Parishes: Netherex - King's Nympton

Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.

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Daniel Lysons. Samuel Lysons, 'Parishes: Netherex - King's Nympton', in Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire, (London, 1822) pp. 360-369. British History Online [accessed 19 May 2024].

Daniel Lysons. Samuel Lysons. "Parishes: Netherex - King's Nympton", in Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire, (London, 1822) 360-369. British History Online, accessed May 19, 2024,

Lysons, Daniel. Lysons, Samuel. "Parishes: Netherex - King's Nympton", Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire, (London, 1822). 360-369. British History Online. Web. 19 May 2024,

In this section


NETHEREX, in the hundred of Hayridge and in the deanery of Cadbury, lies about five miles from Exeter.

The manor belonged to the family of Crewes, or Cruwys, in the reign of Henry II., and in the middle of the thirteenth century was divided among the co-heiresses of that family. At a later period, it was successively in the families of Limpany, Hurst, and Martyn. The Netherex estate is now the property of George Peter Martyn Young, Esq., having been bequeathed to his father by William Clifford Martyn, Esq., who died in 1769. No manerial rights have of late been exercised. The Berrys, of Berry Narbor, had formerly a small manor in this parish, which was sold by them to the Bampfyldes. The family of Milford had a considerable estate in Netherex, which passed by marriage to Kett, and is now the property of George Kett, Esq., of Brook House, in Norfolk. Netherex is a chapel or daughter-church to Rewe. This parish has some interest in the almshouse at Clist, founded by Henry Burrowes.

Newton St. Cyres

NEWTON ST. CYRES, in the hundred of Crediton and in the deanery of Cadbury, lies about five miles from Exeter, and about three from Crediton. The village of Winscot is in this parish.

There is a cattle-fair at Newton St. Cyres on the Monday before Midsummer-day.

Sir Thomas Fairfax was with his army at Newton St. Cyres on the 22d of October, 1645. (fn. n1)

The manor was given to the prior and convent of Plympton by Robert de Pont Arch. After the Reformation, it was, for many generations, in moieties between the families of Quicke and Northcote. The Quickes settled here in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The whole of the manor is now the property of John Quicke, Esq., a moiety having been purchased of the Northcote family in 1762. Newton House is the seat of Mr. Quicke.

Hayne, the old seat of the Northcotes, in this parish, belonged to the Drewes, whose heiress married Northcote, after having resided here for several descents. This estate is still the property of Sir Stafford Northcote, Bart., but the old mansion has been in part taken down: part of the hall is remaining. Bidwell, in this parish, gave name to a family by whom, after some generations, it was alienated to Roope: the co-heiresses of Roope married two brothers of the family of Kirkham. Bidwell is now a farm, the property of Mr. — Roberts.

The manor of Norton and the small manor of Penson, or Painstone, belong to the dean and chapter of Exeter.

In the parish-church are monuments of the families of Northcote (fn. n2) and Quicke (fn. n3); Robert Fortescue, Esq., 1663; and Boughey Okey, Esq., 1795. Sir Stafford Northcote has the great tithes of this parish, which were given to the priory of Plympton, and appropriated to that monastery. Mr. Quicke is patron of the vicarage.

There was formerly a chapel at Norton, in this parish. Dr. Downman, the poet, was a native of Newton St. Cyres.

Newton Ferrers

NEWTON FERRERS, in the hundred of Ermington and in the deanery of Plympton, lies about eight miles from Modbury, and about five and a half from Plympton. Higher and Lower Newton, and Higher and Lower Torr, are the principal villages in this parish.

The manor of Newton belonged to the ancient family of Ferrers, of BereFerrers. A co-heiress of Ferrers brought it to Lord St. John, of Basing, from whom, by successive female heirs, it passed to Bonville and Copleston. Walter Hele, Esq., of Gnaton, in this parish, purchased it of Christopher Copleston, Esq., in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. About the beginning of the last century, the co-heiresses of Hele married the Marquis of Carmarthen, afterwards Duke of Leeds, and the Right Honourable George Treby. It is now in moieties between Henry Roe, Esq., now of Gnaton, (the ancient seat of the Heles,) and William Holberton, Esq., whose ancestors had resided, for many generations, on a patrimony of their own at High Torr. Brownston, in this parish, another seat of the Heles, is now the joint property of the two daughters of the late Mr. Samuel Roe, one of whom is married to Captain Bignall of the marines.

