Abbas-Combe - Aberystwith

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A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.

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Abbas-Combe, or Temple-Combe (St. Mary)

ABBAS-COMBE, or Temple-Combe (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Wincanton, hundred of Horethorne, E. division of Somerset, 4½ miles (S. by W.) from Wincanton, on the road to Blandford; containing 461 inhabitants. It derived the name of Temple-Combe from the military order of Knights Templars, who had an establishment here, which at the Dissolution possessed a revenue of £128. 7. 9. Some remains of the chapel attached to the old priory-house are still to be seen. The parish comprises by measurement 1884 acres of land; and contains good building-stone of the granite species, and limestone, both of which are quarried. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £9. 9. 4½., and in the gift of the Rev. Thomas Fox: the tithes have been commuted for £370, and the glebe consists of 38 acres. The church has a tower on the south side of the nave. There is a place of worship for Independents.

Abberbury, county Salop.—See Alberbury.

ABBERBURY, county Salop.—See Alberbury.

Abberley (St. Michael)

ABBERLEY (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Martley, Lower division of the hundred of Doddingtree, Hundred-House and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, 12 miles (N. W. by N.) from Worcester; containing 559 inhabitants. This place, formerly Abbotsley, comprises 2564 acres of land, of which the arable and pasture are in equal portions, with about 70 acres of wood; the surface is well watered, and the soil rather above the average in fertility. The village is situated to the right of the road leading from Worcester to Ludlow, in a valley surrounded by hills whose summits afford delightful prospects: from one eminence eleven counties may be seen. Coal of good quality is wrought, and there are large quarries of excellent stone for building, and of stone for repairing roads. Abberley Hall, a beautiful Italian edifice, was purchased in 1844, with its surrounding demesne, from the Misses Bromley by the late J. L. Moilliet, Esq., by whom considerable improvements and alterations were made, in the purest taste; the whole of the interior was destroyed by fire on the 25th December 1845, but the exterior remains quite perfect, and the mansion is now undergoing complete repair.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 10. 2½., and in the gift of Mrs. Moilliet; incumbent, the Rev. Francis Severne, whose tithes have been commuted for £333. 8., with two acres of glebe and a house. Certain impropriate tithes have been commuted for £100. The church is a neat ancient edifice, picturesquely situated on the east side of the village, and has a wood-shingle spire 99 feet high, with four bells; the architecture is of various styles, one of the windows presenting an excellent specimen of the Saxon arch. A school was founded under gifts made by Elizabeth and Victoria Walsh, in 1717; it has an income of £15 per annum, in addition to a house and garden: the school-house was rebuilt by Robert Bromley, Esq., in 1791. On Abberley hill, in the midst of a thickly-planted wood, stands an oak, said to have been a sapling from the oak-tree under which St. Augustine in the 6th century invited the Welsh bishops to a conference, as recorded by Milner in his Church History: the parent tree was afterwards consumed by fire. William Walsh, the poet, and a correspondent of Pope's and Addison's, was born in the parish in 1663: at the close of Pope's Essay on Criticism, are some touching lines to his memory.


ABBERTOFT, a hamlet, in the parish of Willoughby, union of Spilsby, Wold division of the hundred of Calceworth, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 7 miles (S. E.) from Alford; containing 23 inhabitants. This place, called also Habertoft, lies in the south-eastern portion of the parish, and is one of several hamlets within its limits. The Orby drain passes in an eastern direction here.

Abberton (St. Andrew)

ABBERTON (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Lexden and Winstree, hundred of Winstree, N. division of Essex, 4½ miles (S.) from Colchester; containing 248 inhabitants. It is situated about a mile and a half to the east of the river Colne, and comprises by measurement 1067 acres. There are some gravel-pits, which afford good materials for repairing the roads; and chalk can be obtained at a distance of three miles, being brought by vessels into the Strode of Mersea island. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £14. 7. 8½., and in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes have been commuted for £300, and there are 50 acres of glebe. The church is a small neat building, on an elevated site, with a square tower of brick. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.


