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BY S. P. FOX.
PEINTEI) FOE THE COMPILER
BY G. P. FRIEND, 60 & 01, UNION STEEET, PLYMOUTH,
AND MAY BE ORDERED THROUGH KINGSBRIDGE BOOKSELLERS.
WAS TO HAVE BEEN DEDICATED
TO THE RIGHT HON. MICHAEL CONRADE DE COURCY
THIRTIETH BARON K1NGSALE,
WHO DIED, AFTER A VERY BRIEF ILLNESS,
APRIL 15TH, 1874.
AS A SMALL TRIBUTE OF REGARD FOR HIS MEMORY,
THE WRITER NOW VENTURES TO OFFER IT, VERY RESPECTFULLY,
TO HIS MOTHER.
PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION.
This little book makes no pretension to originality. It
is not much beyond a selection of materials culled from
various sources, and strung together in a connected form.
The works of Polwhele, Risdon, Prince, and many others,
have been consulted, while Hawkins' "History of Kings-
bridge " has been borrowed from extensively. Valuable aid
has also been received from several of the inhabitants, and
others, to all of whom the writer tenders her very sincere
thanks. She is indebted to Mr. H. Nicholls, taxidermist,
for most of the information on the Natural History of the
district, it having been kindly furnished by him for the
purpose. The Photographs, with which some of the copies
are illustrated, are the work of her brother.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION,
"Kingsbridge Estuary, with Rambles in the Neighbour-
bourhood," was published about ten years since.
The writer has now prepared a second edition; and
having endeavoured to render it more complete as a local
history, she trusts it will be found better worth perusal than
its predecessor, from which it differs in so many respects
that it has been deemed best to alter the title to " Kings-
bridge and its Surroundings."
She desires to offer her best thanks to those kind friends
who have so readily responded to her inquiries for infor-
mation, either by the loan of books, or by written or verbal
Some additional information, in connection with pages
61, 88, and 112 to 114, which was received too late for
insertion in the body of the work, will be found in the
Fore Street Hill, Kingsbridge, 1874.
fvhtphiir^ iwir ite Stetxtmx&ing*.
•• I am very sure that the plan of reading general history by the light
of local is one that may be applied far more widely than has hitherto
been attempted. * * * Every parish has its church, seldom without
some relic, some carved tomb, some mouldering achievement, or heraldic
shield, which may be made to tell its own story of the past. In most
there is the old manor house, the revolutions of which, as Southey has
somewhere told us, would be as interesting and as full of instruction
as those of England herself, could they be as fully chronicled ; and
even where these arc wanting, the open country, the woods, the moors,
and above all, the ancient roads, may be called on for assistance." — ■
It. J. King's Dartmoor.
About ten years ago — that is, in the spring of 1861- — a
Bill was presented to Parliament, praying for the authoriza-
tion of a branch railway, to connect the town of Kingsbridgo
with the South Devon line. This Bill was passed, but not
acted on. A second Bill was presented and passed in 18GG.
The line was commenced; a bridge was built (the first
stone of which was laid amidst rejoicings) ; then — difficulties
arose, and the work was abandoned. Again, in 1873, a
third Bill was presented ; but this was ultimately, and very
reluctantly, withdrawn, from cnusos which it is not needful
to enter upon here. Notwithstanding this discouraging state
of things, another scheme has been discussed. We extract
from an article in the Kingsbridge Gazette, dated October
24th, 1873. — "The promoters of the new Coast Line of
Railway express great confidence in the success of their
scheme, and hope they may be able to carry it out without
an Act of Parliament. We believe that if they get the
consent of all the landowners through whose property the
line passes, they can proceed to make it without parlia-
mentary sanction; and seeing that when the Brent line
was before the public, the major part of the landowners
along the line of the proposed coast railway hung back
from the Brent scheme, and advocated such a one as now
proposed, it is only fair to argue that at least they will not
object to this being carried out, even if they do not actively
support it. Kingsbridge people now will not care much
which line is made : they want railway accommodation,
and how it comes they will not greatly care." Whether
any of the present generation will live long enough to see
locomotive engines bustling in and out of a railway station
at this place, remains to be proved. In the meantime, let us
enquire a little about " Kingsbridge and its Surroundings."
Kingsbridge is a small market town and parish, but the
metropolis (one may say) of the Union to which it gives its
name.* It is in the Deanery of Woodleigh, Archdeaconry
of Totnes, Diocese of Exeter, and Hundred of Stanborough,
South Devonshire; distant five miles north from Salcombe
Harbour, nine miles and a half south from Kingsbridge Road
Station (on the South Devon Railway), twenty miles from
Plymouth, and about 231 miles from London.
* The Union House is in the parish of Chnrchstow.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 3
" Stanborough Hundred is a long, narrow district, ex-
tending more than twenty-two miles southward from the
river Dart, in Dartmoor Forest, to the English Channel,
between Bolt Head and Bolt Tail, and the mouths of
Salcombe Creek and the Avon, but averaging only about five
miles in breadth. It stretches into the hilly region of
Dartmoor on the north-west, and is bounded by the river
Dart as low as Totnes, where it is crossed by the South
Devon Railway. It is traversed southward by the Avon,
which receives several smaller streams; and the haven and
creeks from Kingsbridge to the sea form its south-western
A fine navigable estuary runs inland about five miles,
from Salcombe to Kingsbridge. Fifty years ago few
vessels were seen here but sloops ; now, however, the
sloops are few in comparison with vessels of larger class
and tonnage. This estuary has also several navigable
creeks, branching from either side, and affording the
adjacent parishes the means of importing lime, sand,
and other manures; and of exporting their produce.
Frazer, in his Survey, in 1794, spoke of the district about
Kingsbridge, Dartmouth, and Modbury, as remarkable for
the produce of barley ; and observed that it was exported
from Salcombe in quantities scarcely to be credited: and
Kingsbridge is mentioned by White as one of the chief
corn markets in the county — the others being Exeter,
Tavistock, Totnes, Plymouth, and Barnstaple. The cider
of the South Hams is considered superior to any other,
and it is largely exported from hence.
"The most uniformly fertile soils are in the red sand-
;; White's History of Devonshire, published in 1850.
stone district; but the richest are those occurring in
contiguity with limestone or greenstone rocks, in many
parts of the slate district ; especially in that beautiful
southern district, commonly called the ' South Hams,' and
sometimes the ( Garden of Devon,' and having for its
natural boundaries Dartmoor and the heights of Chudleisrh
on the north; the river Plym on the west; Torbay and
Start Bay on the east; and Bigbury Bay and the other
parts of the coast of the English Channel, on the south.
The red colour which characterizes the best soils, both in
the South Hams and the eastern division of the county,
and which seems to be so closely connected with the
principle of fertility, proceeds from an abundant mixture
of iron, in a highly oxidated state. The soil of that part
of the South Hams which is bounded by the Erme and
Dart rivers is generally a rich friable loam, of a hazel-nut
brown colour, mostly on a substratum of slate ; but that
on the east of the Dart, as far as Torbay, is richer and
redder, and generally on a substratum of marble rock."*
Polwhele says, "In regard to the South of Devon, its
climate has often been compared to the South of France.
The hills that, overspread with verdure, more frequently
rise with a gentle swell than with that rocky abruptness
which is a feature of the north, are favoured by tepid
breezes ; and the green vallies, sometimes covered with
wood, though open to the sea, indicate the softness of
the atmosphere." He also remarks that in Devonshire
the summers are cooler, and the winters warmer, than in
any other part of England, except Cornwall.
With respect to the Rainfall in this immediate neigh-
* White's Devonshire.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 5
bourhood, it is slightly in excess of some other parts of
South Devon. The register from which our data are
taken is from a gauge under the care of the writer's
brother (G. Fox), and is fixed at an elevation of 60 feet
above the sea level. The rainfall for the last seven years
gives a mean of 35 inches. We believe the nearest
station to this is on the Bolt Tail, where the readings
are somewhat less than the above. The Kingsbridge
Gazette has, from the commencement of the observations,
published the monthly returns.
The climate and soil about Kingsbridge are particularly
favourable for the culture of vines : probably there is no
other town of its size in England where there are so
many green-houses expressly devoted to this branch of
horticulture ; and grapes in abundance find their way to
less favoured parts of the adjacent counties.* A Cottage
Garden Society, established some years since, has been
the means of demonstrating the great capabilities of our
fertile soil, and the mildness of our climate. Besides the
orange and lemon, the myrtle and magnolia nourish in
great perfection. The myrtle sometimes attains the height
of twenty or thirty feet ; and the magnificent cream-white
flowers, and bright green laurel-like leaves of the magnolia
may be seen reaching even to the roofs of some of the
The neighbourhood of Kingsbridge is also favourable
for bees, if we may judge by the large number of hives
in the gardens of cottagers and others. But that there
is a great diminution of good years is evident ; for we
* As many as 99 green-houses were counted very recently in Kingsbridge
and Dodbrooke ; but these are not all specially devoted to vines, although
a great number of them are so.
seldom now hear of very large " supers " of honey. This
may be owing to the increased cultivation of the land, and
consequently the lessening of wild flowers, which form the
best pasturage for bees. In 1863, G. Fox (who practises
the humane system of bee-keeping) took the following
large quantity of honeycomb from two of his hives, viz.,
112 lbs., and 109 lbs. 8 oz. (nett weight of honey). These
boxes, or rather glass cases, were placed on the top of
the stock hives ; which, after these astonishing " supers,"
as they are called, were removed, remained untouched and
well filled with stores, for the winter use of the industrious
inhabitants. It must be understood, however, that this
was quite an exceptional year, such surprising quantities
never having been obtained here before or since ; so that
the wonderful display created quite a sensation when it
formed a part of the first exhibition of the Cottage
Robert Dymond, Esq., F.S.A., says — " Kingsbridge is
the smallest parish in Devonshire. Some of the Exeter
parishes are smaller, but they are not, strictly speaking,
in Devonshire, as Exeter is a county of itself." Hawkins'
statement, that "its whole contents are no more than
thirty-two acres," was in accordance with the general im-
pression, but we have been informed by Mr. William Jarvis
that this is considerably below the mark, and that fifty-two
acres would be more nearly correct.
Leland, the librarian of Henry VII., observes of Kings-
bridge, in his Itinerary, that it was " sumtyme a praty
town." Blome, in 1673, less courteously, mentions it as
" a meane Towne, but hath a great market for provisions
Nothing is known with certainty regarding the origin
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 7
of the name Kingsbridge. The various theories respecting
it are too vague to be in any [way relied on, and it is
not likely we shall ever have much light thrown on the
In Directories and Gazetteers you generally find Kings-
bridge and Dodbrooke mentioned as one town : they are,
in fact, only separated by a rivulet, which, however, is also
the dividing line between the Hundreds of Stan borough
and Coleridge, in which the parishes of Kingsbridge and
Dodbrooke are respectively situated.
Hawkins stated that in 1791 the population of Kings-
bridge (without Dodbrooke) amounted to 972. At the
census of 1841 the numbers reported were... 1,561
Emigration may, perhaps, partly account for a diminution,
but probably the chief cause is the absence of railway
Risdon, who died in 164-0, says that "Kingsbridge was
long since the lands of the Earl of Devon, until by the
attainder of the Marquis of Exeter (the 3rd of December,
1531), it came to the Crown, and was purchased by Sir
William Petre, Knight, now the Lord Petre's inheritance."
Sir William Pole, who died in 1 635 or 6, also says, " Kinges-
bridge belonged unto therles of Devon, and after thattainder
of Henry Marques of Exceter, purchased by Sir William
Petre, and is nowe the Lord Petre's "; but it is stated
elsewhere that "this manor, and that of the adjoining
parish of Churchstow, belonged to the Abbey of Buckfast as
early as the year 1333. After the dissolution of monasteries,
they continued in the Crown till after the 4th and 5th Philip
and Mary, A.D. 1558, a period of twenty-five years; when
they were sold to John Drake and Bernard Drake, Esquires,
who, in the same month, conveyed them to Sir William
Petre, the ancestor of the Right Honourable Lord Petre,
of Writtle. From that time till the year 1793, when the
late Robert Edward, ninth Lord Petre, sold the said manor
to a relative of the present proprietor, it continued in that
The Manor of Kingsbridge belonged for many years to
Colonel Scobell, of Nancealvern, near Penzance, Cornwall.