The manor of Postlinch, or Puslinch, was given by William Ferrers, Lord of Newton, to the family of De Postlinch, who were succeeded by the Mohuns. The heiress of Mohun brought it to a younger son of Upton of Trelosk, in Cornwall. Prince supposes, that Nicholas Upton, the heraldic writer, was of that family; and it appears that there was a younger son of this family named Nicholas, about the time that this author flourished. (fn. n4) William Upton, Esq., who died in 1709, left two daughters, one of whom brought this place to James Yonge, M. D., of Plymouth, a friend and correspondent of Sir Hans Sloane, and author of several works, popular in their day. (fn. n5) Postlinch is now the property and residence of his great-grandson, the Rev. John Yonge. Pruteston, in this parish, now called Preston, gave name to a family whose heiress brought it to a branch of the Fortescues: it is now the property of John Holberton, Esq. The barton of Collaton belongs to Mr. Samuel Algar.

In the parish-church are memorials for Anthony Clifford, rector, 1685; and Francis Hingeston, his successor, "discharged by death," 1725. There was formerly a chapel of St. Toly (Olave) in this parish; the rector of which had an endowment of 1l. 3s. per annum, for performing Divine service therein four times in the year. (fn. n6) Mr. Yonge is patron of the rectory.

Newton St. Petrock

NEWTON ST. PETROCK, in the hundred of Shebbear and in the deanery of Torrington, lies about eight miles from Holsworthy, and about seven from Shipwash. The village of West Hole is in this parish.

The manor, which had been parcel of the manor of Shebbear, was given by King Henry I. to the priory of Bodmin. (fn. n7) After the dissolution, it was granted to Prideaux, in whose family it continued several descents. It is now the property of Lewis Buck, Esq., of Daddon. The barton of Lane belongs to Thomas Burnard, Esq., of Bideford. The family of Dean had, for several generations, a seat here: they removed from hence to Horwood. The Rev. Dr. Lempriere is patron of the rectory.

Newton Tracey

NEWTON TRACEY, in the hundred of Fremington and in the deanery of Barnstaple, lies about five miles from Barnstaple. The manor belonged, in ancient times, to the family of Tracy, and passed, by successive female heirs, to the baronial families of Martin and Audley, and to the families of Hilary, Troutbeck, and Talbot of Grafton. I cannot learn that there is now any lord of the manor. The barton belongs to Thomas Hogg, Esq., of Appledore.

The King is patron of the rectory.

St. Nicholas, alias Ringmore

ST. NICHOLAS, alias RINGMORE, in the hundred of Wonford and in the deanery of Kenne, lies on the banks of the Teign, opposite Teignmouth. Shaldon is partly in this parish and partly in that of Combe in Teignhead. The manor, which was parcel of the barony of Oakhampton, was many years in the Carew family: it was purchased, in 1671, by Lord Treasurer Clifford, of Thomas Carew, Esq., and is now the property of his descendant, Hugh Lord Clifford.

The benefice, which is a donative in the gift of Lord Clifford, has been augmented by Queen Anne's bounty: it is said to have been formerly annexed to Haccombe.

Broad Nimet, or Nymet

BROAD NIMET, or NYMET, in the hundred of North Tawton and in the deanery of Chulmleigh, lies about eight miles from Crediton.

With the exception of Kingsbridge, this is the smallest parish in the county, containing no more than fifty-two acres, and consisting only of the manor barton, which in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries belonged to the family of De Brode Nymet, and is now the property of Sir Thomas Buckler Lethbridge, Bart. There is only one house in the parish.

Sir Thomas Lethbridge is patron of the rectory.

Nimet, or Nymet Rowland, alias Rowland's Leigh

NIMET, or NYMET ROWLAND, alias ROWLAND'S LEIGH, in the hundred of North Tawton and in the deanery of Chulmleigh, lies about six miles from Chulmleigh and ten from Crediton.

The manor belonged, at an early period, to Rowland de Nymet, whose descendant, Sir Walter, was possessed of it in the reign of Henry III. It was afterwards in the family of Wolrington, whose heirs were Hach and Buckington. This manor has long ago been dismembered.

The Rev. William Radford is the present patron and incumbent of the rectory.

Nimet Tracey, alias Bow

NIMET TRACEY, alias BOW, in the hundred of North Tawton and in the deanery of Chulmleigh, is ten miles from Oakhampton, and seven from Crediton.

