BICKTON, in the hundred of East Budleigh and in the deanery of Aylesbeare, lies about three miles from Sidmouth. Yattington, a village in this
parish, was the birth place of Dr. John Conant, rector of Exeter College,
and Regius Professor of Divinity in the seventeenth century. (fn. 1)
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, this manor was held in demesne by William Portitor (the king's door-keeper), and he is said to have
held it by the service of keeping the king's gaol for the county of Devon. (fn. 2)
King Henry I. gave it to John Janitor, so called from the tenure by
which he held this manor; it continued in his family for three generations. (fn. 3)
The manor was afterwards the property of Ralph Balistarius or Le Balister
(the cross-bow bearer), who lived here in 1229. His posterity, by the
name of Alabaster, possessed Bickton for five generations, after which it
passed, by successive female heirs, to Sacheville or Sackville and Copleston.
It was purchased of the Coplestons by Sir Robert Dennis, who rebuilt the
old mansion, inclosed a deer-park, and made Bickton his chief residence.
Sir Thomas Dennis, his son, gave it to Anne his elder daughter, who
became the wife of Sir Henry Rolle, ancestor of the Right Honourable
Henry, Lord Rolle, who is the present proprietor. Bickton is his lordship's
chief country seat.
The county gaol, which was formerly at Bickton under the superintendence of the lord of this manor, was for greater security removed to Exeter
in 1518. It was not till 1787, that the lord of Bickton was exonerated
from the custody of the county gaol.
In the parish church is the monument of Dennis Rolle, Esq. who died
in 1638, with the effigies of himself and his lady in statuary marble, richly
habited. The only son of this Dennis died without issue; one of his
daughters married Sir John Rolle, the heir male of the family. The church
of Bickton was originally a chapel to Otterton. (fn. 4)
BIDEFORD, in the hundred of Shebbear and in the deanery of Hartland,
is an ancient market and sea-port town near the confluence of the Torridge,
nine miles from Bamstaple, 35 from Exeter, and 204 from London.
It has been erroneously supposed that Bideford was no more than a small
fishing village before the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It is called a borough
in ancient records (fn. 5) , but does not appear ever to have sent burgesses to
parliament. A market on Monday and a fair for five days at the festival of
St. Margaret were granted, in 1271, to Richard de Grenville. (fn. 6) It had probably so far declined as to have become a place of little importance, when,
in 1574, Sir Richard Grenville procured a charter from Queen Elizabeth, by
which the market and fair were confirmed and two other fairs granted, each
to be held for four days, and the town incorporated and made a free borough. Powers for rebuilding the decayed town, and for the better maintenance of the bridge, were given under the same charter. The chief market for provisions, &c. is now on Tuesday; there is a smaller market on
Saturday. The fairs are now held on the 14th of February, July 19, and
November 14 for horned cattle, &c.
The body corporate under the above mentioned charter consisted of a
mayor, five aldermen, seven capital burgesses, a recorder, town clerk, &c.
By a subsequent charter, the number of aldermen was increased to seven,
exclusively of the mayor, that of the capital burgesses to ten. The mayor
and recorder are perpetual justices of the peace, one of the aldermen is
so by election. These justices hold sessions and have jurisdiction within
the town, to the exclusion of the county magistrates. The town hall was
built in 1698.
In consequence of the patronage of the Grenville family, a trade with
Virginia and Carolina, then recently discovered by Sir Richard Grenville,
was established at Bideford in the reign of Elizabeth, and this town continued to enjoy a great share of the American commerce till the breaking
out of the war, which ended in the independence of the colonies. (fn. 7)
In the reign of Charles I., the Bideford merchants imported large quantities of wool from Spain; and afterwards, besides their commerce with
Holland, France, and the Mediterranean, had so large a share of the
Newfoundland trade, that in the year 1699 they sent out more ships than
any port in England except London and Topsham. (fn. 8) The Newfoundland
trade began to decline soon after this period. Brice, whose Dictionary was
published in 1759, says that then about 40 or 50 ships were employed in
fetching cod from Newfoundland, and that there was a great export of
herrings from this place; that rock-salt was imported from Liverpool, which
was dissolved with sea-water, from which a brine was made for curing the
herrings, called "salt upon salt." A ship or two are still occasionally
fitted out for Newfoundland and a few for the Baltic, but there is no
foreign trade of any consequence. More than 100 vessels, however, are
employed in the coasting trade, importing limestone in large quantities,
coals, and culm; and exporting oak-board to Ireland and Scotland, and
oats and malt to Wales. Appledore has been lately consolidated with the
port of Bideford. The quay, which was constructed in 1663, belongs to
the corporation: There are good accommodations for ship-building, which
is carried on at Bideford to a considerable extent. There are small manufactories here of flannel and serges, and some potteries of coarse brown
The town of Bideford appears to have been at the greatest height of its
prosperity from about the year 1680 till the close of that century: its population having been then about five times greater than it was a hundred
years before: it has since diminished about one-fourth. The total number
of its inhabitants was returned, in 1801, at 2987, in 1811, at 3244. In
the year 1646, the plague swept away a great number of the inhabitants;
the names of 229 persons who died of that fatal malady are inserted in the
parish register, and it is supposed that a considerable number of burials
were not entered. (fn. 9)
The ancient bridge at Bideford is said to have been originally built by
Sir Theobald Grenville and others in the early part of the fourteenth century, and endowed with certain lands for its repair. In consequence of
some abuses which had been committed by the trustees of the bridge-estates,
there was a decree in chancery, in 1608, which ordered a new election of
feoffees. Two bridge-wardens were appointed by this decree, to be chosen
annually, and two treasurers; and other provisions were made for the
better management of the estates for the time to come. The bridge,
which consists of 24 arches and is 677 feet in length, was thoroughly repaired in 1638. A hall for the use of the feoffees was built in 1758. The
annual revenue of this bridge, arising from the rent of lands given by
benefactors now unknown, and a stock of about 650l., is between 3 and 400l.,
varying according to the falling in of houses, &c. leased for lives.
