Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.
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ABBOTSHAM, in the hundred of Shebbear and in the deanery of Hartland, lies about two miles from Bideford. The manor and church belonged to the abbey of Tavistock; the church was appropriated to the abbey, in 1193: the name of the donor does not appear; it was not among the founder's original donations. The manor belonged to the Coffin family, in 1621 (fn. n1); both the manor and impropriation have been for a considerable time in the family of Willett, and are now vested in the widow of the late Augustus Saltren Willett, Esq. The vicarage is in the gift of the crown. In the parish church is a monument of John Willett, Esq. lord of the manor, who died in 1736. Mr. Zachary Mudge was some time vicar of this parish. (fn. n2)
The manor of East Allington belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the Crispins, who were succeeded by Dauney. The heiress of Dauney brought it to the Courtenays: Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, gave it, in 1414, to his brother, Sir Hugh Courtenay, of Haccombe. This manor has been for many generations in the Fortescues of Fallopit.
Fallopit was for several descents the property and residence of a family of that name, whose heiress married Sir Henry Fortescue, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland: she was his second wife: their descendants in the male line inherited and resided at this place above three hundred years: Sir Edmund Fortescue, of Fallopit, was created a baronet in 1664: the title became extinct at the death of his son, Sir Sandys, in 1683. The estate then passed to a younger branch of this house, which became extinct by the death of Edmund Fortescue, Esq. in 1734. Mary, his daughter and co-heir, brought it to William Fortescue, Esq. (of the Buckland-Filleigh branch), Master of the Rolls, whose daughter and heiress married, but died without issue; in consequence of which this estate passed to the descendants of Dorothy, the other co-heiress, who had married Thomas Bury, Esq. The heiress of Mr. Bury married the Rev. Nathaniel Wells, rector of East Allington, whose son Edmund took the name of Fortescue, and was father of Edmund Nathaniel William Fortescue, Esq. of Fallopit, the present proprietor.
The manor of Colehanger, in this parish, belongs to the Earl of Morley; the manor of Harleston to Philip Cookworthy, Esq. Harleston appears to have been formerly in the Hungerford family, and to have been granted by King Edward IV., after the attainder of Lord Hungerford, to the Dinhams. (fn. n3)
In the parish church are memorials for the families of Fortescue (fn. n4) and Prideaux; Samuel More, Gent. 1623 (fn. n5); the Rev. Nathaniel Wells (fn. n6), 1762; the Rev. John Eveleigh (fn. n7), 1770; John Scobell, of Nutcombe (no date), &c.
West Allington, or Alvington
WEST ALLINGTON, or ALVINGTON (fn. n8), in the hundred of Stanborough and in the deanery of Woodleigh, lies about a mile from Kingsbridge. Woolston and Sorely are villages in this parish.
A market at this place, anciently called Alfyngton, was granted, in 1270, to John de Besill, to be held on Saturday, and a fair for three days, at the festival of St. Michael. (fn. n9)
The manor, which had been ancient demesne of the crown, was given by King John to Alice de Rivers, Countess of Devon. After the death of Alice, wife of Patrick de Chaworth, and daughter and heir of William de la Ferte, it escheated to the crown, and King Henry III. granted it to Matthew de Besils. (fn. n10) Of late years it has been in the family of Bickford, and it has been recently purchased by Mr. Bastard, of the Rev. Wm. Holland, who married the sister of the late Arscott Bickford, Esq. The lords of this manor had the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n11)
The manor of Woolston, or Woolson, belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the family of Crispin. In the reign of James I. it was in the Bastard family, who, according to Risdon, inherited it from a co-heiress of Crispin; but Sir William Pole's account is, that it passed from Crispin, by successive female heirs, to Bradston and Strech, and that the co-heiresses of Strech married Cheyney and Beauchamp. This manor now belongs to the Duke of Bolton.
Garston, in this parish, was an ancient seat of the Bastard family, by whom it was occupied till the year 1773, when Lady Bridget Bastard, who held it in dower, died. It is now a farm-house, the property of Edmund Pollexfen Bastard, Esq. M. P. The gardens were famous for orange and lemon trees, trained against the walls, which are said to have produced as fine fruit as any from Portugal. (fn. n12)
The manor of Nordon, in this parish, belongs to the Earl of Morley; that of Bagton, or Batton, to Elizabeth Wells Sturgeon. The manor of Rake and Sorely belonged, at an early period, to the family of Rake, from whom it passed to the Tremaynes. It continued in the possession of the latter in Sir William Pole's time. The late Samuel Holditch Hayne, Esq. purchased it of the co-heiresses of Robert Lake, Esq., and since his death it has been sold to William Jackson, Esq., who is the present proprietor.
The barton of Bowrings-leigh, which had been the property and residence of the ancient family of Bowring, passed, with its heiress, to the Pikes, by whom it was sold to Webber, alias Gilbert. William Ilbert, Esq. purchased it of the Gilberts, in the reign of William III., and it is now the property and residence of his descendant, the Rev. Roope Ilbert.