The manor belonged anciently to the Tracey family, and passed, by successive female heirs, through the families of Martin, Audley, Fitzwarren, and Hankford, to the Bourchiers, earls of Bath. It is now the property of Sir Thomas Lethbridge, Bart. The Rev. Bourchier Marshall is patron and incumbent of the rectory. There is a charity-school in this parish, founded, in 1684, by Mr. John Gould, and endowed with lands let at 13l. per annum, and a house for the master, who instructs five boys, and the same number of girls, in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

In this parish is the small decayed town of Bow, which had formerly a market on Thursday, granted in 1258, to Henry Tracey, with a fair for three days at the festival of St. Martin. (fn. n8) There is now a great cattle-market on the third Thursday in March, established in 1815; and two fairs for cattle, &c., on Ascension-day, and November 22. Sprigge mentions a skirmish at Bow, between Sir Hardress Waller and some of the king's forces, in which Sir Hardress was successful, and took many prisoners.


NORTHAM, in the hundred of Shebbear and in the deanery of Hertland, lies about a mile and a half from Bideford.

A fair at Northam, to be held for two days, at the festival of the decollation of St. John the Baptist, was granted to the prior of Frampton in 1252. (fn. n9) This fair has been discontinued.

The manor of Northam was given by William the Conqueror to the church of St. Stephens, in Caen, and confirmed in 1252, to the priory of Frampton, in Dorsetshire, which was a cell to St. Stephens. (fn. n10) Having been seized as part of the possessions of an alien monastery, it was given to the college of St. Mary Ottery. Queen Elizabeth granted it, in 1564, to the dean and chapter of Windsor, to whom the fee still belongs, together with that of the great tithes (fn. n11), and the advowson of the vicarage. The manor was held under the church of Windsor, by the family of Melhuish, who sold it to the Willetts, for 200 years, to commence from the death of William Melhuish, Esq., in 1770; after which it is to revert to the heirs of the Rev. Thomas Melhuish, late vicar of Witheridge. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of capital punishment. (fn. n12)

Durrant, in this parish, some time the residence of the Melhuish family, is now the seat of Sir Richard Goodwin Keats, G.C.B., Vice-Admiral of the White, who purchased it, about 1810, of Mr. Husband, as devisee of Melhuish. Sir Richard has much improved and enlarged the house and grounds.

Porthill, in this parish, was built by the late Augustus Saltren Willett, Esq., about the year 1775, and was sold by his widow to Sir Richard Keats. It is now in the occupation of Thomas Smith, Esq. Borough, an old mansion in this parish, belonged formerly to the Leighs, by marriage with the heiress of Borough. The co-heiresses of Leigh married Basset and Berry. Borough became the property of the last-mentioned family. After the death of Sir Thomas Berry, it passed to the Downes. Borough is now the property and seat of R. Barton, Esq., Rear-Admiral of the Red, who married the heiress of the late Henry Downe, Esq.

In the parish-church are monuments of the families of Melhuish (fn. n13), and Downe (fn. n14); Sir Thomas Berry, 1690 (fn. n15); Mary, wife of Arthur Lippincot, (daughter of Thomas Leigh,) 1594; Thomas Leigh, æt. 20, 1628; and Thomas Hogg, Esq., of Appledore, 1786.

William Leigh, Esq., who died about the middle of the seventeenth century, founded an almshouse for four poor widows. Mr. William Burrows gave 20l. towards its endowment. Thomas Leigh gave 2l. per annum to the widows in this almshouse. There is no trace of this almshouse or of its endowment.

I find no account of the foundation of the charity-school. Thomas Melhuish and his wife, in 1702, gave a rent-charge of 1l. 10s. per annum, to the schoolmaster, for teaching six poor children writing and arithmetic. Dame Ann Berry, in 1716, gave 20l. to purchase a field for the school; but the purchase was never made. Dorothy Docton, in 1737, gave a rent-charge of 2l. for teaching six poor children; but her heirs, some time since, refused to continue the payment, and the charity has been lost. John Wood, in 1752, gave 1l. per annum to the free-school at Northam; this also has been discontinued and lost in like manner. Mr. Richard Cholwill, in 1687, gave 60l. to the school, which has been laid out in the purchase of lands, producing a rent of 5l. 10s. per annum, now enjoyed by the schoolmaster. David Best, mason, in 1791, gave a rent-charge of 4l. per annum, and in 1806 a further rent-charge of 4l. per annum, after the death of his wife, for the instruction of twenty poor children, fourteen at Appledore, and six at Northam. The children under Dame Berry's foundation, and David Best's six children, are instructed in separate small schools at Northam.

