Parishes: Rackenford - Rouse Down

Pages 425-430

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

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RACKENFORD, in the hundred of Witheridge and in the deanery of South Molton, lies on the turnpike-road, eight miles from Tiverton, and ten from South Molton.

Rackenford is, in ancient records, described as a borough. A market was granted at this place to Robert de Sydenham, in the year 1235, to be held on Thursday; together with a fair for three days, at the festival of All Saints. (fn. n1) There is now a small cattle-fair on the Wednesday before the 19th of September, established in the year 1776.

The manor was, at an early period, in the family of Sydenham. It was afterwards divided into moieties. One moiety, with the advowson of the church, and the manor of Little Rackenford, belonged to the Crewys family, who, about the year 1620, sold this estate to the several tenants. The other moiety, with the barton of Leigh, was in the Tirrells, who sold to Hache of Aller. It was afterwards in the family of Shortridge. In 1772 it belonged to William Lyddon, Esq., and is now the property of Mr. William Leigh, who is lord of the manor, and holds a court-leet and court-baron. Among the presentments in the manor-court, the following very singular one is recorded:—"That one Richard Taillour, on the 12th day of March, 1 Richard III., with force and arms, viz. with swords, staves, and daggers, at Great Rackenford, made an assault, and was there lying in wait to destroy himself, against the peace of our Lord the King." The offender was fined 2s. (fn. n2) The Rev. John Comins is patron and incumbent of the rectory.

Rattery, or Rattrey

RATTERY, or RATTREY, in the hundred of Stanborough and in the deanery of Totton, lies about six miles from Ashburton, and four from Totnes.

William de Falesia, was Lord of Rattery, in the reign of William the Conqueror. Robert Fitzmartin gave it, in the reign of Henry I., to the abbey of St. Dogmaels, in Pembrokeshire. I have not been able to find what became of it after the dissolution. It is now the property of Sir Henry Carew, Bart., in right of his wife, the heiress of Walter Palk, Esq., who purchased it of John Bidlake Herring, Esq., about the year 1790. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n3)

Luscombe, in this parish, after having been previously in the families of De Altaribus, Pillond, and Bastard, gave name to a family, whose property and residence it was for about 400 years. It was purchased of the Luscombes, not many years ago, by the late Walter Palk, Esq., and is now the property of Sir Henry Carew, Bart. Willing, in this parish, which was an old seat of the Savery family, is now a farm-house, the property of John Browne, Esq. In the parish-church are some memorials of the families of Savery and Pyne. (fn. n4) Sir Henry Carew is impropriator of the great tithes, which had belonged to the abbey of St. Dogmaels, and patron of the vicarage.

Revelstock, or Revelstoke

REVELSTOCK, or REVELSTOKE, in the hundred and deanery of Plympton, lies about five miles from Modbury. The village of Noss is in this parish.

Revelstoke was the property and residence of the ancient family of Revell. Richard Revell, of this place, was several years sheriff of the county, in the reign of Richard I. After five descents, the co-heiresses of this family married Hurst, Hill, and Fountayne. The manor now belongs to Sir John Perring, Bart., who has also the manor of Noss Mayo, in this parish. The manor of Lambside, belonging to Edward Wynne Pendarves, Esq., extends into this parish. Revelstoke is a daughter-church to Yealmpton, in the patronage of the prebendary of King's Teignton, in the church of Sarum, to whom the great tithes are appropriated.

Rew, or Rewe

REW, or REWE, in the hundred of Wonford and in the deanery of Plymtree, lies about five miles from Exeter.

Previously to the reign of Edward III., the manor of Rewe was successively in the families of Villars, Sacheville, Causebeuf, Blakeford, Picot (fn. n5), and Tantifer. The heiress of Tantifer married Chiselden, and one of the co-heiresses of Chiselden brought this manor to Wadham. It is now in the Earl of Ilchesterand the Honourable Percy Wyndham, as representatives of the Wadham family; the Earl having five, and Mr. Wyndham seven shares. The advowson is divided between them in the same proportion. In the parish-church is the monument of Paul Draper, merchant, 1686. At the village of Upex, in this parish, are the remains of an ancient chapel.

Ringmore, or Rinmore

RINGMORE, or RINMORE, in the hundred of Ermington and in the deanery of Woodleigh, lies about seven miles from Kingsbridge, and four from Modbury. The villages of Marwell, Renton, and Langston, are in this parish.