He died June 16th, 1866, in his 88th year. He was the son
of the Rev. Mr. Scobell, Vicar of Sancreed, Cornwall. At an
early age he entered the Marine service, and was in action
at the battle of the Nile. According to the statement of
the late Mr. Robert Cox,* (who was steward to the Lord of
the Manor), Colonel Scobell was born at Nutcombe, in
the parish of East Allington, originally the property and
residence of the Scobell family. When a child, he was a
favourite of an uncle, a barrister, and Lord of the Manor of
* On the 31st of March, 1870, the Portreeve wrote to George Scobell, Esq.,
to inform him of the death of his steward, Mr. Robert Cox, and received the
following reply : —
" Montvale House, Hallatrow, Bristol,
4th April, 1870.
I am obliged by your note of the 3lst ult., addressed to my
brother, Mr. George Scobell, upon the death of the late manor bailiff and
town crier. The settlement of a new appointment has been referred to me,
as trustee of the manor property at Kingsbridge. These offices having been
held by the Cox family for the last three generations, as I am informed, we
should naturally favor any other member of the same family, if entirely
fitted for the business. It has been proposed that the widow should retain
the offices, with Mr. John A T eale as her deputy. Still, I am open to any
recommendation or information on the subject, my only object being to
appoint some one suitable for the interests of the manor and the require-
ments of the town.
I am, dear sir,
J. USTICKE SCOBELL."
[The appointment was made as above suggested.]
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 9
Kingsbridge, who resided at the Manor House (now called
Knowle House), which was then a part of the Manor, but
was sold to Sir Edwin Bayntun Sandys. He (Col. Scobell)
lived with his uncle, and went to our Grammar School until
he was seventeen years old.
Colonel ScobelPs eldest son, John Usticke Scobell, Esq.,
who now owns Nancealvern, although he generally resides
near Bristol, is Trustee for the Manor of Kingsbridge, but
George Scobell, Esq., the Colonel's younger son, receives the
rents of this property. His residence is at Lower Poltair,
The Steward holds a Court Leet and Court Baron on
alternate years, and appoints a Portreeve, Constables, and
Ale Tasters. At the Manorial Court held in 1865 (which
was the last preceding the death of Colonel Scobell) Mr.
William Parkhouse was re-elected Portreeve, an office he had
already held for a number of years, and which he held up
to the time of his decease, having been again elected in
October, 1873* On the occasion above referred to, he
informed the newly-appointed Ale Tasters that it was " their
duty to taste the ale of every brewing at the various breweries
and inns in the town (each Ale Taster having the power to
demand half a pint), and if they did not consider it good,
they might set the tap running, that the bad ale might be
* From the Kingsbridge Gazette of November 29th, 1873 :— " The late
Portreeve. — During the past week one, crcwhile, of our most prominent
public men has been removed by the hand of death., Mr. W. Parkhouse,
senr., represented the parish of Kingsbridge at the Board of Guardians for
some years ; and so diligently and heartily did he transact all such business
as modern institutions have left to be performed by the Court of the Lord
of the Manor, that he was unanimously re-elected, for a considerable number
of years to the office of Portreeve. The remains of the deceased were
followed to their last resting-place, in Dodbrookc Churchyard, on Wednesday
last, by a large number of townsmen." [In December, 1873, Mr. John Port
was elected to till the vacant office.]
got rid of." # On the Manorial Court days, the Portreeve and
officials, and other gentlemen invited, make a perambulation
of the manorial property, and afterwards dine together. A
few years ago, a robe and cocked hat, as appropriate for a
Portreeve on state occasions, were purchased, and presented
to Mr. Parkhouse.
Hawkins thus describes the town of Kingsbridge. "The
principal street, Fore Street, which is full 60 feet broad, runs
nearly the length of the parish from, south to north, and,
rising from the estuary like the crest of a helmet, commands
a delightful view of the water and its verdant shores, almost
to the harbour of Salcombe, being obstructed only by the
creek's suddenly turning from south to south-west, and
leaving the prospect to be terminated by the parish church
and green hills of Portlemouth. Behind the several houses
are gardens and orchards ; and as this street is on the brow
of a hill, these grounds decline to the east and west, at the
extremities of which, on each side of the town, run two
brooks, which form a junction of the best portion of their
waters near the bottom of the hill on the west side, and
there become of sufficient force to turn the Town Mills.
# * * Nearly at the lower end, Fore Street is crossed at
right angles by Mill Street and Duc'c [now called Duke]
Street, the former on the west side, leading to West Alvington
and Salcombe; the latter on the east, in the direction of
Totnes and Dartmouth, and uniting the towns of Kingsbridge
and Dodbrooke by a very small bridge.! These, with a
* Ale Tasters were also appointed formerly at Dartmouth. In White's
"Devonshire" we find the following :—" The Ale Taster is an officer
appointed by the Corporation ; and formerly he tasted every brewing of the
publicans, and proclaimed at their doors, with a loud voice and ' uplifted leg
and arm,' whether the ale was good or not ! "
f Alvington Road (now Mill Street) was once the aristocratic end of the
town : here lived the Crockers and the Holdyches.
III ! I"
_ ■ i •' -I ■ ■ ,■■•
3oOn< lit kp.n i
*?tif Cbrap^ Jioujtf of tipnglbnogf
• ■ . ■ 1 1
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 13
double line of houses branching off from the east side of Fore
Street towards the north end, formerly called Sigdure Lane,
sines that, by corruption, Sugar Lane, and more recently,
Duncombe Street (in compliment to the founder of the
Lectureship), together with the gardens, orchards, a few
small closes, and a genteel villa and pleasure grounds, called
Knowle House, at the north end, compose the whole parish."
The foregoing, although Avritten by Hawkins many years
ago, is a pretty accurate description of Kingsbridge at the
Robert Dymond, Esq., F.S.A., says, "From the few ancient
buildings that remain, and from an old engraving, dated
1586, it may be inferred that Kingsbridge formerly wore
something of that quaint, foreign aspect, still in some degree
characterizing the neighbouring port of Dartmouth. The
' Cheape House,' in the middle of the main street, was the
southernmost market place in the county."
The old engraving referred to has been considered of suffi-
cient interest to be reproduced by photography. Hawkins
speaks of it thus : " The birds-eye view of Kingsbridge,
taken in 1586, and now preserved among the archives of the
Feoffees of the town lands, has been engraved to satisfy local
curiosity ; it may be proper to mention, however, that what
has been there marked ' The Wester parte ' is the south, and
the ' Easter end' is the north. This error is in the original."
Kingsbridge was formerly a part of the parish of Church-
stow, and at what period the separation took place is
uncertain. They, however, still form one vicarage. The
ecclesiastical history of Kingsbridge is rather complicated.
There is an old document, bearing date 1309, which is a
memorandum of the deposition of witnesses taken at Exeter,
concerning the rights and services of the chapel of St.
Edmund, king and martyr, at Kingsb ridge ; and the first
witness states that it has had a parish and parishioners
separate and distinct from a time beyond all memory, and
that the said chapel possesses Canteria, or Chantry, and all
other Divine service complete, the rite of burial alone
excepted. It is recorded that the parishioners represented
the inconvenience of attending the Mother Church, which
they stated " is founded on the summit of a high mountain,
and the direct way between them for carrying dead bodies
to be there buried proceeds through a troublesome and
tedious ascent of the said mountain." Probably it was in
consequence of this representation that M. Litlecumb, rector
of the church of Churchstow, " granted unto the Abbot and
Monks of Buckfast permission to build a church in their
demense, in the vill of Kingsbridge, upon condition of their
granting all the profits of the said vill, belonging to the
church, for the maintenance of a chaplain to celebrate Divine
service there; and that all the inhabitants might enjoy every
ecclesiastical right therein, so that they visited the Mother
Church, with offerings, at least once in every year, to wit, on
the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or within eight
days after." The present parish church was thereupon
erected, and on the 26th of August, 1414, it was dedicated
to St. Edmund, king and martyr, and the cemetery was
consecrated on the following day.*
A few words respecting the patron saint of the church.
" St. Edmund, King of the East Angles, having been
attacked by the Danes, and being unable to resist them,
heroically offered to surrender himself a prisoner, provided
* A copy of the original grant for building the church (with the trans-
lation) may be found in the " Notes and References," at the end of Hawkins'
History of Kingsbridge."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 15
they would spare his subjects. The Danes, however,
having seized him, used their utmost endeavours to induce
him to renounce his religion. Upon his refusing to comply,
they first beat him with clubs, then scourged him with
whips, afterwards bound him to a tree and shot at him till
he was completely covered with their arrows, and then
finally struck off his head. — A.D. 870." Many years after-
wards his body was removed to London, and subsequently
was brought back to Suffolk, to be there enshrined and
honoured ; and in process of time a vast abbey and a large
and wealthy town, now known as ** Bury St. Edmund's,"
gathered around his venerable dust. In confirmation of
the story that he was shot in the manner, related, it has
been said that when an old tree in Hoxne Wood, Suffolk,
which had been known as St. Edmund's Oak, fell in 1 848,
an arrow was found imbedded in the heart of the tree.
The following is an extract from Dr. Oliver's account
of Buckfastleigh Abbey, in his Monasticon Dioecesis Exo-
niensis :— "26 Aug. 1414, Bishop Stafford dedicated the
chapel of St. Edmund, King and Martyr, a daughter
chapel of Churchstow, and on the next day blest its
cemetery. Roger Bachelor, then rector of Churchstow,
made his will Aug. 30, 1127, and desired to be buried
'in cancello de Kingston' [Kingsbridge ?], and left to
its store 10 marks. To the store of St. Mary de Church-
stow he gives 12 sheep and 1 cow, and also 2 marks
1 to paint the image of the blessed Mary of Churchstow,
namely in the chance 1 .' On the dissolution of the abbey,
in the time of Henry 8th, Gabriel Donne, the last Abbot,
granted a lease to John Southcot, of Bovey Tracey, of
the rectory of Churchstow, and its dependant chapel of
Kingsbridge." Edmund Stafford, Bishop of Exeter, and
Lord Chancellor of England, died in 1419. In the north
wall of Exeter Cathedral there is a stately monument of
alabaster, with a latin inscription to his memory. The
name of the Abbot of Buckfast, at this time, was William
Kingsbridge Church stands in a cemetery, on the west
side of Fore Street. The edifice is of stone, and built in
the form of a cross. The bells (six in number) were
made in London, in the year 1761, at which period the
old set having been taken down and shipped for the
capital, to be re-cast, were captured by a French privateer,
and carried off as a lawful prize. It certainly cannot be
said that the present bells were chosen for sweetness of
tone; and the question of a new set has been mooted,
and may, perhaps, at no very distant time be carried out.
On Sunday, the 22nd of June, 1828, there was an awful
thunderstorm, which came on about one o'clock p.m. : the
lightning struck the spire of the church, descending by the
iron bar which supports the top and carries the vane; it
exploded with a tremendous crash, knocked out a large hole
about fifteen feet from the summit, and shifted a considerable
portion of the spire from its centre. The stones, which were
hlown to shatters, flew over the houses, and into the gardens
adjacent. Providentially, no person was injured; but if it
had occurred one hour sooner, the consequences might have
been very serious, as many people were then in the church.
The lightning came down, and after partially fusing a small
bell used for calling the attention of the ringers, and knocking
out the staples with which the communion table was secured,
then escaped through a window, the glass of which was
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 17
smashed. The damaged portion of the spire was taken down
the same year, and re-built *
In reference to the clock in the church tower, Hawkins
says, "The present clock was set up in the year 1786, to
replace one of ancient date and mendacitous notoriety." We
might remark that this present clock has not established for
itself a much better character for correct time-keeping than
its predecessor ; consequently it will be a great boon to the
inhabitants when it is superseded by one which will render
inapplicable the old saying, " As great a liar as Kingsbridge
clock." Some time ago, Mr. Thomas Peek offered. £100
towards a new town clock for Kingsbridge. Soon after his
handsome offer was made, he died, but it appears that his
gift is still available. Plans have, accordingly, been drawn,
and estimates made, in preparation for its erection.
There is within the church a monument, executed by
Flaxman, in Carrara marble, to the memory of the wife of a
Major Hawkins, of the East India Company's Service. A
marble tablet, with a Latin inscription, may also be seen, to
the memory of the Reverend George Hughes, B.D., vicar of
St. Andrew (commonly called the Old Church) in Plymouth.
He was one of the 2000 ministers who, two years after the
restoration of King Charles II. (which took place in 1660)
were deprived of their benefices for refusing to subscribe
to the Act of Uniformity passed in 1662. It seems that
he was not only silenced, but committed a prisoner to
St. Nicholas Island. After a considerable time, his health
having suffered by long confinement, he was permitted to
pass the remainder of his days in Kingsbridge. He died
the 9th July, 1667. Thomas Crispin, the founder of the
Free Grammar School, erected this monument to his
* Information from the lato \V. Millar.
memory. The Latin inscription is said by Hawkins to
have been written by Duncombe ; others attribute it to
the Rev. John Howe, the Chaplain of Cromwell, and son-
in-law of Hughes.