In the year 1643, a fort was built on each side of the river, and a small
one at Appledore. A parliamentary garrison was then placed at Bideford
under the command of Colonel Bennet. In consequence of a victory obtained over the parliamentary forces at Torrington, these forts and the town
of Bideford were surrendered to Colonel Digby on the third of September
in that year. (fn. 10)
The manor of Bideford is said to have been given by William the Conqueror (fn. 11) to Sir Richard de Grenville, a noble Norman who distinguished himself by his successful invasion of Glamorganshire in concert with his brother, Robert Fitz-Hamon. His descendants, most of whom were of
equestrian rank, continued to reside here and at Kilkhampton in Cornwall
for many generations. Three of them represented the county of Devon
in parliament. Sir Richard Grenville of Bideford, who lived in the reign
of Queen Elizabeth, distinguished himself as an adventuring navigator,
and was, with his countryman Sir Walter Ralegh, the joint discoverer of
Virginia and Carolina, of which he published an account. An Indian,
whom he brought over with him from America, was baptized at Bideford
in 1588, and died the next year. In the year 1591, being then viceadmiral of England, he sustained with his single ship the most glorious,
unequal conflict that is recorded in naval history, against the whole fleet of
the enemy; and after having repulsed them fifteen times, yielded not till
his powder was all spent. He died of his wounds two days afterwards on
board the Spanish admiral's vessel; his own ship, reduced to a hulk, sunk
before it could be got into port.
Sir Richard's widow, Dame Mary Grenville, was buried in the family
vault at Bideford in 1623. It does not appear whether his grandson, the
brave and loyal Sir Beville Grenville, who fell at Lansdowne near Bath in
1643, had any other connection with Bideford than that of possessing the
manor: he was born at Kilkhampton, which was in his time the chief seat
of the family. His son, Sir John, who first wrote his name Granville, is
well known for the active share he had in bringing about the restoration of
King Charles II., who, in 1661, created him Baron Granville of Bideford,
Earl of Bath, &c. His eldest son was summoned to Parliament as Baron
Granville of Bideford in 1701. After the death of William Henry, the last
Earl of Bath, in 1711, the title of Baron Granville was given to George
Granville, the poet, afterwards created Viscount Lansdowne: it became
extinct at his death in 1734. The Devonshire estates, after the death of
the last Earl of Bath, were divided between Lady Carteret, one of the
daughters of the first Earl, and the son of Lady Jane, the other daughter,
who had married Sir William Gower. The manor of Bideford was purchased about the year 1750 by John Clevland, Esq. and is now under the
will of John Clevland, Esq. M. P. who died in 1817, the property of
Augustus Saltren Clevland, Esq. late Willett.
The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital
punishment. (fn. 12)
Daddon in this parish, some time a seat of the Stucleys, is now the property and residence of their descendant Lewis William Buck, Esq.
In the parish church are monuments of Sir Thomas Grenville, 1513;
Mr. John Strange, merchant, 1646; Andrew Hopkins, merchant, 1690;
several of the family of Pawley, Stucley, and Buck (fn. 13) ; William Hamlyn
Heywood, Esq. 1806; and James Kirkman, Esq. Lieut.-Col. of the 56th
regiment of infantry, 1816. There is an inscribed gravestone for Elizabeth
wife of Thomas Burgoyne, 1733. Mr. Strange died a victim to the plague
in the month of August 1646; the mayor having pusillanimously deserted
his duty, he voluntarily took the office, and by his active exertions, and
excellent regulations, saved the lives of many of his fellow townsmen, and
checked the progress of that fatal malady to which he himself fell a sacrifice. In the church-yard is a gravestone in memory of three children
of Henry Ravening, surgeon, who died of the plague June 21, 1646, being
the first to whom it proved fatal.
The advowson of the rectory had been attached to the manor till after
the sale of the Granville estates. The present patron is Lewis William
The late rector, Mr. John Whitfield, who was incumbent from 1742 to
1783, published Thoughts on Gesner's Death of Abel, and the Messiah,
and Conjectures on some of Horace's Works. The pious James Hervey
was curate of Bideford in 1738 and 1739; whilst at this place he formed
the plan and finished great part of his Meditations and Contemplations.
There has been a congregation of Independents at this place ever since
the year 1662, when it was established by Walter Bartlett, author of some
religious treatises, who had been silenced by the Act of Uniformity. The
late Mr. Badcock drew up an account of the Dissenting Church at Bideford; by which it appears, that, in consequence of some division among the
congregation, a separation took place in 1694, and a new meeting house
was built in High-street. In 1698 the old meeting house was re-built.
Mr. John Norman, pastor of the seceding congregation, wrote on the
Divine Prescience. This meeting house was shut up soon after 1760,
when the congregations were re-united: it has since been pulled down.
Samuel Lavington, an eminent divine, some time pastor of this congregation,
and afterwards of the congregation of Independents at South Molton, died
in 1807, and was buried at Bideford. Three volumes of his sermons were
published after his death. There is a meeting house for the Wesleyan
Methodists at Bideford.
Dr. John Shebbeare, author of a work called the Practice of Physic, but
better known by his political writings, for which he was sentenced to
stand in the pillory, (fn. 14) in 1758, and was afterwards pensioned, was born at
Bideford in 1709. Mr. Abraham Donn, and his brother Mr. Benjamin
Donn, both ingenious mathematicians, authors of several treatises in that
science, and the latter the publisher of maps of Cornwall and Devonshire,
were natives of this town.
Mr. John Strange, before mentioned, built four alms-houses at Bideford;
but they have no endowment.