The manor belonged anciently to the family of Fitzstephen; afterwards, to that of Fissacre, or Fishacre. It belonged to the Kirkhams, in the middle of the seventeenth century, and is now the property of William Roe, Esq., of Gnaton, whose uncle purchased it of Thomas Kirkham, Esq., in 1759. The manor of Okenbury passed, by successive female heirs, from Bozun to Ferrers, Ayshford, and Wise. It is now the joint property of Ayshford Wise, Esq., and Mr. Thomas Splatt. Abel Ram, Esq. is patron of the rectory.


ROBOROUGH, in the hundred of Fremington and in the deanery of Torrington, lies about five miles from Torrington. The village of Ebberley is in this parish.

Alexander Cloigny held this manor in the reign of Henry III. In that of Edward III. it was in moieties, between Pollard and Barry. Pollard's share was sold to Molford about the middle of the sixteenth century. Barry's share was subdivided, and passed to Colles and Wollacombe. The manor now belongs to Henry Hole, Esq., who has lately built a new house, for his own residence, at Ebberley: his grandfather purchased the manor of the Wollacombes. Mr. Hole is proprietor also of the manor or barton of Cliston, and of the barton of Thelbridge, which had belonged to the Bickfords, and has been recently purchased of the Rev. William Holland Coham. Over Wollacombe, in this parish, is said by Sir William Pole to have given name to the ancient family of Wollacombe (fn. n6), who possessed it nearly from the time of the Conquest: probably this is what is now called Owlacombe, belonging to Lord Rolle: the bartons of Combe and Barlington are the property of — Vivian, Esq.; and that of Scotterington, of the Rev. David Horndon.

In the parish-church are memorials of John Sanders, Gent., 1641; and Eliz., wife of Robert Langford, Esq., 1648. The Rev. Thomas May is patron and incumbent of the rectory.


ROCKBEARE, in the hundred of East Budleigh and in the deanery of Aylesbeare, lies about seven miles from Exeter. The village of Marsh Green is in this parish.

At an early period, Alice, relict of John Fitz Richard, gave the manor and church of Rockbeare to John, son of Theobald. (fn. n7) In the reign of Edward III., Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, gave his manor of Rockbeare to Matilda, Countess of Gloucester, who bestowed it on the abbey of Canonleigh. It now belongs to Thomas Porter, Esq., who purchased it of the late Mrs. Sainthill: it had been a considerable time in the Sainthill family. Rockbeare House, some time the property and residence of the late Sir John Duntze, Bart., stands about a mile east of the church. It was purchased of the present baronet by Mr. Porter, who pulled down the old house, and has built on its site a handsome mansion for his own residence. The manor of Rockbeare Baldwin belonged, at an early period, to Baldwin de Belston. The co-heiresses of this family married Speccot, Chamberlayne, and Fulford. The descendant of Speccot, who possessed twothirds of the manor, took the name of Belston. The last of this family conveyed his share of the manor to Sir John Beaumont. After continuing several descents in Beaumont, it passed by marriage to the Bassets, by whom it had been sold in parcels to the tenants before Sir William Pole made his collections. The remaining third continued in the Fulfords, and was called the manor of Marsh, or Marsh Bowden. It is supposed that this also has long ago been disposed of in like manner. The Fulfords have not of late years had any estate in this parish.

The barton of Doniton, or Dotton, (between Colyton Ralegh, and Newton Poppleford,) which is tithe-free, and maintains its own poor, belonged to the priory of Otterton, and afterwards to the Dukes. There was formerly a chapel here. (fn. n8) This barton is now the property of Lord Rolle, having been purchased with other estates of the Dukes.

The Bidgoods had, for several descents, a house near the church; it is now the property and residence of Mrs. Bidgood, widow of the late Charles Bidgood, Esq., the last of the family, who died in 1813. Westcott is the property and residence of the Rev. John Elliott.

In the church-yard is a monument for Sir John Duntze, Bart. 1795; and Lady Duntze, 1801. The great tithes, which had been appropriated to the abbey of Canonleigh, are annexed to the See of Exeter. The Bishop is patron of the vicarage. Lawrence Colesworthy, in 1702, gave 4l. per annum, for teaching poor children of this parish.


