Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.
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BICKTON, in the hundred of East Budleigh and in the deanery of Aylesbeare, lies about three miles from Sidmouth. Yattington, a village in this parish, was the birth place of Dr. John Conant, rector of Exeter College, and Regius Professor of Divinity in the seventeenth century. (fn. n1)
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, this manor was held in demesne by William Portitor (the king's door-keeper), and he is said to have held it by the service of keeping the king's gaol for the county of Devon. (fn. n2) King Henry I. gave it to John Janitor, so called from the tenure by which he held this manor; it continued in his family for three generations. (fn. n3) The manor was afterwards the property of Ralph Balistarius or Le Balister (the cross-bow bearer), who lived here in 1229. His posterity, by the name of Alabaster, possessed Bickton for five generations, after which it passed, by successive female heirs, to Sacheville or Sackville and Copleston. It was purchased of the Coplestons by Sir Robert Dennis, who rebuilt the old mansion, inclosed a deer-park, and made Bickton his chief residence. Sir Thomas Dennis, his son, gave it to Anne his elder daughter, who became the wife of Sir Henry Rolle, ancestor of the Right Honourable Henry, Lord Rolle, who is the present proprietor. Bickton is his lordship's chief country seat.
The county gaol, which was formerly at Bickton under the superintendence of the lord of this manor, was for greater security removed to Exeter in 1518. It was not till 1787, that the lord of Bickton was exonerated from the custody of the county gaol.
In the parish church is the monument of Dennis Rolle, Esq. who died in 1638, with the effigies of himself and his lady in statuary marble, richly habited. The only son of this Dennis died without issue; one of his daughters married Sir John Rolle, the heir male of the family. The church of Bickton was originally a chapel to Otterton. (fn. n4)
BIDEFORD, in the hundred of Shebbear and in the deanery of Hartland, is an ancient market and sea-port town near the confluence of the Torridge, nine miles from Bamstaple, 35 from Exeter, and 204 from London.
It has been erroneously supposed that Bideford was no more than a small fishing village before the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It is called a borough in ancient records (fn. n5), but does not appear ever to have sent burgesses to parliament. A market on Monday and a fair for five days at the festival of St. Margaret were granted, in 1271, to Richard de Grenville. (fn. n6) It had probably so far declined as to have become a place of little importance, when, in 1574, Sir Richard Grenville procured a charter from Queen Elizabeth, by which the market and fair were confirmed and two other fairs granted, each to be held for four days, and the town incorporated and made a free borough. Powers for rebuilding the decayed town, and for the better maintenance of the bridge, were given under the same charter. The chief market for provisions, &c. is now on Tuesday; there is a smaller market on Saturday. The fairs are now held on the 14th of February, July 19, and November 14 for horned cattle, &c.
The body corporate under the above mentioned charter consisted of a mayor, five aldermen, seven capital burgesses, a recorder, town clerk, &c. By a subsequent charter, the number of aldermen was increased to seven, exclusively of the mayor, that of the capital burgesses to ten. The mayor and recorder are perpetual justices of the peace, one of the aldermen is so by election. These justices hold sessions and have jurisdiction within the town, to the exclusion of the county magistrates. The town hall was built in 1698.
In consequence of the patronage of the Grenville family, a trade with Virginia and Carolina, then recently discovered by Sir Richard Grenville, was established at Bideford in the reign of Elizabeth, and this town continued to enjoy a great share of the American commerce till the breaking out of the war, which ended in the independence of the colonies. (fn. n7)
In the reign of Charles I., the Bideford merchants imported large quantities of wool from Spain; and afterwards, besides their commerce with Holland, France, and the Mediterranean, had so large a share of the Newfoundland trade, that in the year 1699 they sent out more ships than any port in England except London and Topsham. (fn. n8) The Newfoundland trade began to decline soon after this period. Brice, whose Dictionary was published in 1759, says that then about 40 or 50 ships were employed in fetching cod from Newfoundland, and that there was a great export of herrings from this place; that rock-salt was imported from Liverpool, which was dissolved with sea-water, from which a brine was made for curing the herrings, called "salt upon salt." A ship or two are still occasionally fitted out for Newfoundland and a few for the Baltic, but there is no foreign trade of any consequence. More than 100 vessels, however, are employed in the coasting trade, importing limestone in large quantities, coals, and culm; and exporting oak-board to Ireland and Scotland, and oats and malt to Wales. Appledore has been lately consolidated with the port of Bideford. The quay, which was constructed in 1663, belongs to the corporation: There are good accommodations for ship-building, which is carried on at Bideford to a considerable extent. There are small manufactories here of flannel and serges, and some potteries of coarse brown ware.