Hughes was the author of several works ; and a sermon
of his, preached before the House of Commons, is still
The remains of George GefTery, A.M., Incumbent of
Churchstow and Kingsbridge, were deposited in the same
place twenty-seven years before. He died 12th May, 1641.
A translation of the inscription, as given by Hawkins, is
here copied, as a specimen of the pompous style of
epitaph adopted formerly : —
"To the redolent, immortal, and ever-to-be-respected
memory of that most excellent man, George Hughes,
B.D., late of Plymouth : highly vigilant to unfold the
hidden truths of the Holy Scriptures; to incline man-
kind by his preaching, the Almighty by his prayers,
being particularly learned; who (like the luminary of
day) auspiciously commencing his career in the east
(having received his birth in London), thence beamed
a star in the west for a long time, diffusing light on
every side by his life, and wailing by his death. His
earthly course (truly useful) having been extended to 64
years, contributing good and enduring ill, he at length
found pure rest — for his soul in the skies, his body in
the grave beneath, on the 9th day of July, in the year of
grace 1667, with his fellow pastor, long most dear,
George Geffery, A.M., whose remains, thrice nine years
before, were deposited in the same place, and being first
turned to dust, are now to mingle with fresh ashes."
(We omit the six poetical lines which accompany this).
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 19
To the memory of Duncombe, Master of the Grammar
School, and founder of the Lectureship, the following is
inscribed on a tablet : —
" Here lieth the body of Mr. William Duncombe, the
son of John Duncombe, of Buckinghamshire, Esq., who
was some time fellow of King's College, in Cambridge,
and the first schoolmaster of the Free-school in Kings-
bridge, and taught there twenty-eight years, and brought
up many young gentlemen, who, by his industry, became
useful members both in Church and State, and died the
last day of December, 1698, and left all that he had to
The attention of strangers is sometimes directed to a
tablet just outside one of the doors of the church, which
has the following inscription : —
Lieth the body of Robert,
Commonly called Bone Phillip,
who died July 27th, 1793,
Aged 65 years.
At whose request the following
lines are here inserted : —
Here lie I at the chancel door;
Here lie I because I'm poor;
The further in the more you'll pay;
Here lie I as warm as they."
These lines were supposed to be written by the person
whose name they commemorate, but Murray, in his
" Guide to Devon," intimates that they are, or were, also
to be found at Hartland, North Devon, consequently their
authorship may be considered somewhat doubtful.
In a book entitled "From the Thames to the Tamar,"
is the paragraph which follows : — " Robert Phillip, who
died in 1793, was commonly called Bone (Bon?) Phillip,
and was by trade a cooper, bnt preferred to obtain his
livelihood by collecting herbs, which were then used as
specifics, and by receiving beatings at thirty strokes for
The Church was enlarged and improved about the begin-
ning of this century: again it was partially restored in
1845, and subsequently in 1860.
Over the communion table is a handsome window of
stained glass. The upper centre compartment represents
the Ascent of the Saviour, and the lower one has a figure
of St. Edmund (the patron saint). The side compartments
are filled with various saints and apostles. Underneath
is an inscription to this effect : — " Presented by John
Millar and Tryphena Toby. Prebendary Luney, Vicar."
A beautiful memorial window has just been inserted, and
on a brass plate underneath, the following inscription is
engraved. "This Avindow is presented by the youngest
daughter of Thomas and Harriot Harris, in affectionate
remembrance of much-loved parents, three brothers, and a
sister. A. N. Hingston, Vicar, 1873." In the centre is a
figure of the Saviour bearing a lamb in His arms, and below
is the injunction "Feed my sheep." The screen was
removed from the church long ago. On a fragment of it
might be seen these words, cut in relief —
© m&<&E3E 3BBM1B® ©ME W© J14&I53&.
(0, Saint Edmund! pray for us.)
The following is a list of the Vicars of Kingsbridge, as far
as we have been able to ascertain the names : —
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 21
Rev. Robert Spark ... ... ... ... 1 636
„ George Geffery, A.M died 1641
„ Nathaniel Seaman ... ... ... 1695
[In an old baptismal register, belonging to the parish of
Kingsbridge, commencing, we believe, at the date 19th June,
1636, there is an entry to this effect: "The first entry upon
y e old rigester, by Nath. Seman, minister." This is under
date 1695. There are also entries of the baptisms of twelve
of his children.]
Rev. — Freke...
„ — Baron
„ Richard Jones ... ... ... ... 1754
„ — Andrews
„ Edward Michell 1763 or 4
„ John Wilcocks, A.B 1779
„ George Furlong Wise, .B 1809
„ —Pott died 1842
„ Richard Luney, M. A., 1812 ... died 1865
„ Alfred Nottage Hingston, M.A. (the present
The vicarage house stands very near the turnpike gate, at
the head of the town, as you enter the Plymouth road. It is
a good, modern, stone dwelling, and was erected by the late
Rev. Richard Luney, M.A., Vicar of Kingsbridge cum Church-
stow, and Prebendary of Exeter Cathedral. Mr. Luney was
a native of Launceston, in Cornwall, and received his early
education at Dr. Cope's school, in that place. He manifested
great aptitude for learning, and displayed talents of no
ordinary character. Ultimately, he went to the University of
Oxford, took orders in the Church, and shortly became the
preacher at St. Andrew's Chapel, Plymouth. In Kingsbridge
he soon became very popular, not only as a preacher, but as
a lecturer and public man in general. In 1842, the Rev. Mr.
Pott, the Vicar of Kingsbridge, died, and this living, which
is in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, was handed over to the
Bishop, who presented it to Mr. Luney. For several years
he was incapacitated by ill-health from attending to the
duties of his office, and he died December 19th, 1865. His
remains were .deposited in a vault in Churchstow churchyard,
and on a white stone cross is inscribed the following :— -
Richard Luney, M.A.,
Vicar of Kingsbridge
Prebendary of Exeter;
Born March 5th, 1800;
Died December 19th, 1865.
After the death of Mr. Luney, the Rev. Alfred Nottage
Hingston, M.A., received the appointment of Vicar of
Kingsbridge and Churchstow.
".Can we so describe,
That you shall fairly streets and buildings trace,
And all that gives distinction to a place ? "
About the centre of Fore Street, and obstructing a view of
the church, stand the Shambles, which were built in 1796.
Hawkins says, " Five of the six granite pillars which support
the present butchery are the very same that upheld the late
corn market, and are represented as sustaining u Ci)C ttftoe
fcnlrJfiNfl/' between the two church styles."
In the same year (1796) footways were added on each
side of the street ; but these were mostly paved with round
pebbles, and in process of time they became very uneven and
much out of repair. They were consequently replaced by
good Yorkshire stone some years ago, at a cost of about
£600. Not long since, a considerable quantity of the " tar
pavement" was laid down, both in Kingsbridge and Dod-
brooke. Perhaps the less said respecting this the better.
The Town Hall, which immediately adjoins the church
steps, on the lower side, was erected in 1850, by a company
of shareholders. The spacious area, paved with stone, is
used for the weekly butter and poultry market; it also
serves as a covered drill-room for the 26th Devon Volunteer
Rifle Corps, and various other purposes. A long passage at
the farther end leads to the lock-ups, to apartments for the
sergeant of police resident in the district, and also to club
rooms. A flight of stone stairs at the west end leads to the
Public Rooms, which are used for magistrates' meetings,
sittings of the County Court, lectures, concerts, bazaars,
&c. &c. Another staircase takes us to the reading room,
which is well supplied with books, newspapers, maps, and
other requisites. One of the rooms is devoted to a museum
of stuffed birds and other objects in natural history, presented
to the town by the late Charles Prideaux, Esq., and intended
as the nucleus of a larger collection as other donors come
The Petty Sessions, which were formerly held at Morley,
were discontinued there in or about the year 1858, and are
now held in the Town Hall, Kingsbridge, and the adjourned
meetings take place at Totnes instead of Kingsbridge. There
are meetings of magistrates held alternately at Kingsbridge
and Totnes, monthly; at the Public Rooms, Kingsbridge, and
the Guildhall, Totnes.
The names of the present magistrates (1874) are —
Sir H. P. Seale, Bart, Mount Boon, Dartmouth j
J. Allen, Esq., Coleridge House, Stokenham ;
A. B. E. Holdsworth, Esq., Widdicombe, Stokenham ;
R. Dueant, Esq., Sharpham, Totnes ;
M. Fortescue, Esq., Weston House, Totnes ;
H. L. Toll, Esq., Street Gate, Blackauton j
Capt. A. Eidgway, Shipley, Blackauton ;
A. Champernowne, Esq., Dartington House, Totnes ;
E. H. Watson, Esq., Dorsley, Totnes ;
C. S. Hawkins, Esq., Triton Lodge, Plympton ;
A. F. Holdsworth, Esq., Widdicombe, Stokenham ;
S. E. Cary, Esq., Follaton, Totnes j
Com. T. S. Twysden, E.N., Charleton;
T. King, Esq., Manor House, North Huish;
Major-General Birdwood, Woodcot, Salcombe ;
W. Cubitt, Esq., Fallapit, East Allington.
Magistrates' Clerk— Thojias Wyse Weymouth.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 25
The County Court of Devonshire, holden at Kingsbridge,
was opened in the year 184-7, William Mackworth Praed,
Esq., Judge, who died in or about the year 1857; when
Matthew Fortescue, Esq., the present Judge, was appointed.
Thomas Harris was Registrar to the time of his decease ;
when the present Registrar, John Henry Square, was
The Court is held once in two months, on Saturdays.
Until the present year it was held once a month, on Fridays.
Formerly, that old instrument of punishment, the pillory,
stood about the centre of Fore Street ; but it was removed in
the eighteenth century.
From Hawkins' account of the inns in Kingsbridge, we
extract the following :— " The chief inn, prior to the year
1 775, was the * Prince George,' in Fore Street, close to the
north style, or gate, of the church, and north end of the
butchery, * * * conspicuous in the ancient view
engraved to accompany these pages, where the site is marked
' George French's land,' and clearly shows the foundation to
have been before the year 1586. In consequence, however,
of legal disputes, 'The Old Tavern,' as it was familiarly
termed, remained some years untenanted ; another inn was
opened in opposition, in Fore Street, a little below Duncombe
Street, and the ' George Inn ' was put up for a sign. This
continued open for many years, but at length was disposed
of, and became a private residence. After this, a dwelling-
house and shop were fitted up and opened as the 'King's
Arms' Inn, by Mr. Richard Stear, in 1775, on the opposite
side of the way to the Old Tavern, or Prince George, and this
has from that period been the principal house of entertain-
ment. Mr. Stear resigned in 1787, and Mr. Andrew Winsor
succeeded him." It is now kept by Mr. Robert Foale. The
present Ball or Assembly Room was built by Mr. Winsor in
Not very long since, the " George Inn " being for sale, it
was purchased, and a portion of it was converted into the
"Parochial Rooms." The Rev. E. A. Lester (Duncombe's
Lecturer) says, "We had no place of our own where we
could have a Bible class, or anything of the kind, except the
church. * * * I took the rooms, and converted them
into tolerably respectable ones, to supply the above much-felt
want, where our Sunday School can be held, our Young
Men's Society can meet, and where we can have our
missionary meetings, &c."
There are several other inns in Kingsbridge, but none
which require particular notice.
In former times, four water conduits stood, nearly at equal
distances, in the middle of the main street. They were
constructed of stone, and were six feet square, and ten or
twelve feet high. The upper conduit stood nearly opposite
the Free Grammar School; another faced the door of the
" King's Arms " inn ; a third, a little below the Shambles ;
and a fourth, towards the lower end of the same street.
These supplied the town with water, brought thither in pipes
from Combe Royal Estate, which now belongs to John
Luscombe, Esq. The oldest of these conduits had on it the
date 1611. All of them were demolished by the Feoffees,
with the consent of the Lord of the Manor, in 1793; others
were placed on the side of the street, not far from their
former position, and a reservoir was built at the upper end
of the town. The removal of these " water taps," however,
was resolved upon in 1853, and effected as soon as pipes
were conveyed into the different courts and houses.
Over the smaller of the reservoirs (for there are two) is
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 27
the shed appropriated to the fire engines of the West of
England Company. Happily, the services of the fire brigade
are, however, seldom required, except for the purpose of
exercising the engines by washing windows, when troops of
noisy boys are splashed to their hearts' content.
