ABBOTSHAM, in the hundred of Shebbear and in the deanery of Hartland, lies about two miles from Bideford. The manor and church belonged to the abbey of Tavistock; the church was appropriated to the
abbey, in 1193: the name of the donor does not appear; it was not among
the founder's original donations. The manor belonged to the Coffin family,
in 1621 (fn. 1) ; both the manor and impropriation have been for a considerable
time in the family of Willett, and are now vested in the widow of the late
Augustus Saltren Willett, Esq. The vicarage is in the gift of the crown. In
the parish church is a monument of John Willett, Esq. lord of the manor,
who died in 1736. Mr. Zachary Mudge was some time vicar of this parish. (fn. 2)
EAST ALLINGTON, in the hundred of Stanborough and in the deanery of
Woodleigh, lies about three miles from Kingsbridge. The principal villages are Comb, Harleston, and Yetson.
The manor of East Allington belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to
the Crispins, who were succeeded by Dauney. The heiress of Dauney
brought it to the Courtenays: Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, gave it,
in 1414, to his brother, Sir Hugh Courtenay, of Haccombe. This manor
has been for many generations in the Fortescues of Fallopit.
Fallopit was for several descents the property and residence of a family
of that name, whose heiress married Sir Henry Fortescue, Lord Chief
Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland: she was his second wife: their
descendants in the male line inherited and resided at this place above three
hundred years: Sir Edmund Fortescue, of Fallopit, was created a baronet
in 1664: the title became extinct at the death of his son, Sir Sandys, in
1683. The estate then passed to a younger branch of this house, which
became extinct by the death of Edmund Fortescue, Esq. in 1734. Mary, his
daughter and co-heir, brought it to William Fortescue, Esq. (of the Buckland-Filleigh branch), Master of the Rolls, whose daughter and heiress married, but died without issue; in consequence of which this estate passed to
the descendants of Dorothy, the other co-heiress, who had married Thomas
Bury, Esq. The heiress of Mr. Bury married the Rev. Nathaniel Wells,
rector of East Allington, whose son Edmund took the name of Fortescue,
and was father of Edmund Nathaniel William Fortescue, Esq. of Fallopit,
the present proprietor.
The manor of Colehanger, in this parish, belongs to the Earl of Morley;
the manor of Harleston to Philip Cookworthy, Esq. Harleston appears to
have been formerly in the Hungerford family, and to have been granted
by King Edward IV., after the attainder of Lord Hungerford, to the
Dinhams. (fn. 3)
In the parish church are memorials for the families of Fortescue (fn. 4) and
Prideaux; Samuel More, Gent. 1623 (fn. 5) ; the Rev. Nathaniel Wells (fn. 6) ,
1762; the Rev. John Eveleigh (fn. 7) , 1770; John Scobell, of Nutcombe (no
Mr. Fortescue is patron of the rectory.
West Allington, or Alvington
WEST ALLINGTON, or ALVINGTON (fn. 8) , in the hundred of Stanborough and in
the deanery of Woodleigh, lies about a mile from Kingsbridge. Woolston
and Sorely are villages in this parish.
A market at this place, anciently called Alfyngton, was granted, in 1270,
to John de Besill, to be held on Saturday, and a fair for three days, at the
festival of St. Michael. (fn. 9)
The manor, which had been ancient demesne of the crown, was
given by King John to Alice de Rivers, Countess of Devon. After the
death of Alice, wife of Patrick de Chaworth, and daughter and heir of
William de la Ferte, it escheated to the crown, and King Henry III. granted
it to Matthew de Besils. (fn. 10) Of late years it has been in the family of Bickford, and it has been recently purchased by Mr. Bastard, of the Rev.
Wm. Holland, who married the sister of the late Arscott Bickford, Esq.
The lords of this manor had the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. 11)
The manor of Woolston, or Woolson, belonged, in the reign of
Henry III., to the family of Crispin. In the reign of James I. it was
in the Bastard family, who, according to Risdon, inherited it from a
co-heiress of Crispin; but Sir William Pole's account is, that it passed
from Crispin, by successive female heirs, to Bradston and Strech, and that
the co-heiresses of Strech married Cheyney and Beauchamp. This manor
now belongs to the Duke of Bolton.
Garston, in this parish, was an ancient seat of the Bastard family, by
whom it was occupied till the year 1773, when Lady Bridget Bastard, who
held it in dower, died. It is now a farm-house, the property of Edmund
Pollexfen Bastard, Esq. M. P. The gardens were famous for orange and
lemon trees, trained against the walls, which are said to have produced as
fine fruit as any from Portugal. (fn. 12)
The manor of Nordon, in this parish, belongs to the Earl of Morley;
that of Bagton, or Batton, to Elizabeth Wells Sturgeon. The manor of
Rake and Sorely belonged, at an early period, to the family of Rake, from
whom it passed to the Tremaynes. It continued in the possession of the
latter in Sir William Pole's time. The late Samuel Holditch Hayne, Esq.
purchased it of the co-heiresses of Robert Lake, Esq., and since his
death it has been sold to William Jackson, Esq., who is the present proprietor.
The barton of Bowrings-leigh, which had been the property and residence of the ancient family of Bowring, passed, with its heiress, to the
Pikes, by whom it was sold to Webber, alias Gilbert. William Ilbert, Esq.
purchased it of the Gilberts, in the reign of William III., and it is now
the property and residence of his descendant, the Rev. Roope Ilbert.
The barton of Comb Royal was the property and residence of a branch
of the Gilberts, the last of which sold it to the Gilberts of Holwell;
John Gilbert, Esq. sold it, about 1736 or 1737, to the late John Luscombe, Esq., and it is now the property and residence of his nephew,
John Luscombe Luscombe, Esq.
In the parish church are memorials of the Bastard family (fn. 13) , and of Samuel
Holditch, Esq. 1763.
The Rev. Roope Ilbert is lessee of the great tithes, under the dean and
chapter of Salisbury (fn. 14) , who are patrons of the vicarage. Marlborough,
South Milton, and South Huish, are daughter-churches to West Allington.