Appledore (fn. n16), in this parish, is a small sea-coast town, which has a considerable coasting trade, and has lately been annexed to the port of Barnstaple. There are two weekly provision markets here for the convenience of the shipping, Wednesday and Saturday. Westcote, writing in the reign of Charles I., says that, within the memory of persons then living, there were only two poor houses at this place, although it then equalled many markettowns in the multiplicity of houses and inhabitants.

There is a chapel at Appledore, kept in repair by the church of Windsor; but no service has been performed in it within the memory of any person living. The Presbyterians had a meeting-house at Appledore, in 1715 (fn. n17) : the congregation are now Independent Calvinists.

The Danes having landed at Appledore, with a powerful army, in 878, laid siege to the castle of Kenwith, the garrison of which, in a successful sally, killed their chief Hubba, and defeated his army with great slaughter. Mr. Studley Vidal, F.S.A., in a paper communicated to the Society, in 1804, supposes that a small fortified spot, called Henniborough, or Henni Castle, about a mile north-west of Bideford, was the site of Kenwith Castle, the object of this memorable siege, of which Camden and Baxter had considered every vestige to have been long ago obliterated, or swallowed up by the sea. In one important point, however, the want of water, it does not agree with Asser's description.

On the coast, adjoining to Northam-borough, a large sandy tract of about 800 acres, is a remarkable bank of pebbles, of great height, about a mile in length, resembling the Chesil-bank, near Weymouth.


NORTHLEIGH, in the hundred of Colyton and in the deanery of Honiton, lies about four miles from Colyton. Triccombe, Bucknole, and Puddlebridge, are villages in this parish.

The manor belonged, anciently, to a younger branch of the Leighs of Southleigh, and was divided among three co-heiresses, in the reign of Henry III. Two parts passed to Bonville, and were afterwards in Lord Petre's family. The remaining third, which had been given to the priory of Canonleigh (fn. n18), was afterwards in the family of Prideaux. The manor of Northleigh, and the advowson of the rectory, were sold by Lord Petre, to John Mountstephen How, Esq., and are now the property of his surviving brother, the Rev. Samuel How.

In the parish-church are some memorials of the Marwoods (1660 and 1671).

The Rev. James How, in 1816, gave 4l. per annum, for the endowment of a Sunday-school, in this parish.

Nathaniel Carpenter, an eminent philosopher and mathematician, was born, in 1588, at Northleigh. His father, John Carpenter, rector of Northleigh, was a learned divine, and author of several religious tracts, among which was "A sorrowful Song for Sinful Souls, composed upon the strange and wonderful Shaking of the Earth, April 6. 1586."

Bishops Nympton, or Nimet

BISHOPS NYMPTON, or NIMET, in the hundred of Witheredge and in the deanery of South Molton, lies about three miles from South Molton. The village of New-town is in this parish.

There are cattle-fairs at Bishops Nympton on the 14th of April and the 20th of October.

The manor has belonged, from ancient time, to the bishops of Exeter. The greater part of it is held under the bishop, by the Southcomb family.

The manor of Whitechaple, in this parish, belonged to the Peverells; and having passed, by marriage, to Basset, was for many years one of the seats of that ancient family. Sir Robert Basset sold it, about the year 1600. It was afterwards, successively, in the families of Lear, Gibbins, and Short. Mrs. Hull, who was of the last-mentioned family, sold it, between 1770 and 1780, to the father of Mr. John Sanger, the present proprietor. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n19)

Grilleston, in this parish, gave name to a family, from whom this place passed, by successive female heirs, to Valletort, or Vawtort, of Clist Lawrence, and Pollard. It now belongs to the Rev. William Thorne.

In the parish-church is a rich monument, without inscription, to one of the Pollard family. The Bishop of Exeter is appropriator of the great tithes and patron of the vicarage. Some small sums given to this parish by Henry Zeal and John Burgess, for teaching poor children, have been lost.

The Rev. Thomas Baker, an eminent mathematician, author of a celebrated work called "The Geometrical Key, or the Gate of Equations unlocked," was several years vicar of this parish. He was collated to this vicarage, said to have been "then lawfully vacant," in 1681; but Mr. Chapple supposes, that he had been presented many years before, during Cromwell's protectorate, and that he conformed. He was buried at Bishops Nympton, on the 22d of May, 1689.

John Loosemore, who built the fine organ in Exeter cathedral, was a native of Bishops Nympton: he died in 1686, and was buried in Exeter cathedral.

