purchased of his co-heirs by Dennis Rolle, Esq., and is now the property of the Right Honourable Lord Rolle.
In the parish-church are some monuments of the family of Duke. (fn. n11) Lord Rolle has the great tithes which had been appropriated to the priory, and is patron of the vicarage. The vicar is entitled to the tithes of beans and fish, all small tithes, and the land called the Sanctuary. The prior of Otterton had the right of pre-emption of fish in all his ports, and the choice of the best fish. The prior claimed also every porpoise caught in the fisheries, giving 12d. and a loaf of white bread to each sailor, and two to the master; and the half of all dolphins. (fn. n12) When the church was appropriated to the priory of Otterton, there was a chapel at a place called Hederland, in this parish. (fn. n13)
Ottery St. Mary
The market was granted in or about 1226, to the dean and chapter of Rouen, to be held on Tuesday; together with a fair for two days, at the festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. (fn. n14) The market is still held on Tuesday for butchers' meat and other provisions: till of late years it was a regular corn-market. There are now three fairs; Tuesday before Palm Sunday; Tuesday after Trinity Sunday; and August 15. for cattle, &c. There was formerly a considerable manufacture of serges at Ottery, but it has much declined. There is still a large manufactory for spinning wool.
During the early part of the civil war, Ottery was occupied by the King's forces, who retreated on the approach of Sir Thomas Fairfax with his army, in the month of October, 1645. After having been quartered some time round Exeter, the General made Ottery his head-quarters, from the 15th of November till the 6th of December that year. A great mortality prevailing at this time at Ottery, eight or nine of the soldiers were buried in a day; and Colonel Pickering, one of the most distinguished of the parliamentary officers, fell a sacrifice to the sickness. (fn. n15)
The manor and hundred were given by King Edward the Confessor to the cathedral church of St. Mary, at Rouen. John Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter, having procured it of the dean and chapter of Rouen by exchange, in 1334 (fn. n16), founded here a college of secular priests, endowing it with the manor and hundred, and the tithes of the whole parish. The college consisted of forty members; the four principal members, who ranked as canons, or prebendaries, were called the warden, minister, precentor, and sacristar: there were also four other canons, eight vicars-choral, or priest-vicars, two other priests, ten clerks, eight choir-boys, and a master of grammar. The canons were appointed by the Bishop of Exeter. (fn. n17)
Alexander Barclay, author of "The Ship of Fools," was a priest of this college. When suppressed, in the reign of Henry VIII., its revenues were estimated at 303l. 2s. 9d. clear yearly income. The site of the college was granted to Edward, Earl of Hertford. (fn. n18) The manor of Ottery continued, after this, many years in the crown. About the beginning of the seventeenth century it belonged to Burridge, whose heirs sold it to Yonge. It was purchased of the late Sir George Yonge, Bart. and K. B., by the late J. M. How, Esq., and is now the property of the Rev. Samuel How, subject to a chief-rent, payable to the Earl of Hardwick. A considerable part of the lands has been enfranchised. The warden's house and some of the college lands are the property of the Rev. George Coleridge; the chantry with the lands belonging to the warden and chanter belong to James Coleridge, Esq.
Knighteston, in this parish, gave name to a family, by whom, about the year 1370, it was sold to Bittlesgate. After continuing a few descents in that family, it was entailed on Lord Bonville, who enjoyed it notwithstanding a claim made by Anthony Widville, Earl Rivers, as next heir of Bittlesgate. Upon the attainder of the Duke of Suffolk, it fell to the crown. It was afterwards purchased by William Sherman, Esq., whose family resided here for several descents. From them it passed by a female heir to Copleston, and, by purchase, to Hawtrey: it is now the property of the Rev. Dr. Drury, who purchased it of the trustees under the will of the late Stephen Hawtrey, Esq., in 1803.
Thorne, in this parish, gave name to an ancient family, whose heiress brought it to Coke. The Cokes continued here for many descents: the barton was afterwards in severalties. It now belongs to the episcopal school at Exeter; some part of it having been given by Messrs Rolfe, Vivian, and Pitfield, and the remainder purchased in 1776.
Cadhay also gave name to a family whose heiress married John Haydon, a bencher of Lincoln's Inn, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The Haydons continued here for several descents. Cadhay afterwards belonged to William Peere Williams, Esq., barrister-at-law, author of the "Reports." One of his co-heiresses married Admiral Thomas Graves, afterwards Lord Graves, of the kingdom of Ireland; which title was bestowed upon him for his gallant services in the memorable action of the 1st of June, 1794. Lord Graves resided at Cadhay, and died there in 1802. His elder daughter brought Cadhay in marriage to William Bagwell, Esq. It is now the property of Sir Thomas Hare, Bart.
Ash was successively in the families of De Lupo or Wolfe, Treley, and Bonville. After the attainder of the Duke of Suffolk, it was granted to Walrond. It has since been in the family of Bennet, and is now the property of the Rev. Thomas Putt.
The barton of Bishops Court, said to have been the seat of Bishop Grandisson, having been held on lease by the family of Mercer, as early as the reign of Edward III., was purchased by them in fee, in the reign of James I., and is now held in jointure by the widow of Henry Marker, Esq., junior, whose grandmother was heiress of the Mercers. The Babingtons, a branch of the Derbyshire family of that name, had an estate in this parish by inheritance from French, and resided on it for some descents.