Mrs. Catherine Ilbert, in 1759, gave 2l. 10s. per annum, for teaching
poor children of this parish.
ALPHINGTON, in the hundred of Wonford and in the deanery of Kenne,
lies about two miles from Exeter, on the road to Plymouth.
There are cattle fairs at Alphington, on the first Wednesday after
June 20., and the Wednesday in the week after Michaelmas. (fn. 15)
Alphington was one of the principal quarters of Sir Thomas Fairfax's
army, when he was blockading Exeter, in the early part of the year
1646. (fn. 16)
The manor of Alphington, which had been ancient demesne of the
crown, belonged, in 1274, to Anianus or Eneon, bishop of Bangor;
soon afterwards to the Nevills. (fn. 17) In the reign of Richard II. Sir
Hugh Seagrave exchanged it with the Earl of Devonshire for the
manor of Newnham-Courtenay, in Oxfordshire. It was afterwards settled
on the Courtenays of Powderham; and is now the property of Lord
Viscount Courtenay. The lord of this manor had formerly the power of
inflicting capital punishment. (fn. 18)
Matford, in this parish, belonged to the Dinhams, from whom it acquired
the appellation of Matford Dinham. At a later period it was the seat of
Sir George Smith, from whom it descended to Phineas Cheeke, Esq. of
Exeter. From the latter it passed by marriage to William Mackworth
Praed, Esq., who sold it to the late John Stephens, Esq. In 1792, it belonged to Henry Hippisley Coxe, Esq., and is now, by purchase, the
property of Sir Lawrence Vaughan Palk, Bart.
The priory of St. James is said to have been partly in this parish.
In the parish church are memorials of the family of Northleigh (fn. 19) ;
Joseph Somaster, Esq. 1733; and John William Ellicombe, Ensign
of the 40th regiment, killed in Holland, 1799. The Rev. William Rous
Ellicombe is patron and incumbent of the rectory. There was formerly a
chapel in this parish dedicated to St. James.
Risdon mentions a man of the name of Stone who lived at Alphington to
the age of 120, having served Henry VIII. in his chapel, Edward VI.,
Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. His name is not to be found in the
parish register, which does not begin till 1663.
On the second of July, 1760, by the sudden inundation of the brook
which runs through the village, upwards of 20 dwelling-houses were thrown
down, besides other buildings: the damage was computed at upwards of
1000l. (fn. 20)
Alverdiscott, or Alscott
ALVERDISCOTT, or ALSCOTT, in the hundred of Fremington and in the
deanery of Hartland, lies about six or seven miles from Barnstaple. The
villages of Bullworthy and Stonecross are in this parish.
The manor belonged to the ancient family of Fleming, one of whose coheiresses brought it to Bellew. It was purchased of the latter by James
Welsh, Esq. who possessed it in Risdon's time. It was afterwards in the
Chudleighs. The barton was purchased about the year 1756 of Margaret,
one of the co-heiresses of Sir George Chudleigh, by James Rowe, Esq.
Mr. Rowe purchased the manor and advowson about the year 1760. The
former was sold by his nephew in 1800 to Richard Preston, Esq. M. P. the
Wibbery or Webbery was the property and residence of a family of that
name, whose heiress brought it to Lippincot. The Lippincots possessed
and resided at Webbery for many generations. Henry Lippincot, Esq., the
last of the family, devised it to Charles Cutcliffe, Esq. of Weach, grandfather of John Mervin Cutcliffe, Esq. the present proprietor, who has lately
rebuilt the mansion on this estate for his own residence.
In the parish church are memorials for Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas
Windham and wife of James Welsh, Esq. 1650; Thomas, his son, 1639;
and Gilbert Hody, Esq. of Nethway, 1686. The Rev. John Dene of
Horwood is patron of the rectory.
ALWINGTON, in the hundred of Shebbeare and in the deanery of Hartland, lies about five miles from Bideford.
The small villages of Fairy Cross and Wood-town are in this parish.
The manor of Alwington belonged to the ancient family of Coffin from
nearly the time of the Conquest till the death of Richard Coffin, Esq. in
1766. It is now, by inheritance, the property of the Rev. John Pine
Coffin of Bath, who assumed the name of Coffin in 1797. Portledge, in
this parish, the ancient seat of the Coffin family, is now the residence of
Richard Pine Coffin, Esq. eldest son of Mr. Pine Coffin above mentioned.
Yeo-vale, in this parish, was the ancient property and residence of the
family of Yeo, whose heiress brought it to Giffard: the heiress of Giffard
married Sir George Cary of Cockington. About the year 1683, it was
purchased of the Cary family by John Bruton, Esq. whose descendant
sold it in 1769 to the Rev. Hooper Morrison, father of the Rev. Thomas
Hooper Morrison, the present proprietor. Yeo-vale, the seat of Mr. Morrison,
is situated in a beautiful valley. At Yeo-vale, near the mansion, were the
ruins of an ancient chapel, which have been removed to a more distant part
of the grounds. Risdon speaks of a monument in this chapel to the memory
of William Giffard, Esq, who died in 1400. This monument has been
preserved, and was removed with the ruins of the chapel.
The barton of Winscot was some time the property and residence of the
Burgoynes, and afterwards of their representatives, the Meddons. It is
now the property of William Bruton, Esq. and Charles Bruton, Esq.
In the parish church are monuments and other memorials for the families
of Coffin (fn. 21) , Pyne (fn. 22) , Morrison (fn. 23) , Bruton (fn. 24) , Burgoyne (fn. 25) , Meddon (fn. 26) , &c. In an
aisle belonging to the Yeo-vale estate is a monument without inscription, and
in the window the arms of Giffard. Mr. Pine Coffin is patron of the rectory.
Richard Coffin, Esq. in 1696, founded an alms-house for three poor
persons, and endowed it with land now about 27l. per annum.
EAST ANSTEY, in the hundred and deanery of South Molton, on the
borders of Somersetshire, lies about ten miles from South Molton.