The water supply for this town being a subject of great
importance, and one which has been occupying the attention
of the inhabitants for a considerable time, we enter upon it
at greater length than would otherwise have been the case.
Hawkins says, "The first lease of the water now extant
bears date 14th October, 1677, and was made by John
Gilbert, of Combe Royal, Esq., to Joseph Bastard and
others, feoffees and inhabitants of Kingsbridge, for ninety-
nine years absolute ; but the writer (Hawkins) feels confident
that in the year 1791 he saw a more early lease of the
water, granted by one of this family, and bearing date in
1607. * * * The existing lease of this water is dated
2nd May, 1775, and was granted for a like term of years
(to commence on the expiration of the former) by the late
John Luscombe, Esq., to Mr. John Adams and others, feoffees
and inhabitants of Kingsbridge, under the yearly rent of
There seems to have been a trying deficiency of water
in 1861, for in August of that year "it was resolved that
application be made to John Luscombe, Esq., of Combe
Royal, to enquire if he will allow the water which now
runs to waste to be conveyed into the town reservoir," &c.
And again, in 1867, it was resolved that Mr. Appleton,
of Torquay, should be written to, and requested to survey
the Combe Royal valley, for the purpose of getting a
larger supply of water for the town. He did so, and
pronounced as his opinion that the valley was not large
enough to get the desired supply from, on the theory
that its area was too small for a sufficient rainfall. He
recommended that the supply should be taken from the
neighbouring valley of Mary Mills. There was, however,
a strong opposition to this scheme, on the part of many
of the inhabitants, on the ground of expense.
In the meantime, "a plan and estimate of a proposed
alteration in the Combe Royal valley, with a view to
increase the supply of water to the town, was produced
by Mr. Thomas Moore, and it was resolved that the same
should be submitted to Mr. Luscombe for his approval."
This was done; and his consent having been expressed,
" Mr. Moore was requested to get the work proceeded with
at once. "
In 1872, a new lease was granted by John Luscombe, Esq.,
for the term of 99 years, from the termination of the existing
lease of the water in Combe Royal Valley, to Trustees,
twenty-five in number.
Notwithstanding the improvement in the supply of water
since Mr. Moore completed the work he undertook, there is
still a deficiency, which might be attended with very serious
results. It was, therefore, resolved in October, 1873, " that
application be made to John Luscombe, Esq., to allow the
pond in the lawn at Combe Royal, to be drawn, and the
water therefrom conducted into the town reservoir, according
to a plan suggested by Mr. Pulliblank, in the case only of a
fire occurring in the town of Kingsbridge ; the committee
undertaking to use all necessary precaution to prevent the
said pond-water from flowing into the reservoir on any other
occasion, or for any other purpose than to be used in case
This application was granted, " subject to the condition
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 29
that some provision must be made to prevent the pond from
being entirely emptied, so as to preserve the fish.*
We may now turn our attention to some other topic.
There is an erection in Fore Street, known by the name of
the " Timber House," of which some remarkable things
are said. Listen to this — " I am told that Mr. Lavers
reversed the usual order of things, by commencing at the
top, and building downwards." " Yes — so he did." " How
did he manage this architectural feat ? " " Can't tell'ee,
but so he did," We should think this problem as diffi-
cult of solution as Euclid's " Pons Asinorum." Once
upon a time, a man really kept his donkey on the roof
of this house. Although not remarkably up in the world
himself, yet he took care that his " Mulley," f at least,
should occupy an elevated position in life, and so he had
his stable on the flat roof; and the animal used to walk
up and down the long flights of stairs which connected
his home with the street below, (as our informant said,)
" like a Christian." The eccentric owner of the donkey
also had a sort of garden laid out upon the house-top.
Hawkins mentions six bridges within the limits of the
town : it would puzzle a stranger to find them, for they
are now little more than covered Avater-courses. Thcy
were as follows:— the first called pre-eminently "The
Bridge," was near the bottom of the town, the second
is Gallant's bridge, at the further end of Mill Street ; the
third, Duck's bridge; the fourth, Quay bridge; the fifth,
Duncombe's bridge; and the sixth is that which crosses
the stream dividing the two parishes. Previous to the
* This information is mostly gathered from minute books bclonm'nr>- to
the Water Trust.
f Provincial name for a Donkey.
construction of some of these bridges, foot passengers were
dependent on stepping-stones, while horses and carriages
waded the brooks. Some years ago, when an alteration
was made in the course of one of these streams, an
engagement was entered into, that the owners of the land
through which the new channel was made, should be
allowed, by way of compensation, to have their corn
ground at the mill, gratis, " for ever."
There are records of transactions relating to houses in
Mill Street, in the first half of the fourteenth century;
one such is dated 1337. The mill was there at that time,
for the north boundary of the said property is " the mill-
stream of the Abbot of Buckfast." In a feoffee deed of
1601, it is called Mill Street, but the name is doubtless
older than that.
In 1798, Messrs. Walter Prideaux and John Roope erected
extensive machinery here, and converted the mills into a
woollen manufactory, where for a number of years the
serge or long-ell trade was carried on, to supply the East
India Company with goods for India. This branch of the
trade gradually lessened, and when Messrs. Walter W. and
George Prideaux took the business, they commenced
making blankets and other woollen goods for Newfoundland,
and for some years this was carried on to a considerable
extent. This has, however, been long discontinued, and
the mills were, in 1845, turned again to their original
use, that of grinding corn. There was, at the beginning
of this century, another manufactory erected by Mr. John
Lavers, for making serges and other woollen goods, but
that has also been long given up. It was situated in
Tokens, principally in connection with the woollen trade,
were at one time struck in this district.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 31
A paper by H. S. Gill, Esq., on "Devonshire Tokens
issued in the 17th century," was read at the meeting of the
Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science,
Literature, and Art, in July, 1872. He says, "The local
tokens so universally circulated in this kingdom about tAvo
hundred years ago present to the student a very singular
episode in the history of our national currency. They were
introduced by private enterprise, without the consent of the
Government, to meet a pressing want of 'small change/
which had existed for a long period. These tokens, chiefly
copper, but sometimes brass, began to appear in London
at the close of the reign of our ill-fated King Charles 1.,
gradually spreading from place to place during the Inter-
regnum, and for twelve years after the Restoration, until
at length they were issued in nearly every city, town, and
important village, in England, Wales, and Ireland. * * *
More than ten thousand varieties of our local tokens are
known to have been coined; the earliest date to be found
on them is 1648, the latest 1672, in this country; and
although never legally sanctioned, yet for just that quarter
of a century they were allowed to circulate in their respective
localities, each coin passing for a farthing, half-penny, or
penny, according to the value set upon them by the persons
for whom they were struck ; and scarcely any other small
money being then obtainable, they supplied to the poorer
classes, while they lasted, almost the only means of obtaining
the cheaper necessaries of life; but in 1672, Charles II.
sent out a very stringent proclamation, forbidding the
further use of them throughout the kingdom, and declaring
that all offenders in that respect should be 'chastised with
exemplary severity.' "
In the list of local tokens appended to Mr. Gill's
paper, nine different ones are described as belonging to
Dartmouth, two only to Kingsbridge, two to Modbury,
two to Salcombe, and one to Aveton Gifford.
Mr. William Parkhouse, the late Portreeve, had in his
possession some time since, a book containing fac-similes
of some of the tokens in the collection of the late Mr.
John Gibbs, who was an assistant to Colonel Montagu.
We noticed three belonging to Kingsbridge, three to Mod-
bury, two to Salcombe, and one to Aveton Gifford.
Doubtless the old monks of Buckfast knew perfectly
well what they were about when they settled themselves
so comfortably amongst the rich pastures of South Devon.
We find traces of them in various parts of the town
and neighbourhood even now. Towards the top of Fore
Street Hill, on the west side, there was, some years ago,
a house which had been a banqueting house, where the
Abbot of Buckfast used to keep Lent. In the front room,
on the first floor, there was a large cupboard, behind
which was a considerable hollow, intended as a hiding
place. That part of the house was taken down many
years ago, and we believe that there is no portion of
it now remaining. When the late Mr. Walter Light,
druggist, purchased these premises, he discovered in the
cellar, a large open space, something in the shape of an
inverted limekiln, about which remained some appliances
which led to the belief that it had been a chimney, used
for roasting oxen, and other animals, whole. The materials
of this building were used for repairs, and none of it is
in existence now.
There is also a house at the lower end of Fore Street,
which is said to have been an occasional residence of these
monks, and where there is still retained some finely-carved
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 33
wainscoting (of the kind termed linen-carving) of a monastic
character. Some years ago, a portion of it was taken
down from the wall, when repairs were needed; and after
having a thorough cleansing from the coats of paint
with which it was encrusted, it Avas tastefully transformed
into a magnificent sideboard or bookcase ; and it now orna-
ments the dining-room instead of remaining almost hidden
away behind the legal documents of T. W. Weymouth, Esq.,
There are not many houses now remaining of what
may be termed ancient Kingsbridge ; the hand of improve-
ment has gradually swept them away. Perhaps No. 40,
Fore Street Hill, may be considered a pretty fair sample
of the style of abode once prevalent in the town. We
remember when there used to be many houses with these
broad, low windows, and projecting attic lights; but the
old buildings have in many instances been superseded by
good modern ones. " Old Inhabitants " speak of penthouses
projecting from the house fronts into the street, forming
a sort of open shop, where goods were exhibited for sale.
"Joe" Pritchett's cloth stall seems to be the one more
especially remembered. There is a deed still extant,
relating to a house, or rather the site of a house, the
property of the late J. Elliot, Esq., surgeon, of Tresillian;*
* In the Kinc/slndge Gazette of February 1st, 1873, appeared the
following notice : — " We regret to announce the death of John Elliot, Esq.,
which took place on Wednesday evening, after a very brief illness. Deceased
had not been well for some days, but nothing serious was apprehended until
Tuesday, when his symptoms became alarming, and he gradually got worse
until the closing scene. Mr. Elliot had for many years taken a prominent
part in public affairs in Kingsbridge, although of late an increasing deafness
had caused his partial withdrawal ; but at the time of his death he held the
offices of Guardian of the Poor, Churchwarden, Feoffee, Duncombe's Trustee,
and he was the sole survivor of the Water Trust.* His uniform courtesy
* We believe this is a mistake, and that Mr. Peter Randall, since deceased, was tho
last survivor of the Water Trust.
which dates back to the thirty-fifth year of Edward I., 1306.
The earliest date on any of the public documents belonging
to the town is 1309; consequently the former is very
valuable from its antiquity. Tresillian House was called
after an Estate of that name in Cornwall, which belonged
to the late Major Bennett, of ihe Cornwall Militia, and
who was at one time stationed here.
Previous to the year 1461, the weekly market at Kings-
bridge was held on Fridays. It was at that period changed
to Saturdays. A fair is held annually, and begins on
St. Margaret's Day (20th of July), or following Thursday.
The late Portreeve kindly lent a copy (both in Latin
and English) of the original charter for holding Kingsbridge
Fair and Market. We here give the translation.* Whether
the various modes of spelling Kingsbridge exist in the
original document, we have no means of knowing.
THE CHARTER GRANTED IN TELE REIGN OF HENRY VI.,
TO HOLD A MARKET AND FAIRS AT KINGSBRIDGE
AND BUCKFASTLEIGH, DEVON.
"The King to the Archbishops, Bishops, &c, greeting.
Know ye, that of special grace we have granted and given
license, and by these presents do grant and give license,
for us and our heirs, as much as in us is, to our beloved
in Christ, the Abbot and convent of the house and church
of the blessed Mary, of Buckfast, in the county of Devon,
and to their successors, that they and their successors,
had made him much respected, and his kindness to the poor will make his
loss much felt by them, as well as by a large circle of friends." Mr. Elliot
was buried on the Tuesday following his death, at South Milton. Nearly
all the shops in Kingsbridge were wholly closed for several hours on that
day, as a mark of respect for this much-esteemed gentleman.