There has been a grammar-school at Bideford from an early period,
supported, it is probable, by the corporation, by whom ten boys are appointed to be taught free of expense. The school-house was re-built in
1657. It was repaired in 1780, and then newly fronted with brick. It
appears to have had no fixed endowment before 1689, when Mrs. Susanna
Stucley gave the sum of 200l. laid out in land, which is now let for 57l.
per annum; a good house for the master has been purchased with the sale
of timber. Mr. Zachary Mudge, author of an admired volume of sermons,
and of an Essay for a New Version of the Psalms, was master of this school.
There is also a free school at Bideford for teaching reading, writing, and
arithmetic, the master of which has a salary of 10l. per annum paid by the
feoffees of the bridge. The Dissenters have a school with about 100
scholars, and the Methodists another with about 50.
BIGBURY, in the hundred of Ermington, and in the deanery of Woodleigh,
lies about eight miles from Kingsbridge, near the sea coast.
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, the manor of Bigbury was
held under the Earl of Moreton by Reginald de Valletort. So early as the
reign of King John it belonged to a family who took their name from this the
place of their residence. After a continuance of nine descents, one of the
coheiresses brought this manor to the Champernownes of Beer Ferrers,
from whom it descended through the Willoughbys to the noble family of
Pawlet. It is now vested in the heirs of the late Duke of Bolton, who are
patrons of the rectory.
The manor of Houghton, which belonged to the Ilbert family, was sold
by William Ilbert, Esq. in 1786, to Mr. Nicholas Goss, and is now the
property of Philip Langmead, Esq. who purchased it of Mr. Goss.
The barton of Halwells Combe, Ivilscombe, or Jewellscombe, commonly
called Combe, was some years since successively in the families of Dingle
and Legassicke. The representatives of the devisees of Mr. James Legassicke sold it in 1803 to Mr. William Adams, of whom it was purchased
in 1819 by the present proprietor, Josiah Nisbet, Esq. captain in the
In the parish church are some ancient tombs of the Bigbury family. (fn. 15)
Bittadon or Bittaden
BITTADON or BITTADEN, in the hundred of Braunton and in the deanery
of Sherwell, lies about six miles from Barnstaple.
The manor was, at an early period, for some descents, in a family which
took its name from this the place of their residence, afterwards in that of
Loveringe; at a later period it was successively in the Lutterells, Chichesters, and Aclands. Having passed with Fremington to Barbor, it is now
vested in George Acland Barbor, Esq. who is patron of the rectory.
In the parish church is the monument of Edward Pointz, Gent. 1691.
BLACKAUTON, in the hundred of Coleridge and in the deanery of Totton,
lies about six miles from Dartmouth. Bow, Dryton, Street, Hutchley,
Milcombe, and Woodford, are villages in this parish. A considerable
village, called Undercliff, where was a herring fishery, appears to have been
destroyed by the encroachments of the sea.
The manor was given by Peter Fitzmatthew Lord of Stokenham to
Torr Abbey. After the dissolution it was granted to the Russel family.
The Earl of Bedford sold it about the year 1618 (fn. 16) to the Roopes. William
Roope, Esq., who died in 1745, bequeathed it to the ancestor of Arthur
Holdsworth, Esq. who is the present proprietor, impropriator of the tithes
which belonged to Torr Abbey, and patron of the benefice.
The manor of Treverbin belonged, in the early part of the last century,
to the Creeds, and was sold about 1740 to Mr. Limbrey, by whose bequest
it passed to the father of Henry Limbrey Toll, Esq. the present proprietor.
The manor of Pruston belonged to the Fortescues, and having been
settled on a younger branch was sold about 1808 to Benjamin Hayward
Brown, M. D. of Stroud in Gloucestershire, who is the present proprietor.
The barton of Cotterbury, which has an independent royalty, was many
years in the family of Pinkey. It was sold about 1783 to Peter Ougier,
Esq. and about 1806 to Lydstone Newman, Esq. of Dartmouth, who is the
Fuge has been many years in the family of Hayne. The house was built
in 1725 by Cornelius Hayne, Esq. ancestor of Charles Hayne, Esq. the
Oldstone was for more than two centuries the seat of the Cholwich
family, and is now the property of their descendant J. B. Cholwich, Esq.
of Farringdon. The old mansion is at present unoccupied.
The barton of Hutchley belongs to Mr. Peter Jellard, that of Dryton to
the Rev. John Herring.
In the parish church are monuments of the Cholwich family (fn. 17) ; that of
William Rooke, Esq. 1754; and the tomb of Nicholas Forde, 1582.
BLACKBOROUGH BOLHAY, in the hundred of Hayridge and in the deanery
of Plymtree, is a small independent parish adjoining to Kentishbeare, near
The manor belonged to the ancient family of Bolhay, whose heiress
brought it to Cobham. The Cobhams resided at Blackborough for several
generations. Having been conveyed by Cobham to Bonville, the manor
fell to the crown on the attainder of the Duke of Suffolk, the representative
of the latter. It was purchased as crown land by Sir John Wyndham,
ancestor of the Hon. Percy Wyndham, the present proprietor, who is patron
of the rectory. How it became a rectory I have not learned; it is not
spoken of as such in ancient records. There is now neither church, chapel,
nor parsonage-house; but a cemetery, and a good glebe. The chantry roll
of 1547, which describes Blackborough as a parish, records its free chapel
dedicated to All-Hallows, and endowed with lands then valued at 4l. per
annum, by a founder whose name is not recorded.
NORTH BOVEY, in the hundred of Teignbridge and in the deanery of
Moreton, lies about two miles from Moreton-Hampstead.
There is a cattle fair at North Bovey on the Monday in the next week
after Michaelmas day.