The manor belonged, at an early period, to the Corbets, from whom it
passed to the family of Crewes or Cruwys, and from them obtained the name
of Anstey Cruwys. This place continued, for five descents, to be the residence
of a younger branch of the Cruwys family, the co-heiresses of which brought
this estate to Norton and Pollard. From the Nortons, it descended to the
Prous's of Chagford, and through Chalvedon to the Beres of Huntsham:
the heiress of Pollard married Poyntz. This manor appears to have been
afterwards in severalties. In the reign of James I., the family of Molford
held one-fourth of East Anstey alias Anstey Crewes of the heirs of Lord
Dinham. (fn. 27) After this we find nothing further of the manor. The barton
was some time since in the Acland family: the Earl of Carnarvon, who
acquired it in marriage with the daughter and heir of Sir John Acland,
Bart., conveyed it in exchange to the Rev. John Norris, father of John
Norris, Esq. the present proprietor.
The barton of Lilliscombe or Liscombe, in this parish, formerly belonging
to the Byam family, was purchased by the Rev. Thomas Stawell, grandfather
of the Rev. W. M. Stawell, who is the present proprietor. The Rev. George
Norris is the present patron and incumbent of the rectory.
WEST ANSTEY, in the hundred and deanery of South Molton, lies about
nine miles from South Molton. The manor was successively in the families
of Le Moigny, Pillond, Cornu, and Speccot: at a later period in the Rolles,
from whom it descended to Lord Clinton.
The principal landed property belongs to Willoughby Bryant Stawell, Esq.
who resides in the parish.
The Dean and Chapter of Exeter are impropriators and patrons of the
vicarage. James Handford, in 1763, gave 3l. per annum for the endowment of a charity school.
ARLINGTON, in the hundred and deanery of Sherwell, lies about seven miles
from Barnstaple. The village of Becott is in this parish.
Arlington was one of the ancient possessions of the Raleghs, whose
heiress brought it to Chichester. It is now the property and seat of John
Palmer Chichester, Esq. the lineal descendant of a younger son of that
ancient family, on whom Arlington was settled in or about the reign of
In the parish church is an ancient tomb for a female of the Ralegh family,
there are also memorials for John Chichester, Esq., 1783; Gascoigne
Canham, 55 years rector, 1667; and William Bampfield, 50 years rector, 1719.
Mr. Chichester is patron of the rectory. The advowson had formerly
been in the Courtenay family.
ASHBURTON, in the hundred of Teignbridge and in the deanery of Moreton, anciently written Asperton, is an ancient market-town, 19 miles from
Exeter, and 192 from London, on the road to Plymouth, from which it
is distant 24 miles.
King Edward II. granted a market at Asperton on Saturdays, to Walter
Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter, and a fair for three days at the festival of St.
Lawrence. (fn. 28) The market is still held on Saturday for corn, provisions, &c.
Mr. John Ford in 1672 procured another market on Tuesdays, chiefly for
wool and yarn (spun in Cornwall), which has been some years discontinued,
since the introduction of machinery into the manufactures. Andrew
Quicke, Esq., first elected member for the borough in 1712, procured a charter
for two fairs; the first Thursday in March, and the first Thursday in June.
These fairs are still held; the other fairs are the first Tuesday in August,
and the first Tuesday in November. The March fair has a large supply of
cattle, chiefly for the east-country dealers; the November fair is a great
A considerable manufacture of serges has been carried on for many
years at Ashburton. The serges now made here are only for the East-India
Ashburton was made one of the stannary towns in 1328. (fn. 29) The number
of inhabitants in Ashburton was returned at 3080 in 1801, and in 1811 at
The borough of Ashburton has sent members to parliament ever since
the reign of Edward I. The right of election is vested in the inhabitant
householders and the holders of burgage tenures. Their numbers are estimated at between 3 and 400. The two portreeves are the returning
Ashburton was taken by Sir Thomas Fairfax on his march westward in
1646. The general had his head-quarters there on the 10th of January,
and on his departure, left a regiment to keep possession of the town. (fn. 30)
The manor of Ashburton was in the see of Exeter till the reign of
James I., when it was alienated to the crown. Some years afterwards, it
was in moieties vested in Sir Robert Parkhurst and the Earl of Feversham.
Sir Robert Parkhurst conveyed his moiety to Sir John Stawell, from whose
family it passed to Tuckfield. The heiress of Roger Tuckfield, Esq. brought
it to Samuel Rolle, Esq. from whom it descended, with the manor of Halwell
in this parish, to Lord Clinton. Lord Feversham's moiety was sold to
Richard Duke, Esq. of Otterton. It was purchased of the heirs of Duke
by Sir Robert Palk, Bart., and is now the property of his grandson, Sir
L. V. Palk, Bart. The lord of this manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. (fn. 31)
In the parish church, a handsome, spacious structure, is the monument of the Right Honourable John Dunning, the late Lord Ashburton,
who died in 1783: he was a native of Ashburton, and educated at the
grammar-school in this town.
In the church-yard is buried Mr. Thomas Martyn, who published the
map of Cornwall, and was employed in the Survey of Devon at the time of
his death, in 1752.
The chapel of St. Lawrence was a chantry chapel, endowed with a stipend
of 6l. 13s. 4d. per annum. (fn. 32) The chantry priest was to keep a grammar-school.
In the early part of the last century, this chapel was used for marriages and
other occasional parochial duty: the grammar-school is now held in it;
elections for the borough, and other public meetings. It is repaired out of
the parish lands, most probably what formed the endowment of the chantry.
The endowment of the present grammar-school is from other sources. Mr.
Blundell, founder of the school at Tiverton, gave lands, now let for about
30l. per annum, and Edward Gould, in 1735, the sum of 200l., laid out, in
1737, in lands now let for about 20l.
Mr. John Ford in 1677 founded a charity school for reading and writing,
which he endowed with 8l. per annum, charged on the yarn market. This
original endowment has of course been lost, the market having been annihilated, but it has an endowment in land, now producing 120l. per annum,
purchased with the sum of 640l. given by Lord Middleton, and John Harris,
Esq., then members for the borough, in 1754. Mrs. Mary Dunning, in 1805,
gave 6l. per annum for instructing ten poor girls in reading, sewing, &c.