The barton of Comb Royal was the property and residence of a branch of the Gilberts, the last of which sold it to the Gilberts of Holwell; John Gilbert, Esq. sold it, about 1736 or 1737, to the late John Luscombe, Esq., and it is now the property and residence of his nephew, John Luscombe Luscombe, Esq.
In the parish church are memorials of the Bastard family (fn. n13), and of Samuel Holditch, Esq. 1763.
The Rev. Roope Ilbert is lessee of the great tithes, under the dean and chapter of Salisbury (fn. n14), who are patrons of the vicarage. Marlborough, South Milton, and South Huish, are daughter-churches to West Allington.
There are cattle fairs at Alphington, on the first Wednesday after June 20., and the Wednesday in the week after Michaelmas. (fn. n15)
Alphington was one of the principal quarters of Sir Thomas Fairfax's army, when he was blockading Exeter, in the early part of the year 1646. (fn. n16)
The manor of Alphington, which had been ancient demesne of the crown, belonged, in 1274, to Anianus or Eneon, bishop of Bangor; soon afterwards to the Nevills. (fn. n17) In the reign of Richard II. Sir Hugh Seagrave exchanged it with the Earl of Devonshire for the manor of Newnham-Courtenay, in Oxfordshire. It was afterwards settled on the Courtenays of Powderham; and is now the property of Lord Viscount Courtenay. The lord of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n18)
Matford, in this parish, belonged to the Dinhams, from whom it acquired the appellation of Matford Dinham. At a later period it was the seat of Sir George Smith, from whom it descended to Phineas Cheeke, Esq. of Exeter. From the latter it passed by marriage to William Mackworth Praed, Esq., who sold it to the late John Stephens, Esq. In 1792, it belonged to Henry Hippisley Coxe, Esq., and is now, by purchase, the property of Sir Lawrence Vaughan Palk, Bart.
In the parish church are memorials of the family of Northleigh (fn. n19); Joseph Somaster, Esq. 1733; and John William Ellicombe, Ensign of the 40th regiment, killed in Holland, 1799. The Rev. William Rous Ellicombe is patron and incumbent of the rectory. There was formerly a chapel in this parish dedicated to St. James.
Risdon mentions a man of the name of Stone who lived at Alphington to the age of 120, having served Henry VIII. in his chapel, Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. His name is not to be found in the parish register, which does not begin till 1663.
On the second of July, 1760, by the sudden inundation of the brook which runs through the village, upwards of 20 dwelling-houses were thrown down, besides other buildings: the damage was computed at upwards of 1000l. (fn. n20)
Alverdiscott, or Alscott
The manor belonged to the ancient family of Fleming, one of whose coheiresses brought it to Bellew. It was purchased of the latter by James Welsh, Esq. who possessed it in Risdon's time. It was afterwards in the Chudleighs. The barton was purchased about the year 1756 of Margaret, one of the co-heiresses of Sir George Chudleigh, by James Rowe, Esq. Mr. Rowe purchased the manor and advowson about the year 1760. The former was sold by his nephew in 1800 to Richard Preston, Esq. M. P. the present proprietor.
Wibbery or Webbery was the property and residence of a family of that name, whose heiress brought it to Lippincot. The Lippincots possessed and resided at Webbery for many generations. Henry Lippincot, Esq., the last of the family, devised it to Charles Cutcliffe, Esq. of Weach, grandfather of John Mervin Cutcliffe, Esq. the present proprietor, who has lately rebuilt the mansion on this estate for his own residence.
In the parish church are memorials for Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Windham and wife of James Welsh, Esq. 1650; Thomas, his son, 1639; and Gilbert Hody, Esq. of Nethway, 1686. The Rev. John Dene of Horwood is patron of the rectory.
The manor of Alwington belonged to the ancient family of Coffin from nearly the time of the Conquest till the death of Richard Coffin, Esq. in 1766. It is now, by inheritance, the property of the Rev. John Pine Coffin of Bath, who assumed the name of Coffin in 1797. Portledge, in this parish, the ancient seat of the Coffin family, is now the residence of Richard Pine Coffin, Esq. eldest son of Mr. Pine Coffin above mentioned.
Yeo-vale, in this parish, was the ancient property and residence of the family of Yeo, whose heiress brought it to Giffard: the heiress of Giffard married Sir George Cary of Cockington. About the year 1683, it was purchased of the Cary family by John Bruton, Esq. whose descendant sold it in 1769 to the Rev. Hooper Morrison, father of the Rev. Thomas Hooper Morrison, the present proprietor. Yeo-vale, the seat of Mr. Morrison, is situated in a beautiful valley. At Yeo-vale, near the mansion, were the ruins of an ancient chapel, which have been removed to a more distant part of the grounds. Risdon speaks of a monument in this chapel to the memory of William Giffard, Esq, who died in 1400. This monument has been preserved, and was removed with the ruins of the chapel.
The barton of Winscot was some time the property and residence of the Burgoynes, and afterwards of their representatives, the Meddons. It is now the property of William Bruton, Esq. and Charles Bruton, Esq.
In the parish church are monuments and other memorials for the families of Coffin (fn. n21), Pyne (fn. n22), Morrison (fn. n23), Bruton (fn. n24), Burgoyne (fn. n25), Meddon (fn. n26), &c. In an aisle belonging to the Yeo-vale estate is a monument without inscription, and in the window the arms of Giffard. Mr. Pine Coffin is patron of the rectory.