The town of Bideford appears to have been at the greatest height of its prosperity from about the year 1680 till the close of that century: its population having been then about five times greater than it was a hundred years before: it has since diminished about one-fourth. The total number of its inhabitants was returned, in 1801, at 2987, in 1811, at 3244. In the year 1646, the plague swept away a great number of the inhabitants; the names of 229 persons who died of that fatal malady are inserted in the parish register, and it is supposed that a considerable number of burials were not entered. (fn. n9)
The ancient bridge at Bideford is said to have been originally built by Sir Theobald Grenville and others in the early part of the fourteenth century, and endowed with certain lands for its repair. In consequence of some abuses which had been committed by the trustees of the bridge-estates, there was a decree in chancery, in 1608, which ordered a new election of feoffees. Two bridge-wardens were appointed by this decree, to be chosen annually, and two treasurers; and other provisions were made for the better management of the estates for the time to come. The bridge, which consists of 24 arches and is 677 feet in length, was thoroughly repaired in 1638. A hall for the use of the feoffees was built in 1758. The annual revenue of this bridge, arising from the rent of lands given by benefactors now unknown, and a stock of about 650l., is between 3 and 400l., varying according to the falling in of houses, &c. leased for lives.
In the year 1643, a fort was built on each side of the river, and a small one at Appledore. A parliamentary garrison was then placed at Bideford under the command of Colonel Bennet. In consequence of a victory obtained over the parliamentary forces at Torrington, these forts and the town of Bideford were surrendered to Colonel Digby on the third of September in that year. (fn. n10)
The manor of Bideford is said to have been given by William the Conqueror (fn. n11) to Sir Richard de Grenville, a noble Norman who distinguished himself by his successful invasion of Glamorganshire in concert with his brother, Robert Fitz-Hamon. His descendants, most of whom were of equestrian rank, continued to reside here and at Kilkhampton in Cornwall for many generations. Three of them represented the county of Devon in parliament. Sir Richard Grenville of Bideford, who lived in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, distinguished himself as an adventuring navigator, and was, with his countryman Sir Walter Ralegh, the joint discoverer of Virginia and Carolina, of which he published an account. An Indian, whom he brought over with him from America, was baptized at Bideford in 1588, and died the next year. In the year 1591, being then viceadmiral of England, he sustained with his single ship the most glorious, unequal conflict that is recorded in naval history, against the whole fleet of the enemy; and after having repulsed them fifteen times, yielded not till his powder was all spent. He died of his wounds two days afterwards on board the Spanish admiral's vessel; his own ship, reduced to a hulk, sunk before it could be got into port.
Sir Richard's widow, Dame Mary Grenville, was buried in the family vault at Bideford in 1623. It does not appear whether his grandson, the brave and loyal Sir Beville Grenville, who fell at Lansdowne near Bath in 1643, had any other connection with Bideford than that of possessing the manor: he was born at Kilkhampton, which was in his time the chief seat of the family. His son, Sir John, who first wrote his name Granville, is well known for the active share he had in bringing about the restoration of King Charles II., who, in 1661, created him Baron Granville of Bideford, Earl of Bath, &c. His eldest son was summoned to Parliament as Baron Granville of Bideford in 1701. After the death of William Henry, the last Earl of Bath, in 1711, the title of Baron Granville was given to George Granville, the poet, afterwards created Viscount Lansdowne: it became extinct at his death in 1734. The Devonshire estates, after the death of the last Earl of Bath, were divided between Lady Carteret, one of the daughters of the first Earl, and the son of Lady Jane, the other daughter, who had married Sir William Gower. The manor of Bideford was purchased about the year 1750 by John Clevland, Esq. and is now under the will of John Clevland, Esq. M. P. who died in 1817, the property of Augustus Saltren Clevland, Esq. late Willett.
The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n12)
In the parish church are monuments of Sir Thomas Grenville, 1513; Mr. John Strange, merchant, 1646; Andrew Hopkins, merchant, 1690; several of the family of Pawley, Stucley, and Buck (fn. n13); William Hamlyn Heywood, Esq. 1806; and James Kirkman, Esq. Lieut.-Col. of the 56th regiment of infantry, 1816. There is an inscribed gravestone for Elizabeth wife of Thomas Burgoyne, 1733. Mr. Strange died a victim to the plague in the month of August 1646; the mayor having pusillanimously deserted his duty, he voluntarily took the office, and by his active exertions, and excellent regulations, saved the lives of many of his fellow townsmen, and checked the progress of that fatal malady to which he himself fell a sacrifice. In the church-yard is a gravestone in memory of three children of Henry Ravening, surgeon, who died of the plague June 21, 1646, being the first to whom it proved fatal.
The late rector, Mr. John Whitfield, who was incumbent from 1742 to 1783, published Thoughts on Gesner's Death of Abel, and the Messiah, and Conjectures on some of Horace's Works. The pious James Hervey was curate of Bideford in 1738 and 1739; whilst at this place he formed the plan and finished great part of his Meditations and Contemplations.