There are meeting-houses at Ashburton for the Independents, the particular Baptists, and the Wesleyan Methodists.
ASHBURY, in the hundred of Black-Torrington, and in the deanery of
Okehampton, lies about 5 miles from Hatherleigh and 7 from Okehampton.
The manor belonged to the family of Ashbury, in the fourteenth century;
afterwards successively to those of Speccot and Walter. It is now the property and seat of John Morth Woollcombe, Esq. whose ancestor became
possessed of it in consequence of a marriage (in 1685) with the heiress of
Walter, (who had previously married Stuckey.) In the parish church are
monuments of the families of Walter (fn. 33) and Woollcombe. (fn. 34)
The church of Ashbury belonged to the priory of Launceston: the rectory is now in the gift of the crown. There is no endowed school in this
parish, but the children are educated in a school at North-Lew, conducted
on Dr. Bell's system, and supported by subscription.
ASHCOMBE, in the hundred of Exminster, and in the deanery of Kenne,
lies about 3 miles from Chudleigh. Ashcombe consists of three villages,
distinguished by the names of Higher-town, Middle-town, and Lower-town.
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the Kirkhams, and
here they had their original residence. The heiress of Kirkham brought
it to the Blounts of Oxfordshire. After the death of Edward Blount, Esq.
in 1722, this manor was sold to Thomas Ball, Esq. It has since passed
with Mamhead, and is now the property of the Earl of Lisburne.
The King is patron of the rectory.
There are two small schools in this parish which have an endowment of
3l. per annum given by Mr. Moalle, who died in 1803, and are further supported by subscription.
ASHFORD, in the hundred of Braunton and in the deanery of Barnstaple,
is situated about 2½ miles from Barnstaple.
At the time of taking the Domesday survey, the manor of Ashford was held
by Robert de Bellamonte or Beaumont, under Baldwin the sheriff. After
continuing in the Beaumonts for many generations, it passed by marriage
to Sir John Basset, who gave it with one of his daughters to a younger son
of the Courtenay family. The heiress of this branch brought it to Moore.
In the year 1715 this manor was in the Bampfylde family; the estate was sold
in lots by Sir C. W. Bampfylde, Bart. about the year 1815. The manor
and barton were then purchased by Thomas Tardrew, Esq. of Barnstaple,
who is the present proprietor.
The King is patron of the rectory.
ASHPRINGTON, in the hundred of Coleridge and in the deanery of Totton,
lies about 3 miles from Totness. Yeatson and Washburton are villages in
The manor of Sharpham in this parish belonged in the reign of Henry IV.
to Robert Winard, from whom it passed, by successive female heirs, to French,
Prideaux, and Drewe. Giles, of Bowden, purchased it of the Drewes; it
was afterwards in the successive possession of Yarde, Cockey, and Pownall.
The heiress of Philemon Pownall, Esq., captain in the royal navy, brought it
to the late Edmund Bastard, Esq. M. P. father of John Bastard, Esq. M. P.
and captain in the royal navy, who is the present proprietor. Sharpham, the
seat of Capt. Bastard, is situated among some of the most beautiful scenery
of the banks of the Dart. Painsford in this parish belonged anciently to the
Piperells, whose heiress brought it to Halwill. The Somasters purchased it
of the latter in the reign of Henry VII. and continued to possess it in Risdon's time. It afterwards passed by successive female heirs to Kelland and
Courtenay. A few years ago it was sold by the Countess of Cork and Mr.
Poyntz, as representatives of the Courtenays of Painsford, to Mr. Philip
Michelmore, the present proprietor.
Bowden or Bodeton, in this parish, belonged at an early period to the
family of Bodeton. Isabella de Bodeton gave it in the year 1268 to the
hospital of Bothomescombe. (fn. 35) At a later period it was some time a seat of
the family of Giles. Sir Edward Giles, who lived in the reign of James I.,
left it to a nephew who took the name. John Giles, Esq. who died in 1676,
left an only daughter and heir, married to Sir Richard Gipps. Bowden
was afterwards, for some descents, in the Trists; it is now the property and
residence of Mrs. Adams, relict of the late William Adams, Esq. M. P.
The manor of Washburton, some time in the Earl of Morley's family, is
now the property of Jasper Parrott, Esq. In the parish church are monuments
or inscribed grave-stones for the families of Somaster (fn. 36) and Kelland (fn. 37) ;
Henry Blackaller, Esq. 1684; Mary, wife of Philip Cockey, Esq. of Sharpham, 1753; and Capt. Philemon Pownall, R. N. who was killed in action
June 15, 1780.
There is a chapel at Painsford in this parish, at which divine service
was performed till about the middle of the last century; it is now in a
The Rev. George Terry Carwithen, and Mrs. Newman of Dartmouth,
are joint patrons of the rectory.
Ash-Reigny, alias Ring's Ash
ASH-REIGNY, alias RING'S ASH, in the hundred of North Tawton, and in
the deanery of Torrington, lies about four miles from Chulmleigh. Hayes
and Riddlecombe are villages in this parish.
Sir Thomas Fairfax had a rendezvous of his army at Ash-Reigny, previous to his attack of Torrington, on the 16th of February 1646. (fn. 38)
The manor belonged, at an early period, to the ancient family of Reigny,
and afterwards successively to Sergeaux, Sully, and Hatch. The heiress
of Hatch married Mallet. In Sir William Pole's time it belonged to Sir
Francis Vincent, who was second husband of the heiress of Mallet. It has
since passed through various hands in a divided state. The Rev. John Tossel Johnson has a moiety of the manor and advowson of the rectory, by bequest from his uncle Mr. Tossel, who had purchased of Mrs. Jenner in
1743. The other moiety is the joint property of the trustees of the Pyncombe charities, and the representatives of John Carew, Esq.