The manor belonged, at an early period, to the Corbets, from whom it passed to the family of Crewes or Cruwys, and from them obtained the name of Anstey Cruwys. This place continued, for five descents, to be the residence of a younger branch of the Cruwys family, the co-heiresses of which brought this estate to Norton and Pollard. From the Nortons, it descended to the Prous's of Chagford, and through Chalvedon to the Beres of Huntsham: the heiress of Pollard married Poyntz. This manor appears to have been afterwards in severalties. In the reign of James I., the family of Molford held one-fourth of East Anstey alias Anstey Crewes of the heirs of Lord Dinham. (fn. n27) After this we find nothing further of the manor. The barton was some time since in the Acland family: the Earl of Carnarvon, who acquired it in marriage with the daughter and heir of Sir John Acland, Bart., conveyed it in exchange to the Rev. John Norris, father of John Norris, Esq. the present proprietor.
The barton of Lilliscombe or Liscombe, in this parish, formerly belonging to the Byam family, was purchased by the Rev. Thomas Stawell, grandfather of the Rev. W. M. Stawell, who is the present proprietor. The Rev. George Norris is the present patron and incumbent of the rectory.
WEST ANSTEY, in the hundred and deanery of South Molton, lies about nine miles from South Molton. The manor was successively in the families of Le Moigny, Pillond, Cornu, and Speccot: at a later period in the Rolles, from whom it descended to Lord Clinton.
Arlington was one of the ancient possessions of the Raleghs, whose heiress brought it to Chichester. It is now the property and seat of John Palmer Chichester, Esq. the lineal descendant of a younger son of that ancient family, on whom Arlington was settled in or about the reign of Henry VII.
In the parish church is an ancient tomb for a female of the Ralegh family, there are also memorials for John Chichester, Esq., 1783; Gascoigne Canham, 55 years rector, 1667; and William Bampfield, 50 years rector, 1719.
ASHBURTON, in the hundred of Teignbridge and in the deanery of Moreton, anciently written Asperton, is an ancient market-town, 19 miles from Exeter, and 192 from London, on the road to Plymouth, from which it is distant 24 miles.
King Edward II. granted a market at Asperton on Saturdays, to Walter Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter, and a fair for three days at the festival of St. Lawrence. (fn. n28) The market is still held on Saturday for corn, provisions, &c. Mr. John Ford in 1672 procured another market on Tuesdays, chiefly for wool and yarn (spun in Cornwall), which has been some years discontinued, since the introduction of machinery into the manufactures. Andrew Quicke, Esq., first elected member for the borough in 1712, procured a charter for two fairs; the first Thursday in March, and the first Thursday in June. These fairs are still held; the other fairs are the first Tuesday in August, and the first Tuesday in November. The March fair has a large supply of cattle, chiefly for the east-country dealers; the November fair is a great sheep fair.
Ashburton was made one of the stannary towns in 1328. (fn. n29) The number of inhabitants in Ashburton was returned at 3080 in 1801, and in 1811 at 3053.
The borough of Ashburton has sent members to parliament ever since the reign of Edward I. The right of election is vested in the inhabitant householders and the holders of burgage tenures. Their numbers are estimated at between 3 and 400. The two portreeves are the returning officers.
Ashburton was taken by Sir Thomas Fairfax on his march westward in 1646. The general had his head-quarters there on the 10th of January, and on his departure, left a regiment to keep possession of the town. (fn. n30)
The manor of Ashburton was in the see of Exeter till the reign of James I., when it was alienated to the crown. Some years afterwards, it was in moieties vested in Sir Robert Parkhurst and the Earl of Feversham. Sir Robert Parkhurst conveyed his moiety to Sir John Stawell, from whose family it passed to Tuckfield. The heiress of Roger Tuckfield, Esq. brought it to Samuel Rolle, Esq. from whom it descended, with the manor of Halwell in this parish, to Lord Clinton. Lord Feversham's moiety was sold to Richard Duke, Esq. of Otterton. It was purchased of the heirs of Duke by Sir Robert Palk, Bart., and is now the property of his grandson, Sir L. V. Palk, Bart. The lord of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n31)
In the parish church, a handsome, spacious structure, is the monument of the Right Honourable John Dunning, the late Lord Ashburton, who died in 1783: he was a native of Ashburton, and educated at the grammar-school in this town.
The chapel of St. Lawrence was a chantry chapel, endowed with a stipend of 6l. 13s. 4d. per annum. (fn. n32) The chantry priest was to keep a grammar-school. In the early part of the last century, this chapel was used for marriages and other occasional parochial duty: the grammar-school is now held in it; elections for the borough, and other public meetings. It is repaired out of the parish lands, most probably what formed the endowment of the chantry. The endowment of the present grammar-school is from other sources. Mr. Blundell, founder of the school at Tiverton, gave lands, now let for about 30l. per annum, and Edward Gould, in 1735, the sum of 200l., laid out, in 1737, in lands now let for about 20l.