ABBERTON, a parish in the union, and Upper division of the hundred, of Pershore, Pershore and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 10 miles (E.) from Worcester, on the road to Alcester; containing 81 inhabitants. Henry VIII. granted the whole of the manor or lordship to Thomas and Francis Sheldon, whose family continued to be owners of the parish, until it passed into the possession of the present proprietor, William Laslett, Esq. The parish comprises 971a. 1r. 35p., one-half of which is fine pasture land, much esteemed for its dairy and feeding produce; the soil is sand and clay: there are quarries of sandstone and limestone, and coal exists. Abberton Hall, the manor-house, the seat of Mr. Laslett, is in the centre of the estate, on an eminence overlooking a park of nearly 500 acres of pasture; it stands on a level with the Malvern hills, and commands a mos beautiful panoramic view of the Malvern and Bredon hills, the Lench woods, and vale of Evesham. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £5. 8. 1½., in the patronage of Mr. Laslett, and incumbency of the Rev. Francis Best: the tithes have been commuted for £173. 10., and there is a glebe of 2½ acres. The church is an ancient stone edifice, situated near the manor-house: two acres of land in the parish of Flyford-Flavel, near Huntings farm, belong to Abberton, and the rent is applied to the repair of the building. There are mineral springs, whose waters, bitter and cathartic, are supposed to be little inferior in virtue to those of Epsom and Cheltenham.


ABBERWICK, a township, in the parish of Edlingham, union of Alnwick, N. division of Coquetdale ward and of Northumberland, 4 miles (W.) from Alnwick; containing 170 inhabitants. It includes the north-eastern part of the parish, adjoining Alnwick moor; and near it runs the river Aln, which is here joined by the Lemmington brook. The great tithes have been commuted for £136, and the vicarial for £77.


ABBEY, a tything, in the parish, union, and hundred of Axminster, Honiton and S. divisions of Devon; containing 76 inhabitants.


ABBEY-LANDS, a township, in the parish and union of Alnwick, E. division of Coquetdale ward, N. division of Northumberland; containing 295 inhabitants.

Abbot's-Ann (St. Mary)

ABBOT'S-ANN (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Andover, partly in the hundred of Wherwell, but chiefly in that of Andover, Andover and N. divisions of Hants, 2¼ miles (S. W. by W.) from Andover; containing 619 inhabitants. This place anciently belonged to Hyde Abbey, Winchester, in the earliest rolls of which it is noticed as the manor of Anna, and in later ones as Abbottes-Anne. In a field about a mile south-east of the church, were discovered a few years since the remains of what is believed to have been a Roman villa. Some, however, have imagined them to be the ruins of a monastery, as the field is still called Monaster Field, and the opinion is favoured by the names of this and the neighbouring village of Monkston. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the property passed by purchase into the Pitt family, by one of whom, Governor Pitt (who brought the Pitt diamond into Europe), the church was rebuilt. The parish comprises about 3000 acres, and is intersected by the Andover and Salisbury road; a canal from Andover to Southampton passes within a mile. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £42. 17. 6., and in the patronage of Miss Burrough: the tithes have been commuted for £790, and there are about 50 acres of glebe, and a good glebe-house. The church is a substantial brick edifice relieved with stone, with a handsome tower. There is a place of worship for Independents.

Abbot's-Astley.—See Astley, Abbot's.

ABBOT'S-ASTLEY.—See Astley, Abbot's.—And other places having a similar distinguishing prefix will be found under the proper name.