There has been a congregation of Independents at this place ever since the year 1662, when it was established by Walter Bartlett, author of some religious treatises, who had been silenced by the Act of Uniformity. The late Mr. Badcock drew up an account of the Dissenting Church at Bideford; by which it appears, that, in consequence of some division among the congregation, a separation took place in 1694, and a new meeting house was built in High-street. In 1698 the old meeting house was re-built. Mr. John Norman, pastor of the seceding congregation, wrote on the Divine Prescience. This meeting house was shut up soon after 1760, when the congregations were re-united: it has since been pulled down. Samuel Lavington, an eminent divine, some time pastor of this congregation, and afterwards of the congregation of Independents at South Molton, died in 1807, and was buried at Bideford. Three volumes of his sermons were published after his death. There is a meeting house for the Wesleyan Methodists at Bideford.
Dr. John Shebbeare, author of a work called the Practice of Physic, but better known by his political writings, for which he was sentenced to stand in the pillory, (fn. n14) in 1758, and was afterwards pensioned, was born at Bideford in 1709. Mr. Abraham Donn, and his brother Mr. Benjamin Donn, both ingenious mathematicians, authors of several treatises in that science, and the latter the publisher of maps of Cornwall and Devonshire, were natives of this town.
There has been a grammar-school at Bideford from an early period, supported, it is probable, by the corporation, by whom ten boys are appointed to be taught free of expense. The school-house was re-built in 1657. It was repaired in 1780, and then newly fronted with brick. It appears to have had no fixed endowment before 1689, when Mrs. Susanna Stucley gave the sum of 200l. laid out in land, which is now let for 57l. per annum; a good house for the master has been purchased with the sale of timber. Mr. Zachary Mudge, author of an admired volume of sermons, and of an Essay for a New Version of the Psalms, was master of this school.
There is also a free school at Bideford for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, the master of which has a salary of 10l. per annum paid by the feoffees of the bridge. The Dissenters have a school with about 100 scholars, and the Methodists another with about 50.
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, the manor of Bigbury was held under the Earl of Moreton by Reginald de Valletort. So early as the reign of King John it belonged to a family who took their name from this the place of their residence. After a continuance of nine descents, one of the coheiresses brought this manor to the Champernownes of Beer Ferrers, from whom it descended through the Willoughbys to the noble family of Pawlet. It is now vested in the heirs of the late Duke of Bolton, who are patrons of the rectory.
The manor of Houghton, which belonged to the Ilbert family, was sold by William Ilbert, Esq. in 1786, to Mr. Nicholas Goss, and is now the property of Philip Langmead, Esq. who purchased it of Mr. Goss.
The barton of Halwells Combe, Ivilscombe, or Jewellscombe, commonly called Combe, was some years since successively in the families of Dingle and Legassicke. The representatives of the devisees of Mr. James Legassicke sold it in 1803 to Mr. William Adams, of whom it was purchased in 1819 by the present proprietor, Josiah Nisbet, Esq. captain in the Royal Navy.
In the parish church are some ancient tombs of the Bigbury family. (fn. n15)
Bittadon or Bittaden
The manor was, at an early period, for some descents, in a family which took its name from this the place of their residence, afterwards in that of Loveringe; at a later period it was successively in the Lutterells, Chichesters, and Aclands. Having passed with Fremington to Barbor, it is now vested in George Acland Barbor, Esq. who is patron of the rectory.
BLACKAUTON, in the hundred of Coleridge and in the deanery of Totton, lies about six miles from Dartmouth. Bow, Dryton, Street, Hutchley, Milcombe, and Woodford, are villages in this parish. A considerable village, called Undercliff, where was a herring fishery, appears to have been destroyed by the encroachments of the sea.
The manor was given by Peter Fitzmatthew Lord of Stokenham to Torr Abbey. After the dissolution it was granted to the Russel family. The Earl of Bedford sold it about the year 1618 (fn. n16) to the Roopes. William Roope, Esq., who died in 1745, bequeathed it to the ancestor of Arthur Holdsworth, Esq. who is the present proprietor, impropriator of the tithes which belonged to Torr Abbey, and patron of the benefice.
The manor of Treverbin belonged, in the early part of the last century, to the Creeds, and was sold about 1740 to Mr. Limbrey, by whose bequest it passed to the father of Henry Limbrey Toll, Esq. the present proprietor.
The manor of Pruston belonged to the Fortescues, and having been settled on a younger branch was sold about 1808 to Benjamin Hayward Brown, M. D. of Stroud in Gloucestershire, who is the present proprietor.
The barton of Cotterbury, which has an independent royalty, was many years in the family of Pinkey. It was sold about 1783 to Peter Ougier, Esq. and about 1806 to Lydstone Newman, Esq. of Dartmouth, who is the present proprietor.
In the parish church are monuments of the Cholwich family (fn. n17); that of William Rooke, Esq. 1754; and the tomb of Nicholas Forde, 1582.
The manor belonged to the ancient family of Bolhay, whose heiress brought it to Cobham. The Cobhams resided at Blackborough for several generations. Having been conveyed by Cobham to Bonville, the manor fell to the crown on the attainder of the Duke of Suffolk, the representative of the latter. It was purchased as crown land by Sir John Wyndham, ancestor of the Hon. Percy Wyndham, the present proprietor, who is patron of the rectory. How it became a rectory I have not learned; it is not spoken of as such in ancient records. There is now neither church, chapel, nor parsonage-house; but a cemetery, and a good glebe. The chantry roll of 1547, which describes Blackborough as a parish, records its free chapel dedicated to All-Hallows, and endowed with lands then valued at 4l. per annum, by a founder whose name is not recorded.