Mr. John Ford in 1677 founded a charity school for reading and writing, which he endowed with 8l. per annum, charged on the yarn market. This original endowment has of course been lost, the market having been annihilated, but it has an endowment in land, now producing 120l. per annum, purchased with the sum of 640l. given by Lord Middleton, and John Harris, Esq., then members for the borough, in 1754. Mrs. Mary Dunning, in 1805, gave 6l. per annum for instructing ten poor girls in reading, sewing, &c.
ASHBURY, in the hundred of Black-Torrington, and in the deanery of Okehampton, lies about 5 miles from Hatherleigh and 7 from Okehampton. The manor belonged to the family of Ashbury, in the fourteenth century; afterwards successively to those of Speccot and Walter. It is now the property and seat of John Morth Woollcombe, Esq. whose ancestor became possessed of it in consequence of a marriage (in 1685) with the heiress of Walter, (who had previously married Stuckey.) In the parish church are monuments of the families of Walter (fn. n33) and Woollcombe. (fn. n34)
The church of Ashbury belonged to the priory of Launceston: the rectory is now in the gift of the crown. There is no endowed school in this parish, but the children are educated in a school at North-Lew, conducted on Dr. Bell's system, and supported by subscription.
ASHCOMBE, in the hundred of Exminster, and in the deanery of Kenne, lies about 3 miles from Chudleigh. Ashcombe consists of three villages, distinguished by the names of Higher-town, Middle-town, and Lower-town.
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the Kirkhams, and here they had their original residence. The heiress of Kirkham brought it to the Blounts of Oxfordshire. After the death of Edward Blount, Esq. in 1722, this manor was sold to Thomas Ball, Esq. It has since passed with Mamhead, and is now the property of the Earl of Lisburne.
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, the manor of Ashford was held by Robert de Bellamonte or Beaumont, under Baldwin the sheriff. After continuing in the Beaumonts for many generations, it passed by marriage to Sir John Basset, who gave it with one of his daughters to a younger son of the Courtenay family. The heiress of this branch brought it to Moore. In the year 1715 this manor was in the Bampfylde family; the estate was sold in lots by Sir C. W. Bampfylde, Bart. about the year 1815. The manor and barton were then purchased by Thomas Tardrew, Esq. of Barnstaple, who is the present proprietor.
The manor of Sharpham in this parish belonged in the reign of Henry IV. to Robert Winard, from whom it passed, by successive female heirs, to French, Prideaux, and Drewe. Giles, of Bowden, purchased it of the Drewes; it was afterwards in the successive possession of Yarde, Cockey, and Pownall. The heiress of Philemon Pownall, Esq., captain in the royal navy, brought it to the late Edmund Bastard, Esq. M. P. father of John Bastard, Esq. M. P. and captain in the royal navy, who is the present proprietor. Sharpham, the seat of Capt. Bastard, is situated among some of the most beautiful scenery of the banks of the Dart. Painsford in this parish belonged anciently to the Piperells, whose heiress brought it to Halwill. The Somasters purchased it of the latter in the reign of Henry VII. and continued to possess it in Risdon's time. It afterwards passed by successive female heirs to Kelland and Courtenay. A few years ago it was sold by the Countess of Cork and Mr. Poyntz, as representatives of the Courtenays of Painsford, to Mr. Philip Michelmore, the present proprietor.
Bowden or Bodeton, in this parish, belonged at an early period to the family of Bodeton. Isabella de Bodeton gave it in the year 1268 to the hospital of Bothomescombe. (fn. n35) At a later period it was some time a seat of the family of Giles. Sir Edward Giles, who lived in the reign of James I., left it to a nephew who took the name. John Giles, Esq. who died in 1676, left an only daughter and heir, married to Sir Richard Gipps. Bowden was afterwards, for some descents, in the Trists; it is now the property and residence of Mrs. Adams, relict of the late William Adams, Esq. M. P.
The manor of Washburton, some time in the Earl of Morley's family, is now the property of Jasper Parrott, Esq. In the parish church are monuments or inscribed grave-stones for the families of Somaster (fn. n36) and Kelland (fn. n37); Henry Blackaller, Esq. 1684; Mary, wife of Philip Cockey, Esq. of Sharpham, 1753; and Capt. Philemon Pownall, R. N. who was killed in action June 15, 1780.
Ash-Reigny, alias Ring's Ash
Sir Thomas Fairfax had a rendezvous of his army at Ash-Reigny, previous to his attack of Torrington, on the 16th of February 1646. (fn. n38)
The manor belonged, at an early period, to the ancient family of Reigny, and afterwards successively to Sergeaux, Sully, and Hatch. The heiress of Hatch married Mallet. In Sir William Pole's time it belonged to Sir Francis Vincent, who was second husband of the heiress of Mallet. It has since passed through various hands in a divided state. The Rev. John Tossel Johnson has a moiety of the manor and advowson of the rectory, by bequest from his uncle Mr. Tossel, who had purchased of Mrs. Jenner in 1743. The other moiety is the joint property of the trustees of the Pyncombe charities, and the representatives of John Carew, Esq.