* Being a curious specimen of abbreviated Latin, we give that also in the
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 35
hereafter, for ever, shall have one market every week, to
be holden on Saturday, at their manor or lordship of
Kingesbrygge, in the county aforesaid, and also two fairs,
for ever, each to continue for three days in every year,
namely, one to be holden at Kyngesbrigge aforesaid, on
the day of Saint Margaret the Virgin, and the two days
next following, and the other to be holden in like manner
at their manor or lordship of Buckfastleigh, in the county
aforesaid, on the day of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle,
and the two days next following, Avith all liberties, rights,
and free customs, to such market and fairs belonging or
appertaining, unless the same market or fairs be to the
injury of neighbouring markets and fairs. Wherefore we
will and firmly command, for us and our heirs, as much
as in us is, that the aforesaid abbot and convent, and
their successors, for ever, shall have one market at their
manor or lordship of Kyngsbrigge, in the county aforesaid,
to be holden on Saturday, in every week, and also two
fairs, every year, for ever, to last each for three days,
that is to say, one to be holden at Kyngesbrigge aforesaid,
on the day of Saint Margaret the Virgin, and the two
days immediately folloAving, .and the other to be holden
at Buckfastleigh aforesaid, in the feast of Saint Bartholomew
the Apostle, and the two days immediately following, every
year, for ever, with all liberties, rights, and free customs,
to such market and fairs belonging or appertaining, unless
the same market and fairs be to the injury of neighbouring
markets and fairs, as is aforesaid, these being witnesses :
the venerable fathers, Thomas of Canterbury and W. of
York, archbishops ; Thomas of London and W. of Exeter,
(our chancellor) bishops ; and our most dear cousins,
Richard of York and John of Norfolk, dukes, Richard of
36 * KINGSBRIDGE
Warwick and Richard of Salisbury, earls; Henry Bourgh-
chier, treasurer of England; also our dear and faithful
John Nevill, our chamberlain, and Walter Scull, treasurer
of our household, knights; and others.
"Given by our hand, at Oxford, the 16th day of Sep-
"By the King himself, and of the date aforesaid, &c."
A meeting of the parishioners of Kingsbridge was held
in the vestry on Friday, the 20th of July, 1855, pursuant
to a public notice, to take into consideration the propriety
of altering the day and days on which the Fair shall in
future be held. 1st, it was proposed by Mr. Robert Cox,
and seconded by Mr. Reuben Toms, that the Fair, in future,
shall be held on the first Thursday after the nineteenth
day of July, and continue on the two days (only) following,
in each and every year, commencing in the year 1856,
and carried unanimously.
The following letter from the Lord of the Manor having
been read, 2nd, it was proposed by [name illegible, from
paper being torn], and seconded by the Rev. Prebendary
Luney, that the Portreeve be requested to give proper
publicity to the above resolutions. The letter from the
Lord of the Manor is as follows : —
" Nancealvern, July 17, 1855.
I have great pleasure in complying with
your and other inhabitants of Kingsbridge's request, with
respect to the Fair, and have written to Mr. Cox, my
agent, to that effect.
W. Parkhouse, Esq., Kingsbridge."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 37
During the time of the Fair, a stuffed glove is extended
on a pole, at the Market House, and continued there until
its conclusion, to designate the right.*
Formerly, there was an extensive business transacted
in woollen goods at the time of the annual fair, but this
is no longer the case. Cattle and horses are brought for
sale on the first day only; and on the other days, when
wild beasts, acrobats, bands of music, Punch and Judy,
sweetmeats, and various other attractions, used to be
present, there is now very little to draw the people from
the country, save the pleasure of exchanging an annual
greeting. The fair, at least that part of it known as the
" pleasure fair," is gradually dwindling away. Witness
the report of it in the Kingsbridge Gazette of last year
(1873). "The fair this season has been, with the ex-
ception of the first day, one of the smallest we have
seen for years. There was but one show, and a rifle
shooting tube, besides the usual fairing stalls; and the
* In explanation of this old custom, we copy the following from a
newspaper of last year (1873): — "Judges used to be prohibited from
wearing gloves on the bench, and gloves were not tolerated in the
presence of royalty. The covered hands were considered discourteous in
the latter case because, the first gloves being gauntlets, it was equivalent
to presenting the mailed and, consequently, threatening hand to the king.
If we carry the matter a little further, we here find the reason why it is
at present considered discourteous to shake hands with gloves on. In many
parts of England it was common to hang out a large gilt glove from the
Town Hall in fair time, as a token of freedom from arrest while the fair
lasted. Here, again, we have the hand and the glove representing power
and protection. This typical use of the glove probably originated at
Chester, a city which was noted for its glove manufacture for several
centuries. The annals of the city shew that Hugh Lupus, the first Norman
Earl of Chester, granted to the Abbot and Convent of St. Werburgh ' the
extraordinary privilege that no criminals resorting to their fairs at Chester
should be arrested for any crime whatever, except such as they might have
committed during their stay in the city.' Hence this sign. A glove was
hung out from the Town Hall, at the High Cross, while the fair lasted ; and
under its safeguard non-freemen and strangers carried on a roaring trade,
which at other times was restricted to the citizens. The custom ceased
about thirty years ago."
consequence was that very few people were in on the
Saturday. Everything passed off quietly, and there was
not even a case for the interference of the police."
Mr. J. F. Earle, of Upton, has kindly given the following
account of an institution of considerable importance to the
neighbourhood : —
" The Kingsbridge Chamber of Agriculture was established
about six years ago, for the purpose of discussing all
questions affecting agriculture, with the view of influencing
legislation, by petitioning Parliament, so as to prevent
the agricultural interest from having an undue share of
burthens placed on it. The following are a few of the
subjects dealt with by the Chamber. The unfairness of
charging local real property only with rates which are
spent for Imperial purposes, and should be supplemented
by funds from the Imperial Exchequer. The desirability
of abolishing turnpikes. The formation of County Financial
Boards, so as to give the ratepayers a voice in the expendi-
ture of the county rates. The improvement of farm leases
and agreements which are become obsolete. The necessity
of allowing the occupiers of land to destroy rabbits. The
propriety of adopting the 'Metric' system of weights and
measures, in lieu of the present numberless systems and
customs of buying and selling, by which it is impossible
to ascertain the real value of an article in any particular
market of the kingdom, the same terms being frequently
used to express different weights and quantities."
A Branch Bank of the " Plymouth and Devonport Banking
Company" was opened in Kingsbridge in 1832, under the
joint management of Messrs. George Fox and John Nichol-
son. The name of this establishment was afterwards changed
to that of the "Devon and Cornwall Banking Company."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 39
On the retirement of Mr. Nicholson, in consequence of
ill-health, Mr. Fox became sole manager. He continued
to hold that appointment until 1870, when he also retired
from it, on account of the infirm state of his health. His
relinquishment of this office was thus noticed in the
Western Weekly News of October 8th, 1870: — "Mr. George
Fox has resigned the managership of the Kingsbridge
Branch of the Devon & Cornwall Banking Co., and is
succeeded by Mr. Benjamin Balkwill. At a meeting of
the Kingsbridge Board of Guardians, on Saturday, a vote
of thanks to Mr. Fox was unanimously carried, for his
attention to the duties as Treasurer of the Kingsbridge
Union, which office he has held for thirty-four years. His
reason for resigning this is that he is going to remove to
Plymouth. Mr. Fox has always taken a great interest in
the well-being and prosperity of Kingsbridge, and will be
greatly missed in that town."
A Branch of the "West of England & South Wales
District Bank " was established here several years since.
It is under the managership of Mr. William Boucher Davie.
The agent for the " Devon & Exeter Savings' Bank " is
Mr. W. H. Balkwill ; and the " Post Office Savings' Brmk "
has been available for a considerable time in Kingsbridge.
"About the middle of 1865, 'The United Kingdom Tele-
graph Co.' extended their line from Totnes to Kingsbridge,
the wires being carried along the turnpike road between
the two towns; the receiving office being at Mr. G. P.
Friend's. Towards the end of 1868, Sir William Mitchell,
the proprietor of the Shipping Gazette, also carried a
wire from that office to his signal station at Prawle, thus
being enabled to supply his paper with early shipping
intelligence. This line was worked with a single wire;
the return current being obtained by 'going to earth/ as
it is termed. Sir William Mitchell's station at Prawle,
and that of the Messrs. Fox, of Falmouth, at the Lizard,
Cornwall, are, perhaps, two of the most important on our
"The United Kingdom Co.'s line fell into the hands
of Government, February 5th, 1870, but the Prawle line
still continues private property; it is, however, kept in
working order by Government.
"A wire was also carried to Torcross, the Prawle insulation
being available as far as Frogmore, Avhere the line branches
off. An important line has also been extended to Salcombe,
along the main road; the Brest line being suspended to
the same poles. These also carry a wire which was to
have joined the Channel Islands cable; but as that cable
was landed at Dartmouth, instead of on the Salcombe
coast, as at first intended, this wire is not used. The
Post Offices at Kingsbridge, Salcombe, and Torcross, are,
as is now usual, the receiving offices for messages."
The mention of Telegraphs and Post Offices seems to
take us back to the time when Kingsbridge letters were
delivered by a woman, and that woman extremely deaf,
and unable to read writing. How she managed to take
the letters to their right destination is a kind of mystery;
but she did so much better than could have been expected.
When "Jenny" became superannuated, a postwiara was
appointed to succeed her, and he (as well as the letter
carrier for Dodbrooke) is now attired in the orthodox
livery of blue and red, which certainly does look more
business-like than the black bonnet and little woollen
"turnover" of his predecessor.
* "The Lizard telegraph station, worked by Messrs. Fox & Co., of
Falmouth, passed into the hands of Government, October 1st, 1873."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 41
A local newspaper, the Kingsbridge Gazette, printed
and published by George Pearson Friend, has been in
existence for nearly twenty years, the first number having
been issued in 1854; but in November, 1873, on his removal
to Plymouth, Mr. Friend disposed of his interest in this
paper to Mr. Charles Fox, of London.*
The Kingsbridge Journal, printed and published by
Alfred Davis, first appeared in 1867.
The " Foresters," " Odd Fellows," and sundry other clubs,
have lodges in Kingsbridge. The "Independent Order of
Good Templars" (the "Star of Kingsbridge") has only
recently been established here.
The shops in this place can vie with those of most
other small country towns ; many of them have plate-glass
windows, and all are lighted with gas, which was intro-
duced here in 1834. The gas Avorks are in the Union
There is still a great want unsupplied; viz., a Public
Library. True, there are reading societies and libraries
on a small scale; but it would be a great benefit to the
town if a library of a more general character was established.
* Not related to the writer of " Kingsbridge and its Surroundings."
CHARITIES AND ENDOWMENTS.
" Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do
them good." — Mark xiv. 7.
The late Sir John Bowring, in a paper read at the
meeting of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement
of Science, Literature, and Art, July, 1872, when speaking
of the Cathedral Yard, at Exeter, says : — " In the same
Cathedral Yard lived Thomas Crispin, one of those public
benefactors, founders of schools and alms-houses, who did
for Exeter what Gresham accomplished in London, and
Colston in Bristol. * * * Crispin was born in Kings-
bridge, where he endowed a school, still prosperous, and
ornamented with his portrait. Of the charities left for
the encouragement of the woollen trade, several will, ere
long, have to be devoted to other purposes. They represent
the conditions and requirements of bygone times, and their
appropriation must be accommodated to new-born wants."
In the portrait alluded to by Sir J. Bowring, Crispin is
represented "with a large hat, grey hair, and a crutch
Crispin's Tree Grammar School is situated in the higher
part of Fore Street. Over an arched entrance in the front
of the building, is the following inscription, cut in stone —
This Grammar School was
Built and Endowed 1670
Thomas Crispin of the City of
Exon, Fuller, who was born in
This Town, the 6 of Jan: 1607-8
"Lord what I have, 'twas thou that gavest me,
And of thine own I this return to thee."
There is a good dwelling-house attached to the school,
for the residence of the master, and accommodation of
pupils. In 1688-9, Thomas Crispin (who died the following
year) "by his will bequeathed this grammar school and
house, with the appurtenances thereunto belonging, to
trustees; and he charged an estate of his in fee, called
Washbearhays, in the parish of Bradninch, in the county
of Devon, with the payment of an annuity of thirty pounds
to the said trustees, for them to give five pounds thereof
yearly for teaching twenty-five poor children of the town
of Kingsbridge English; five pounds more for instructing
twelve poor children of the said town to write and cipher;
five pounds a year for repairing the grammar school, and
to defray the expense of collecting the money; and fifteen
pounds per annum, for ever, to be paid to the master of
the said school (such an one as shall be chosen and
appointed by the trustees), who is to teach at least fifteen
boys of the said town (grammar) ; and in case so many
are not to be found in that place, then the number may
be filled up at the discretion of the trust. He also be-
queathed twenty pounds, the interest of which was to be
expended in buying books and paper for the children of
the school; but this sum is said never to have been
* A copy of Thomas Crispin's Will may be found in the Appendix to
Hawkins' History of Kingsbridge.
In consequence of dissensions among the trustees, the
house was for many years uninhabited, and the school
deserted. At length, in 1779, the trustees appointed the
vicar of Churchstow and Kingsbridge, the Rev. John Wil-
cocks, A.B., formerly of Merton College, Oxford, to the
mastership. This gentleman dying in August, 1809, the
school was again suffered to remain vacant for nearly two
years (" no ostensible holding of the establishment, at least,"
says Hawkins, "was apparent"). In June, 1811, the Rev.
