Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.
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Tetcott, or Tetcot
TETCOTT, or TETCOT, in the hundred of Black Torrington and in the deanery of Holsworthy, lies on the borders of Cornwall, about 10 miles from Launceston. Peek, Fernhill, Nethercot, Moortown, and East and West Lana, are villages in this parish.
Joel de Totnais held the manor of Tetcott in demesne, when the survey of Domesday was taken: in the reign of Henry II. it belonged to the family of Pipard, whose heiress brought it to the Lords Lisle. From the latter it passed by female descent to the families of Berkeley, Nevil, and Hastings. Henry Earl of Huntingdon, sold it to the Arscotts, who made Tetcott their seat. John Arscott, Esq., the last heir male of this family, bequeathed the manor of Tetcott and other estates to Sir William Molesworth, of Pencarrow, in Cornwall, Bart. It is now vested in his son, Sir Arthur Ourry Molesworth, Bart., who is patron of the rectory. Tetcott House was a seat of the Molesworths, and is still occasionally occupied by some of the family.
In the parish-church are monuments of the Arscott family. (fn. n1)
Thelbridge, or Tilbridge
The manor was successively in the families of Charteray, Annelegh, Binley, and Stewkly. The last-mentioned family possessed it for several generations. About the year 1620, it was the property of Richard Shortridge, Esq., whose descendant and namesake died seised of it in 1763. In 1772 this manor was possessed by Mr. Thomas Pearse, who married one of Mr. Shortridge's daughters. It is now the property of John Partridge, Esq.
Cowick, in this parish, was given in or before the reign of Henry II., by William Fitz-Baldwin, to the abbey of Bec Harlewin, and a cell of Benedictine monks from that monastery was established here. Hugh Lord Courtenay, who died in 1340, was buried in the conventual church of Cowick with great solemnity. Upon the suppression of alien priories, in the reign of Henry V., it was seized into the hands of the crown; but upon the petition of the prior was restored by his successor. In the year 1445 the convent suffered great loss by a fire, which destroyed part of the buildings. It was probably in consequence of the impoverished state of the convent, which had suffered also by inundations, that Robert de Rouen, the prior, was induced to resign the government of it, which he did in the year 1451, at the chambers of the provost of King's College (fn. n2), then recently founded, to which the priory of Cowick, with its endowment, was given. It seems to have been surrenderred, not long afterwards, to the crown; for we find that, in or about the year 1462, King Edward the Fourth gave it to the abbot and convent of Tavistock (fn. n3), who continued to possess it till the general dissolution of religious houses, after which it was granted, with other possessions of that rich monastery, to John Lord Russell. The priory estate continued many years in this noble family. The site of the priory, some time since the property of Mrs. Speke, now belongs to James White, Esq., of Exeter, barrister-at-law. The manor is the property of James Buller, Esq., of Downes, having been purchased of the Earl of Bedford about the year 1639, by his ancestor William Gould, Esq. There are no remains of the conventual buildings, nor is its site exactly known, but it appears that it stood at the further extremity of the parish, and not far from the river Exe. (fn. n4) Hugh, Earl of Courtenay, who died in the reign of Henry I., was buried in Cowick priory.
Marsh barton, partly in this parish, and partly in that of Alphington, was the site of a small priory called St. Mary de Marisco, a cell to Plympton, which existed as early as the middle of the twelfth century. (fn. n5) After the dissolution, it was granted to the ancestor of Richard Pine Coffin, Esq., of Portledge, the present proprietor.
Hayes, in this parish, was a seat of the Peters. Sir George Peter sold it, in the reign of James I., to William Gould, Esq., who resided there when Sir William Pole made his collections. It is now the property of his representative, James Buller, Esq., of Downes.
Floyer Hayes was the property and residence of the ancient family of Floyer, from the time of the Conquest till of late years. Floyer Hayes has since been divided into parcels, and the seat of the Floyers has been pulled down. This estate was held by the service, "that whensoever the lord paramount, the Earl of Devonshire, should come into Exe island, the owner should come seemingly apparelled, with a napkin about his neck, or upon his shoulders, and a pitcher of wine and a silver cup in his hand, and should offer his lord thereof to drink."
The manor of Bowhill was for many generations in the family of Carew, who became possessed of it by marrying an heiress of Holland. It was forfeited by the attainder of John Carew the regicide. King Charles the Second granted it, in 1662, to Thomas Carew, the co-heiresses of which family married Penneck, King, and Sawle. The Sawles inherited both the manor of Bowhill and the barton of Higher Barley, in this parish, which had belonged also to the Carews. These estates are now the property of Mrs. Elizabeth Graves, widow of Admiral John Graves, daughter, and eventually sole heiress of Richard Sawle, Esq. There are considerable remains of the old mansion of the Carews, with the chapel. The premises have been long occupied as a nursery garden, and it is said to have been the first garden of that kind in the neighbourhood of Exeter.
Barley House was garrisoned by Sir Thomas Fairfax, when besieging Exeter, in the month of February, 1646. (fn. n6) A very large house in St. Thomas's parish, which had been a royal garrison, was given up to Sir Thomas Fairfax previously to the treaty for the surrender of Exeter. (fn. n7)
Exe island, partly in this parish, and partly within the city and county of Exeter, was given to the corporation by King Edward VI. for the good services of the citizens in the Western Rebellion. The manor of Exwick and Barley, having belonged to the priory of Cowick, has passed with the manor of Cowick, and is now the property of Mr. Buller.
The manor of Oldridge, in a distant part of this parish, and adjoining to that of Crediton, was granted to the Russell family as parcel of the possessions of Tavistock abbey. (fn. n8) It afterwards belonged to the family of Trowbridge, by whom it was sold to Yarde. It is now the property of John Yarde, Esq., but the lands were all sold off in parcels in 1791, by the executors of Giles Yarde, Esq.