The manor was at an early period in the family of Pipard, from whom it passed by successive female heirs to the Lords Lisle and Berkeley. A daughter of Thomas Lord Berkeley brought it to Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and a daughter of the Earl of Warwick to Nevil Lord Latimer. When Risdon finished his Collections about 1630, it was in the co-heiresses of Latimer. The Marquis of Winchester presented to the rectory, which appears to have been always attached to the manor, in 1670. It is now the property of Lord Viscount Courtenay, to whose father, when Sir William Courtenay, it came, by bequest from his brother-in-law John Langdon, Esq. Mr. Langdon's family, who had been settled in this parish in the reign of Queen Elizabeth appear to have been possessed of the manor about the year 1700, if not at an earlier period. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n18)
A market at Bovey on Thursday, and a fair for three days at the festival of the Translation of St. Thomas the Martyr, was granted to Henry Tracey in 1259. (fn. n19) There are now four cattle fairs; Easter Monday, Holy Thursday, the first Thursday in July, and the first Thursday in November. The town is governed by a bailiff and portreeve; the bailiff is elected annually at the lord's court, and the year after serving this office, he fills that of portreeve. It seems probable that the latter officer was originally called mayor: an ancient procession for perambulating the bounds of the parish or manor with a large garland of flowers, &c, similar to that at Bodmin in Cornwall, is still called the mayor's riding. This procession takes place on the Monday after the third of May, called Roodmas Day. The portreeve has, during his year of office, the profits of a piece of ground called Portreeve's park, for defraying the expenses of this procession, &c. (fn. n20)
Bovey-Tracey, being at that time the quarters of a part of Lord Wentworth's brigade, was attacked in the evening of the 9th of January, 1646, by Lieutenant-general Cromwell with a part of the parliamentary army then under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax. The greater part of the royalists who were thus dispersed escaped through the darkness of the night, a major with some other officers and about 50 men being taken prisoners. (fn. n21)
The manor, which had belonged to Earl Harold, was given by the Conqueror to Jeffery, Bishop of Constance, his lieutenant at the battle of Hastings, and was one of the five manors held by that prelate in demesne. It afterwards became parcel of the barony of Barnstaple, and passed by the same title, till the death of the last Holland, Duke of Exeter. Margaret, Countess of Richmond, had a grant of it for life in 1487. Sir Thomas Putt, Bart, died seised of this manor in 1686. (fn. n22) Some years afterwards, it was purchased of Charles Heath, Esq. by John Langdon, Esq. Mr. Langdon, who resided at Park in this parish, after the death of his only daughter, which happened in 1747, bequeathed the manor of Bovey Tracey and other estates to his brother-in-law, Sir William Courtenay, afterwards Lord Viscount Courtenay. It is now the property of the present viscount, who has also the manor of Brinley in this parish. The manor of Bovey Tracey pays a reserved rent of 58l. 15s. 10d. to those who claim under the crown. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n23) Park is now the property and residence of Charles Clapp, Esq. barrister at law.
The manor of Knighton was for many generations in the Franckcheneys, whose heiress brought it to Strode; it was afterwards successively in the families of Ellyott, Dennis, and Putt. Another manor of Knighton or Knighton Heathfield (fn. n24) was in the Southcotts, who had an ancient seat in this parish called Indiho, said to have been a priory, but I find no record to confirm the tradition. The Southcotts had also the manor of Little Bovey. These manors are now the property of George Templer, Esq. of Stover House. Indiho was afterwards the seat of Sir John Stawell, K. B., and at a later period, successively of the families of Bale, Inglett, and Tuffnel. In 1772, the house was enlarged, and applied to the purposes of a manufacture of earthen ware. This manufacture is still carried on, Mr. Steer being the present proprietor. The manor of Wreyland, in this parish, is the property of Francis Daniell, Esq.
In the parish church are two monuments, without inscription, of Eveleigh and Hele: the former has the date of 1620: there is the monument also of Sir John Stawell, K.B. 1669, and Thomas Stawell, Esq. 1694.
The impropriate tithes, which belonged to the priory of Bridgewater, were sold in lots, about the year 1805, by the Rev. John Templer of Lindridge, and purchased chiefly by the landholders. The vicarage is in the gift of the crown.
The charity school at Bovey Tracey is endowed with an income of 40l. per annum arising from lands, for which a master instructs 24 children in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but I have not been able to procure the name of the founder, or the date of the foundation.
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, the manor of Bradford formed part of the large possessions of Baldwin de Sap. It belonged afterwards to the ancient family of Dabernon, from whom it acquired the name of Bradford Dabernon; the heiress of this family brought it to Dennis in the reign of Edward I. From Dennis, it passed by successive female heirs to Giffard and Cary: it has lately been sold by George Cary, Esq. of Tor Abbey to Messrs. Grylls and Borlase, of Helston in Cornwall. Sir William Pole says, that the prior and convent of Launceston had a manor in Bradford.