Riddlecombe belonged, at an early period, to Lomen, from whom it
passed, by successive female heirs, to Willington, Beaumont, and Basset.
It is now vested in Mrs. Pyncombe's trustees and the representatives of
Mr. Carew. There was formerly a chapel here dedicated to St. Olave. A
revel is held annually, the remains of an ancient fair.
The sum of 10l. per annum out of the estates left by Mrs. Gertrude Pyncombe in 1730, to charitable uses, is appropriated for the instruction of
poor children of this parish, 6l. for boys and 4l. for girls.
ASHTON, in the hundred of Exminster and in the deanery of Dunsford,
lies about four miles from Chudleigh, and about seven from Exeter.
The manor of Ashton was given by William the Conqueror to Sir Harvey
de Helion. The heiress of this ancient family brought it to Sir Fulke
Ferrers, from whose family it passed by successive female heirs to Prouz
and Chudleigh. The Chudleighs became possessed of it about the year
1320. Sir George Chudleigh of Ashton, who was created a baronet in
1622, at the commencement of the civil war took up arms on the side of
the parliament, and was one of their generals at the battle of Stratton; he
soon afterwards went over to the king, and his son Col. James Chudleigh
was killed at the taking of Dartmouth, by General Fairfax. The title became extinct by the death of Sir James Chudleigh, who was killed at the
siege of Ostend in 1745. One of the co-heiresses of Chudleigh brought
the manor of Ashton to Sir John Chichester, Bart., but it is now the property
of Sir Henry Oxendon, Bart. (descended from another co-heiress,) who
has also the small manor or barton of George Teign in this parish. Place,
the ancient seat of the Chudleighs, is in ruins; part of it has been fitted up as
a farm-house. It was the seat of the Chudleighs till after the death of Sir
George Chudleigh, in 1738: Mary Lady Chudleigh, his mother, who died
in 1710, daughter of Richard Lee, Esq. of Winslade, published several
poems and a volume of essays, which are said to have been much admired:
she left several poems and dramas in MS.
Sir George Chudleigh's house at Ashton, which had been garrisoned
for the king, was taken by a party sent by Sir Thomas Fairfax for that purpose, on the 29th of Dec., 1645 (fn. 39) ; on the 3d of January following, it was
made a garrison for the parliament. (fn. 40)
Staplehill in this parish gave name to a family in whom it continued
many generations. It was divided among co-heiresses before or about the
year 1600. It is now only a small farm, the property of Mr. Thomas Archer.
In the parish church is the monument of Sir George Chudleigh, Bart.
who died in 1657.
The Rev. Thomas Hole, the present incumbent, is patron of the rectory.
ASHWATER, in the hundred of Black Torrington and in the deanery of
Holdsworthy, lies about seven miles from Holdsworthy, and about nine from
Launceston. The village of Quoditch is in this parish.
There are cattle fairs at Ashwater on the first Tuesday in May and the
first Monday after August 1st.
The manor of Ashwater belonged to the Carminows as early as the reign
of Edward III. One of the co-heiresses of Carminow brought it to Carew,
in the reign of Henry VI. About the year 1600, Sir Peter Carew sold it
to Sir George Cary of Cockington. It is now the property of Richard
Preston, Esq. M.P., who purchased it about the year 1812, of George Cary,
Esq. of Torr Abbey. Sir Arscott Ourry Molesworth has the manor of
Hunscott in this parish, which belonged to the Arscotts. The manor of
Greenworthy passed from the Arscotts to the Bickfords, and is now
the property of the Rev. William Holland Coham, in right of his wife, sole
heiress of the Bickfords. The barton of Henford belongs to Sir Arscott
Ourry Molesworth, Bart.
In the parish church is a rich monument in memory of the last of the
Carminows, of this place; that of John Short, Esq., 1673, and that of Peter
Spoure, Gent., 1682.
The advowson of Ashwater was given by Richard de Braylegh, in the
reign of Edward III., to the prior and convent of Frithelstock, for the support of certain chantries at that place. (fn. 41) The Rev. Thomas Melhuish, Jun.
is the present patron and incumbent.
ATHERINGTON, in the hundred of North Tawton and in the deanery of
Barnstaple, lies on the road from Torrington to South Molton, about
seven miles from the former and about eight from the latter. The small
villages of Langridge and Eastacombe are in this parish.
The manor of Umberleigh extends over this and the adjoining parish of
High Bickington. Asculph de Soleny was Lord of Umberleigh, in the
reign of Henry II. The heiress of his son Gilbert brought this estate to
Jordan de Champernowne, with whose grand-daughter it passed to Sir Ralph
Willington, of Gloucestershire. Sir Ralph, whom Risdon calls a worthy
warrior, resided at Umberleigh, and his posterity continued there for several
descents. After they became extinct in the male line, Umberleigh passed
by successive female heirs to the families of Worth, Poulton, Beaumont,
and Basset. After a continuance of several generations in the Basset
family, this branch became extinct by the death of the late Francis Basset,
Esq., in 1802. Umberleigh is now, under his will, the property of his
nephew Joseph Davie Basset, Esq., of Watermouth and Umberleigh.
The ancient mansion at Umberleigh has been long ago pulled down.
The porch only remains. There was a chantry chapel at Umberleigh, endowed by Joan, wife of Sir Ralph Willington, and heiress of Champernowne,
in the reign of Henry III. It was suppressed by the act of 1547, when
the lands with which it was endowed were valued at (fn. 42) 6l. 19s. per annum.
This chapel, which was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was pulled down
about the year 1800, and the old monuments of the Willington family,
mentioned by Risdon, have since been removed. The nuns of Caen had
an estate at Umberleigh, when the survey of Domesday was taken.
The small manor of Wootton within the manor of Umberleigh, formerly
belonging to the Giffards, had in Risdon's time been, for three descents, in
the family of Eyre. It was afterwards in the family of Melhuish, and
is now vested in their representatives.