The manor was at an early period in the family of Pipard, from whom it
passed by successive female heirs to the Lords Lisle and Berkeley. A
daughter of Thomas Lord Berkeley brought it to Richard Beauchamp,
Earl of Warwick, and a daughter of the Earl of Warwick to Nevil Lord
Latimer. When Risdon finished his Collections about 1630, it was in the
co-heiresses of Latimer. The Marquis of Winchester presented to the rectory,
which appears to have been always attached to the manor, in 1670. It is
now the property of Lord Viscount Courtenay, to whose father, when Sir
William Courtenay, it came, by bequest from his brother-in-law John Langdon, Esq. Mr. Langdon's family, who had been settled in this parish in the
reign of Queen Elizabeth appear to have been possessed of the manor about
the year 1700, if not at an earlier period. The lords of this manor had
formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. 18)
The Duke of Cornwall's manor of West Teign extends into this parish.
Lord Courtenay is patron of the rectory. The Rev. Thomas Parr, a
former rector, who died in 1738, gave a rent charge of 3l. per annum for
teaching poor children of this parish.
BOVEY-TRACEY, in the hundred of Teignbridge and in the deanery of
Moreton, lies about four miles from Chudleigh, and about five from Newton
A market at Bovey on Thursday, and a fair for three days at the festival
of the Translation of St. Thomas the Martyr, was granted to Henry Tracey
in 1259. (fn. 19) There are now four cattle fairs; Easter Monday, Holy
Thursday, the first Thursday in July, and the first Thursday in November.
The town is governed by a bailiff and portreeve; the bailiff is elected
annually at the lord's court, and the year after serving this office, he fills
that of portreeve. It seems probable that the latter officer was originally
called mayor: an ancient procession for perambulating the bounds of the
parish or manor with a large garland of flowers, &c, similar to that at
Bodmin in Cornwall, is still called the mayor's riding. This procession
takes place on the Monday after the third of May, called Roodmas Day.
The portreeve has, during his year of office, the profits of a piece of ground
called Portreeve's park, for defraying the expenses of this procession, &c. (fn. 20)
Bovey-Tracey, being at that time the quarters of a part of Lord Wentworth's brigade, was attacked in the evening of the 9th of January, 1646,
by Lieutenant-general Cromwell with a part of the parliamentary army
then under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax. The greater part of the
royalists who were thus dispersed escaped through the darkness of the
night, a major with some other officers and about 50 men being taken
prisoners. (fn. 21)
The manor, which had belonged to Earl Harold, was given by the
Conqueror to Jeffery, Bishop of Constance, his lieutenant at the battle of
Hastings, and was one of the five manors held by that prelate in demesne.
It afterwards became parcel of the barony of Barnstaple, and passed by the
same title, till the death of the last Holland, Duke of Exeter. Margaret,
Countess of Richmond, had a grant of it for life in 1487. Sir Thomas
Putt, Bart, died seised of this manor in 1686. (fn. 22) Some years afterwards,
it was purchased of Charles Heath, Esq. by John Langdon, Esq. Mr.
Langdon, who resided at Park in this parish, after the death of his only
daughter, which happened in 1747, bequeathed the manor of Bovey
Tracey and other estates to his brother-in-law, Sir William Courtenay,
afterwards Lord Viscount Courtenay. It is now the property of the present viscount, who has also the manor of Brinley in this parish. The
manor of Bovey Tracey pays a reserved rent of 58l. 15s. 10d. to those who
claim under the crown. The lords of this manor had formerly the power
of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. 23) Park is now the property and residence
of Charles Clapp, Esq. barrister at law.
The manor of Knighton was for many generations in the Franckcheneys,
whose heiress brought it to Strode; it was afterwards successively in the
families of Ellyott, Dennis, and Putt. Another manor of Knighton or
Knighton Heathfield (fn. 24) was in the Southcotts, who had an ancient seat in
this parish called Indiho, said to have been a priory, but I find no record
to confirm the tradition. The Southcotts had also the manor of Little
Bovey. These manors are now the property of George Templer, Esq. of
Stover House. Indiho was afterwards the seat of Sir John Stawell, K. B.,
and at a later period, successively of the families of Bale, Inglett, and
Tuffnel. In 1772, the house was enlarged, and applied to the purposes of
a manufacture of earthen ware. This manufacture is still carried on,
Mr. Steer being the present proprietor. The manor of Wreyland, in this
parish, is the property of Francis Daniell, Esq.
In the parish church are two monuments, without inscription, of Eveleigh
and Hele: the former has the date of 1620: there is the monument also
of Sir John Stawell, K.B. 1669, and Thomas Stawell, Esq. 1694.
The impropriate tithes, which belonged to the priory of Bridgewater,
were sold in lots, about the year 1805, by the Rev. John Templer of
Lindridge, and purchased chiefly by the landholders. The vicarage is in
the gift of the crown.
There is a meeting-house in this place for the Particular Baptists, and
another for the Wesleyan Methodists.
The charity school at Bovey Tracey is endowed with an income of 40l.
per annum arising from lands, for which a master instructs 24 children in
reading, writing, and arithmetic, but I have not been able to procure the
name of the founder, or the date of the foundation.
BRADFORD, in the hundred of Black Torrington and in the deanery of
Holsworthy, lies about six miles and a half from Holsworthy. Moyles,
Lashbrooke, and Flairs, are villages in this parish.
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, the manor of Bradford
formed part of the large possessions of Baldwin de Sap. It belonged
afterwards to the ancient family of Dabernon, from whom it acquired the
name of Bradford Dabernon; the heiress of this family brought it to Dennis
in the reign of Edward I. From Dennis, it passed by successive female heirs
to Giffard and Cary: it has lately been sold by George Cary, Esq. of Tor
Abbey to Messrs. Grylls and Borlase, of Helston in Cornwall. Sir William
Pole says, that the prior and convent of Launceston had a manor in Bradford.