George Nympton, or Nimet St. George

GEORGE NYMPTON, or NIMET ST. GEORGE, in the hundred and deanery of South Molton, lies about two miles from South Molton, by which parish it is almost entirely surrounded.

The manor was, at an early period, in the family of Nymet, or Nimet, afterwards in that of Hache, from whom it descended, through the Malets, to the Aclands. It is now the property of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, Bart., who is patron of the rectory.

Broom House, in this parish, which belonged formerly to the family of Hale, is now the property of Mrs. Elizabeth Gay. The late possessor, Thomas Gay, Gent., was descended from Matthew Gay, who was deprived of the rectory of Bratton Fleming in 1645.

King's Nympton, or Nimet

KING'S NYMPTON, or NIMET, in the hundred of Witheridge and in the deanery of South Molton, lies about four miles from Chulmleigh, and about five from South Molton.

The manor, which was parcel of the ancient demesne of the crown, was granted by King John to Joel de Mayne, and (having been again vested in the crown by his rebellion) by King Henry III. to Roger le Zouch. (fn. n20) In the reign of Edward III. it belonged to Sir Jeffrey Cornwall, whose family continued to possess it in that of Henry V. Sir Lewis Pollard, who was one of the justices of the Common Pleas, purchased this manor, built a mansion here, and enclosed a park in the reign of Henry VII. Sir Arthur Northcote, Bart., who died in 1688, purchased King's Nympton of the Pollards. James Buller, Esq., who died in 1765, purchased it of the Northcotes, and built the present house, called New Place, or King's Nympton Park, now the property and occasional residence of John Buller, Esq., one of the Commissioners of Excise. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n21)

The late Mrs. Melhuish had also a manor in King's Nympton (purchased of Brown), which is now the property of her niece Mrs. Byne.

In the parish-church are memorials of Robert Pollard, Esq., 1680; and Sir Arthur Northcote, Bart., 1688. Albany Savile, Esq., is patron of the rectory.

There are two charity-schools in this parish, one containing 40 boys, and the other 20 girls, supported chiefly at the expense of J. Buller, Esq.


  • n1. Sprigge's England's Recovery, p. 147.
  • n2. A monument of Jacob Northcote, Esq., with his effigies in armour, and underneath kneeling figures of his two wives, the daughters of Sir Anthony Rouse and Sir Hugh Pollard: under the first is inscribed, "My fruit was small: one son was all, that not at all." Under the other, "My Jacob had by me as many sons as he; daughters twice three." John Northcote, 1679; John Northcote, 1680; Arthur Northcote, Esq. (son and heir of Sir Arthur), 1680, married the heiress of Gay of Bristol.
  • n3. John Quicke, 1677; Thomas Quicke, Esq., 1701; John Quicke, Esq., 1703; Francis Hall, Esq., of West Sandford, (who married a daughter of Andrew Quicke, Esq.,) 1728; John Quicke, Esq., 1776; and Andrew Quicke, Esq., 1793.
  • n4. See Sir William Pole.
  • n5. "Medicastor Medicatus;" "Sidrophel Vapulans;" "Currus triumphalis;" "Treatises on the Wounds of the Brain; on the Origin of Fountains;" &c.
  • n6. Chantry Roll, in the Augmentation-office, 1547.
  • n7. Hundred Roll, temp. Edw. I.
  • n8. Cart. Rot. 43 Hen. III. m. 4.
  • n9. Cart. Rot. 37 Hen. III. m. 8.
  • n10. Cart. Rot. 37 Henry III.
  • n11. The great tithes of Northam are held on lease, under the church of Windsor, by the corporation of South Molton. See the account of that town.
  • n12. Hundred Roll.
  • n13. Thomas Melhuish, 1696; Roger Melhuish, 1745; William Melhuish, 1770; &c.
  • n14. Henry Downe, Esq., 1717; Henry Downe, Esq., 1805; Anne, only daughter of John Downe, Esq., and relict of the Rev. Richard Vyvyan, 1812.
  • n15. He was son of John Berry, Esq., by a co-heiress of Leigh.
  • n16. The manor of Appledore, at the time of the Domesday survey, was held by Ralph de Bruer, under Baldwin, the sheriff.
  • n17. Return to Mr. Neale, author of the "History of the Puritans."
  • n18. The nuns of Canonleigh appear to have acquired it in the reign of Edward II. See Rot. Originalia, 6 Edward II.
  • n19. Hundred Roll.
  • n20. Cart. Rot. 11 Hen. III.
  • n21. Hundred Roll.