ROMANSLEIGH, or more properly RUMONSLEIGH, commonly called RUMSLEIGH, in the hundred of Witheridge and deanery of South Molton, lies about four miles from South Molton.

The abbey of Tavistock, in which St. Rumon, the patron saint of this church, was buried, had an estate in this parish, held under the abbey successively by the families of Copiner, Champeaux, and Oskerville. The manor and barton now belong to Sir T. D. Acland, Bart. The manor of Kitcott has been for a considerable time in the family of Willment, and is now the property of Samuel Willment, Esq. There was anciently a lay manor, possessed by the family of Herward in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I. This probably was the estate which belongs to Lord Rolle, now one of the principal land-owners in the parish. Sir T. D. Acland is patron of the rectory.

Rose Ash, formerly Ralph Asse

ROSE ASH, formerly RALPH ASSE, in the hundred of Witheridge and in the deanery of South Molton, lies about six miles from South Molton. The village of Yard is in this parish.

The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to Ralph de Esse. Sir Ralph Esse, the last of this family, left three daughters co-heiresses, married to Dennis, Giffard, and Hals, between whom the manor and advowson were divided. Dennis's share passed, by marriage to the Glynns of Cornwall: this share of the manor is now vested in E. J. Glynn, Esq., but some of the lands have been sold off. Elizabeth Esse, who married Giffard, left two daughters co-heirs, married to Bury, or Berry, and Langdon, between whom her share was subdivided; Berry's share passed by marriage to Downe. Hals's share was sold to Smith, from whom it passed by descent to Davy and Annesley, and from the latter, by sale, to Southcomb. The Rev. John Southcomb now possesses a part of the manor. The lords of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. n9)

The advowson of the rectory, having passed with the manor, was also divided and subdivided, the heirs or assigns of two of the co-heiresses of Esse having each a third turn in the presentation, and the heirs or assigns of the co-heiresses of the other daughter (Giffard) having each a sixth turn. This complicated title occasioned considerable confusion and litigation, before it was completely investigated by the late Mr. Southcomb.

The manor of Yard Cole, some time in the Shortridge family, has been dismembered: the royalty is now vested in Mr. Southcomb, who is possessed also of the royalty of Mare.

Lewis Southcomb, who was deprived of this rectory as a nonjuror, published some devotional tracts: his son, who built Honiton chapel, in the parish of South Molton, published a treatise against converting tithes, and a medical tract dedicated to four Georges — King George II., George Prince of Wales, George Lavington, Bishop of Exeter, and his own youngest son George, then curate of King's Nympton. (fn. n10)

Mrs. Ann Vicary, in 1753, gave the interest of 6l. for educating a poor child of this parish. Mr. John Bray, in 1764, gave the interest of 20l. for educating three poor children.

Rouse Down, formerly Ralph Down

ROUSE DOWN, formerly RALPH DOWN, and sometimes called St. Pancras, in the hundred of Axminster and in the deanery of Honiton, is a depopulated parish on the borders of Dorsetshire. The church is dilapidated, no service having been performed in it for many years. The whole parish, which is surrounded by that of Axmouth, consists of an estate of about 200 acres, which, as early as the reign of Henry II., was in the ancient family of Downe, one of whom, Ralph de Donne, or Downe, gave the name, now corrupted to Rouse, to the parish. One of the coheiresses of Downe brought this estate to the Holcombes, who possessed it for six descents. Gilbert Holcombe, the last of this family, sold it to the Mallocks, in whom it continued for many generations. It is now the property of Robert Chick Bartlett, Esq.


  • n1. Rot. Cart. 19 Hen. III.
  • n2. Extract from the Court Rolls, in Chapple's Collections.
  • n3. Hundred Roll.
  • n4. Thomas Pyne, Esq.; Arthur Pyne, Esq., barrister-at-law, 1760; Richard Savery, Esq., &c. The dates are mostly concealed by pews.
  • n5. Picot held under Blakeford, in 1274. Hundred Roll.
  • n6. Others have supposed that the Wollacombes took their name from Wollacombe in Morthoe, but I do not find that the Wollacombes, who till lately had considerable property in this parish, ever possessed either of the Wollacombes, or any other estate, in Morthoe.
  • n7. Deed without date, in Chapple's Collections.
  • n8. It is mentioned in a deed of 1260. Chapple's Collections.
  • n9. Hundred Roll.
  • n10. Chapple's MSS.