Dunsland, in this parish, was held at the time of taking the Domesday
survey by Cadio, under Baldwin de Sap the sheriff. After several descents,
the heiress of Cadio or Cadiho brought it, in the reign of Henry IV., to
John Dabernon, descended from a younger branch of the Dabernons of
Bradford: his grand-daughter married Batten, the heiress of which
family, after three descents, brought Dunsland to John Arscott, Esq. of
Holsworthy. In Sir William Pole's time, it had been five descents in the
family of Arscott. Arthur Arscott, Esq., the last of this branch of the
family, died in 1664; his heiress married the ancestor of the late Arscott
Bickford, Esq. of Dunsland, who died in 1817. It is now the property of
his sister, Mrs. Coham, wife of the Rev. William Holland Coham. Dunsland house, which was built in 1609, is occasionally inhabited by Mr.
Coham's family. The place was much improved by George Bickford,
Esq. father of the late owner.
Hengescot, in this parish, belonged to a family of that name from the
reign of Henry III. to that of Queen Elizabeth, when the co-heiresses brought
it to Prideaux and Pomeroy: it afterwards passed to the family of Ridgway,
Earl of Londonderry, and is now the property of Earl Stanhope. (fn. 25)
Gidcot, where was a chapel, belonged to the Dennis family, and passed,
by successive female heirs, to Boterford and Gibbs. It now belongs to the
representatives of the late John Heysete, Esq.
In the parish church are monuments of the families of Arscott and
Bickford. (fn. 26)
BRADNINCH, in the hundred of Hayridge and in the deanery of Plymtree,
lies nine miles from Exeter, and 2½ from Columpton: it is a decayed market
and borough town.
King John, in the year 1208, granted to the burgesses of Bradninch or
Braneis all the liberties and free customs which the city of Exeter enjoyed. (fn. 27)
King James I., in 1604, incorporated this borough, making the corporation
to consist of a mayor, twelve masters, and a recorder; in 1685, King
James II. granted the burgesses a new charter, under which the corporation
consists of a mayor, twelve masters, and 24 inferior burgesses. The mayor,
who is chosen by the masters, burgesses, and freemen, is a justice of peace
during his year of office and the year following. King John's charter
granted a market on Saturday, and a fair for three days before and on the
festival of St. Dennis. King Henry III., in 1238; granted a market on
Thursday, and a fair for three days at the festival of the Holy Trinity. (fn. 28)
A century ago, there were fairs at Bradninch for sheep and cattle, on the
22d of January, on St. Mark's day, and St. Matthew's; and since that time,
great sheep markets on the Tuesday before the Feast of the Passover, the
Tuesday before Ascension day, and the Tuesday, before Corpus Christi day.
These have been all long discontinued, and the market has not been
held within the memory of any person now living.
The borough sent members to one parliament in the reign of Edward II.
Bradninch was the head-quarters of King Charles's army on the 27th of
July, 1644 (fn. 29) ; a part of the king's army was quartered there again on the
17th of September that year. (fn. 30) It was the head-quarters of Sir Thomas
Fairfax on the 16th of October, l645. (fn. 31) The town of Bradninch was almost
Consumed by fire in 1665. (fn. 32)
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, William Chievre or Capra
held the manor of Bradenesse in demesne. It was afterwards held as an
honour or barony with the Earldom of Cornwall by Reginald, natural son
of King Henry I., by King John and his son Richard. (fn. 33) It was eventually
made, and still continues to be, part of the duchy. (fn. 34)
The manor of Hele, in this parish, was the original inheritance and residence of the ancient family of that name. The heiress of the elder branch
brought this estate to the family of Franceis of Comb Flory in Somersetshire,
in the reign of Henry V. It was lately sold by their descendant, J. Franceis
Gwynn, Esq. of Ford Abbey, to Mr. Thomas Dewdney, the present proprietor.
Colebrooke, in this parish, belonged to the abbey of Ford. The abbot
granted it to Kilrington, whose descendants, by the name of Kilrington or
Colebrooke, possessed it for several generations. One of the co-heiresses
brought a moiety of this estate to the Veres, Earls of Oxford, by whom it
was sold to Raymond: this estate has been divided into parcels. The
barton of Horridge belongs to the Honourable Percy Wyndham; Tyranhayes to Aaron Moore, Esq. of Spreydon House, Broad Clist; Winham
to John Hole, Gent.; and Combe to William Martin, Gent.
In the parish church are monuments of the Sainthill family. (fn. 35)
Mrs. Margaret Pearse and Mrs. Jane Sainthill, spinster, are joint patrons
of the vicarage, and impropriators of the great tithes under the church of
Windsor. Mrs. Pearse resides in the old parsonage house, which was the
seat of the Sainthills. There was a fraternity of St. John at Bradninch,
endowed with lands valued, in 1547, at 19l. 10s. 5d. per annum. (fn. 36)
The Particular Baptists have a meeting at Bradninch.
BRADSTONE, in the hundred of Lifton and in the deanery of Tavistock,
lies about four miles from Launceston in Cornwall and about eight from
The manor, which had been Earl Harold's and was afterwards in the
Norman kings, belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the family of
Crewys, who possessed it for more than a century. Some time afterwards,
it came to the Cloberrys, and was their property and residence for many
generations. It now belongs to William Arundel Harris, Esq. whose
ancestor purchased it of the Cloberry family about the year 1750. The
old seat of that family near the church is occupied as a farm house by the
tenant of the barton.
In the church yard is a memorial for John Doble, who died in 1604 at
the age of 120. The bishop of Exeter is patron of the rectory.
Bradworthy or Broadworthy
BRADWORTHY or BROADWORTHY, in the hundred of Black Torrington and
in the deanery of Holsworthy, lies about eight miles from Holsworthy.
Great Denworthy, Alfardisworthy, Kimsworthy, and Youlston are villages
in this parish.