The parish-church of St. Thomas appears to have been originally founded as a parochial chapel, appendant to the conventual church of St. Andrew Cowick; it had all parochial rights, except that of sepulture; the inhabitants having been buried in the cemetery of the chapel of St. Michael, which formerly existed without the priory gate. (fn. n9)
In the church of St. Thomas are monuments of William Williams, M.D., 1740; Elizabeth, his wife, heiress of Oliver of Exwick, 1776; Thomas Northmore, Esq., 1713; the wife of Charles Fanshawe, Esq. (no date); John Buller, Esq., of Shillingford, in Cornwall, and Downes, in Devon, 1772, &c.
James Buller, Esq., is patron of the vicarage and impropriator of the great tithes, which belonged to Tavistock abbey, having passed with the priory of Cowick. An old chapel at Oldridge having been pulled down by George Trowbridge, Esq., a new one was erected in 1789, at the expense of James Buller, Esq.: the late Mr. Giles Yarde gave the timber.
Eustace Budgell, a well-known writer of the last century, and a contributor to the Spectator, is said to have been born in the parish of St. Thomas, in or about 1685. His baptism does not appear in the parish register. (fn. n10)
William Gould, Esq., in 1637, gave a rent-charge of 8l. per annum for the purpose of maintaining an able school-master to instruct poor children of this parish in reading, writing, &c. His son, William Gould, Esq., gave by will an additional rent-charge of 2l. per annum for the same purpose. Robert Pate, in 1688, gave 30l. (now producing only 20s. per annum) for teaching poor children of this parish.
THORNBURY, in the hundred of Black Torrington and in the deanery of Holsworthy, lies about five miles from Holsworthy. The villages of Brendon, Woodacott, South Wanford, Wick, and Lashbrook, are in this parish.
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry II., to the family of Le Cornu, who continued to possess it for several generations, after which it passed, by marriage, to Speccot. Upon becoming possessed of the Thornbury estate, the Speccots removed their residence thither. The manor now belongs to William Morris Fry, Esq., who is patron of the rectory. The manor-house is occupied by a farmer. Bagbere, in this parish, gave name to a family who, having possessed it many generations, sold it to the Speccots about the year 1600.
In the parish-church is a monument without inscription, probably that of Sir John Speccot, who married a daughter of Sir Piers Edgecumbe. (fn. n11) There were formerly two priests in this church, called Cornu's stipendiaries, endowed with 6l. per annum each by the Cornu family.
THORNCOMBE, in the hundred of Axminster and in the deanery of Honiton, lies on the borders of Dorsetshire, about seven miles from Axminster. The principal village in the parish, exclusively of Thorncombe, is Holditch. There are also the small villages of Grib, Schoolhouse, Hew-wood, and Maudlin. A market at Thorncombe on Wednesday, and a fair for six days, beginning on Easter-Tuesday, were granted by King Edward II., in or about 1312, to the abbot of Ford. (fn. n12) The market, which had been changed to Saturday, was finally discontinued, and the market-house pulled down, about the year 1770. There is a fair still held on Easter-Tuesday.
Thorncombe was given by William the Conqueror to Baldwin de Sap, or de Brioniis, who had married his niece Albreda. Richard, Baron of Oakhampton, son of Baldwin, founded a monastery of the Cistercian order at Brightley, in the parish of Oakhampton, in the year 1133, which, a few years afterwards, was removed by his sister and heiress Adela to a place called the Ford, in this parish. The history of the foundation states that this noble lady, in the year 1138, met the abbot and monks passing through her manor of Thorncombe, on their return to the abbey of Waverley, (to which they had originally belonged,) from the barren spot at Brightley, which they had been obliged to quit from poverty and scarcity of provision; and that, moved with compassion, she gave them her manorhouse of Ford for their present residence, afterwards called West Ford, and the manor of Thorncombe for their support. After remaining nearly six years in the manor-house of West Ford, they built a new monastery at a place called Hartescath, afterwards Ford, which became their permanent residence. (fn. n13) Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, had been a monk and afterwards abbot of this house; Johannes Devonius, a learned monk, and confessor to King John, was also a monk of Ford Abbey. It appears that a priest had a salary of 3l. 6s. 8d. per annum, for instructing the boys of the abbey in grammar in the refectory at convenient seasons. (fn. n14) The estates of this monastery were valued at 381l. 10s. 6¾d., clear yearly income, at the time of its suppression, when King Henry VIII. granted the manor of Thorncombe to John Earl of Oxford, and the site of the abbey, with other lands, to Richard Pollard, Esq. Sir John, son of Sir Richard, sold it to Sir Amias Paulet, by whom it was conveyed to William Rowsewell, Esq. Sir Henry Rowsewell, son of William, sold Ford Abbey to Sir Edmund Prideaux, whose son married the heiress of Franceis, of Combe Flory, and took the name of that family. Margaret, his daughter and heir, in 1690, married Francis Gwynn, Esq., afterwards Secretary of State to Queen Anne, ancestor of John Franceis Gwynn (fn. n15), Esq., the present proprietor. Mr. Gwynn occasionally resides at Ford Abbey, which exhibits considerable remains of the buildings erected by Thomas Chard (fn. n16), the last abbot. It appears by a note of Thomas Hearne's, that about a century ago there remained a gallery called the Monk's Walk, with small narrow windows, and the cells of the monks. (fn. n17) The original chapel of the abbey, built in the twelfth century, still remains. To this chapel were removed the remains of Richard Fitz-Baldwin, Viscount of Devon, first founder of the monastery of Brightley; and here were buried his sister Adela, and several of the Courtenays, who became as her descendants (fn. n18) patrons of Ford Abbey, but none of their monuments remain. There are some monuments of the Prideaux family — Edmund Prideaux, Esq., the restorer of Ford Abbey-house, ob. 1659; Margaret, his wife, co-heiress of Ivory, 1683; Edmund Prideaux, his son, who married a co-heiress of Franceis, 1702.