Buriate, or Boriatt, in this parish, was the ancient property and residence of the family of Isaac, to whom it was conveyed in the reign of
Henry III., by Sir Ralph Willington. It now belongs to Gonville and
Caius College, in Cambridge, to which it was given, about 1730, by Mrs.
In the parish church is the monument of Sir Arthur Basset, of Umberleigh,
1586; and memorials of the families of Isaac (fn. 43) , Chichester (fn. 44) , and Pollard. (fn. 45)
Mr. Basset is patron of the rectory, to which a manor is attached.
AVETON GIFFARD, in the hundred of Ermington, and in the deanery of
Woodleigh, lies about four miles from Kingsbridge, and the same distance
from Modbury. The small villages of Waterhead, Ashford, Lixton, and
Itson, are in this parish.
A market at this place on Tuesday, and two fairs, one for three days, at the
festival of the Invention of the Holy Cross; and the other for the same time at
the Nativity of St. John Baptist, were granted to Robert Dynham, in 1289. (fn. 46)
The manor, which had been demesne of the Crown, was, at an early
period, in the Giffards, and afterwards successively in the families of
Prous and Mules: from the latter it passed, by a female heir, to the Damarells, whose co-heiresses married Durnford and Berry. In consequence
of the last-mentioned match, Aveton Giffard continued many years in the
family of Berry. The manor now belongs to Edmund Pollexfen Bastard,
Esq. M. P., the court barton to John Morth Woollcombe, Esq.
The manor of Heathfield, in this parish, which belonged to the abbey
of Buckfastleigh, is now the property of Mr. Simon Hyne. The lords of
these manors had formerly the power of life and death. (fn. 47)
Arthur Holdsworth, Esq. is patron of the rectory.
AWLESCOMBE, in the hundred of Hemiock and in the deanery of Dunkeswell, lies about two miles from Honiton. The village of Wolverston is
in this parish, and part of the village of Weston.
A market on Wednesday, at Awlescombe, was granted, in 1291, to
Matthew Giffard, with a fair for three days, at Michaelmas. (fn. 48)
The abbot of Dunkeswell, and the Giffard family, had manors in Awlescombe. Giffard's manor passed by a female heir, to Mandeville, and
was afterwards in the family of Stanton. (fn. 49)
A manor of Awlescombe was given, in 1491, by Thomas Calwoodley,
Esq. to the corporation of Exeter, "in help and ease of the poor citizens
and inhabitants." (fn. 50) This estate is described as consisting of 203½ acres of
land, and valued at 163l. 4s. 8d. per annum, in 1699. (fn. 51) It still belongs
to the Corporation.
The manor of Godford, which belonged to Dunkeswell Abbey, was successively in the families of Clifford, Prideaux, St. Aubyn, Bonville, and
Fulford. From the Fulfords it passed, by sale, to Richard Cross, Esq. (fn. 52) ,
and has since been disposed of in parcels. The barton is now the property
of Thomas Greenfeld, Esq.
The manor, or reputed manor, of Wolverstone, is the property of
William Drewe, Esq.
The manor of Ivedon belonged to a family of that name, whose coheiresses married Stanton, Membury, and Tracey. (fn. 53) Stanton's share was
again subdivided among co-heiresses; Membury's share passed by marriage
to Pole; Tracey's share, which acquired the name of Tracey's Hayes, passed
by successive female heirs to Mabbe and Chard; and, after several descents,
from Chard to Lewis. By the last-mentioned family it was sold to Jenkins.
Sir George Smith died seised of a moiety of the manor of Ivedon or Ivedon
Penn in 1620. (fn. 54) This manor has been some years in the family of Pring,
and is now the property of John Pring, Esq.
In the parish church is the monument of Amelia, widow of Captain
John Elphinstone of the Navy, admiral in the Russian service, and daughter
of John Warburton, Esq., Somerset Herald, 1786.
The great tithes, which had been appropriated to the abbot of Dunkeswell, are now vested in William Drewe, Esq. The Duke of Bedford is
patron of the vicarage. The Presbyterians have a meeting-house in this
A handsome new bridge was built over the Otter in this village in the
year 1817 at the county expense.
AXMINSTER, in the hundred of that name, and in the deanery of Honiton,
is an ancient market-town, twenty-five miles from Exeter on the road to
London, from which it is 147 miles distant.
The market was confirmed in or about 1204 to William, Lord Brewer, to
be held on Sundays as had been accustomed. (fn. 55) In the cartulary of Newenham Abbey are transcripts of two charters of King John of later date, in
the 11th and 17th years of his reign, both confirming the Sundays market.
The former grants likewise that Axminster should be a free borough, and
that the burgesses should have a fair for eight days, but the time is not
The present market day is Saturday; the corn market is become inconsiderable: there are three cattle fairs, the first Tuesday after the 25th of April,
the first Tuesday after the 24th of June, and the first Wednesday after the
10th of October.
At this place is a celebrated manufactory of carpets; a considerable
quantity of tape and filletting is made also at Axminster. The carpet
manufactory, which is conducted by Mr. Ransom Whitty, was established
in 1755 by his grand-father, Mr. Thomas Whitty, to whom, in 1759, was
adjudged a premium of 30l. from the Society of Arts for having made the
largest Turkey carpet which had been manufactured in this country. It
was 26 feet 6 inches by 17 feet 6 inches.
The number of inhabitants in this town and parish was, in 1801, 2154;
in 1811, 2387, according to the returns made to parliament at those periods.