Riddlecombe belonged, at an early period, to Lomen, from whom it passed, by successive female heirs, to Willington, Beaumont, and Basset. It is now vested in Mrs. Pyncombe's trustees and the representatives of Mr. Carew. There was formerly a chapel here dedicated to St. Olave. A revel is held annually, the remains of an ancient fair.
The sum of 10l. per annum out of the estates left by Mrs. Gertrude Pyncombe in 1730, to charitable uses, is appropriated for the instruction of poor children of this parish, 6l. for boys and 4l. for girls.
The manor of Ashton was given by William the Conqueror to Sir Harvey de Helion. The heiress of this ancient family brought it to Sir Fulke Ferrers, from whose family it passed by successive female heirs to Prouz and Chudleigh. The Chudleighs became possessed of it about the year 1320. Sir George Chudleigh of Ashton, who was created a baronet in 1622, at the commencement of the civil war took up arms on the side of the parliament, and was one of their generals at the battle of Stratton; he soon afterwards went over to the king, and his son Col. James Chudleigh was killed at the taking of Dartmouth, by General Fairfax. The title became extinct by the death of Sir James Chudleigh, who was killed at the siege of Ostend in 1745. One of the co-heiresses of Chudleigh brought the manor of Ashton to Sir John Chichester, Bart., but it is now the property of Sir Henry Oxendon, Bart. (descended from another co-heiress,) who has also the small manor or barton of George Teign in this parish. Place, the ancient seat of the Chudleighs, is in ruins; part of it has been fitted up as a farm-house. It was the seat of the Chudleighs till after the death of Sir George Chudleigh, in 1738: Mary Lady Chudleigh, his mother, who died in 1710, daughter of Richard Lee, Esq. of Winslade, published several poems and a volume of essays, which are said to have been much admired: she left several poems and dramas in MS.
Sir George Chudleigh's house at Ashton, which had been garrisoned for the king, was taken by a party sent by Sir Thomas Fairfax for that purpose, on the 29th of Dec., 1645 (fn. n39); on the 3d of January following, it was made a garrison for the parliament. (fn. n40)
Staplehill in this parish gave name to a family in whom it continued many generations. It was divided among co-heiresses before or about the year 1600. It is now only a small farm, the property of Mr. Thomas Archer.
The manor of Ashwater belonged to the Carminows as early as the reign of Edward III. One of the co-heiresses of Carminow brought it to Carew, in the reign of Henry VI. About the year 1600, Sir Peter Carew sold it to Sir George Cary of Cockington. It is now the property of Richard Preston, Esq. M.P., who purchased it about the year 1812, of George Cary, Esq. of Torr Abbey. Sir Arscott Ourry Molesworth has the manor of Hunscott in this parish, which belonged to the Arscotts. The manor of Greenworthy passed from the Arscotts to the Bickfords, and is now the property of the Rev. William Holland Coham, in right of his wife, sole heiress of the Bickfords. The barton of Henford belongs to Sir Arscott Ourry Molesworth, Bart.
The advowson of Ashwater was given by Richard de Braylegh, in the reign of Edward III., to the prior and convent of Frithelstock, for the support of certain chantries at that place. (fn. n41) The Rev. Thomas Melhuish, Jun. is the present patron and incumbent.
ATHERINGTON, in the hundred of North Tawton and in the deanery of Barnstaple, lies on the road from Torrington to South Molton, about seven miles from the former and about eight from the latter. The small villages of Langridge and Eastacombe are in this parish.
The manor of Umberleigh extends over this and the adjoining parish of High Bickington. Asculph de Soleny was Lord of Umberleigh, in the reign of Henry II. The heiress of his son Gilbert brought this estate to Jordan de Champernowne, with whose grand-daughter it passed to Sir Ralph Willington, of Gloucestershire. Sir Ralph, whom Risdon calls a worthy warrior, resided at Umberleigh, and his posterity continued there for several descents. After they became extinct in the male line, Umberleigh passed by successive female heirs to the families of Worth, Poulton, Beaumont, and Basset. After a continuance of several generations in the Basset family, this branch became extinct by the death of the late Francis Basset, Esq., in 1802. Umberleigh is now, under his will, the property of his nephew Joseph Davie Basset, Esq., of Watermouth and Umberleigh.
The ancient mansion at Umberleigh has been long ago pulled down. The porch only remains. There was a chantry chapel at Umberleigh, endowed by Joan, wife of Sir Ralph Willington, and heiress of Champernowne, in the reign of Henry III. It was suppressed by the act of 1547, when the lands with which it was endowed were valued at (fn. n42) 6l. 19s. per annum. This chapel, which was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was pulled down about the year 1800, and the old monuments of the Willington family, mentioned by Risdon, have since been removed. The nuns of Caen had an estate at Umberleigh, when the survey of Domesday was taken.
The small manor of Wootton within the manor of Umberleigh, formerly belonging to the Giffards, had in Risdon's time been, for three descents, in the family of Eyre. It was afterwards in the family of Melhuish, and is now vested in their representatives.
Buriate, or Boriatt, in this parish, was the ancient property and residence of the family of Isaac, to whom it was conveyed in the reign of Henry III., by Sir Ralph Willington. It now belongs to Gonville and Caius College, in Cambridge, to which it was given, about 1730, by Mrs. Gertrude Pyncombe.