Dunsland, in this parish, was held at the time of taking the Domesday survey by Cadio, under Baldwin de Sap the sheriff. After several descents, the heiress of Cadio or Cadiho brought it, in the reign of Henry IV., to John Dabernon, descended from a younger branch of the Dabernons of Bradford: his grand-daughter married Batten, the heiress of which family, after three descents, brought Dunsland to John Arscott, Esq. of Holsworthy. In Sir William Pole's time, it had been five descents in the family of Arscott. Arthur Arscott, Esq., the last of this branch of the family, died in 1664; his heiress married the ancestor of the late Arscott Bickford, Esq. of Dunsland, who died in 1817. It is now the property of his sister, Mrs. Coham, wife of the Rev. William Holland Coham. Dunsland house, which was built in 1609, is occasionally inhabited by Mr. Coham's family. The place was much improved by George Bickford, Esq. father of the late owner.
Hengescot, in this parish, belonged to a family of that name from the reign of Henry III. to that of Queen Elizabeth, when the co-heiresses brought it to Prideaux and Pomeroy: it afterwards passed to the family of Ridgway, Earl of Londonderry, and is now the property of Earl Stanhope. (fn. n25)
In the parish church are monuments of the families of Arscott and Bickford. (fn. n26)
King John, in the year 1208, granted to the burgesses of Bradninch or Braneis all the liberties and free customs which the city of Exeter enjoyed. (fn. n27) King James I., in 1604, incorporated this borough, making the corporation to consist of a mayor, twelve masters, and a recorder; in 1685, King James II. granted the burgesses a new charter, under which the corporation consists of a mayor, twelve masters, and 24 inferior burgesses. The mayor, who is chosen by the masters, burgesses, and freemen, is a justice of peace during his year of office and the year following. King John's charter granted a market on Saturday, and a fair for three days before and on the festival of St. Dennis. King Henry III., in 1238; granted a market on Thursday, and a fair for three days at the festival of the Holy Trinity. (fn. n28) A century ago, there were fairs at Bradninch for sheep and cattle, on the 22d of January, on St. Mark's day, and St. Matthew's; and since that time, great sheep markets on the Tuesday before the Feast of the Passover, the Tuesday before Ascension day, and the Tuesday, before Corpus Christi day. These have been all long discontinued, and the market has not been held within the memory of any person now living.
Bradninch was the head-quarters of King Charles's army on the 27th of July, 1644 (fn. n29); a part of the king's army was quartered there again on the 17th of September that year. (fn. n30) It was the head-quarters of Sir Thomas Fairfax on the 16th of October, l645. (fn. n31) The town of Bradninch was almost Consumed by fire in 1665. (fn. n32)
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, William Chievre or Capra held the manor of Bradenesse in demesne. It was afterwards held as an honour or barony with the Earldom of Cornwall by Reginald, natural son of King Henry I., by King John and his son Richard. (fn. n33) It was eventually made, and still continues to be, part of the duchy. (fn. n34)
The manor of Hele, in this parish, was the original inheritance and residence of the ancient family of that name. The heiress of the elder branch brought this estate to the family of Franceis of Comb Flory in Somersetshire, in the reign of Henry V. It was lately sold by their descendant, J. Franceis Gwynn, Esq. of Ford Abbey, to Mr. Thomas Dewdney, the present proprietor.
Colebrooke, in this parish, belonged to the abbey of Ford. The abbot granted it to Kilrington, whose descendants, by the name of Kilrington or Colebrooke, possessed it for several generations. One of the co-heiresses brought a moiety of this estate to the Veres, Earls of Oxford, by whom it was sold to Raymond: this estate has been divided into parcels. The barton of Horridge belongs to the Honourable Percy Wyndham; Tyranhayes to Aaron Moore, Esq. of Spreydon House, Broad Clist; Winham to John Hole, Gent.; and Combe to William Martin, Gent.
In the parish church are monuments of the Sainthill family. (fn. n35)
Mrs. Margaret Pearse and Mrs. Jane Sainthill, spinster, are joint patrons of the vicarage, and impropriators of the great tithes under the church of Windsor. Mrs. Pearse resides in the old parsonage house, which was the seat of the Sainthills. There was a fraternity of St. John at Bradninch, endowed with lands valued, in 1547, at 19l. 10s. 5d. per annum. (fn. n36)
The manor, which had been Earl Harold's and was afterwards in the Norman kings, belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the family of Crewys, who possessed it for more than a century. Some time afterwards, it came to the Cloberrys, and was their property and residence for many generations. It now belongs to William Arundel Harris, Esq. whose ancestor purchased it of the Cloberry family about the year 1750. The old seat of that family near the church is occupied as a farm house by the tenant of the barton.