Abbotsbury (St. Nicholas)

ABBOTSBURY (St. Nicholas), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Weymouth, hundred of Uggscombe, Dorchester division of Dorset, 8¼ miles (W. S. W.) from Dorchester, and 129 (S. W. by W.) from London; containing, with the hamlets of Rodden and Elworth, 1005 inhabitants. The name of this place is evidently derived from its ancient possessors, the abbots of the monastery of St. Peter here, which is supposed to have been founded in 1044, by Orcus, or Orking, steward of the household of Canute the Great, and Tola his wife, for monks of the Benedictine order. According to the register of the abbey, it appears that a church was erected at a very early period, by Bertulphus, a priest. This having afterwards become a place of retreat for the West Saxon kings, and the territory having passed into the possession of Canute, lands to a considerable extent were given by him to Orcus, by whom, dying without issue, they were granted to the church, built a long time previously, and then forsaken and in decay, on account of its having been frequently infested by pirates. Orcus erected the monastery, which occupied a large extent of ground, and, in progress of time, was endowed with rich grants and divers immunities, and was frequently rebuilt: the remains consist of a gateway and portions of the walls. Its revenue, at the Dissolution, was estimated at £485. 3. 5.: it was granted to Sir Giles Strangeways, and on its site was erected a mansion, which, having been garrisoned for the king, in 1644, was attacked by Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, and burnt to the ground. The church was also occupied by a party of royalists, who surrendered before it sustained any damage.

The town, situated in a valley surrounded by lofty hills, near the sea-shore, consists of three streets, partially paved, and is well supplied with water: the western part of it was consumed by fire in 1706. Fishing is the chief occupation of the inhabitants, great quantities of mackerel being taken on the coast. The weaving of cotton was introduced about fifty years since, but has of late much declined. The market, which was on Thursday, has fallen into disuse; it was granted, together with two fairs, to Sir John Strangeways in the 8th of James I., a former market, granted to one of the abbots, and held on Friday, having been long discontinued. One of the fairs has also been lost; the other, which is for sheep and toys, is held on the 10th of July. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10; net. income, £140; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Ilchester, whose tithes have been commuted for £127. 10. The church is a large handsome structure in the later style of English architecture, with a square embattled tower; and is thought to contain the remains of the founder of the abbey and his wife, which were removed hither from the conventual church at the Dissolution. A school, originally founded for twenty boys, was further endowed in 1754, by Mrs. Horner, with £21 per annum, for instructing ten additional boys. St. Catherine's chapel, supposed to have been erected in the reign of Edward IV., stands on an eminence south-west of the town, and serves only as a land-mark: it is built wholly of freestone dug out of the hill on which it is situated; the roof is finely groined, and on each side of the edifice is a handsome porch. About a mile and a half to the west of Abbotsbury is an ancient intrenchment, occupying an area of nearly 20 acres; and near the town is a cromlech.

Abbotsham (St. Helen)

ABBOTSHAM (St. Helen), a parish, in the union of Bideford, hundred of Shebbear, Great Torrington and N. divisions of Devon, 2 miles (W.) from Bideford; containing, with the hamlets of Shepperton and Littleham, 414 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the shore of Barnstaple bay, is distinguished for a memorable victory over the Danes, who besieged the fortress called Kenwith or Kenwic Castle, towards the close of the ninth century: their main western army was routed; 1200 of them, including their leader, were slain, and their consecrated standard was captured. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £16. 4. 7.; it is in the patronage of the Crown, and the owners and occupiers of land are the impropriators. The great tithes have been commuted for £32. 10., and the vicarial for £120; there are nearly 34 acres of glebe.

Abbot-Side, High

ABBOT-SIDE, HIGH, a township, in the parish of Aysgarth, wapentake of Hang-West, N. riding of York, 1¼ mile (N. W. by W.) from Hawes; containing, with the chapelries of Hardraw and Helbeck-Lunds, and the hamlets of Cotterdale, Fosdale, Litherskew, Sedbusk, Shaw, and Simonstone, 574 inhabitants. The two townships of Abbot-Side received their names from the monks of Jervaulx Abbey, who had considerable property in the district. This township, which comprises by computation 13,000 acres, is altogether wild and mountainous, and consists of moors, dales, and ravines; it is rich in springs, waterfalls, rocks, and caves, and a variety of interesting natural curiosities. The magnificent cataract Hardraw Scarr, 102 feet in height, with its stupendous rocks and romantic caverns, and the elevation of Shunner Fell, 2329 feet above the level of the sea, and commanding views of several counties, are both situated in the township. The river Ure, on which are several beautiful waterfalls, rises at the head of the valley. A rent-charge of £163 has been awarded to Trinity College, Cambridge, in lieu of the impropriate tithes.