The only historical notices I have found relating to this town are the
celebrated battle with the Danes hereafter mentioned, and an action in the
month of October, 1644, between Sir Richard Cholmondely, then stationed
at Axminster with a party of the King's horse, and the parliamentary forces,
in which Sir Richard received his death wound. (fn. 56)
The abbey of Neweham or Newenham, in this parish, was founded
for monks of the Cistercian order in the reign of Henry III., by
Reginald de Mohun and his younger brother, William. The intention
appears to have originated with the latter, who gave for that purpose his
lands in Torr and Mariansleigh. Reginald, at his brother's instance, gave
him his choice of three manors for the site of the abbey, Mohun's (then Fleming's) Ottery, Minehead, and Axminster. The latter having been chosen,
he gave it to his brother for that purpose in 1246, and the same year the
abbey was founded and confirmed by royal grant. Reginald de Mohun
gave 100 marks of silver yearly, whilst he lived, to the fabric, and bequeathed a legacy for that purpose. Bishop Stapleton gave 600 marks to
the building. The monks were elected from the abbey of Beaulieu the
same year, thirteen in number, including the abbot, who went in procession
to Axminster, sleeping the last night at Ford Abbey, They entered the
site of the new abbey in great solemnity, having been met by Reginald de
Mohun and his brother William, and many other knights. The first stone
of the conventual church was laid in 1250; John de Geytington, who was
elected abbot in 1324, began the refectory and the cloisters. (fn. 57) At the dissolution the estates of this monastery were valued at 227l. 7s. 8d.; the site was
granted in 1562 to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk. The Rev. John Prince,
author of the well known biographical work on the worthies of Devon, was
born at Newenham Abbey. There are scarcely any remains of the monastic
buildings, some of which were pulled down a few years ago. The site is
now occupied by a farm-house, the property of Lord Petre, situated about
a mile and a half south of Axminster, near the road to Musbury.
The manor of Axminster was parcel of the ancient demesnes of the crown.
King John gave it to William, Lord Briwer or Brewer; one of the co-heiresses of this family brought it to Reginald de Mohun, by whom it was given
to the Abbey of Newenham. After the Reformation, it was granted to the
Duke of Norfolk, by whose family it was sold to John, Lord Petre, ancestor
of William Francis Henry, Lord Petre, who is the present proprietor.
Sir William Pole says that he has seen records, which prove that there
was a castle at Axminster, probably a seat of the Lords Brewer.
The manor of Smallridge belonged in the reign of William the Conqueror
to Ralph de Pomeroy; afterwards to the Mohuns. In the reign of
Henry III., it became the property of Sir Wymund Ralegh, a younger son
of the Nettlecombe family, and ancestor of the celebrated Sir Walter Ralegh, whose grandfather, Wymund Ralegh, Esq., conveyed this manor to
John Gilbert, Esq. Ralegh Gilbert, Esq., great-nephew of John, sold it
to Sir Nicholas Hyde, chief-justice of the King's Bench. Some years ago,
the manor of Smallridge belonged to Rawlin Mallock, Esq. of Cockington.
Mr. Champion, who had purchased of Mr. Mallock, sold it in parcels to
the several tenants.
The manor of Wycroft or Wigoft passed by successive female heirs from
the family of Wigoft to those of Gobodisleigh, Christow, and Dennis.
From the latter it passed by sale to Sir Thomas Brooke, ancestor of the
Lords Cobham. In 1426, a licence was granted to Humphrey, Duke of
Gloucester and others, trustees it is probable for the Brooke family, to
castellate the mansion at Wycroft, and enclose a park of 800 acres. (fn. 58) After
the attainder of Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham, King James I. granted this
estate to Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire, whose feoffees sold it to
Thomas Bennet, Sheriff of London, in 1611. The park was then destroyed
and the house fell to decay; there are still some remains of the ruins. The
manor has been sold piecemeal to the several freeholders.
The manor of Trill belonged, for many generations, to a family of that
name, who sold it in the reign of Edward III. to Sir Thomas Fitchet.
From Fitchet it passed by successive female heirs to Hill, Cheney, Walgrave, Hussey, and Clopton. It afterwards passed by sale to the Drakes,
who had a park here. The late Rev. George Tucker having purchased this
estate of the representatives of Lady Drake, who died in 1782, it is now
the property of his son of the same name.
The manor of Haccomb-fee was held at the time of the Domesday
Survey (fn. 59) under William Chievre as of the manor or honour of Bradnesse.
It afterwards belonged to the Haccombes, from whom it passed successively
to the families of Coliford, Upton, and Umfraville. Lord Bonville possessed it in the reign of Edward IV.; from him it descended to the Duke
of Suffolk, who sold it to Sir William Petre; it is now the property of his
descendant, the Right Honourable Lord Petre.
North Wyke was the property and residence of the ancient family of
Doune, whose co-heiresses married Ledred and Holcomb. North Wyke
was inherited by Ledred, whose heiress brought it to the Strodes. After
continuing for a few descents in the last-mentioned family, it was sold
In the parish church of Axminster is the monument of Meliora, wife of
S. Burton and sister of Nathaniel Gundry, Esq. one of the justices of the
Common Pleas, 1774; there are memorials also for Mr. Bernard Prince of
Newenham Abbey, father of the biographer; Mr. William Drake, 1775;
Mrs. Mary Butler, 1783; Jane, wife of the Rev. Charles Steer, 1809, &c.
King Athelstan gave the church of Axminster to seven priests, who were
to pray for the souls of seven knights or earls, and many others, slain in
battle with the Danes near this town (fn. 60) ; but it appears by the records of the
abbey of Newenham, that the college was not kept up after the death of
its first members. The parsonage of Axminster, to which is attached the
manor of Prestaller, was given by King Edward I. to the church of St. Peter
at York. (fn. 61) It still constitutes part of the endowment of two prebends of
that church called Warthill and Grindal; the prebendaries present to the
There is an old established Dissenters' meeting in this town, now
occupied by the Independents. The Wesleyan methodists also have a
Micaiah Towgood, the late eminent Presbyterian divine, was a native of
Axminster. He was born in 1700, being the son of Micaiah Towgood, M.D.
author of an essay on the Reformation of Manners, and some treatises on
Practical Divinity. Dr. Towgood was son of Matthew Towgood, who
was ejected from the vicarage of Axminster in 1662.
Penelope Saffin, in 1742, gave 164l. 18s. 3d. for the education of twelve
children, which was laid out in land. The rent of the school land is now
16l. 4s. 7½d., including a piece inclosed from Kilmington common, and
given by the freeholders on condition of their being allowed to have two
children educated in the school. With the above small endowment, a
school is supported on the Madras system, in which 44 children are at present instructed.