Bradworthy or Broadworthy
BRADWORTHY or BROADWORTHY, in the hundred of Black Torrington and in the deanery of Holsworthy, lies about eight miles from Holsworthy. Great Denworthy, Alfardisworthy, Kimsworthy, and Youlston are villages in this parish.
There was formerly a fair at Bradworthy at the festival of St. John the Baptist. (fn. n37) There is now a cattle fair on the 9th of September.
The manor was granted by King John (fn. n38) to William, Lord Brewer (fn. n39), from whose family it passed, by successive female heirs, to Mohun, Strange, and Stanley, Earl of Derby: it has been sold in severalties. The family of Langford had a manor in Bradworthy, which, in the reign of Henry III., was conveyed to Horton of Upcott. The manor of Blackborough or Blatchborough, in this parish, which belongs to Mrs. Calmady, has been some time in the Calmady family. Hermansworthy belonged to the family of De Bosco or Wood of Wood in this parish, who, by licence from the abbot of Tor, built a chapel here.
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry II., and perhaps at an earlier period, to the family of Espek or Speke, and continued in their descendants, the Spekes of White Lackington in Somersetshire, in Sir William Pole's time, and probably much later. In 1752, it passed by marriage with the heiress of Pierce to the Taylors of Denbury, of whom it was purchased, in 1784, by Sir Robert Palk, Bart. It is now, by a late purchase (in 1815), the property of Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, Bart, who has also the barton of Woodrow in this parish.
Cowley belonged, in the early part of the seventeenth century, to the family of Skinner. It was lately the property and residence of William Jackson, Esq., now of Mrs. Wells, widow of Joshua Wells, D.D. There are two bartons in Cowley, belonging to Sir Thomas Baring, Bart., and Mr. Edmund Roberts; and Stars barton, the property of the Rev. Daniel Sanders.
The lease of the rectory, which was formerly appropriated to the priory of St. Nicholas in Exeter, is vested in the daughters of the late Honourable Rose Herring May of the island of Jamaica, who hold it under the Bishop: it had been in the Trelawney family. The vicarage is in the gift of the crown.
The manor of Branscombe is reckoned in the survey of Domesday among the manors belonging to the see of Exeter, but it was then (fn. n40) appropriated to the maintenance of the canons, and has ever since the establishment of that body been vested in the dean and chapter, under whom it is held on lease by Barnaby John Stuckey Bartlett, Esq., Vincent Stuckey, Esq., and Mrs. Sarah Leigh. The two former hold ten parts out of twelve. The Stuckey family had been, for many generations, lessees of the dean and chapter. They resided at Weston-house in this parish, held under the same tenure, and now the seat of their representative, Mr. Stuckey Bartlett.
Egge or Edge, in this parish, was the seat of the Branscombes. Sir Richard Branscombe, sheriff of the county for five years in the reign of Edward III., resided there. Before the end of that reign, it had passed to Sir John Wadham, whose seat it was, as well as that of his son, Sir John Wadham, one of the justices of the King's Bench. After remaining in the Wadhams for eight generations, it passed with two of the co-heiresses of Nicholas Wadham (fn. n41), founder of Wadham College, to the families of Strangways and Wyndham, and is now the joint property of the Earl of Ilchester, (by inheritance,) and of B. J. Stuckey Bartlett, Esq. The former has seven-twelfths and the latter five-twelfths, purchased by the late John Stuckey, Esq. of the Honourable Percy Wyndham.
Hole was the ancient inheritance of the De la Holes, afterwards for seven descents of the Holcombs, who sold it to Bartlett about the year 1600. It is now the property of Barnaby John Stuckey Bartlett, Esq. Mr. Bartlett possesses also the manor of Littlecombe, which was purchased by the late Mr. Stuckey of Lord King: it was some time belonging to the Bonvilles, and afterwards to the Lords Petre.
In the parish church is an old monument of the Holcomb family, another without inscription or arms, and memorials of Joan, relict of John Wadham (fn. n42), 1581, the families of Bartlett (fn. n43), Stuckey (fn. n44), Bampfield of Beer, 1753, and George Woodward, Esq. 1741.
The great tithes are vested in the dean and chapter of Exeter, and they are patrons of the vicarage, which is in their peculiar jurisdiction. There was formerly a handsome chapel at Edge, which had been desecrated before 1772. (fn. n45)
Branton or Braunton
BRANTON (fn. n46) or BRAUNTON, in the hundred of that name and in the deanery of Shirwell, lies about six miles from Barnstaple. The villages of Santon, North Lobb, South Lobb, Nethercott, Knoll, Higher and Lower Winsham, Halsinger, Bere-Charter, Pippacot, and Bood are in this parish. The village of Braunton is populous and the parish extensive; the total number of inhabitants, in 1801, was 1296; in 1811, 1390.