Abbot-Side, Low

ABBOT-SIDE, LOW, a township, in the parish of Aysgarth, wapentake of Hang-West, N. riding of York; containing, with the hamlets of Grange, Bowbridge, Helme, and Shawcote, 166 inhabitants. This place is on the north side of the river Ure, and comprises by computation about 5000 acres of land: Whitfield Gill, in which is the picturesque waterfall called Whitfield Force, separates the township from that of Askrigg. Here the monks of Jervaulx abbey were first seated, and afterwards maintained a cell. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for £42, payable to Trinity College, Cambridge.

Abbotsley (St. Margaret)

ABBOTSLEY (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of St. Neot's, hundred of Toseland, county of Huntingdon, 4½ miles (S.E.) from St. Neot's; containing 443 inhabitants. It comprises about 1700 acres, and is bounded by a brook formed by the draining of the adjacent lands, and which, passing onward for three or four miles, discharges itself into the river Ouse at St. Neot's. The pillow-lace manufacture affords employment to the female population. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 17.; net income, £85; patrons and impropriators, the Master and Fellows of Balliol College, Oxford. The glebe consists of 185 acres, of which 125 were allotted to the vicar in lieu of the small tithes, on the inclosure of the waste lands in 1837; the glebe-house has been rebuilt. The church consists of a nave, chancel, two aisles, and a tower, with a north and south porch, a west entrance through the tower, and a chancel door; it is supposed to have been erected between the accessions of William Rufus and Edward III., and was thoroughly repaired in 1837. A Roman road once passed along the western boundary of the parish, and in its tract coins of the Roman emperors are occasionally found. Dr. Abbott, father of Charles Abbott, speaker of the house of commons, subsequently created Lord Colchester, was vicar here in the reign of George II.

Abbotston (St. Peter)

ABBOTSTON (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Alresford, hundred of Bountisborough, Winchester and N. divisions of Hants, 2¾ miles (N. W.) from New Alresford. The living is a rectory, united to the vicarage of Itchin-Stoke, and valued in the king's books at £13. 6. 8.: the church is in ruins. Here are the remains of some religious house, of which there is no authentic account.

Abdaston, Stafford.—See Adbaston.

ABDASTON, Stafford.—See Adbaston.

Abdon (St. Margaret)

ABDON (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Ludlow, hundred of Munslow, S. division of Salop, 12 miles (S. W. by W.) from Bridgnorth; containing 155 inhabitants. It comprises upwards of 1100 acres, of which about 190 are arable, 664 meadow and pasture, and 260 waste land; the surface is very irregular, and the soil a strong red clay in the higher grounds, with a sheep-walk, having much gorse and fern; the lower grounds are more favourable to agriculture. A few pits on the hills yield an inferior coal, much of which is used in lime-works; formerly there were several iron-forges in the neighbourhood. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £3. 6. 8.; patron, the Hon. S. Herbert; net income, £147, arising from tithes and a small estate, with 49 acres of glebe, of which 22 are in the parish of Stoke St. Milborough. The church is a rude structure, with walls of great thickness; much of it appears to have been rebuilt about 150 or 200 years ago: in the chancel is a window in the decorated style. Abdon Burf, on the summit of Brown Clee hill, is a remarkable oval inclosure of basalt stones, evidently British; the area measures from north to south 1317 feet, and at its widest point from east to west it is 660 feet; huge blocks of stone are scattered within it, several of them arranged in circles.

