North Tawton History – Part 1

North Tawton,William White’s History, Gazetteer & Directory of Devon, 1850.

NORTH TAWTON History … a small ancient town, pleasantly situated on the east side of Taw valley, 6½ miles N.E. of Okehampton, and 10 miles West of Crediton, has in its parish 1728 inhabitants, and about 5350 acres of land, exclusive of Ilton Moor and Stone Moor, now being enclosed and cultivated.

It was anciently a market and borough town, and is still governed by a portreeve elected annually, who has a small field during his year of office. From its ancient appellation of Cheping Tawton, it is evident that it had a market long before the grant of John Valletort in 1270, of a market on Wednesday and a fair for three days at the festival of St. Nicholas. The market which was afterwards held on Friday, was discontinued about 1720; but in 1849 a small Market House was erected in the town at the cost of £750, raised in £5 shares, and the market was re-established, to be held on Thursday. Here are three annual fairs, on the third Tuesdays in April and December, and the second Tuesday in October.

In the town is a large tan yard and a woollen factory, the latter of which has been employed in the manufacture of serges, from a very early period.

The manor was an ancient demesne of the Crown, and was held successively by the Valletort, Champernowne, St. Leger, and Fellowes families, the latter of whom purchased it in 1718. The Hon. Newton Fellowes is now lord of the manor and owner of a great part of the parish, and the rest belongs to the Trustees of the late Lord Rolle, and several smaller owners.

Clerk to the Commissioner of Taxes for North Tawton:

J. PRICE, of Torrington

Ashridge House

is the seat of William ORCHARD, Esq.;

Crook Burnell, alias Stone

belongs to the STURT family;

Nicholls Nymet Barton

belongs to John WREFORD, Esq.

The Church (St. Peter)

is an ancient structure, with a tower containing six bells, and crowned by a wooden spire. Near the church is a moated site, supposed to have been the ancient seat of the Valletorts.

The Rectory

valued in K.B. at £32 4s. 7d., and in 1831 at £884, is in the patronage and incumbency of the Rev. G. Hole, B.C.L., of Chulmleigh, whose son officiates, and occupies the Rectory House, a good residence in the Elizabethan style. The glebe is 95 acres and the tithes were commuted in 1844 for £797.15s.10d. per annum.

The Independents and Bible Christians

have small chapels here.

The Church Lands & Cottages

are let for about £28 a year.

The Free School

was endowed in 1746 by the Rev. Rd. Hole, with a house and 10 acres of land at West Newton.

The Poor

have about 26s. 8d. yearly from the gifts of Cphr. Kelland and Edmund Rowland.

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