The manor of Thorncombe is now the property of John Bragge, Esq.: his ancestor purchased it, together with Sadborough, which has ever since been the seat of the family, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Holdich, in this parish, belonged for some generations, at an early period, to the family of Fleming. William Fleming gave it to Reginald Mohun (fn. n19), by whom it was conveyed to Brooke. It continued to be the property and one of the seats of the last-mentioned family from the reign of Henry III. to that of James I., when it was seized by the crown upon the attainder of Lord Cobham, and was granted to Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire. Sir Thomas Putt is said to have died seised of the manor of Holdich in 1686. (fn. n20) Mr. Gwynn, of Ford Abbey, now holds a court at Holdich, and Admiral Richard Graves is entitled to certain quit-rents from all lands in the tithing. The barton belongs to Mr. Bragge, having been purchased, in 1714, by his ancestor, William Bragge, Esq., of John Bowditch, to whose family it had been conveyed by Blount, Lord Mountjoye. In 1773, there were considerable remains of the old mansion and the chapel, some traces of which are still to be seen. There is a farmhouse on the site.
Beer hall belonged to the De la Beers for several generations, and was afterwards for some continuance in the Okestons, who married the heiress of De la Beer. The heiress of Okeston brought it to Norton, who sold it to Jew. Sir William Hodye, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, second son of Lord Chief Justice Hodye, by the heiress of Jew, inherited this estate, and settled here. Risdon observes that, in his time, it had ceased to be a gentleman's residence, and that the land had been parcelled out. The site of Beer hall, on which is now a farm-house, is the property of Sir Alexander Hood, Bart.
In the parish-church is the tomb of Sir Thomas Brooke, with his effigies on a brass plate, (the date covered); and a cenotaph for Lucy, wife of Thomas Vernon Dolphin, Esq., and sister of John Bragge, Esq., who died in 1802. Mr. Bragge is impropriator of the great tithes, which had belonged to the Abbey, and patron of the vicarage.
The Rev. Thomas Cook, in 1734, gave to the parish a mansion, now known by the name of the school-house; appropriating the great hall, two butteries, and three chambers over them, with the orchard and garden, for the occupation of a schoolmaster, who should teach six poor children: the remainder of the premises, for the habitation of poor persons, to be maintained out of the parish rates. Mrs. Elizabeth Bragge, in 1719, gave a rent-charge of 2l. 10s. per annum to the school.
There are two fairs at Thorverton, held annually, on the last Monday in February and the Monday after the 18th of July: the February fair is chiefly for fat sheep; the July fair for lambs; for which it is the most celebrated in the West of England, upwards of 40,000 having been frequently sold at it, principally for rearing.
The manor of Thorverton was given with the church by King Henry II. to the Abbot and Convent of St. Martin, called Majus Monasterium, or Marmontier, in Tours. It was purchased of this monastery by Sir John Wiger, who, in the year 1276, gave it to the dean and chapter of Exeter, for the maintenance of three chaplains, in a chantry founded by him in the Cathedral. (fn. n21) The manor still belongs to the dean and chapter, under whom it was held for several generations, by the family of Milford. The lease was sold some years ago by S. F. Milford, Esq., and his brother, Mr. John Milford, to a farmer of the name of Reynolds, who is the present proprietor, and resides at the court barton. The old manor-house, was pulled down a few years ago. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of life and death. (fn. n22)
The manor of East Raddon belonged, before the reign of Edward I., to the family of De Bathonia, or Bath; from whom it passed by successive female heirs, to Wallis (fn. n23), and Digby. It is now, by devise from the late Mr. Tuckfield, in whose family it had been for more than a century, the property of Richard Hippisley Tuckfield, Esq. The mansion, in which are the ruinous remains of a chapel, is now a farm-house.
Yoldford belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to Sir John de Toliro; it afterwards passed successively, partly by purchase, and partly by inheritance, to Longacre, Heanton, Somaster, Limpany, Hurst, and Martyn. It is now the property of Sir Henry Carew, Bart. The barton-house, which was inhabited by the late Dowager Lady Carew, is at present unoccupied, except by a servant.
In the parish-church are memorials of the Tuckfield family. (fn. n24) The dean and chapter are appropriators of the great tithes, and patrons of the vicarage.
There is a charity-school at this place, with an endowment of 9l. per annum. (fn. n25) With this endowment, aided by voluntary contributions, a school for seventy children, on Dr. Bell's plan, is supported.
Throwley, or Throwleigh
THROWLEY, or THROWLEIGH, in the hundred of Wonford and in the deanery of Dunsford, lies about three miles from Chagford, and about seven from Moreton Hampsted. Wonston, or Wonson, Ford, Ash, Higher and Lower Murchington, and Way, are villages in this parish.
The manor belonged, at an early period, to the family of Ferrers, whose heiress brought it to Prouz, of Gidley Castle. From Prouz it passed, by successive female heirs, to Mules, Damarell, and Coade. It continued in the latter in the reign of Charles I., and was soon afterwards in the Knapmans, whose heiress brought it to the Northmores, with the manor and barton of Wonson, the capital messuage of Ford, and the manor of Rushford, in Throwley, and Chagford. The manor of Throwley has been dismembered. Mr. Bartholomew Gidley is entitled to certain quit-rents out of it; and has the manor of Wonson. The barton of Throwley belongs to Mr. John Dunning. The King is patron of the rectory. There was formerly a chapel at Walland hill, of which there are some remains.
Thrushelton, or Thruselton
The manor belonged, in the reign of Edward I., to the Viponts; afterwards successively to Pomeroy and Trenchard. It is now, by inheritance from the latter, the property of the Rev. Henry Hawkins Tremayne. Mr. Tremayne possesses also Cannabarne, which had been given by the Trenchards to the priory of Plympton, and the barton of Wreys. There seems to have been another manor, called North Thruselton, held with Sourton, from the reign of Henry II., to that of Edward III., by the Talbots. This, probably, was the manor of which John Wood, Esq. was seised, in the year 1619. (fn. n26) I cannot learn, that any such manor is now known.
The barton of Axworthy, in this parish, is the joint property of Sir William Lemon, Bart., and John Newton, Esq., of Bridstow. Thruselton is a daughter-church to Mary Stow. Mr. Tremayne is patron and impropriator.
THURLSTON, in the hundred of Stanborough and in the deanery of Woodleigh, lies near the coast, about four miles from Kingsbridge. The village of Buckland is in this parish, and Bantham, on the coast, where is a harbour for barges and small sloops.