There was formerly a fair at Bradworthy at the festival of St. John the
Baptist. (fn. 37) There is now a cattle fair on the 9th of September.
The manor was granted by King John (fn. 38) to William, Lord Brewer (fn. 39) , from
whose family it passed, by successive female heirs, to Mohun, Strange, and
Stanley, Earl of Derby: it has been sold in severalties. The family of
Langford had a manor in Bradworthy, which, in the reign of Henry III.,
was conveyed to Horton of Upcott. The manor of Blackborough or
Blatchborough, in this parish, which belongs to Mrs. Calmady, has been some
time in the Calmady family. Hermansworthy belonged to the family of
De Bosco or Wood of Wood in this parish, who, by licence from the abbot
of Tor, built a chapel here.
In the parish church is a memorial for Thomas Cholwill, 1681.
Lord Brewer gave the church of Bradworthy to the abbey of Tor.
Lawrence Ashton, Esq. is now impropriator of the great tithes. The
vicarage is in the gift of the crown.
BRAMPFORD-SPEKE, in the hundred of Wonford and in the deanery of
Cadbury, lies about 4½ miles from Exeter. The village of Cowley is in
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry II., and perhaps at an earlier
period, to the family of Espek or Speke, and continued in their descendants, the Spekes of White Lackington in Somersetshire, in Sir William
Pole's time, and probably much later. In 1752, it passed by marriage
with the heiress of Pierce to the Taylors of Denbury, of whom it was purchased, in 1784, by Sir Robert Palk, Bart. It is now, by a late purchase
(in 1815), the property of Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, Bart, who has
also the barton of Woodrow in this parish.
Cowley belonged, in the early part of the seventeenth century, to the
family of Skinner. It was lately the property and residence of William
Jackson, Esq., now of Mrs. Wells, widow of Joshua Wells, D.D. There are
two bartons in Cowley, belonging to Sir Thomas Baring, Bart., and Mr.
Edmund Roberts; and Stars barton, the property of the Rev. Daniel
The lease of the rectory, which was formerly appropriated to the priory
of St. Nicholas in Exeter, is vested in the daughters of the late Honourable
Rose Herring May of the island of Jamaica, who hold it under the Bishop:
it had been in the Trelawney family. The vicarage is in the gift of the crown.
BRANSCOMBE, in the hundred of Colyton and in the deanery of Aylesbeare, lies about four miles from Sidmouth near the sea-coast. The village
of Dean is in this parish.
The manor of Branscombe is reckoned in the survey of Domesday among
the manors belonging to the see of Exeter, but it was then (fn. 40) appropriated
to the maintenance of the canons, and has ever since the establishment of
that body been vested in the dean and chapter, under whom it is held on
lease by Barnaby John Stuckey Bartlett, Esq., Vincent Stuckey, Esq.,
and Mrs. Sarah Leigh. The two former hold ten parts out of twelve.
The Stuckey family had been, for many generations, lessees of the dean
and chapter. They resided at Weston-house in this parish, held under the
same tenure, and now the seat of their representative, Mr. Stuckey Bartlett.
Egge or Edge, in this parish, was the seat of the Branscombes. Sir
Richard Branscombe, sheriff of the county for five years in the reign of
Edward III., resided there. Before the end of that reign, it had passed
to Sir John Wadham, whose seat it was, as well as that of his son, Sir
John Wadham, one of the justices of the King's Bench. After remaining
in the Wadhams for eight generations, it passed with two of the co-heiresses
of Nicholas Wadham (fn. 41) , founder of Wadham College, to the families of
Strangways and Wyndham, and is now the joint property of the Earl of
Ilchester, (by inheritance,) and of B. J. Stuckey Bartlett, Esq. The
former has seven-twelfths and the latter five-twelfths, purchased by the late
John Stuckey, Esq. of the Honourable Percy Wyndham.
Hole was the ancient inheritance of the De la Holes, afterwards for seven
descents of the Holcombs, who sold it to Bartlett about the year 1600. It
is now the property of Barnaby John Stuckey Bartlett, Esq. Mr. Bartlett
possesses also the manor of Littlecombe, which was purchased by the late
Mr. Stuckey of Lord King: it was some time belonging to the Bonvilles,
and afterwards to the Lords Petre.
In the parish church is an old monument of the Holcomb family, another
without inscription or arms, and memorials of Joan, relict of John Wadham (fn. 42) , 1581, the families of Bartlett (fn. 43) , Stuckey (fn. 44) , Bampfield of Beer, 1753,
and George Woodward, Esq. 1741.
The great tithes are vested in the dean and chapter of Exeter, and they
are patrons of the vicarage, which is in their peculiar jurisdiction. There
was formerly a handsome chapel at Edge, which had been desecrated before
1772. (fn. 45)
Branton or Braunton
BRANTON (fn. 46) or BRAUNTON, in the hundred of that name and in the deanery of Shirwell, lies about six miles from Barnstaple. The villages of
Santon, North Lobb, South Lobb, Nethercott, Knoll, Higher and Lower
Winsham, Halsinger, Bere-Charter, Pippacot, and Bood are in this parish.
The village of Braunton is populous and the parish extensive; the total
number of inhabitants, in 1801, was 1296; in 1811, 1390.