AVETON GIFFARD, in the hundred of Ermington, and in the deanery of Woodleigh, lies about four miles from Kingsbridge, and the same distance from Modbury. The small villages of Waterhead, Ashford, Lixton, and Itson, are in this parish.
A market at this place on Tuesday, and two fairs, one for three days, at the festival of the Invention of the Holy Cross; and the other for the same time at the Nativity of St. John Baptist, were granted to Robert Dynham, in 1289. (fn. n46)
The manor, which had been demesne of the Crown, was, at an early period, in the Giffards, and afterwards successively in the families of Prous and Mules: from the latter it passed, by a female heir, to the Damarells, whose co-heiresses married Durnford and Berry. In consequence of the last-mentioned match, Aveton Giffard continued many years in the family of Berry. The manor now belongs to Edmund Pollexfen Bastard, Esq. M. P., the court barton to John Morth Woollcombe, Esq.
The manor of Heathfield, in this parish, which belonged to the abbey of Buckfastleigh, is now the property of Mr. Simon Hyne. The lords of these manors had formerly the power of life and death. (fn. n47)
A market on Wednesday, at Awlescombe, was granted, in 1291, to Matthew Giffard, with a fair for three days, at Michaelmas. (fn. n48)
The abbot of Dunkeswell, and the Giffard family, had manors in Awlescombe. Giffard's manor passed by a female heir, to Mandeville, and was afterwards in the family of Stanton. (fn. n49)
A manor of Awlescombe was given, in 1491, by Thomas Calwoodley, Esq. to the corporation of Exeter, "in help and ease of the poor citizens and inhabitants." (fn. n50) This estate is described as consisting of 203½ acres of land, and valued at 163l. 4s. 8d. per annum, in 1699. (fn. n51) It still belongs to the Corporation.
The manor of Godford, which belonged to Dunkeswell Abbey, was successively in the families of Clifford, Prideaux, St. Aubyn, Bonville, and Fulford. From the Fulfords it passed, by sale, to Richard Cross, Esq. (fn. n52), and has since been disposed of in parcels. The barton is now the property of Thomas Greenfeld, Esq.
The manor of Ivedon belonged to a family of that name, whose coheiresses married Stanton, Membury, and Tracey. (fn. n53) Stanton's share was again subdivided among co-heiresses; Membury's share passed by marriage to Pole; Tracey's share, which acquired the name of Tracey's Hayes, passed by successive female heirs to Mabbe and Chard; and, after several descents, from Chard to Lewis. By the last-mentioned family it was sold to Jenkins. Sir George Smith died seised of a moiety of the manor of Ivedon or Ivedon Penn in 1620. (fn. n54) This manor has been some years in the family of Pring, and is now the property of John Pring, Esq.
The great tithes, which had been appropriated to the abbot of Dunkeswell, are now vested in William Drewe, Esq. The Duke of Bedford is patron of the vicarage. The Presbyterians have a meeting-house in this parish.
The market was confirmed in or about 1204 to William, Lord Brewer, to be held on Sundays as had been accustomed. (fn. n55) In the cartulary of Newenham Abbey are transcripts of two charters of King John of later date, in the 11th and 17th years of his reign, both confirming the Sundays market. The former grants likewise that Axminster should be a free borough, and that the burgesses should have a fair for eight days, but the time is not mentioned.
The present market day is Saturday; the corn market is become inconsiderable: there are three cattle fairs, the first Tuesday after the 25th of April, the first Tuesday after the 24th of June, and the first Wednesday after the 10th of October.
At this place is a celebrated manufactory of carpets; a considerable quantity of tape and filletting is made also at Axminster. The carpet manufactory, which is conducted by Mr. Ransom Whitty, was established in 1755 by his grand-father, Mr. Thomas Whitty, to whom, in 1759, was adjudged a premium of 30l. from the Society of Arts for having made the largest Turkey carpet which had been manufactured in this country. It was 26 feet 6 inches by 17 feet 6 inches.
The only historical notices I have found relating to this town are the celebrated battle with the Danes hereafter mentioned, and an action in the month of October, 1644, between Sir Richard Cholmondely, then stationed at Axminster with a party of the King's horse, and the parliamentary forces, in which Sir Richard received his death wound. (fn. n56)
The abbey of Neweham or Newenham, in this parish, was founded for monks of the Cistercian order in the reign of Henry III., by Reginald de Mohun and his younger brother, William. The intention appears to have originated with the latter, who gave for that purpose his lands in Torr and Mariansleigh. Reginald, at his brother's instance, gave him his choice of three manors for the site of the abbey, Mohun's (then Fleming's) Ottery, Minehead, and Axminster. The latter having been chosen, he gave it to his brother for that purpose in 1246, and the same year the abbey was founded and confirmed by royal grant. Reginald de Mohun gave 100 marks of silver yearly, whilst he lived, to the fabric, and bequeathed a legacy for that purpose. Bishop Stapleton gave 600 marks to the building. The monks were elected from the abbey of Beaulieu the same year, thirteen in number, including the abbot, who went in procession to Axminster, sleeping the last night at Ford Abbey, They entered the site of the new abbey in great solemnity, having been met by Reginald de Mohun and his brother William, and many other knights. The first stone of the conventual church was laid in 1250; John de Geytington, who was elected abbot in 1324, began the refectory and the cloisters. (fn. n57) At the dissolution the estates of this monastery were valued at 227l. 7s. 8d.; the site was granted in 1562 to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk. The Rev. John Prince, author of the well known biographical work on the worthies of Devon, was born at Newenham Abbey. There are scarcely any remains of the monastic buildings, some of which were pulled down a few years ago. The site is now occupied by a farm-house, the property of Lord Petre, situated about a mile and a half south of Axminster, near the road to Musbury.