Aberford (St. Richard)

ABERFORD (St. Richard), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the Lower division of the wapentake of Skyrack, W. riding of York, 7 miles (S. by E.) from Wetherby, and 186¾ (N. N. W.) from London, on the road to Carlisle; comprising the townships of Aberford, Parlington, and Sturton-Grange, and containing 1071 inhabitants, of whom 782 are in the township of Aberford. The town, which is in the parishes of Aberford and Sherburn, is built on the gentle acclivity of a rock of limestone, near the small river Cock, a stream abounding with trout and eels, over which is an excellent stone bridge. It consists principally of one long street: the houses are in general of stone, and many of them are handsome; the air is pure and salubrious, and the environs are thickly studded with elegant villas. The parish comprises 3820 acres of fertile land; there are extensive strata of limestone, and a productive coal-mine, from which a railway has been laid down to a depôt in the town, and an extensive trade is carried on in coal. The Leeds and Selby railway passes within three miles. The market, which was on Wednesday, has been discontinued; but a customary market is held on Friday, and fairs take place on the last Monday in April and May, the first Monday in October, the first Monday after the 18th of that month, and the first Monday after the 2nd of November. The magistrates hold a petty-session for the division every Thursday, and the town is a pollingplace for the West Riding. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 1. 8., and in the patronage of Oriel College, Oxford, to which establishment, and the Misses Gascoigne, the impropriation belongs; net income of the vicar, £305. The church is an ancient structure, in the early, decorated, and later styles of English architecture. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. At the distance of a mile north of Aberford are vestiges of Castle-Cary, an ancient Norman fortification; and the scene of the battle of Towton, which decided the long continued war between the houses of York and Lancaster, is within two miles of the town. The Roman road is the parish boundary south of the bridge, and cuts off a small district on the north, called Greystone Field. The Rev. Mr. Waters, a former incumbent, died at the advanced age of 114 years.

Abergavenny (St. Mary)

ABERGAVENNY (St. Mary), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the division and hundred of Abergavenny, county of Monmouth, 16 miles (W. by N.) from Monmouth, and 145 (W. by N.) from London, on the road to Brecon; comprising the hamlets of Hardwick and Llwyndû, and containing 4953 inhabitants, of whom 2720 are in the town. This was the Gobannium of Antoninus, a Roman station so called from the river Gobannius, now Gavenny, from which, also, the present name of the town is formed, by prefixing the Welsh word Aber, denoting its situation near the mouth of the river. Soon after the Conquest, a castle was erected here, on an eminence overlooking the Usk, by Hameline de Balun or Baladun, one of William's followers; it was besieged and taken in 1215, by Llewelyn, Prince of Wales: the only remains are the exterior walls, which appear to have been erected in the time of Henry II., and within which a neat modern house has been built. De Balun also founded a priory for Benedictine monks, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was £59. 4.; it stood in Monk-street.

The town, which is lighted with gas and well supplied with water, is beautifully situated at the extremity of a pass, where the mountains abruptly terminate; and is watered by the rivers Usk, Gavenny, and Kibby, over the first of which is an ancient bridge of fifteen arches, including several dry arches on each side. The streets are narrow, and the houses irregularly built; but considerable improvements have been made by the enlargement of the market-place, and the removal of numerous projections in front of the buildings; and the salubrity of the air, and the picturesque beauty of the scenery, attract many visiters during the summer months. Assemblies are occasionally held. The trade is principally in wool, a considerable quantity of which is sold on the marketdays during the months of June and July: the mountains in the neighbourhood abound with coal and ironstone, and in the surrounding districts numerous ironworks have been established. The Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, which passes within a mile of the town, affords great facility in distributing to every part of the kingdom the produce of the mines: there is also a tramroad to Hereford; and an act was passed in 1846, for a railway from Pontypool, by Abergavenny, to Hereford. The market-days are Tuesday and Saturday, the former chiefly for corn: the fairs are held on the third Tuesday in March, May 14th (which is the principal), June 24th, the Tuesday before July 20th (at which two a great quantity of wool is sold), Sept. 25th, and Nov. 19th. The charter of incorporation, by which the government of the town was vested in a bailiff, recorder, and twenty-seven burgesses, was forfeited in the reign of William III., and the town is now within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold a petty-session every Wednesday. The powers of the county debt-court of Abergavenny, established in 1847, extend over the greater part of the registration-district of Abergavenny.