The manor of Braunton (now called Braunton Abbots) having been
parcel of the ancient demesnes of the crown, was given by King Richard I.
to Odo, ancestor of the Carews. King John, in 1200 or 1201, gave to
Robert de Seckville the manor of Braunton, except the land of Odo de
Carru. (fn. 47) Three years afterwards, he granted him that land also, to be
held during pleasure, paying an annual rent of 20l. (fn. 48) King Henry III., on
the day of his coronation (fn. 49) , granted two-thirds of the manor of Braunton,
with the lordship of the hundred, to the abbot and convent of Clive in
Somersetshire. This manor, which extends over part of the parishes of Marwood and Ilfracombe, was granted after the dissolution to the Earl of Westmorland, from whom it passed to Cheeke. In the reign of Charles the First,
it belonged to Sir Richard Reynell, and has descended from him (fn. 50) to the
present proprietor, Lord Viscount Courtenay. The lands of some estates
within this manor descend to the elder, of others, to the younger son;
they are all divided equally between daughters: the lands above mentioned
are distinguished as lands of the elder, and of the younger holding. Widows are entitled to a life-hold in the husband's inheritance, but forfeit
upon marrying again, or being guilty of incontinence. (fn. 51)
The manor of Braunton Gorges belonged to the family of Gorges in the
reign of Edward I., and they continued to possess it for more than three
centuries. It was afterwards in the Bassets, and is now the property of
Joseph Davie Basset, Esq. of Watermouth. Mr. Basset is proprietor also
of the manor of Braunton Arundell, which belonged anciently to the family
of Arundell. Mrs. Deborah Keen, spinster, died seised of it in 1694. (fn. 52)
The manor of Bere-Charters belonged to the family of Charteray from
the reign of Henry II. to that of Edward II., from them it was inherited
by the Bourchiers, and is now the property of their descendant, Sir Bourchier Wrey, Bart. The manor-house is occupied by the tenant of the
The manor of Buckland in this parish, with an estate called Incledon,
belonged to the Incledon family from an early period till the year 1759.
One of the co-heiresses of the late John Incledon, Esq. brought it to the
late Philip Rogers Webber, Esq. whose son, Henry Webber, Esq., a general in the East India Company's service, is the present proprietor. Buckland house is the seat of General Webber. There was also a manor of
Buckland Chailow in this parish, the inheritance of the Giffard family,
who held it under the duchy of Cornwall in the reign of James I. (fn. 53)
The manor of Santon or Saunton at the time of the Domesday survey (fn. 54)
was held in demesne by Tetbald Fitz Berner: in the reign of Henry III.,
it belonged to the family of that name, whose heiress brought it to Stockhey, and, after four descents, the heiress of Stockhey to Beaumont. Having
passed by marriage to Chichester, Arthur Lord Chichester sold it to a
branch of the Lutterells, who some time resided there. It is now the
property of Augustus Saltren Clevland, (late Willett,) Esq. as devisee of
John Clevland, Esq. of Tapley, whose ancestor purchased it of the Lutterells.
The manor-house is occupied by the tenant of the barton. Luscot, in this
parish, was granted by the abbot of Clive in 1286 to Thomas de Luscot (fn. 55) ,
the heiress of which family brought it to Arundel of Lanherne. It has since
been successively in the families of Collamore and Incledon, and passed with
a co-heiress of the latter to Philip Rogers Webber, Esq.: it is now the property of his son. The barton of Ash belonged, at an early period, to the
Flemings, one of whose co-heiresses brought it to Bellew. It afterwards
passed by successive sales to the families of Bere, Chichester, Bury, Lamley,
and Basset, and is now the property of Joseph Davie Basset, Esq.
Lobb was, for several generations, in a family of that name, whose heiress
brought it to a branch of the Berry family: it is now the property and
residence of Mr. William Cory.
Fairlinch, formerly a seat of the Burgoynes, was purchased about fifty
years ago by the Parminters. Mr. Richard Dyer, the present proprietor and
occupier, bought it of that family about the year 1800.
In the parish church, which is a large structure, and remarkable for
having no pillars, are monuments of the families of Shepheard alias Hooper (fn. 56) ,
Incledon (fn. 57) , and others. (fn. 58)
The rectorial manor and the advowson of Braunton were given to the
church of Exeter by William the Conqueror. The dean has now the manor
of Braunton-Dean, is appropriator of the great tithes (fn. 59) , and patron of the
vicarage, which is in his peculiar jurisdiction.
There were several chapels in this parish, of some of which there are
remains. (fn. 60) There was formerly a cross in the church-yard, called the Palm
Cross, said to have been kept up at a great expense till the year 1557.
The Presbyterians have a meeting-house at Braunton.
In the year 1667, the Rev. William Challoner gave 450l. towards the endowment of a free-school, laid out in land now producing 54l. per annum.
Arthur Acland, in 1690, gave 10l. per annum to the boys' school, and land
now producing 2l. per annum for teaching 12 girls. Nicholas Bere, who was
curate of Braunton in 1673, gave 50l., now producing 2l. per annum, for
teaching 12 poor young children. A woman receives the two last-mentioned
benefactions, and teaches 12 girls and as many young boys to read.
Near the sea is a large tract of land covered with sand and abounding
with rabbits, called Braunton borough. Two light-houses have lately been
erected on the borough for the security of mariners navigating the Bristol
channel, and crossing Barnstaple bar.
BRATTON CLOVELLY, in the hundred of Lifton and in the deanery of Okehampton, lies about nine miles from Oakhampton, and about the same distance from Launceston in Cornwall. Burnaby, Burrow, and Brooks, are
villages in this parish.
The manor of Bratton (fn. 61) belonged, at an early period, to the family of
Deaudon. The heiress of Sir Hamlyn Deaudon married Sir Baldwin Malet,
whose widow conveyed this manor to the family of Gonmore, or, according
to Sir William Pole, Tinmore. It was afterwards in the Somertons,and is now
in litigation between the claimants of the estates of the late William Wimpey,
Esq. The barton of Bratton belongs to Mr. John Phear and — Baker.
The manor of Burnaby was for many descents the property, and the
barton the residence, of the ancient family of Burnaby, who continued to
possess it in the early part of the seventeenth century. The barton now
belongs to John Hawkes, Esq. who is also proprietor of the barton of Eastlake. The barton of Ellicott belongs to the Earl of Morley; that of Swaddledown to the heirs of the late William Wimpey, Esq.; and that of Wrixhill, or Wreekshill, to Mr. William Martyn.