Robert Lane, A.B., formerly of Baliol College, Oxford, and
perpetual curate of Salcombe chapel, received the appoint-
ment; and since that time several other masters have had
it in succession.
We will here introduce a letter, which was addressed
to the master of the Grammar School in the year 1700,
by Henry Hingeston, a man who boldly and conscientiously
lifted up his voice, and wielded the pen, against many
of the evil practices which prevailed in this town in his
" Respected Friend,
* * * The occasion of this, at present,
was from my hearing, two days since, of a cock-match
shortly to be fought by the scholars, and I am apt to
think, not without thy approbation, either directly or
indirectly, which hath occasional me to think it my duty
to request thee to silence it, and that for many reasons,
not only from the duty incumbent on thee as a master,
but more especially as a professed minister of a self-denying
I was last year grieved on the same account, when I heard
of the same action then going on in the school * * *
inasmuch that I made bold to acquaint my neighbour,
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 45
N. S.* of my dissatisfaction, who candidly told me he
thought the action inconsistent with Christianity; however,'
it lay not with him to suppress it, as being subjective
to thy government. I am certain thy predecessor, and
my master, W. D.,f did detest this action, and directly
forbid it, so as not to suffer it to be clone. I have also
been informed that thy predecessor, E. E., a man to be
honoured for his faith and piety, thought it his duty, for
some years past, publickly to reprehend the abettors of
cockfighting. * * *
17th 12th mo., 1700."
The writer of this letter was the son of William
Hingcston, an upright, faithful man, and one of the first
in Devonshire who embraced the principles of "Friends."
He suffered much for conscience sake during the long
period of their persecution. His son Henry was the author
of a book entitled "A Dreadful Alarm, &c, an Address
to England, containing sundry warnings and admonitions
to the inhabitants thereof, of all degrees and persuasions,
but more particularly to those of the town of Kingsbridge,
in Devon (the place of my nativity and abode), and parts
adjacent." In this part of his work the writer severely
condemns the vices and follies of his neighbours in such
matters as throwing at cocks, bull-baiting, and wrecking;
and includes in his condemnation the pastimes of football,
shooting, keeling (i. e., skittle playing), carding, dicing,
dancing, and the prevalent feasting and drunkenness of
* Rev. Nathaniel Seaman,
f William Duncombe.
% Probably II. II. 's objection to some of these pastimes was on the ground
of the betting and drinking which usually accompanied them.
A great change has taken place in the habits of people
• generally since the period when this book was written,
and we cannot be too thankful for the altered times in
which we live.
In the absence of a biography, we can gather but little
respecting Henry Hingeston's history, but believe he was
a merchant of good standing and considerable importance.
William Duncombe, who was the first master of the
Free Grammar School, and appointed by the founder him-
self, bequeathed by will, in 1691, certain lands to trustees,
"in order to pay fifty pounds a year to a lecturer, to be
chosen by the major part of the said Trustees, with the
consent of the inhabitants of the said town; who shall
every Sunday supply the place of the vicar on that part
of the day when his duty requires his attention at Church-
stow, and also to preach once a month on one of the
week-days which he shall judge most convenient ; that
the lecturer so chosen shall be neither the master of the
free school, the usher, nor the incumbent or pastor of the
place, but some other clergyman of good moral character.
Besides the annual stipend of fifty pounds, he ordered that
the lecturer should be paid an additional three pounds
yearly, to give away, or buy books to present to the poor
parishioners, as an encouragement to learn catechisms, &c.
He also directed that ten pounds a year (if the estate
would permit) should be allowed for four years, to one,
two, or three scholars, being poor, and educated at the
free school before mentioned, who should go from thence
to Oxford or Cambridge, with the approbation of the
major part of the trustees, and the master, as a help
towards their maintenance at the university. If any surplus
remained, he ordered that it should be applied in binding
AND ITS .SURROUNDINGS. 47
out poor scholars, of not less than two years' standing
at the said free school, to good trades; but that no larger
sum than eight pounds should be given with each, and
a like sum at the expiration of their apprenticeship
(provided they behaved well) to set them up in business."*
There have been changes in the administration of both
these charities since the first foundation, and doubtless
there will be more as time advances, and new plans are
found desirable, in place of the old.
The Kingsbridge Gazette of March 29th, 1873, says:—
"It has been felt by Kingsbridge people, for some time
past, that the salary of Duncombe's lecturer should be in-
creased, either by money, or by the provision of a residence.
Duncombe's Trustees appear to have taken the same view,
and have applied to the Charity Commissioners to be allowed
to give the lecturer possession of Duncombe House at a
nominal rent; and we are glad to say the request has
The National and British Schools for the two parishes
of Kingsbridge and Dodbrooke are both situated in the
latter place, and will be referred to bye-and-bye.
About the year 1844, the Rev. John Tucker opened a
school, under the name of the "Kingsbridge Classical,
Mathematical, and Commercial School." This, Avhen it fell
into other hands, became known as " St. Edmund's School."
It is a very old building, if we may judge by the low stone
archway at the entrance.
We believe that it was on these premises that John
Morris, a native of Ringwood, in Hampshire, followed the
profession of a schoolmaster for many years, with great
* For copy of W. Duncombe's will, see appendix to Hawkins' History of
success, and died in 1788, at the age of seventy-one. He
was a member of the Society of Friends. Hawkins describes
him as "a good classical scholar, beloved and respected
through life by all his pupils and neighbours, for sound
learning, virtuous worth, and unassuming manners."
It was probably in John Morris's time that a certain
Dr. Phillips, by will, left some property in trust to the
Society of Friends, for charitable purposes, more especially
for the endowment of a free school in Kingsbridge. It
appears, however, that the will was disputed by the heir,
and a proposal was made to him that he should "give
the sum of £1,500, in case William Cookworthy would
re-convey the Barton of Malston and the mills, in lieu of
the charity intended to be charged thereon. That a thousand
pounds capital stock should be purchased therewith, as an
endowment of a free school," &c. The arrangement was
agreed to; and the sum received just covered the law
expenses ! so that the Friends lost the Barton of Malston,
the mills, and the free school.
Lands in several parishes have been given, and vested
in feoffees in trust, for keeping the church in repair, and
for the relief of the poor. The oldest deed concerning
the feoffee property dates 1309.
There is an old Seal belonging to the feoffees of these
parish lands, as they are termed, on which is engraved
the town arms, viz., a bridge of three arches, with a
crown over it, and in a legend around are these words,
Sigillvm Regis Pontis*
* The representation of the Seal, which appears on the cover of this
book, was copied from Lewis's "Topographical Dictionary"; but it differs
somewhat from the carving over the church porch, although both are
intended to portray the same subject.'
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 49
One of these bequests of land deserves notice as a curious
relic of ancient superstition. By the original deed of grant
now extant, dated the 1st of April, in the 20th year of
the reign of King Henry VIII. (A. D. 1528), "one John
Gye grants to Robert Toly and others, a close of land
near Wallingford, in the parish of Dodbrooke, in trust,
to pay part of the profits to the churchwardens of Kings-
bridge, to buy cakes, wine, and ale, to be spread on a
table in the chancel of the church of St. Edmund in the
said town, for the priests and others attending, who are
to proceed from thence to the west end of the church,
near the font, and there pray for the souls of the donor,
his wife, father, mother, &c, who there lie buried. Further,
on every Good Friday, to pay ten poor people one penny
each in honour of the Passion, when it is sung or said
in the church, who are to say five Paternosters, five Ave-
Marias, and one Credo : and a half-penny each to twenty
other poor persons for nearly similar purposes, &c, &c."
There appear to have been two grants, or at any rate,
two deeds of grant concerning John Gye's charity — one
dated 1522, and the other 1529, and although not clearly
expressed, yet we rather fancy there was something to
be given to the poor besides the cakes and ale, the pence
and the half-pence. In the deed of 1522 he intrusts to
feoffees two several half acres of land in Kingsbridge, "for
the use of the wardyns of the store of St. Edmund." The
first half acre lies between his own house and "that of
the Abbot of Buckfast, and runs down so far as the Lord
Abbot's meadows, called Norton Meadows." The other
half acre is on "the other side of the street, higher up,
and runs down to the bed of the current which divides
Kingsbridge and Dodbrook."
The family of the Gyes were people of consequence
in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
In connection with the bequest of John Gye, Hawkins
says : — " As the inhabitants of Kingsbridge have, from
time immemorial, made use of a liquor called white ale,
known only in their own neighbourhood, and give the
name of leer to what is elsewhere denominated ale, it
is natural to conclude that old Gye meant the beverage
peculiar to his native place, and which is of such ancient
date as to have established, by long usage, a tithe thereon
in the adjoining parish of Dodbrooke, payable to the rector.
This malt liquor has much the albugineous appearance of
egg-wine, and is always lutulent. A principal ingredient
made use of in the brewing, called grout, is a secret
composition, known only to a few people, who make and
sell it to the ale-house holders."
Among the benefactors of the town and neighbourhood,
we find the name of Sir John Acland, who was knighted
15th March, 1603, by King James I. Prince says, in his
"Worthies of Devon": — "He settled on the Mayor and
Chamber of the City of Exeter, in trust, for ever, the
rectory and sheaf of Churchstow and Kingsbridge, * * *
for them to dispose of the profits thereof, as he had
appointed. The greatest part whereof is to be distributed
in bread, weekly, to the poor of divers parishes in Exeter
and Devon (which are enumerated). * * * If, after all
this, any overplus should remain, it is ordered to be divided
(except what is settled upon the minister that serves the
cures) " amongst towns and parishes also mentioned by
name, Kingsbridge and Dodbrooke being included in the list.
Prince goes on to say : — " Next, let us consider his piety
towards the church; and herein he was also considerable.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 51
For whereas, before was reserved to the minister that is
to officiate in the parishes of Churchstow (the mother) and
Kingsbridge (the daughter) but twenty nobles a year, he
was pleased to settle upon him twenty pounds. Which
being duly and entirely paid by the Chamber of the City
of Exeter, is much better than a greater sum, to be received
only out of the small tythes, as they come due."
In May, the 21st year of Henry VII., 1505, Nicholas
Osant gave a tenement in trust to feoffees to pay an
annual rent of four shillings to the wardens of the store
of St. Edmund.
Hawkins also mentions among the charitable donors the
names of Robert Mydwynter and Johan his wife, who, in
1568, left houses in trust, to provide dwellings for four
poor people; Joseph Leigh, who left land for the church
and poor; and John Peters, rent charge for the benefit
of the poor.
The following is gathered from an Inspector's report.
"In or prior to the year 1626, certain lands were held
in trust in the parish of Kingsbridge, part being the gift
of one Joseph Leigh, and part being given to superstitious
uses. They were subsequently conveyed to Pascoe, Lapp,
and others, inhabitants of Kingsbridge, for the good of the
town and its inhabitants, and for the payment of all con-
tributory charges and impositions wherewith the said town
might be charged, as might be agreed upon by the chief
inhabitants. When the feoffees died, others were to be
elected by the inhabitants of Kingsbridge ; but those feoffees
were not to convert the charity to any other purposes
without the consent of the inhabitants. The fact of the
charity having been applied to the repairs and sustentation
of the parish church was first mentioned in 1679; but
the Inspector believed this came within the intention of the
donors. The last conveyance to new trustees was made
about twenty years ago. * * * The Inspector remarked
that this was only technically a charity. It was not like
an eleemosynary charity ; but was rather for the benefit
of those who paid the rates than those who received
it. * * * The Commissioner observed that as this
charity was held for parish purposes, it would have been
allowable to apply the money to the relief of persons
receiving parochial relief. * * * During the enquiry
into this charity, the Commissioner expressed incidental
opinions that one of the most valuable and admirable
objects to which a charity could be applied was to give
the poor medical relief by means of a dispensary, to which,
however, they should contribute some small sum, so that
they might feel they had a right to the relief; that this
money might have been applied to the poor rate or church
rate; that the Churchwardens were not bound to apply
this money in exactly the same way as they must church
rates, out of which they could not pay an organist
or any officers, as he thought this trust allowed such a
disposition, if a majority of the parishioners consented;
* * * that it would be legal to apply some of the
money to erect a clock, or bring water into the town.