AXMOUTH, in the hundred of Axminster and in the deanery of Honiton,
lies at the confluence of the river Axe, about three miles from Colyton, and
six from Axminster. It appears that there was in ancient times a harbour
at this place. In the early part of the 17th century, much cost was bestowed
by the Erle family in an unsuccessful attempt to construct a new haven.
The endeavours of Mr. Hallet, the present proprietor, have been attended
with better success. Piers have been constructed at the mouth of the Axe,
under the shelter of which vessels of 100 tons discharge their cargoes in safety.
The manor of Axmouth, which had been part of the ancient demesne of
the crown, was given by Richard de Redvers or Rivers, Earl of Devon, to the
abbey of Montebourg in Normandy in the reign of Henry II, King Henry V.,
having seized it as part of the possessions of a foreign monastery, gave this
manor to the abbey of Sion. After the Reformation, it became part of
Queen Catharine Parr's jointure. King Edward VI. granted it, in or about
1552, to Walter Erle, Esq. one of the grooms of his privy chamber, with
extensive privileges. It was sold by Thomas Erle, Esq., in 1679, to Sir
Walter Yonge, Bart., of whom it was purchased, in 1691, by Richard Hallett, Esq., and by him devised to his nephew of the same name, greatgrandfather of John Hallett, Esq. the present proprietor.
Bindon was given, in the reign of Henry IV., by Nicholas Bach to Roger
Week or Wyke, a younger son of the Wykes, of North Wyke, in Tawton,
in whose family it continued several descents. The co-heiresses of Wyke
brought it to Giffard, Barry, Erle, and Hayes. The Erles purchased Giffard's share, and made Bindon their residence. Sir Walter Erle of this
family was an active officer in the Parliamentary army. A moiety of this
estate was sold, about 1773, by Thomas Erle Drax, Esq., representative
of the Erles, to Thomas Jenkins, Esq., of whose nephew and devisee, of
the same name, it was purchased, in or about 1817, by Mr. Thomas Dare,
the present proprietor. Barry's share was sold to the Mallocks; it was
purchased of the representative of Mallock by Mr. Robert Bartlett, father
of the present proprietor, Hayes's share, which continued a considerable
time in that family, was sold to the Rev. Edward Rowe, vicar of Axmouth;
it was purchased of his representatives, about the year 1700, by Southcote
Hallett, Esq. and is now the property of John Hallett, Esq. before mentioned.
Stuttecombe or Stedcomb belonged at an early period successively to the
Uffevilles and Veres. About the middle of the 14th century, it became
the property of the Courtenays. Having been forfeited by the attainder
of the Marquis of Exeter, this manor was granted by King Henry VIII.
to Sir Peter Carew, of whom it was purchased by Walter Yonge, Esq. His
descendant, Sir Walter Yonge, Bart. sold it with the manor of Axmouth
to Richard Hallett, Esq., as before mentioned. Stedcomb is now the
property and seat of John Hallett, Esq. It was built about 1697 by Richard
Down-Umphraville (fn. 62) in this parish, with the farms of Pinney and Whitelands, belonged to the Lords Petre. These estates were sold by the present Lord Petre to J. M. Howe, Esq. Down-Umphraville now belongs to
the Rev. J. Howe. Pinney belongs to Mrs. Edye, and Whitelands to John
Denne, Esq. of Lyme.
The Courtenay family had, in the reign of Henry VII., a manor in this
parish called Buckland Trill, which had been purchased of the family of
Trill, by Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon, in the reign of Edward III. This
estate was afterwards in the Yonges, and was purchased of Sir George Yonge
by the father of Mr. Bartlett, the present proprietor.
In the parish church are monuments of the Erles (fn. 63) and Halletts (fn. 64) , and
that of William Serle, Esq. 1726.
Mr. Hallett is the principal impropriator of the great tithes which belonged
to the monastery of Sion, and is patron of the vicarage. There was formerly
a chapel at Whitelands.
Mr. Serle, who died in 1726, gave 1l. 12s. per annum for teaching poor
children of this parish.
AYLESBEARE, in the deanery of that name and in the hundred of EastBudley, lies about eight miles from Exeter.
The manor was parcel of the ancient inheritance of the Courtenays,
Earls of Devon, as parcel of the barony of Okehampton (fn. 65) ; Edward Courtenay, the last earl, conveyed it to Sir Francis Englefield and Sir William
Cordall. One moiety, after the attainder of Sir Francis Englefield, was
granted to the Earl of Essex, and is said to have been sold by him to the
tenants. The other was sold by Sir William Cordall to Sir Robert Dennis,
and is now the property of his descendant, the Right Honourable Lord
The barton of Minchin Court belongs to Mrs. Marker, who, jointly with
James Wake, Esq., is possessed of a small manor within the manor of
Aylesbeare, called Woods. The manor of Roundbeare (fn. 66) belongs to William
Buller, Esq. of Northamptonshire and the Rev. John Elliott.
In the parish church is the monument of William Stoke, Gent. of Minchin Court, 1788.
One moiety of the great tithes is annexed to the rectory of Huxham,
the other to the barton of Minchin Court above mentioned. The advowson
of the vicarage is vested in the Rev. H. W. Marker, the present incumbent.
There is a dissenters' meeting-house at Aylesbeare, at which there is
only occasional preaching.
Newton Poppleford, in this parish, had formerly a market on Monday,
granted in or about 1252 to the Courtenays (fn. 67) , together with a fair for three
days at the festival of St. Luke. (fn. 68) The chapel at Newton was founded as
a chantry chapel by King Edward III. in or about the year 1330. (fn. 69) It is
now used as a chapel of ease to Aylesbeare. The accustomed service is
monthly only; it is at present performed once a fortnight. Lands in Newton Poppleford, and the manor of Thorne, which had belonged to Sir John
Courtenay, were granted to John, Lord Dinham, in 1480. (fn. 70)
Mr. Richard White, in 1697, gave 1l. 10s. per annum, for teaching six
poor children of this parish.