In the parish-church, a handsome structure of the early Gothic, is a handsome ancient monument, represented in the annexed plate, supposed to be that of the father of Bishop Grandisson; a grave-stone for John Cadwodleigh, prebendary of Ottery College, 1532; there are monuments also, or grave-stones, for the families of Haydon (fn. n19), Sherman (fn. n20), Coke (fn. n21), Eveleigh (fn. n22), and Vaughan (fn. n23), and the monument of William Peere Williams, Esq., (by Bacon,) 1766.
The small tithes, which were appropriated to the college, are now vested, under a grant of King Henry VIII., in certain governors, as described below. The vicarage is in the gift of the crown: the governors appoint a chaplain-priest, who reads prayers on Sunday and thrice in the week. There were originally two chaplain-priests; reduced to one by a decree of the Court of Exchequer, 40 Eliz. The great tithes belong to the dean and chapter of Windsor. There were formerly chapels at Ottery, dedicated to St. Saviour (fn. n24), and St. Budeaux; and the town is said to have been divided into three districts, called Ottery St. Mary, Ottery St. Saviour, and Ottery St. Budeaux. There were chapels also at Holcombe and Knighteston, of which there are some remains. The independent Calvinists have a meeting-house at Ottery; in 1715, the congregation were Presbyterians.
There was an ancient grammar-school at Ottery, under Bishop Grandisson's foundation. After the suppression of the college, King Henry VIII. granted the church of Ottery, the church-yard, vestries, cloisters, chapterhouse, the vicar's house, the secondaries-house, the cloisters-house, and the school-house; with all dwelling-houses, edifices, gardens, orchards, &c., belonging to the same; the whole being then valued at 45l. 19s. 2d. per annum, to four principal inhabitants of Ottery, to be called the four governors of the hereditaments and goods of the church of St. Mary Ottery; whom he incorporated and appointed to have perpetual succession. The governors were to keep all the said houses, &c., in repair; to pay 20l. per annum, to the vicar of Ottery, as a pension for the endowment of the vicarage; and 10l. per annum to a grammar-schoolmaster, and to provide a house for each; the school to be called "The King's New GrammarSchool of St. Mary Ottery;" the vicar to be named by the King, and the master to be appointed by the four governors and the vicar. In addition to this endowment, the master, from an early period, has possessed a field, called the Schoolmaster's Field, now worth about 9l. per annum.
In the year 1666, Mr. Edward Salter gave a messuage and some land, at Whimple, now let at 21l. per annum, for the foundation of an exhibition from this school. This estate, as long as can be remembered, has been enjoyed by the master of the school, who has taught in consideration two boys of Ottery gratuitously; and these have been for many years the only boys on the foundation.
In 1691, Thomas Axe, the parish-clerk of Ottery, vested certain houses in Southwark, in case the longitude should not be discovered within ten years after his death; to be distributed in twelve parts among his nearest kindred, and after their decease, as follows: one to the vicar; one to the vicar's wife, to buy drugs and plaisters for the poor; one to the chaplainpriest; one to the schoolmaster; one to the parish-clerk; three to form a stock for marriage portions; and the remainder for the relief of the poor. The clear income is now 100l. 18s. 4d. per annum. Mr. Axe gave also an estate at Blandford, in Dorsetshire, now 55l. 2s. per annum; three-fourths to the parish-clerk, and the remainder to provide medical or surgical assistance for the poor. This is now paid to the Exeter and Devon Hospital.
The Rev. James How, who died in 1817, gave 400l. four per cents., to this school, subject to the legacy-tax. By a subsequent legacy from Mrs. Kestell, and a small donation from the parish, the endowment was made up 400l., and laid out in the three per cents.
The manor was given by William the Conqueror to Ralph de Pomeroy. It afterwards became vested in the church of Rouen. In the reign of Henry III., the dean and chapter of that church conveyed it to Sir Nicholas Cheyney, whose descendants possessed this manor and Roridge for several generations. A co-heiress of Cheyney brought them to Willoughby, Lord Broke, with one of whose co-heiresses they passed to Blount, Lord Mountjoy. These manors were afterwards in the Pophams, and were purchased of Edward Popham, Esq., of Littlecot, in Wiltshire, by Dr. Addington, father of Lord Viscount Sidmouth, the present proprietor, who occasionally resides in the manor-house.
The family of Preston possessed an estate in this parish, in the reign of Charles I., called Gorehayes and Trenhayes. (fn. n25) Westcote calls them the generous family of Preston, of whom was not long since Captain Preston.
The dean and chapter of Exeter are patrons of the rectory. The free chapel of Roridge, or Rawridge, which has been dilapidated many years ago, was founded by the dean and chapter, and endowed with 5l. per annum. (fn. n26)
Ven, or Fen Ottery
The manor of Fen Ottery belonged, from an early period, and till the reign of Edward III., to the family of Furneaux. A great part of it came afterwards to Dinham. In Sir William Pole's time, one moiety belonged to Mr. William Drake, of Harpford; the other to the assignees of Stowford. The Right Honourable Lord Rolle has now one third of this manor; the remainder is in severalties.
Fen Ottery was formerly a chapel to Harpford. A furlong of land, which had been a sanctuary, and the advowson of the chapel of Fen Ottery, were given to the priory of Otterton, by John de Furneaux, in 1259. (fn. n27) It is now a vicarage endowed with the great tithes, by R. Duke, Esq., some time patron: this benefice has been consolidated with Harpford, and is in the patronage of Lord Rolle.