The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 0. 7½.; net income, £451; patron, C. Bailey, Esq.; impropriator, Mrs. Bagot. The church is a spacious structure, the body and aisles of which were taken down in 1828, and rebuilt, and galleries erected; there are several very ancient monuments, principally of the Herberts, some of whom were killed at the battle of Agincourt. A neat building in the Tudor style, forming an oblong square, with a handsome church dedicated to the Holy Trinity in the centre, was erected in 1840, at the sole expense of Miss Rachel Herbert, of The Hill, near the town; the south side of the square consists of a residence for the minister and four cottages, the north side having the same number of cottages, and a schoolroom for fifty girls, with apartments for the mistress. Miss Herbert, who has endowed the cottages, for aged women, is patroness for life, and the bishop of the diocese will afterwards appoint to the living, which is endowed with £3000. There are two places of worship for Baptists, and one each for Independents, English and Welsh Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics. The free grammar school, founded by Henry VIII. in 1543, and formerly under the management of the corporation, was, on the forfeiture of their charter, placed under the control of the Master and Fellows of Jesus College, Oxford, who appoint the master, with preference to a fellow of that college; a writing-master, also, is appointed. The school-house was the parochial church of St. John, which was converted to this purpose at the Dissolution: about the middle of the last century it was rebuilt; but still, having an embattled tower, it presents the appearance of an ecclesiastical structure. William Prichard, in 1623, founded a scholarship in Jesus College, to which boys educated here are eligible. The poor law union of Abergavenny comprises 26 parishes or places in the county of Monmouth, and 2 in the county of Hereford, and contains a population of 50,834. A variety of Roman coins, some bricks inscribed "Leg. II. Aug.," and a sudatory, have been discovered in the town; and within half a mile of it are the remains of a Roman camp, near which was a chapel of ease, now converted into a farmhouse. Abergavenny confers the title of Earl on the family of Neville; the earldom, like the earldoms of Arundel and Berkeley, is a local dignity, attached to the possession of the castle, and is the only one now subsisting of those baronies with which the Norman warriors, who assisted in the subjugation of Wales, were rewarded.

Aberystwith (St. Peter)

ABERYSTWITH (St. Peter), a parish in the union, division, and hundred of Abergavenny, county of Monmouth, 9 miles (S. W. by W.) from Abergavenny; containing 11,272 inhabitants. This parish, which is sometimes called Blaenau, comprises 11,788 acres, whereof 4640 are common or waste. It abounds with valuable mines of iron, worked on a very extensive scale; and is intersected by numerous tram-roads, communicating with the Brecon and Monmouth canals, leading to Newport, where the produce of the various works is shipped. A quarry of stone used for roofing and paving, is partially worked. There are villages in the parish, connected with the iron-works of Ebbwvale, Nant-y-Glo, Coalbrook-vale, Blaina, and Cwmelyn. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with nearly the whole of the rectorial tithes, and in the gift of the Earl of Abergavenny: the impropriate tithes have been commuted for £5. 10., and those of the incumbent for £300. The church is a plain structure, erected in 1827. A church district named Nant-y-Glo was formed in 1844, and one named Beaufort in 1846, by the Ecclesiastical Commission; both livings are in the gift of the Crown and the Bishop of Llandaff, alternately. There are places of worship for Baptists, Wesleyans, Calvinists, and Ranters.