The manor of Braunton (now called Braunton Abbots) having been parcel of the ancient demesnes of the crown, was given by King Richard I. to Odo, ancestor of the Carews. King John, in 1200 or 1201, gave to Robert de Seckville the manor of Braunton, except the land of Odo de Carru. (fn. n47) Three years afterwards, he granted him that land also, to be held during pleasure, paying an annual rent of 20l. (fn. n48) King Henry III., on the day of his coronation (fn. n49), granted two-thirds of the manor of Braunton, with the lordship of the hundred, to the abbot and convent of Clive in Somersetshire. This manor, which extends over part of the parishes of Marwood and Ilfracombe, was granted after the dissolution to the Earl of Westmorland, from whom it passed to Cheeke. In the reign of Charles the First, it belonged to Sir Richard Reynell, and has descended from him (fn. n50) to the present proprietor, Lord Viscount Courtenay. The lands of some estates within this manor descend to the elder, of others, to the younger son; they are all divided equally between daughters: the lands above mentioned are distinguished as lands of the elder, and of the younger holding. Widows are entitled to a life-hold in the husband's inheritance, but forfeit upon marrying again, or being guilty of incontinence. (fn. n51)
The manor of Braunton Gorges belonged to the family of Gorges in the reign of Edward I., and they continued to possess it for more than three centuries. It was afterwards in the Bassets, and is now the property of Joseph Davie Basset, Esq. of Watermouth. Mr. Basset is proprietor also of the manor of Braunton Arundell, which belonged anciently to the family of Arundell. Mrs. Deborah Keen, spinster, died seised of it in 1694. (fn. n52)
The manor of Bere-Charters belonged to the family of Charteray from the reign of Henry II. to that of Edward II., from them it was inherited by the Bourchiers, and is now the property of their descendant, Sir Bourchier Wrey, Bart. The manor-house is occupied by the tenant of the barton.
The manor of Buckland in this parish, with an estate called Incledon, belonged to the Incledon family from an early period till the year 1759. One of the co-heiresses of the late John Incledon, Esq. brought it to the late Philip Rogers Webber, Esq. whose son, Henry Webber, Esq., a general in the East India Company's service, is the present proprietor. Buckland house is the seat of General Webber. There was also a manor of Buckland Chailow in this parish, the inheritance of the Giffard family, who held it under the duchy of Cornwall in the reign of James I. (fn. n53)
The manor of Santon or Saunton at the time of the Domesday survey (fn. n54) was held in demesne by Tetbald Fitz Berner: in the reign of Henry III., it belonged to the family of that name, whose heiress brought it to Stockhey, and, after four descents, the heiress of Stockhey to Beaumont. Having passed by marriage to Chichester, Arthur Lord Chichester sold it to a branch of the Lutterells, who some time resided there. It is now the property of Augustus Saltren Clevland, (late Willett,) Esq. as devisee of John Clevland, Esq. of Tapley, whose ancestor purchased it of the Lutterells. The manor-house is occupied by the tenant of the barton. Luscot, in this parish, was granted by the abbot of Clive in 1286 to Thomas de Luscot (fn. n55), the heiress of which family brought it to Arundel of Lanherne. It has since been successively in the families of Collamore and Incledon, and passed with a co-heiress of the latter to Philip Rogers Webber, Esq.: it is now the property of his son. The barton of Ash belonged, at an early period, to the Flemings, one of whose co-heiresses brought it to Bellew. It afterwards passed by successive sales to the families of Bere, Chichester, Bury, Lamley, and Basset, and is now the property of Joseph Davie Basset, Esq.
Fairlinch, formerly a seat of the Burgoynes, was purchased about fifty years ago by the Parminters. Mr. Richard Dyer, the present proprietor and occupier, bought it of that family about the year 1800.
The rectorial manor and the advowson of Braunton were given to the church of Exeter by William the Conqueror. The dean has now the manor of Braunton-Dean, is appropriator of the great tithes (fn. n59), and patron of the vicarage, which is in his peculiar jurisdiction.
There were several chapels in this parish, of some of which there are remains. (fn. n60) There was formerly a cross in the church-yard, called the Palm Cross, said to have been kept up at a great expense till the year 1557.
In the year 1667, the Rev. William Challoner gave 450l. towards the endowment of a free-school, laid out in land now producing 54l. per annum. Arthur Acland, in 1690, gave 10l. per annum to the boys' school, and land now producing 2l. per annum for teaching 12 girls. Nicholas Bere, who was curate of Braunton in 1673, gave 50l., now producing 2l. per annum, for teaching 12 poor young children. A woman receives the two last-mentioned benefactions, and teaches 12 girls and as many young boys to read.
Near the sea is a large tract of land covered with sand and abounding with rabbits, called Braunton borough. Two light-houses have lately been erected on the borough for the security of mariners navigating the Bristol channel, and crossing Barnstaple bar.
BRATTON CLOVELLY, in the hundred of Lifton and in the deanery of Okehampton, lies about nine miles from Oakhampton, and about the same distance from Launceston in Cornwall. Burnaby, Burrow, and Brooks, are villages in this parish.