Hugh de Ferrers, and William Chiverston, were lords of this manor, in the reign of Edward I. It now belongs to Lord Viscount Courtenay, by inheritance from the Chiverstons. Sir Francis Buller Yarde, Bart., is patron of the rectory. The lords of the manor of Thurlston had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n27)
The parish of Tiverton is divided into four districts, called Pitt Quarter, Tidcombe Quarter, Clare Quarter, and Prior's Quarter. In Pitt Quarter are the villages of Chettescombe, Bolham, and Cove; in Tidcombe Quarter, Chevethorne, West Mere, East Mere, Craze Loman, and Manley; in Clare Quarter, the village of Palmers.
The market and fair existed at an early period, before the year 1200. King Henry III., in 1257, granted what must have been a confirmation of a market on Monday, and a fair for three days at the festival of St. James. (fn. n28) The market day was changed, in 1655, from Monday to Tuesday. There is now a considerable market for corn, &c. &c. on Tuesday; and on Saturday, a market for butchers' meat, and other provisions. King James granted two fairs, still held, for cattle, horses, &c.; the second Tuesday after Trinity Sunday, and Michaelmas Day. There are great markets on the second Tuesday in March; Tuesday before April 25; August 26; December 14, when on a Tuesday; when not, on the first Tuesday following. Hugh, Earl of Devon, gave the profits of the market, in trust for the poor, about the year 1370. It seems, that some of his successors had resumed the gift, or that it was only temporary, for it appears, that the profits are now vested in trust for the poor, in consequence of donation or purchase, from the several lords of portions of the manor, between 1627 and 1664. The market-house, which had been built in 1699, was burnt down in 1731, and rebuilt.
King James, in 1615, granted the inhabitants of Tiverton a charter of incorporation, with various liberties and privileges. The body corporate consists of a mayor, twelve capital burgesses, and twelve assistants; with a recorder, clerk of the peace, and town-clerk. This charter having been forfeited by neglect, was renewed in 1724. By the charter of 1615, Tiverton was made a Parliamentary borough; the right of electing members being vested in the corporation. The town-house was built in 1615, on the site of St. Thomas's Chapel: it was repaired and modernised in 1788.
It is probable, that the clothing-manufacture was first introduced at Tiverton in the fourteenth century, during which it was extended over a great part of the county of Devon. It is certain that the manufacture was carried on to a considerable extent, about the year 1500. In the reign of Elizabeth, the woollen trade, particularly the manufacture of kersies, for which this town became celebrated, had increased to such a degree, that in the course of thirty years, the population was nearly doubled. The manufacture of mixed worsted serges was introduced early in the reign of William III. About the year 1720, the manufacture of fine druggets, drapeens, and cloth serges, was introduced, and for some years proved a very advantageous trade. In 1730, there were fifty-six fulling-mills employed in and near Tiverton. About the year 1745, the woollen trade at Tiverton began to decay in consequence of the rivalry of other markets, particularly the Norwich stuffs, the manufacture of which was introduced at Tiverton in 1752, but failed after a few years. The trade suffered still further by the American war; but various other species of coarse woollen manufactures have been from time to time introduced: in 1790, there were 1000 looms in Tiverton, 700 of which were in daily use; and there were 200 wool-combers. There is scarcely any woollen trade now in Tiverton, except some spinning. A lace-manufactory was established in 1815, by Heathcoat and Co., on an extensive scale: a large building was erected for the purpose, with machinery, &c., employing about 1500 hands, including men, women, and children. This manufactory is still (1821) carried on with success.
The population of Tiverton has fluctuated considerably, in consequence of the increase and decay of trade, and the occasional calamitous visitations of fire and pestilence: the last mentioned calamity swept off a tenth part of the population in 1591; the number of inhabitants having been then about 5000, and about double what it had been 30 years before. In 1625, the number of inhabitants had again increased, and was then about 6000; in 1640, nearly 8000. In 1644, 443 persons died of the sweating sickness: 105 of these in the month of October. In 1715, the number of inhabitants was about 8700. In 1741, an epidemic disorder, called the spotted fever, carried off 636 persons, being one-twelfth of the population at that period. About the year 1770, the number of inhabitants is said to have been about 1800 less than it was 40 years before; in 1790, it is said to have again increased about 500. In 1801, there were 6505 inhabitants in the town and parish; in 1811, 6732; according to the returns made to Parliament at those periods.
The destructive calamity of fire, which has at times befallen most of the Devonshire towns, has been experienced at Tiverton more frequently and more severely than elsewhere. The first great fire of which we have any account, broke out on the 3d of April, 1598, at one in the afternoon: it consumed 400 houses and several chapels; and destroyed goods and merchandize, then valued at 150,000l. Notwithstanding this calamity happened in the day-time, 33 persons perished in the flames. On the 5th of August, 1612, a fire, still more destructive, broke out, by which 600 houses were consumed, about 30 only escaping the fire: the loss in goods, merchandize, &c., was estimated at 200,000l. In 1661, a fire boke out on the 12th of November, which consumed 45 houses, belonging to manufacturers and artificers, whose losses were calculated at 2770l. Two fires, of smaller extent, occurred in 1676, and 1726. In 1730, 15 houses were destroyed by a fire, which broke out in Newport-street. On the 5th of June, in the following year, happened a more destructive conflagration, by which 298 houses were consumed. The loss, although large, being estimated at about 59,000l., does not appear so great by far, especially taking into consideration the difference in the value of money, as that incurred by some of the former calamities, supposing the estimates to have been correct. The calamity, nevertheless, was most afflictive, and the benevolence shown to the poor sufferers, not only by the neighbouring city of Exeter, and the county of Devon, but by the whole nation, most prompt and liberal. The collections amounted to 10,200l., which was equitably distributed among the poor and middle ranks. The King gave 1000l.
Smaller fires, by which from five to 10 or 12 houses, were each time destroyed, occurred in 1738, 1739, 1751, 1773, and 1783. In 1762, twenty dwelling-houses were destroyed by fire, in the month of May. In 1785, a fire broke out on the 14th of May, which destroyed 47 houses; the damages were estimated at 2000l. On the same day, in 1788, about 20 dwelling-houses were consumed by fire. The provisions of an act, passed in 1731, which enacted, that all houses and other buildings, should be covered with lead or slates, with sundry other regulations for checking the progress of fire, seem not to have been very effective. There are pamphlets extant, which give a particular account of the destructive fires in 1598, 1612, and 1731.
