EXMINSTER, in the hundred of that name and in the deanery of Kenne,
lies about four miles from Exeter. The principal villages in the parish
are Lower Shillingford and Matford. There is a holiday-fair at Exminster
on the first Thursday in May.
King Alfred bequeathed the manor of Exminster to his younger son: at
the time of the Domesday survey, it was held in demesne by William Chievre
or Capra. In the reign of Henry II. it belonged to Earl Richard,
afterwards King, who appears to have given it to William Brewer. It
was afterwards in the Courtenays, Earls of Devonshire, who had a magnificent mansion at this place, in which Archbishop Courtenay and his
brother Sir Peter, an eminent military character, are said to have been
born. Leland mentions the ruins of a manor-place, which was supposed
to have belonged to the Marquis of Exeter. This manor passed to the
heirs general of the last Earl of Devonshire, and having been re-united to
the family estate by the purchase of Lord Courtenay, about the year 1752,
is the property of the present Viscount.
Peamore (fn. 1) , in this parish, the seat of Samuel Kekewich, Esq., was
anciently in the family of Bolhay, whose heiress brought it to the
Cobhams. After a continuance of five descents in the Cobhams, it
passed to the Bonvilles. On the attainder of the Duke of Suffolk, this
and other estates of the Bonvilles fell to the crown. Peamore was
purchased by Jeffrey Tothill, Esq. Henry Northleigh, Esq., who became
possessed of Peamore by marriage with a co-heiress of Tothill, died in
1638. Mr. Kekewich purchased this estate of Henry Hippisley Coxe,
Esq., one of the representatives of the Northleighs.
Lower Shillingford, North Shillingford, or Shillingford Abbot, was
given to Tor Abbey by William, Lord Briwere, or Brewer. James
Southcote, Esq., purchased this estate after the dissolution: it was sold by
his descendant, Henry Southcote, Esq., to Sir Robert Palk, Bart., and is
now the property of his grandson, Sir L. V. Palk, Bart.
Kenbury was purchased of Elizabeth Trevelyan and others, in 1668, by
John Cook, merchant, and continued in his descendants till 1788, when it
was purchased by Philip Stowey, Esq., and is now the property of his widow.
Great and Little Bowhay belonged anciently to the family of Bolhay or
Bowhay, afterwards to the Peters, who had a seat there. The heiress of
Peter married Sir Allen Apsley. Great Bowhay was afterwards successively in the families of Baker and Michell, and is now, by purchase from
the latter, the property of Mr. — Tossill. Little Bowhay was purchased
of the Southcotes with Shillingford, and is now the property of Sir L. V.
Breynton belonged anciently to a family of that name, afterwards to the
Walthams. It is now the property of Sir L. V. Palk, Bart., having been
purchased of the family of Coxe.
In the parish-church is the monument of Otho Peter, Esq., who died in
1607. The 12 corporators of Crediton are impropriators of Exminster,
and patrons of the vicarage. (fn. 2) The corporators of Crediton give 4l. per
annum to this parish, for the instruction of 12 children.
EXMOUTH, see LITTLEHAM.