The manor of Bratton (fn. n61) belonged, at an early period, to the family of Deaudon. The heiress of Sir Hamlyn Deaudon married Sir Baldwin Malet, whose widow conveyed this manor to the family of Gonmore, or, according to Sir William Pole, Tinmore. It was afterwards in the Somertons,and is now in litigation between the claimants of the estates of the late William Wimpey, Esq. The barton of Bratton belongs to Mr. John Phear and — Baker.
The manor of Burnaby was for many descents the property, and the barton the residence, of the ancient family of Burnaby, who continued to possess it in the early part of the seventeenth century. The barton now belongs to John Hawkes, Esq. who is also proprietor of the barton of Eastlake. The barton of Ellicott belongs to the Earl of Morley; that of Swaddledown to the heirs of the late William Wimpey, Esq.; and that of Wrixhill, or Wreekshill, to Mr. William Martyn.
The manor belonged, at an early period, to the family of Flandrensis or Fleming, one of whose co-heiresses brought it to the Dillons. Having been purchased of the Dillon family in the reign of James I. by Sir Robert Chichester, it is now the property of his descendant Sir Arthur Chichester, Bart. Chimwell in this parish, the ancient seat of the Flemings, and afterwards of the Dillons, is now a farm-house.
The manor of High-Bray belonged to the Flemings, of whose co-heiresses it was purchased by Emanuel Davy, Esq. of Sandford. It was afterwards in the Oxenham family, by inheritance from which it is now the property of Thomas Palmer Acland, Esq. of Little-Bray, in the parish of Charles.
The manor was conveyed in the reign of Henry II. from Pomeroy to Beaple, and having passed by successive female heirs to Loringe, Harrington, Bonville, and Grey Duke of Suffolk, became vested in the crown by forfeiture. It has been in the Chichester family more than a century, and is now the property of Sir Arthur Chichester, Bart. who has a hunting-box at Brendon. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n62) Sir Arthur Chichester is patron of the rectory.
SOUTH BRENT, in the hundred of Stanborough and in the deanery of Totton, is a small market-town about eight miles from Ashburton, and about 200 from London. The number of inhabitants was returned in 1801 at 1032, in 1812 at 1230. The market is on Friday for butchers' meat, &c. There are cattle-fairs on the last Tuesday in April and the last Tuesday in September. (fn. n63) They were altered to these days in 1778. The villages of Aish or Ash, Haburnford, and Wonton, are in this parish.
The manor of Brent belonged to the abbot and convent of Buckfastleigh. After the dissolution it was purchased by Sir William Petre, ancestor of the Right Hon. Lord Petre, who is the present proprietor. Most of the land has been sold off. The abbot of Buckfastleigh had the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n64)
The Rev. John Wilcocks, who died in 1715, gave 100l. for teaching poor children of Brent and the village of Ash; it was laid out in land, which now produces 8l. 10s. per annum. The Rev. Thomas Acland gave a field at Ash, now let at 4l. 4s. per annum, to the same purpose.
BRENT TOR, in the hundred and deanery of Tavistock, lies about four miles from Tavistock. The village of West Liddaton is in this parish. A fair at Brent Tor church, within the manor of Lamberton, was granted to the abbot of Tavistock in the year 1231. (fn. n65)
The manor belonged to the Abbey of Tavistock (fn. n66), and was granted, together with its other possessions, to John, Lord Russel, ancestor of the Duke of Bedford, who has two manors in this parish called Holeyat and West Liddaton; he is also impropriator of the tithes and patron of the curacy.
The parish church, called in ancient records the Church of St. Michael de Rupe, is situated on a tor or rocky hill, which, rising abruptly on an elevated down, is seen at a great distance. It is a small edifice, consisting of a nave and chancel, its dimensions only 37 feet by 14 feet 6 inches. On a tablet opposite the door is inscribed the following passage from Scripture: "Upon this rock will I build my church."
Joel de Totneis held the manor of Bridford in demesne when the survey of Domesday was taken. In the reign of Henry III. it belonged to the Valletorts, from whom it passed by successive marriages to Okeston and Champernowne. After many descents in the last-mentioned family, Sir Richard Champernowne sold it to Sir Simon Leach in the early part of the seventeenth century. At a later period it was successively in the families of Hill and Taylor. Having been purchased of the latter by Sir Robert Palk, Bart. it is now the property of his grandson Sir Lawrence Vaughan Palk, Bart. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n67) The barton of Bridford belongs to Mr. William Northcote, who occupies it as a farm. Lapflode in this parish belongs to Sir L. V. Palk, having been purchased by his grandfather of the family of Coxe. This estate was in ancient times the property and residence of the Lapflodes, whose co-heiresses, after many descents, married Hals, Stavely, and Lippencot. There was formerly a chapel at Lapflode of which there are now no remains. The manor of Beaconton in this parish is the property of John Gullett, Esq: in 1809 it belonged to Mr. William Cooke.
In the parish church are memorials of the family of Hall, 1703, &c. Sir L. V. Palk is patron of the rectory. In the parish register, which commences in 1538, notice is taken of the insurrections in Devon and Cornwall in 1549.