The manor of Axminster was parcel of the ancient demesnes of the crown. King John gave it to William, Lord Briwer or Brewer; one of the co-heiresses of this family brought it to Reginald de Mohun, by whom it was given to the Abbey of Newenham. After the Reformation, it was granted to the Duke of Norfolk, by whose family it was sold to John, Lord Petre, ancestor of William Francis Henry, Lord Petre, who is the present proprietor.
The manor of Smallridge belonged in the reign of William the Conqueror to Ralph de Pomeroy; afterwards to the Mohuns. In the reign of Henry III., it became the property of Sir Wymund Ralegh, a younger son of the Nettlecombe family, and ancestor of the celebrated Sir Walter Ralegh, whose grandfather, Wymund Ralegh, Esq., conveyed this manor to John Gilbert, Esq. Ralegh Gilbert, Esq., great-nephew of John, sold it to Sir Nicholas Hyde, chief-justice of the King's Bench. Some years ago, the manor of Smallridge belonged to Rawlin Mallock, Esq. of Cockington. Mr. Champion, who had purchased of Mr. Mallock, sold it in parcels to the several tenants.
The manor of Wycroft or Wigoft passed by successive female heirs from the family of Wigoft to those of Gobodisleigh, Christow, and Dennis. From the latter it passed by sale to Sir Thomas Brooke, ancestor of the Lords Cobham. In 1426, a licence was granted to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester and others, trustees it is probable for the Brooke family, to castellate the mansion at Wycroft, and enclose a park of 800 acres. (fn. n58) After the attainder of Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham, King James I. granted this estate to Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire, whose feoffees sold it to Thomas Bennet, Sheriff of London, in 1611. The park was then destroyed and the house fell to decay; there are still some remains of the ruins. The manor has been sold piecemeal to the several freeholders.
The manor of Trill belonged, for many generations, to a family of that name, who sold it in the reign of Edward III. to Sir Thomas Fitchet. From Fitchet it passed by successive female heirs to Hill, Cheney, Walgrave, Hussey, and Clopton. It afterwards passed by sale to the Drakes, who had a park here. The late Rev. George Tucker having purchased this estate of the representatives of Lady Drake, who died in 1782, it is now the property of his son of the same name.
The manor of Haccomb-fee was held at the time of the Domesday Survey (fn. n59) under William Chievre as of the manor or honour of Bradnesse. It afterwards belonged to the Haccombes, from whom it passed successively to the families of Coliford, Upton, and Umfraville. Lord Bonville possessed it in the reign of Edward IV.; from him it descended to the Duke of Suffolk, who sold it to Sir William Petre; it is now the property of his descendant, the Right Honourable Lord Petre.
North Wyke was the property and residence of the ancient family of Doune, whose co-heiresses married Ledred and Holcomb. North Wyke was inherited by Ledred, whose heiress brought it to the Strodes. After continuing for a few descents in the last-mentioned family, it was sold piecemeal.
In the parish church of Axminster is the monument of Meliora, wife of S. Burton and sister of Nathaniel Gundry, Esq. one of the justices of the Common Pleas, 1774; there are memorials also for Mr. Bernard Prince of Newenham Abbey, father of the biographer; Mr. William Drake, 1775; Mrs. Mary Butler, 1783; Jane, wife of the Rev. Charles Steer, 1809, &c.
King Athelstan gave the church of Axminster to seven priests, who were to pray for the souls of seven knights or earls, and many others, slain in battle with the Danes near this town (fn. n60); but it appears by the records of the abbey of Newenham, that the college was not kept up after the death of its first members. The parsonage of Axminster, to which is attached the manor of Prestaller, was given by King Edward I. to the church of St. Peter at York. (fn. n61) It still constitutes part of the endowment of two prebends of that church called Warthill and Grindal; the prebendaries present to the vicarage alternately.
Micaiah Towgood, the late eminent Presbyterian divine, was a native of Axminster. He was born in 1700, being the son of Micaiah Towgood, M.D. author of an essay on the Reformation of Manners, and some treatises on Practical Divinity. Dr. Towgood was son of Matthew Towgood, who was ejected from the vicarage of Axminster in 1662.
Penelope Saffin, in 1742, gave 164l. 18s. 3d. for the education of twelve children, which was laid out in land. The rent of the school land is now 16l. 4s. 7½d., including a piece inclosed from Kilmington common, and given by the freeholders on condition of their being allowed to have two children educated in the school. With the above small endowment, a school is supported on the Madras system, in which 44 children are at present instructed.