In the year 1549, during the commotions occasioned in Devonshire by the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer, a battle was fought at Cranmore Castle, near Collipriest, about a mile south of Tiverton. The insurgents were dispersed by the King's army, and several of them, having been taken prisoners, were hanged and quartered. (fn. n29) In the early part of the civil war, Tiverton was in the possession of the Parliament; after the battle of Stratton, in May, 1643, the victorious royalists, in their march from Cornwall, dispossessed Colonel Weare, who then held Tiverton for the Parliament.
The Earl of Essex was for some time at Tiverton with his army, in 1644. (fn. n30) The King, with his army, halted there on the 21st of September. (fn. n31) In the month of October, 1645, Sir Gilbert Talbot, being then Governor of Tiverton, General Massey marched thither from Collumpton, and immediately took possession of the town. The General, Sir Thomas Fairfax, joined him on the 18th, and the next day, the church, castle, and outworks, were taken by storm; and Sir Gilbert Talbot, with several officers, and 200 privates, taken prisoners. (fn. n32) Sir Thomas Fairfax removed the head-quarters of his army to Tiverton on the 6th of December, and a council of war was held there on the 7th. (fn. n33)
The summer assizes were held at Tiverton, in Mr. Blundell's school, in 1626, on account of the plague raging at Exeter, and again in 1649. Prince says, that on the last occasion, they were removed out of revenge to James Gould, the Mayor of Exeter, who had slighted the Judges after the execution of King Charles I.
The manor of Tiverton, which had been part of the royal demesne, and had been held by Earl Harold's mother, was given by King Henry I. to Richard de Ripariis, Earl of Devon, who is supposed to have built Tiverton Castle, about the year 1100. Baldwin de Ripariis, or Redvers, the last Earl of Devon of this family, dying in 1242, Tiverton was possessed by his widow, and after her death in or about 1284, it devolved to his sole heiress, Isabel de Fortibus, Countess of Albemarle. This lady, who became Countess of Devon, died in 1292; when the manor of Tiverton, with all the estates attached to the earldom of Devon, devolved with the title to Hugh Courtenay, Baron of Oakhampton, great grandson of Robert Courtenay, who married the daughter of William de Ripariis, a former Earl of Devon. Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who died in 1419, commonly called the good, or the blind earl, (having lost his eye-sight during the latter part of his life,) had, in his more vigorous years, been a distinguished naval commander. He was in 1383, appointed Admiral for the western part of the kingdom; and was one of the three Admirals who defeated the combined fleets of France, Holland, and Spain, and took 100 sail of vessels richly laden. He is said to have made Tiverton Castle the chief place of his residence. After the attainder of Henry, Earl of Devon, who was beheaded in 1462, the manor of Tiverton and the earldom, were given to Sir Humphrey Stafford; but after his death, in 1466, it was restored with the title of Earl of Devon, to John, brother of the last earl. This manor was again seized by the crown after the battle of Tewksbury, in which the Earl of Devon was slain, fighting on the side of King Henry VI.; and was successively granted to Sir John Dinham, and George, Duke of Clarence. The manor of Tiverton was, in 1484, granted to Sir Robert Ratcliffe, but was the next year restored, with the title of Earl of Devon, to Sir Edward Courtenay, descended from a younger brother of Edward, Earl of Devon, who died in 1419. William Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who died in 1511, married Catherine, daughter of King Edward IV. This illustrious lady held Tiverton in dower, and resided at the castle, in her widowhood, dying there on the 15th of November, 1517. Her funeral obsequies were solemnised with great pomp: the body lay in state at the Castle till the 2d of December, when it was interred in a chapel adjoining St. Peter's Church, Lady Carew attending as chief mourner, and the procession being accompanied by the Lord Suffragan, and divers abbots, and prelates. A handsome monument was erected to her memory; but this and other monuments of the Courtenay family, with the chapel which contained them, were destroyed in the civil war. Henry, son of the above mentioned lady, who, in 1538, had been created Marquis of Exeter, was beheaded in the month of January following, and his estates confiscated. The manor of Tiverton was given by King Edward VI., in 1547, to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset; and after his attainder, to Sir Henry Gate: the latter had scarcely taken possession, before the accession of Queen Mary, who restored it to Edward, the only son of the late Marquis of Exeter, creating him at the same time Earl of Devon. On the death of this earl, in 1556, the title became extinct, and the manor of Tiverton, and his other estates, devolved to the heirs of the four sisters of Edward, Earl of Devon, his great grandfather, who had married Arundell of Talvern, Trethurfe, Mohun, and Trelawney.
The several shares of the manor of Tiverton passed into other families by sale. The Castle was purchased by Roger Giffard, Esq., a younger son of Sir Roger Giffard, of Brightley, and is said to have acquired for a time the name of Giffard's Court. A fourth part, which had belonged to the Mohuns, was purchased by Mr. John West, about the year 1605. The grandson of Roger Giffard left an only daughter, who brought Tiverton Castle in marriage to Roger Burgoyne, Esq. Mr. Burgoyne's son sold the castle, with a fourth part of the manor, to Peter West, Esq., who resided in the castle, and was sheriff of the county in 1707. Another portion of the manor was purchased by the Wests of the Trelawney family. Dorothy, one of the co-heiresses (fn. n34) of John West, Esq., who died in 1728, brought six-eighths of the manor and hundred of Tiverton, with the castle, in marriage to Sir Thomas Carew, of Haccombe, Bart., father of Sir Henry Carew, Bart., the present proprietor, who possesses seven-eighths, oneeighth having been purchased by Dorothy Lady Carew, of the Rev. Mr. Spurway, in whose family it had been for a considerable time. The remaining eighth had been, for more than two centuries, in the family of Colman, who resided, for many generations, at Gornhay, in this parish; this share was sold after the death of the late Edward Colman, Esq., Serjeant at arms to the House of Lords, to the Rev. Dr. Short, Archdeacon of Cornwall, who is the present proprietor. The lords of this manor, which was parcel of the barony of Plympton, had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n35)
Tiverton Castle was dismantled after the civil war. The habitable part was formed into a mansion for the residence of the Wests, but had been for some time occupied by the tenant of the adjoining barton, before it was fitted up for the residence of Lady Carew, mother of Sir Henry, by whom it is now inhabited. There are still some remains of the towers and gateways of the old castle. Westcote speaks of two parks at Tiverton, in the reign of Charles I.