"TV *R* TT "
Various institutions — scientific, literary, charitable, &c. —
have long been in existence in Kingsbridge and Dod-
brooke. The "Benevolent" Society was established in
1810; the "Dorcas" Society in 1819; and the "Blanket"
Society in 1832. A biennial Repository-sale of fancy
work has been held for about forty years. It was originally
held for the purpose of increasing the funds of the "Bene-
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 53
volent" only; but of late years the proceeds have been
divided between the three charities named.
In the Kingsbridge Gazette of June 21st, 1862, a letter
appeared, the principal part of which is here copied.
Of all the ' wants ' of Kingsbridge set forth of
late by yourself and your zealous correspondents, you have,
I conceive, overlooked the greatest want of all, namely, a
sanatorium, or hospital (none being nearer than Plymouth)
for bodily injuries, difficult operations, and for such
diseases as require special treatment, dietary, baths, &c.
Places of worship, schools, reading rooms, a Town Hall,
a popular Gazette, and improved walks round the Quay,
you have already; and the time may not be far distant
when you have a line of healthy, convenient dwellings for
the labouring classes, a railway station, and even a park.
But the town, with its populous district of six miles round,
without a sanatorium, scarcely deserves the name of a
town. A sanatorium must surely be regarded as the next
want to places of worship (of which you have already
seven), for it is certain Our Lord, in His Divine mission
to this our fallen and suffering world, next to the salvation
of souls, devoted much of His time in ministering to
the bodily afflictions of our race; and, with his first
commission to his disciples to preach the gospel, com-
manded them to heal the sick, and as freely as they had
received, freely to give. * * * Any Christian, there-
fore, having the means, and daily receiving God's blessings
of life, health, and comfort, who would 'pass by on the
other side,' and evade the claims of suffering humanity
(we are assured by our Lord Himself), is not worthy the
name of neighbour, much less of a Christian brother. But
here it may be asked, where is the money to come from?
I reply, from the ivealt/i and benevolence of the locality.
* * * Should any one shrink from their pecuniary
duty to the cause, let me remind such that a hospital
has been compared to a universal bank, which has all
the wealth of the universe for its security, and which
pays the highest interest; vide Proverbs, chap, xix., v. 17.
* * # And now, Mr. Editor, I must leave the under-
taking, with all its arrangements and details, to yourself
and your zealous friends, so laudably engaged in supplying
the wants of Kingsbridge; only adding, as a suggestion,
that although I have a large family, and have not a penny
but what I have earned, under the blessing of Providence,
by my hand and brain labour, I will (D. V.) contribute
£400, if met by four others, each in a similar amount,
and subscribe myself
A NON-RESIDENT INVALID."
After the publication of this letter, the "Kingsbridge
Invalid Trust" fund was founded by the late William
Peek, Esq. (the "Non-resident Invalid"), by the gift of
£600 in New South Wales five per cent, bonds, for the
purpose of " aiding poor persons residing in Kingsbridge,
or at any place within six miles from the parish church
thereof by the main road, and not receiving any relief
from the parish to which they belong, and who may be
deemed proper objects of the bounty hereby contemplated,
to go to and return from one of the hospitals at Plymouth,
or Devonport, or Exeter, or the Free Hospital at Bath;
and moreover for the purpose of enabling or assisting
poor invalids residing within the limits aforesaid, and not
receiving relief from the parish to which they belong, to
go to the sea side for any space of time not exceeding
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 55
six weeks, and to return therefrom, and for supplying
them while at the sea side with a weekly allowance of
not less than four shillings, or more than six."
Eight hundred pounds in the same kind of bonds was
placed in trust by the late Mr. Thomas Peek, to be added
to the above fund, and to be applied to the same purposes,
on the death of his only surviving child.*
In case a sanatorium should be hereafter established, we
believe it was the desire of the "Non-resident Invalid"
that the monies now vested for the " Invalid Trust " should
be transferred to the object at first contemplated; but as
the Charity at present exists it is a most useful and highly
The "Hazelwood Chapel Trust," founded by James
Peek, Esq., by which several inhabitants of Kingsbridge
and others are greatly benefited, is spoken of in connection
with Richard Peek, Esq., and his residence, Hazelwood.
* She died January 30th, 1874.
f A pamphlet, entitled " Kingsbridge Invalid Trust Fund," was printed
by Mr. G. P. Friend, to which our readers are referred for particulars.
"What is the city but the people?"
The first in chronological order who may be mentioned, is
or as he is variously called, Tolbey, Towle, Trevelgus, and
Tavelegus, who was a native of Kingsbridge. Tradition
says he was born in Mill Street. "He commenced student
at St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, about the 9th of Henry VIIL,
and became a considerable proficient in the Latin and Greek
languages. The Progymnasamata Grammatical Grcecse was
written by him for the use of Prince Edward. He was also
the author of Themala Homeriy and other works." "In
1547, or thereabouts," says Anthony Wood, "I find this
David Tolley to be made one of the senior students of
Christ Church, by the name of David Towle, being then
forty-one years of age, at which time, or before, he taught
grammar to young students of this University." When he
died is not known, nor is anything further recorded of him,
except that his name occurs among the senior students
who were theologians of Christ Church in 1551, and the
One of the names most intimately connected with the
early history of the porcelain manufactures of this kingdom
is that of William Cookworthy, to whom that art was
indebted for the discovery of the two most important of
its ingredients (the native Kaolin, and the Petunse), and
to whose successful experiments and labours its excellence
was, and is, in a great measure, to be attributed. At the
time when he first made his experiments — although Dwight
had patented his invention for making transparent porcelain,
although Van Hamme, and others, had also secured their
rights for similar purposes, although Chelsea and other
places made their china (it is said of Chinese materials),
and although many experiments had been made on the
nature and properties of the earths supposed to be employed
for its manufacture — the art of china-making from native
materials was unknown, and Cookworthy pursued his course
of study, unaided by the experience of others ; and though
beset with difficulties at every turn, brought it to a
perfectly successful and satisfactory issue.
William Cookworthy was born at Kingsbridge, on the
12th of April, 1705, his parents being William and Edith
Cookworthy, who were members of the " Society of Friends."
His father died, leaving his family but ill provided for, in
1718. Thus young Cookworthy, at the age of thirteen,
and with six younger brothers and sisters, was left father-
less. His mother entered upon her heavy task of providing
for, and maintaining her large family with true courage,
and appears to have succeeded in working out a good
position for them all. She betook herself to dressmaking,
and thus maintained them in comparative comfort.
In the following spring, young Cookworthy was ap-
prenticed to a chemist in London, named Bevans, and
he walked there on foot. This task, no light one in
those days, or even now, for a boy of fourteen, he
successfully accomplished. His apprenticeship he appears
to have passed with extreme credit, and on its termination,
he returned into Devonshire, not only with the good
opinion, but with the co-operation of his late master,
and commenced business in Notte Street, Plymouth, as a
wholesale chemist and druggist. Here he gradually worked
his way forward, and became one of the little knot of
intelligent men who in those days met regularly together
at each other's houses, of whom Cookworthy, Dr. Huxham,
Dr. Mudge, and the elder Northcote, were among the
Here he brought his mother to live under his roof, and
she became, by her excellent and charitable character,
a general favourite among the leading people of the place,
and was looked up to with great respect by the lower
classes whom she benefited.
In 1745, an American brought William Cookworthy
some specimens of China Clay (Kaolin) and China Stone
(Petunse) found in Virginia; and of Porcelain made there-
from. This seems to have stimulated his enquiries respecting
the art of china-making; but the death of his wife, which
appears to have taken place the same year, entirely took
away his attention from business, and his researches into
china-clays were thrown aside. He retired into seclusion
at Looe, in Cornwall, where he remained for several
months, and on his return to business, took his brother
Philip into partnership. This arrangement enabled Cook-
worthy to prosecute his researches while his brother took
the commercial management of the business. Left thus
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 59
more to the bent of his scientific inclination, he pursued
his enquiries relative to the manufacture of porcelain,
and lost no opportunity of searching into, and experi-
menting upon the properties of the different natural
productions of Cornwall; and it is related of him that,
in his journeys into that county, he has passed many
nights sitting up with the managers of mines, obtaining
information on matters connected with mines and their
products. The information given him by the American
had never been lost sight of, and he prosecuted enquiries
wherever he went. After many searchings and experi-
ments he at length discovered the two materials, first,
Polwhele says, " in the burrows of a mine near Helston ";
another account says "in Tregonning Hill, in the parish
of Germs.;* next, in the parish of St. Stephens; and
again at Boconnoc."
Having made this important discovery, Cookworthy
appears to have determined at once to carry out his
intention of making porcelain, and to secure the material
to himself. To this end he went to London, to see the
proprietors of the land, and to arrange for the royalty
of the materials, and in this he succeeded.
Cookworthy determined to make his porcelain equal to
that of Sevres or Dresden, both in body, which he himself
mixed, and in ornamentation, for which he procured the
services of such artists as were available. To this end he
ensrasred a Mons. Saqui, from Sevres, who was a man of
rare talent as a painter and enameller, and to whose hands,
and those of Henry Bone, a native of Plymouth, who
was apprenticed to Cookworthy, and aftersvards became
very celebrated, the best painted specimens may be
* St, Germans I
During the time he was engaged on the manufacture
of china-ware, his ever active mind seems to have been
busied with other things as well, and he appears to
have been sought, and much esteemed by the savans of
Smeaton, the builder of the Eddy stone Lighthouse, was
an inmate of his house while the lighthouse was in pro-
gress ; Dr. Wolcot (Peter Pindar) was a frequent guest
for days together; Sir Joseph Banks, Captain Cook, and
Dr. Solander, were his guests just before the famous
" Voyage Round the World," and also on their return ;
Earl St. Vincent was his attached friend; and he was
looked up to by all as a man of such large understanding,
such varied and extensive knowledge, and such powers
of intellectual conversation, that, as Lord St. Vincent is
said often to have remarked, " whoever was in Mr.
Cookworthy's company was always wiser and better for
having been in it."
He carried on considerable experiments to discover a
method by which sea-water might be distilled for use on
board ship ; he was also an accomplished astronomer, and
an ardent disciple of Izaac Walton.
In 1780, Cookworthy, then seventy-five years of age,
died in the same house, in Notte Street, Plymouth, which
he had occupied from the time of his first starting in
business; and a touching testimony to his character was
given by the "Monthly Meeting" of Friends. He was
interred, with every mark of respect, at Plymouth; and
his memory is still warmly cherished in the locality.
As is well known, his china, which has become scarce,
is eagerly sought after, and produces the most extravagant
fancy prices. A few pieces, at an auction, will bring people
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 61
from great distances, eager to purchase. The mark upon
the coloured specimens is the astronomical symbol for
Jupiter, or the chemical for tin. The white specimens
have no mark. Cookworthy's China-works were situated
at Coxside, Plymouth. After a time, he sold the patent
right to Mr. R. Champion, of Bristol, who established a
manufactory at Castle Green, in that city.*
JOHN WOLCOT, M.D.,
usually known by the name of "Peter Pindar," was a
native of Dodbrooke. Hawkins speaks of "a smart little
mansion, with a white front, on a gentle verdant declivity,
extending to the water's edge at the flow of the tide;"
and he says that Dr. Wolcot "first drew his breath within
the precincts of these premises." The house now called
Pindar Lodge stands on the site of this "little mansion,"
and is not, as many suppose it to be, the actual birth-
place of the satirical bard. In the road which passes
behind Pindar Lodge is a barn, which Wolcot rendered
conspicuous by addressing to it various sonnets, one of
which concludes thus —
" Daughter of thatch, and stone, and mud," &c.
Dr. Wolcot received a classical education at the Grammar
School, which was under the able direction of John Morris ;
and after pursuing his studies here, and finishing his
education at Liskeard and Bodmin, he was apprenticed
to his uncle, a respectable surgeon, at Fowey. This uncle
was employed as an apothecary by Sir William Trelawny,
and consequently the nephew was introduced to the notice
of that family, who soon formed a high opinion of his
* Account mostly extracted from : 'Art Journal." William Cookworthy
was grcat-great-unclc to the present writer.
abilities. In 1769, when Sir William was appointed
Governor of Jamaica, Wolcot obtained a diploma, and
accompanied him in the capacity of physician. After a
time, he returned to England, procured ordination as a
clergyman, and went back to Jamaica.
On the death of Sir W. Trelawny, he returned to England
gave up a clerical life, and settled at Truro, in the medical
profession. He afterwards fixed his abode in London
where he became an acknowledged satirist, and the tor-
mentor of old King George III. We can feel but little
respect for the memory of this clever, but unscrupulous
man. It is only fair, however, to state that "he nobly
threw up the pension with which Government silenced
him, when he found that he had to write for the adminis-
tration he despised.'* In the latter part of his life, Dr.