AXMOUTH, in the hundred of Axminster and in the deanery of Honiton, lies at the confluence of the river Axe, about three miles from Colyton, and six from Axminster. It appears that there was in ancient times a harbour at this place. In the early part of the 17th century, much cost was bestowed by the Erle family in an unsuccessful attempt to construct a new haven. The endeavours of Mr. Hallet, the present proprietor, have been attended with better success. Piers have been constructed at the mouth of the Axe, under the shelter of which vessels of 100 tons discharge their cargoes in safety.
The manor of Axmouth, which had been part of the ancient demesne of the crown, was given by Richard de Redvers or Rivers, Earl of Devon, to the abbey of Montebourg in Normandy in the reign of Henry II, King Henry V., having seized it as part of the possessions of a foreign monastery, gave this manor to the abbey of Sion. After the Reformation, it became part of Queen Catharine Parr's jointure. King Edward VI. granted it, in or about 1552, to Walter Erle, Esq. one of the grooms of his privy chamber, with extensive privileges. It was sold by Thomas Erle, Esq., in 1679, to Sir Walter Yonge, Bart., of whom it was purchased, in 1691, by Richard Hallett, Esq., and by him devised to his nephew of the same name, greatgrandfather of John Hallett, Esq. the present proprietor.
Bindon was given, in the reign of Henry IV., by Nicholas Bach to Roger Week or Wyke, a younger son of the Wykes, of North Wyke, in Tawton, in whose family it continued several descents. The co-heiresses of Wyke brought it to Giffard, Barry, Erle, and Hayes. The Erles purchased Giffard's share, and made Bindon their residence. Sir Walter Erle of this family was an active officer in the Parliamentary army. A moiety of this estate was sold, about 1773, by Thomas Erle Drax, Esq., representative of the Erles, to Thomas Jenkins, Esq., of whose nephew and devisee, of the same name, it was purchased, in or about 1817, by Mr. Thomas Dare, the present proprietor. Barry's share was sold to the Mallocks; it was purchased of the representative of Mallock by Mr. Robert Bartlett, father of the present proprietor, Hayes's share, which continued a considerable time in that family, was sold to the Rev. Edward Rowe, vicar of Axmouth; it was purchased of his representatives, about the year 1700, by Southcote Hallett, Esq. and is now the property of John Hallett, Esq. before mentioned.
Stuttecombe or Stedcomb belonged at an early period successively to the Uffevilles and Veres. About the middle of the 14th century, it became the property of the Courtenays. Having been forfeited by the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter, this manor was granted by King Henry VIII. to Sir Peter Carew, of whom it was purchased by Walter Yonge, Esq. His descendant, Sir Walter Yonge, Bart. sold it with the manor of Axmouth to Richard Hallett, Esq., as before mentioned. Stedcomb is now the property and seat of John Hallett, Esq. It was built about 1697 by Richard Hallett, Esq.
Down-Umphraville (fn. n62) in this parish, with the farms of Pinney and Whitelands, belonged to the Lords Petre. These estates were sold by the present Lord Petre to J. M. Howe, Esq. Down-Umphraville now belongs to the Rev. J. Howe. Pinney belongs to Mrs. Edye, and Whitelands to John Denne, Esq. of Lyme.
The Courtenay family had, in the reign of Henry VII., a manor in this parish called Buckland Trill, which had been purchased of the family of Trill, by Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon, in the reign of Edward III. This estate was afterwards in the Yonges, and was purchased of Sir George Yonge by the father of Mr. Bartlett, the present proprietor.
The manor was parcel of the ancient inheritance of the Courtenays, Earls of Devon, as parcel of the barony of Okehampton (fn. n65); Edward Courtenay, the last earl, conveyed it to Sir Francis Englefield and Sir William Cordall. One moiety, after the attainder of Sir Francis Englefield, was granted to the Earl of Essex, and is said to have been sold by him to the tenants. The other was sold by Sir William Cordall to Sir Robert Dennis, and is now the property of his descendant, the Right Honourable Lord Rolle.
The barton of Minchin Court belongs to Mrs. Marker, who, jointly with James Wake, Esq., is possessed of a small manor within the manor of Aylesbeare, called Woods. The manor of Roundbeare (fn. n66) belongs to William Buller, Esq. of Northamptonshire and the Rev. John Elliott.
One moiety of the great tithes is annexed to the rectory of Huxham, the other to the barton of Minchin Court above mentioned. The advowson of the vicarage is vested in the Rev. H. W. Marker, the present incumbent.
Newton Poppleford, in this parish, had formerly a market on Monday, granted in or about 1252 to the Courtenays (fn. n67), together with a fair for three days at the festival of St. Luke. (fn. n68) The chapel at Newton was founded as a chantry chapel by King Edward III. in or about the year 1330. (fn. n69) It is now used as a chapel of ease to Aylesbeare. The accustomed service is monthly only; it is at present performed once a fortnight. Lands in Newton Poppleford, and the manor of Thorne, which had belonged to Sir John Courtenay, were granted to John, Lord Dinham, in 1480. (fn. n70)