The manor of Pole, in this parish, gave name to an ancient family, who possessed it from the time of William the Conqueror, to the reign of Edward III. It was then called Pole Anthony, from Anthony de la Pole, one of its possessors. The manor of Pole Anthony, was afterwards in the Reades, from whom it passed, by successive marriages, to the families of Popham and Wadham. It is now, by descent from the latter, the property of the Honourable Percy Wyndham. Chevethorn, in Pitt Quarter, belonged, at an early period, to the family of De Chevethorn; afterwards to the Heles, from whom it passed by marriage, to Franceis, of Combe Flory. John Franceis, Esq., who resided at Chevethorn in 1630, is said to have been the first person in the parish who kept a coach. Having passed by marriage to Gwynn, it is now the property of John Franceis Gwynn, Esq. The old mansion, which is situated on the verge of a wood, about three miles from Tiverton, has a castellated appearance. Mr. Gwynn possesses also the manor of Loman Clavell; in this quarter, which was so called from its ancient possessors, the Clavells. The manor of Chettescomb belonged to the Courtenays. Sir Thomas Pine, who purchased of that family in the reign of Edward I., conveyed it to the King. Some time afterwards, it was granted to Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent, whose descendants sold it to William Clifton. Sir Edmund Prideaux purchased it of Gervais, Lord Clifton. It is now the property of R. C. Pell, Esq., whose father bought it of Sir John Wilmot Prideaux, Bart. Collipriest House was many years the seat of the Blundell family. It was rebuilt and enlarged by the late Thomas Winsloe, Esq., (afterwards Phillips. (fn. n36)) It is now the property of James Hay, Esq., but is at present unoccupied, and has been recently advertised for sale. The Deyman family had for many generations a residence at Collipriest. John Deyman, Esq., a zealous royalist and a magistrate, being in the castle when it was stormed by Massey, his estates were seized by the Parliament. (fn. n37) Gornhay House and estate, formerly the seat of the Colmans, is now a farm, lately purchased of that family by the Rev. Dr. Short, and Ralph Barnes, Esq. Zephyr Lodge is the property and residence of Philip Blundell, Esq.
The parish-church is a handsome Gothic structure, with a tower nearly 100 feet in height, consisting of a nave and side-aisles, separated by clustered columns. On the south side of the south aisle is a chapel, built by John Grenwaye in the year 1517, separated from the aisle by a rich screen; the outside is richly ornamented with tracery, and has a cornice, on which are carved, in alto relievo, subjects from the history of our Saviour. Over the vestry is a room where the parish records are kept, and a library bequeathed to the parish by the Rev. John Newte, in 1715. The organ was put up in 1696, when Mr. Newte published a sermon preached at its opening, which occasioned a controversy with the Dissenters on the lawfulness of Church music. The altar-piece, painted by Cosway, was given by him to the parish in 1784.
In this church are monuments, or inscribed grave-stones, in memory of the families of Colman (fn. n38), Newte (fn. n39), Foot (fn. n40), and Burridge (fn. n41); Roger Giffard, Esq., 1603; John West, 1630; John Upcott, 1670; William Lee, M.D., 1679; Robert Chatty, merchant, 1679; Edward Gibbon, 1707; his wife, a co-heiress of Amory, by a daughter of Molford, 1683; Nathaniel Cleavland, merchant, 1715; Richard Spurway, 1718; Mr. Sebastian Land, 1726; Nathaniel Thorne, merchant, 1734; George Sweet, Esq., 1809; Elizabeth Pomery, wife of Thomas Phillips, Esq., 1809; and Richard Blundell, Esq., 1811. In Grenwaye's chapel is a grave-stone with brass plates, of John Grenwaye, the founder, and Jane, his wife, without inscription.
Ordinations were formerly held occasionally in the parish-church of Tiverton. It is on record that 370 persons were here ordained on the 6th of June, 1370, by William Courtenay, then Bishop of Hereford. (fn. n42)
In the church-yard are monuments for George Thorne, merchant, and his family, 1659—1722; Thomas Enchmarch, merchant, 1735; Thomas Enchmarch, his son, 1747; Martin Dunsford, 1763; Martin Dunsford, the younger, author of the History of Tiverton, &c., who died in 1807, aged 63; Mary Elizabeth Cowley, æt. 17, 1789, with an inscription by her mother, Mrs. Hannah Cowley, the successful dramatic writer and poetess. Mrs. Cowley died at Tiverton, her native place, where she passed the last eight years of her life, in the month of March, 1809, æt. 66 (fn. n43): her maiden name was Parkhouse.
The rectory of Tiverton is divided, like the parish, into four portions. Prior's portion was separated from the rectory by Baldwin de Ripariis, the first Earl of Devon of that name, and given to the priory of St. James, in the suburbs of Exeter, to which it became appropriated. This priory being a cell to the foreign monastery of Clugny, was seized into the hands of the crown, and was by King Henry VI. given to the provost and scholars of King's College in Cambridge, to which it still belongs. The College appoints a curate to perform a fourth part of the service of the church of Tiverton. The remainder of the parish is said to have been divided into three portions by Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon, about the year 1335, but it must have been at a much earlier period. There is abundant evidence that the Courtenay family presented to the three portions or prebends as early as the middle of the preceding century. (fn. n44) These portions were in the gift of the Courtenay family till the death of the last Earl of Devon. The advowsons of the several portions then became vested jointly in the co-heirs, and have passed in severalties through various hands. The descendants of the Courtenays have now no interest in it, except a small part of two of the portions, which belongs to the Vyvyans. A moiety of each, giving an alternate presentation, was in the Newton family, passed by purchase to the Ryders, and is now vested in Lord Harrowby. Sir Henry Carew has half the remaining moiety of Tidcombe portion; the Rev. John Spurway one-eighth, and Sir Vyel Vyvyan, Bart., one-eighth. Mr. Spurway and Sir Henry Carew have one-fourth each of the advowson of Clare portion: the other moiety of the advowson of Pitt's portion is divided between Mr. Spurway, Sir Vyel Vyvyan, and Sir Henry Carew, who have each a sixth turn in the presentation.