The Bishop of Exeter is patron of the rectory.
BRATTON-FLEMING, in the hundred of Braunton and in the deanery of
Shirwell, lies about eight miles from Barnstaple.
The manor belonged, at an early period, to the family of Flandrensis or
Fleming, one of whose co-heiresses brought it to the Dillons. Having been
purchased of the Dillon family in the reign of James I. by Sir Robert Chichester, it is now the property of his descendant Sir Arthur Chichester,
Bart. Chimwell in this parish, the ancient seat of the Flemings, and afterwards of the Dillons, is now a farm-house.
In the parish church is the monument of Bartholomew Worthy, rector,
aged 97, 1749.
The patronage of the rectory is vested in Gonville and Caius college,
HIGH-BRAY, in the hundred and deanery of Shirwell, lies about nine
miles from South Molton. The village of Brayford is in this parish.
The manor of High-Bray belonged to the Flemings, of whose co-heiresses
it was purchased by Emanuel Davy, Esq. of Sandford. It was afterwards
in the Oxenham family, by inheritance from which it is now the property
of Thomas Palmer Acland, Esq. of Little-Bray, in the parish of Charles.
The manor of Whitfield is in severalties; a part of it belongs to the Rev.
J. B. Karslake.
Mr. Acland is patron of the rectory.
Jacob Sloly, in 1703, gave 3l. per annum for teaching poor children of
BRENDON, in the hundred and deanery of Shirwell, lies about three miles
from Linton, in the north-west corner of the county on the borders of Somersetshire. The village of Leeford is in this parish.
The manor was conveyed in the reign of Henry II. from Pomeroy to
Beaple, and having passed by successive female heirs to Loringe, Harrington, Bonville, and Grey Duke of Suffolk, became vested in the crown by
forfeiture. It has been in the Chichester family more than a century, and
is now the property of Sir Arthur Chichester, Bart. who has a hunting-box
at Brendon. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting
capital punishment. (fn. 62) Sir Arthur Chichester is patron of the rectory.
SOUTH BRENT, in the hundred of Stanborough and in the deanery of
Totton, is a small market-town about eight miles from Ashburton, and about
200 from London. The number of inhabitants was returned in 1801 at
1032, in 1812 at 1230. The market is on Friday for butchers' meat, &c.
There are cattle-fairs on the last Tuesday in April and the last Tuesday in
September. (fn. 63) They were altered to these days in 1778. The villages of
Aish or Ash, Haburnford, and Wonton, are in this parish.
The manor of Brent belonged to the abbot and convent of Buckfastleigh.
After the dissolution it was purchased by Sir William Petre, ancestor of the
Right Hon. Lord Petre, who is the present proprietor. Most of the land
has been sold off. The abbot of Buckfastleigh had the power of inflicting
capital punishment. (fn. 64)
In the parish church is the monument of John Peter, customer of Devon,
1570, (an ancestor of Lord Petre's.)
The Rev. George Baker is impropriator of the great tithes, and patron
and incumbent of the vicarage.
The Rev. John Wilcocks, who died in 1715, gave 100l. for teaching
poor children of Brent and the village of Ash; it was laid out in land,
which now produces 8l. 10s. per annum. The Rev. Thomas Acland gave a
field at Ash, now let at 4l. 4s. per annum, to the same purpose.
BRENT TOR, in the hundred and deanery of Tavistock, lies about four
miles from Tavistock. The village of West Liddaton is in this parish. A
fair at Brent Tor church, within the manor of Lamberton, was granted to
the abbot of Tavistock in the year 1231. (fn. 65)
The manor belonged to the Abbey of Tavistock (fn. 66) , and was granted, together
with its other possessions, to John, Lord Russel, ancestor of the Duke of
Bedford, who has two manors in this parish called Holeyat and West
Liddaton; he is also impropriator of the tithes and patron of the curacy.
The parish church, called in ancient records the Church of St. Michael
de Rupe, is situated on a tor or rocky hill, which, rising abruptly on an
elevated down, is seen at a great distance. It is a small edifice, consisting
of a nave and chancel, its dimensions only 37 feet by 14 feet 6 inches.
On a tablet opposite the door is inscribed the following passage from Scripture: "Upon this rock will I build my church."
BRIDFORD, in the hundred of Wonford and in the deanery of Dunsford,
lies about nine miles from Exeter, seven from Chudleigh, and five from
Joel de Totneis held the manor of Bridford in demesne when the survey
of Domesday was taken. In the reign of Henry III. it belonged to the
Valletorts, from whom it passed by successive marriages to Okeston and
Champernowne. After many descents in the last-mentioned family, Sir
Richard Champernowne sold it to Sir Simon Leach in the early part of the
seventeenth century. At a later period it was successively in the families of
Hill and Taylor. Having been purchased of the latter by Sir Robert Palk,
Bart. it is now the property of his grandson Sir Lawrence Vaughan Palk,
Bart. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital
punishment. (fn. 67) The barton of Bridford belongs to Mr. William Northcote, who occupies it as a farm. Lapflode in this parish belongs to Sir
L. V. Palk, having been purchased by his grandfather of the family of
Coxe. This estate was in ancient times the property and residence of the
Lapflodes, whose co-heiresses, after many descents, married Hals, Stavely,
and Lippencot. There was formerly a chapel at Lapflode of which there
are now no remains. The manor of Beaconton in this parish is the property
of John Gullett, Esq: in 1809 it belonged to Mr. William Cooke.
In the parish church are memorials of the family of Hall, 1703, &c. Sir
L. V. Palk is patron of the rectory. In the parish register, which commences in 1538, notice is taken of the insurrections in Devon and Cornwall in 1549.