Richard Newte, a learned divine, who was presented by his own family to the portions of Tidcombe and Clare, about the commencement of the civil war, was on his travels with the celebrated Dr. Pocock when he heard of the calamities of his native town, visited by the scourges of war and pestilence in 1646: he hastily repaired thither, and during the whole time that the plague raged was indefatigable in his attention to the duties of his function, preaching within the church or in the fields, relieving the poor, and visiting the sick. Nevertheless, he escaped infection, but could not escape the violence of party, for he was soon afterwards ejected from the portions of Tidcombe and Clare, and underwent many grievous persecutions till the Restoration, when he was repossessed of his benefices, and survived till the year 1678. The four portionists serve the church, and are responsible for all parochial duties by turns.
A new church or chapel, dedicated to St. George, was begun in the year 1714: it was not finished till the year 1730, and not consecrated before 1733. In this church are monuments of Mr. Henry Blagdon, who gave, in his lifetime, 500l., and, by will, a further sum of 1000l., towards the building, ob. 1716; Mrs. M. Peard, 1780; Benjamin Dickenson, Esq., 1806; and that of Priscilla, wife of Benjamin Dickenson, Esq., Major of the royal marines, who from extreme anxiety to visit her husband, left England in a delicate state of health, and died within a month after her arrival at Fort St. Julian in Portugal, 1811. The monument is of white marble, with a representation of Fort St. Julian in relief, and a ship arriving in the harbour. This church or chapel was made a perpetual cure, with a salary of 60l. per annum, to be paid in portions of 15l. each to the portionists of Tidcombe, Pitt, and Clare, and to the curate of Prior's portion, each of whom officiates monthly on the Sunday after he has officiated at the old church of St. Peter's.
In the cemetery adjoining this chapel are monuments of the Rev. Samuel Wesley, master of Tiverton school, who died in 1739; Oliver Peard, merchant, 1767; and Margaret Ann, relict of Lieutenant-Colonel Morris Robinson, 1816.
In Pitt Quarter, about four miles from Tiverton, is Cove chapel, served three times a month. There were formerly several chapels in the town, all of which were existing in 1554; St. Andrew's, where the Bridewell now is; St. Thomas, now the site of the Guildhall; and St. Peter's, now the Steps meeting-house. In Pitt Quarter were formerly St. Bartholomew's chapel at Bolham; at Chettiscombe was a chapel dedicated to St. Mary, since converted into a dwelling-house. In Tidcombe Quarter was a chapel dedicated to St. Lawrence, and another at West Manby, both converted into dwelling-houses. In Clare Quarter was a chapel dedicated to St. Matthew, of which all traces have been long destroyed; and there is supposed to have been another at Higher Withley.
The congregation of Presbyterians first opened a public meeting-house under their pastor, Richard Saunders, after the declaration of liberty of conscience in 1672. Mr. Saunders presided at the first assembly of the Presbyterian ministers of Devon, at Tiverton, in 1691. Mr. Kiddell, pastor of this congregation, a native of Tiverton, (born in 1721,) was author of "Dissertations on the Holy Scriptures," published in 1779; a work in considerable estimation among those of his own persuasion. This congregation are now Unitarians. The old meeting-house, which was on Angel Hill, is supposed to have been built about 1689: it was taken down a few years ago, and the site converted into a garden. The congregation now occupy a meeting-house in Peter-Street, which had belonged to the Calvinistic Methodists. The Steps meeting-house, belonging to the Independent Calvinists, was formerly the chapel of St. Peter. It was opened in 1687 by Theophilus Polwheel, an Independent, (author of several religious tracts (fn. n45),) who had been ejected from Clare and Tidcombe portions. The meeting-house was enlarged in 1699. The minister of this meeting has an endowment of about 19l. per annum: the congregation may be considered as the remains of the old Independents. The Particular and General Baptists have congregations in Tiverton: the meeting-house of the former in Newport-Street was built in 1732, on the site of a former, supposed to have been opened in 1687. The meeting-house of the General Baptists was opened in 1818. A congregation of Wesleyan Methodists was established here by John Wesley himself in 1750: a new meeting-house was built on a larger scale in 1814. Some followers of Joanna Southcote have procured a licence for a small house in West Exe.
The almshouse in Gold-Street was founded by John Grenwaye, an opulent wool-merchant, who died in 1517, and bestowed a great part of his wealth, supposed to have been the whole of his disposable property, on works of charity and public utility. The almshouse, although much damaged, and in part burnt down, by the destructive fire of 1731, exhibits a considerable portion of the original structure, with open galleries in front, and inscriptions commemorative of the founder, who bequeathed certain lands and houses, now producing a rent of 222l. per annum, for the maintenance of five poor men in this almshouse, and keeping in repair the chapel built by the founder on the south side of St. Peter's church. The original pension of the almsmen was 8d. a week each, and they were to pray for the donor's and all Christian souls. This almshouse, nevertheless, escaped from being suppressed at the Reformation; and one of the poor men was appointed to read the common prayer instead of the Roman Catholic service. The trustees, in consequence of the increased value of the estates, augmented the number of pensioners to nine. The necessary repairs after the fire of 1731 consumed the produce of the estate for some years. The poor men now receive 3s. a week each.
The almshouse in Wellbrooke Road, called the Western almshouse, was founded by Mr. John Waldron and his wife, in 1579, for eight poor aged men: the founder died before the building, which is constructed like Grenwaye's almshouse with open galleries, was finished, as appears by the inscription on the front. (fn. n46) Mr. Waldron endowed them with a rentcharge of 24l., issuing out of the manor of Daccomb, in the parish of Paignton. Thomas Enchmarch, merchant, gave in 1735 a rent-charge of 5l. per annum to the poor men in this almshouse. The almshouse in Peter Street was founded in 1613, by Mr. George Slee, merchant, for six poor aged widows or maidens, and endowed with the sum of 500l., now producing 19l. 15s. per annum, for the payment of 1s. per week to each.
The free grammar-school at Tiverton was founded by Mr. Peter Blundell, who by unremitting industry rose from a humble origin and realised a splendid fortune, of which he is said to have given 40,000l. in legacies and for charitable uses, besides amply providing for the families of his sister and his only brother, whose descendant is still living at Tiverton. Mr. Blundell died in 1604, at the age of 81: by his will, in 1599, he gave the sum of 2400l. for building the school-room (fn. n47) and dwelling-houses for the master, usher, &c.; and lands, now producing 325l. per annum for the support of the school. The oversight of the building was entrusted by the founder to his friend Chief Justice Popham, with power to make discretionary alterations in the plan, and the trust was executed with such promptitude and zeal, that the school, with the dwelling-houses and offices, were completed within four years after the founder's death. The school was intended by the founder for 150 scholars, natives of the town or parish of Tiverton; but if that number could not be so supplied, the deficiency was to be made up with the children of foreigners: the whole to be taught free of expense. He allotted 50l. per annum for the master's salary, and 13l. 6s. 8d. for that of the usher, and appointed feoffees for the execution of the trust, from the most respectable inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood: these are kept up to the number of twenty-five. Mr. Blundell, by his will above mentioned, gave 2000l. to purchase lands for the endowment of six scholarships at Oxford or Cambridge, from his school at Tiverton. Before the year 1616 the feoffees had purchased lands in Oxfordshire, for the maintenance of a fellow and scholar at Baliol College in Oxford; and lands in Lincolnshire for the endowment of two fellowships and two scholarships at Sydney Sussex College in Cambridge. The scholarships, both at Oxford and Cambridge, are 30l. per annum each. Mr. John Ham, in the year 1678, gave the sum of 200l., as it appears, for the foundation of another fellowship and scholarship in either of the above-mentioned colleges. The benefaction seems to have been declined by the colleges, and after an application to the Court of Chancery, the sum of 844l. 18s. 9d., O.S.S.A., accruing from it, was placed by the Court at the discretion of Mr. Blundell's feoffees, who have founded with it an exhibition of 23l. per annum. Mr. Benjamin Gilberd, in 1783, gave a reversionary legacy of 60l. per annum, since dropped in, with which the feoffees of Blundell's school have founded two exhibitions, of 30l. per annum each, called Gilberd's exhibitions. The Rev. John Newte, in 1715, gave lands in Braunton, now producing about fifty guineas per annum, for founding an exhibition at Baliol College from Tiverton school.
The master's salary at Tiverton is still 50l. per annum: the usher's has been advanced to 20l. The first master, nominated by Chief Justice Popham, was the celebrated Dr. Joseph Hall, afterwards Bishop of Norwich; but it does not appear that he accepted the appointment, as he resigned the same day. Dr. George Bull, Bishop of St. David's, was educated at this school. It has been and continues in great celebrity. The present number of scholars, including native boys, is nearly 200. In 1776 it was determined to give honorary medals to boys distinguishing themselves by their literary attainments. The feoffees have since subscribed for the purchase of books to be given as rewards for the best poems in commemoration of the founder. Samuel Smith, master of the school in 1732, published an account of the great fire at Tiverton in 1731. Samuel Wesley, who was appointed master in 1734, had been 20 years usher of Westminster school: he was elder brother of the celebrated John Wesley, and author of several poems, collected into a 4to. volume in 1736.
In the year 1609 Robert Comyn, alias Chilcote, gave the sum of 400l. to build an English free-school for 100 boys, natives of Tiverton, and settled a rent-charge of 78l. per annum for paying a salary of 20l. per annum to the master, 2l. for the repairs of the house, and the remainder for other charitable purposes. Mr. Benjamin Gilberd gave 300l. 4 per cent. to Chilcote's school. In the church-yard is a charity-school, originally established by voluntary subscription. Mr. Henry Blagdon, who died in 1716, gave by will to this school a sum of money, which, in 1741, amounted to 1380l., and was then laid out in an estate called Holwell, now let at 90l. per annum. Mr. Peter Newte, in 1720, gave lands now let at 70l. per annum. Mr. John Tristram, in 1724, gave lands now let at 35l. per annum. Mrs. Mary Peard, in 1769, gave the sum of 1550l., partly laid out in land, and partly vested in Old South-Sea Annuities; and Mr. Benjamin Gilberd the sum of 100l. 4 per cent. The total rental of the lands is now 231l. 10s.: the stock consists of 2100l. O.S.S.A., and 106l. 10s. 6d. 4 per cent. Thirty-four boys and forty girls are clothed and educated by this charity.
The Rev. John Newte, in 1715, gave 1l. 10s. per annum to a charityschool at Cove. Peter Newte, in 1720, gave 6l. per annum to the schools in the villages near Tiverton. The schools at Cove and Chevithorn have now an endowment of 5l. per annum each.
Mr. Peter Blundell, founder of the school, gave the sum of 400l. as marriage-portions for 20 poor maidens of Tiverton, and 400l. to be lent to poor artificers for four years at 2 per cent. Half of the last-mentioned sum has been lost. The hospital or poor-house was completed in 1704, for the accommodation of 300 poor, under an act of parliament passed in 1698.
A stream of water, called the Town-leat, rising about five miles from Tiverton, which has proved a lasting benefit to the inhabitants, and still supplies the town with water, was given by Isabel Countess of Devonshire in 1250. Elmore Common, given to the poor by the same countess, was afterwards seized by the crown. It is now a crown-demesne, held on lease for the benefit of the poor of Tiverton, under a charter of King William III., bearing date 1693. The greater part of it, nevertheless, is held in severalty by various persons, claiming it as their own property, and paying small reserved rents to the trustees, amounting altogether to only 10l. per annum. A very small portion of it, scarcely 20 acres, is in the hands of the parish-officers, as the property of the parish.