Wolcot's literary pursuits were impeded, though not entirely
suspended, by cataracts in his eyes, which occasioned
sufficient blindness to prevent his reading, which had been
one of his greatest sources of enjoyment; and an increasing
deafness rendered much conversation fatiguing to him. He
died on 14th of January, 1819, in his eighty-first year,
and was buried in St. Paul's, Covent Garden; his coffin,
at his special request, being placed touching that of Butler,
the author of Hudibras.
There was in the possession of the late C. Prideaux, Esq.,
a beautifully-executed miniature of Dr. Wolcot, the work
of W. S. Lethbridge, of whom we shall speak in due
GEORGE MONTAGU, ESQ., F.L.S., M.W.S.
Knowle House, which is at the head of the town of
Kingsbridge, was, from the year 1799 to the middle of
1815, occupied by the late Colonel Montagu, who was the
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 63
author of the Ornithological Dictionary, Testacea Britannica,
a Treatise on Gunpowder and Fire-arms, and other works.
His various discoveries in this neighbourhood, particularly
of birds and nondescript marine animals, were detailed
in the papers of the Linnsean Transactions, and Memoirs
of the Wernerian Society. He was the younger son of a
gentleman of good family and fortune, and was born at
Lackham, in Wiltshire, the seat of his ancestors. He entered
early into the army, and served as a captain in the 15th
Regiment of Foot in the American war, till the year 1778,
when the death of his elder brother recalled him to Europe
to take possession of the paternal estates. He then
accepted a company in the militia of his native county,
under the command of the late Henry, Earl of Carnarvon,
in which he obtained the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He
quitted the service in 1799, and retired to this spot,
wholly devoting himself to those scientific pursuits which
rendered him so distinguished a member of the Linnsean
Society. He died on the 20th of June, 1815, in conse-
quence of a wound received in the foot, by accidentally
stepping on a rusty nail, which brought on lockjaw, and
speedily terminated his life. The valuable collection of
British birds and animals which the colonel had gathered
and preserved, was purchased after his death for upwards
of £1,100, by William Elford Leach, M.D., F.R.S., for the
In Notes and Queries for June 6th, 1868, appeared the
following account, which seems to have been drawn up
from information collected from different sources : —
"John Cranch was bora at Kingsbridge, in Devon, on
* Abbreviated from Hawkins.
12th October, 1751. Having made extraordinary progress
as a boy, in writing, music, and drawing, he was invited
by John Knight, of Axminster, Esq., to accept the situation
of a writer in his office, at a salary of £15 a year. Whilst
at Axminster, the Catholic Priest, the Rev. William Sutton,
took pleasure in teaching him Latin, &c. At the end of
three years, Cranch engaged himself with a Mr. Bunter,
an attorney of the town, who gave him his clerkship, and
by his will left him £2,000, and even appointed him his
executor and trustee. With this property, Cranch settled
in London, where he published a book on the 'Economy
of Testaments,' painted pictures, and became one of the
Fellows of the American Society of Arts and Sciences.
He died at Bath, 24th January, 1820 or 21, unmarried.
(The foregoing is derived from information afforded by
the late Dr. Oliver, of Exeter).
It further appears, from other sources, that Cranch's
best picture, on the 'Death of Chatterton,' was formerly
in the possession of Sir James Winter Lake, Bart.; and
that a story is current in the town of Axminster, to the
effect that, on one occasion, during the absence of his
employer (Mr. Knight) from his office on a winter's
day, Cranch amused himself in front of the fire-place
by executing a design on the panels of a large oaken
chimney piece, with the end of a red-hot poker, producing
an effect of boldness of style and execution which was
generally admired. This drawing is believed to be still
in existence somewhere in the neighbourhood of Axminster."
JOHN CRANCH, NUMBER TWO.
In a paper on ancient Exeter, and its trade, read by
the late Sir John Bowring, in Exeter, July, 1872, he
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. C5
speaks of his cousin, Mr. John Cranch, of Kingsbridge,
as follows :
" Among remarkable Exonians connected with the same
trade [the woollen trade] the name of John Cranch is
well entitled to notice." Hawkins states that John Cranch
was born at Exeter, in 1785, of Kingsbridge parents,
and died 4th September, 1816, aged thirty-one.
Sir J. Bowring supplements this by saying, " He was
not born of Kingsbridge parents. His father (Richard)
was a journeyman fuller, and he married Jane, eldest
daughter of John Bowring, my grandfather." He goes
on to say, "A short biography of this remarkable man
will be found in the introduction (written by Mr.
Barrow, Secretary of the Admiralty, for whom I furnished
the materials) to the narrative of the proceedings of the
Congo expedition, under Captain Tuckey, also a Devonian,
which Cranch accompanied as zoologist, and there
perished, with most of the party. He was particularly
patronised by Col. Montagu, of Kingsbridge, and by
Dr. W. E. Leach (another Devonian) the Curator of
the British Museum, Avhose over-enforced studies brought
with them insanity and premature death. Richard,
the father of John Cranch, was a fuller, fond of music,
and one of the many who benefited by the instruction
of Jackson, the organist of the Exeter Cathedral.
Being left an orphan, John Cranch was bred by an
uncle to the humble trade of a shoemaker, in which
capacity he visited, and had a stall at the country fairs
in the neighbourhood ; but he deserted the employment
for the study of Natural History.
He passed whole nights with the dredgers on the Devon-
shire coast; wrote articles in a local periodical, called
The Weekly Entertainer, and assisted Col. Montagu in
his researches, particularly in the capture of rare and
There is a tablet to the memory of John Cranch, in
the Independent Chapel, Kingsbridge.
Sir John Bowring, in the paper from which we have
quoted, says :
" The daughter of John Cranch has also taken her place
in the literary world, and has written some observant
descriptions of the times of the persecuted Puritans, with
whom her ancestors were associated.* The three Presidents
Adams, of the United States — John, John Quincey, and
Charles, were connected with the Cranch family through
Judge Cranch, who migrated to America."
CHARLES PRIDEAUX, ESQ., F.L.S.
On the site of the four new houses, exactly opposite
the Free Grammar School, there stood formerly an old,
long,' low, house, with a grey, unstuccoed, stone front,
almost hidden by the luxuriant branches of vines. This
house was for a great number of years the abode and
property of some of the Prideaux family, and was the
birthplace of the late Charles Prideaux, Esq., of whom a
brief account was prepared at the request of the Secretary
of the Linnsean Society, and with very slight alteration
it is here inserted.
"Charles Prideaux, Esq., F.L.S., who died in his 88th
year, at his residence, Kingsbridge, on the 19th of July,
1869, was born at 'Vine House,' January 2nd, 1782.
During a considerable portion of his early life he
* ''■ Troublous Times," by Jane Bowring Cranch.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 67
resided at Plymouth, but afterwards returned to his native
town, Kingsbridge, where he continued until his death.
He took great interest in pursuits connected with Natural
History, and was for upwards of half a century a Fellow
of the Linnsean Society. His collection of British shells
was an excellent one, and his persevering labours in
dredging for curiosities were the means of bringing to
light rare and previously unknown specimens in Marine
Zoology. There is a small Hermit, or Soldier Crab,
to which his friend and relative, Dr. Leach, gave the
name of Pagurus Prideauxii: another is named Hippolyte
Prideauxiana. Many years ago Mr. Prideaux presented
to the Museum of the Plymouth Institution a very good
collection of these Crustacea — a large proportion, if not
the whole of them, having been collected by himself, chiefly
in Plymouth Sound, Bigbury Bay, and Kingsbridge Estuary.
He always took a warm interest in every thing connected
with the welfare of his native town, giving liberal aid both
in public and private charities, and he will long be greatly
missed .by his poorer brethren. Some years since he pre-
sented his collection of stuffed birds and other curiosities
to the town, intending it to form a nucleus for a more
general museum. Late in life he was appointed a Magis-
trate, but he never qualified for the office, or took his seat
on the Bench.
Although confined to his bed for many years, through
illness and infirmity, his intellect remained bright to the
last. He frequently spoke with deep humility of his own
unworthiness ; and after a time of great suffering, borne
with much patience, he departed, in full reliance and trust
in the merits of his Saviour. He was interred in the
Friends' burying-ground, at Kingsbridge."
In 1773, George Prideaux, Esq., solicitor, grandfather
of the above, was accidentally killed by the upsetting of
his carriage in Aveton Gifford.
He is spoken of by Hawkins as "a gentleman of great
antiquarian research and strong mental abilities, and par-
ticularly celebrated for his skill in deciphering and reading
ancient writings." He appears to have been the first of
the Luson branch of the Prideaux family who settled in
Kingsbridge. We have no intention, however, of tracing
the pedigree back to old Paganus de Prideaux, who came
over from Normandy with William the Conqueror, and who
was Lord of the Castle of Prideaux, in Cornwall.
From the AtJienceum of August 19th, 1865, we extract
the following: —
"We have this week to record the death of one of the
most distinguished of Natural History travellers, and the
possessor of the finest and most extensive conchological
collection that has ever been formed. In both these capa-
cities the name of Hugh Cuming has long had a world-wide
celebrity ; and few men, if any, have contributed so largely
to the material extension of the Natural Sciences, which,
from his infancy, formed the subject of his eager and
almost passionate pursuit. Mr. Cuming was born at
[Washbrook, in the parish of] West Alvington, near
Kingsbridge, Devon, on the 14th of February, 1791. Even
as a child his love of plants and shells displayed itself in
a remarkable manner; and under the friendly patronage
and encouragement of Col. Montagu, the celebrated author
of ' Testacea Britannica/ who resided in the neighbourhood,
it was largely fostered and developed. Apprenticed to a
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 69
sailmaker he was brought into contact with seafaring men,
and in the year 1819 he made a voyage to South America,
and settled in business at Valparaiso. Here his passion for
collecting shells found an ample field for its development.
* * In 1826 he gave up his business, in order to devote
himself wholly to his favourite pursuit. He built a yacht,
expressly fitted up for the collection and stowage of objects
of Natural History; made a cruise of twelve months
among the Islands of the South Pacific; afterwards he
visited the western coast of America; spent several years
amongst the Phillipine Islands, Malacca, Singapore, and
St. Helena, as well as other places; and returned to
England with the richest booty that had ever been collected
by a single man. Mr. Cuming had long been subjected
to a chronic bronchitis and an asthmatic affection, and he
died on the 10th of August, 1865, at his residence in
Gower Street, London."
This well-known Anti-Slavery Lecturer was a native of
either Dodbrooke or Kingsbridge, probably the former.
His parents were quite in a humble station. When a
young boy he one day fought vigorously on Dodbrooke
Quay with a boy much bigger than himself, in defence of
a little fellow whom he was persecuting and ill-treating.
This brought him under the notice of the child's parents,
who from that time took him by the hand, and finding
him very desirous of acquiring knowledge, they lent him
books, and were in various ways kind and helpful to him.
Step by step he rose, until he became eminent as a lecturer.
Mr. Scoble long since removed to Canada, where he is, or
has been, a Member of the Canadian House of Commons;
but until the death of his widowed mother he continued
to pay occasional visits to his Kingsbridge friends.
WALTER STEPHENS LETHBRIDGE,
the celebrated miniature painter, was born in the village
of Croveton, and parish of Charleton. He served his
apprenticeship with a house painter named Drew, in Duke
Street, Kingsbridge; and while quite a boy he evinced
such a natural talent for drawing that it attracted the
attention of a gentleman called Place, who took him to
Edinburgh and elsewhere. After remaining with him for
two years, he commenced portrait painting on his own
account. He met with great success in the West, par-
ticularly at Falmouth; but for many years he lived in
London, where he ranked high as an artist, more especially
as a miniature painter.
the London bookseller, was not a native of this district,
or even of Devonshire, but a portion of his life was passed
He was born at Wellington, in Somersetshire, and was
bound apprentice to a shoemaker at Taunton. After his
time was expired he went to different places seeking work :
he was for a while at Exeter, of which place he soon
tired, and, to use his own words, " being informed that
Mr. John Taylor, of Kingsbridge, wanted such a hand, I
went down, and was gladly received by Mr. Taylor, whose
name inspires me with gratitude, as he never treated me
as a journeyman, but made me his companion. Nor
was any part of my time ever spent in a more agreeable,
pleasing manner than that which I passed in this retired
place, or I believe more profitable to a master. I was
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 71
the first man he ever had that was able to make stuff
and silk shoes; and it being known that I came from
Bristol, this had great weight with the country ladies,
and procured my master customers, who generally sent
for me to take the measure of their feet." But his great
ambition from the first seems to have been to become a
bookseller; and although his beginning in this line was
very small, yet ultimately his sale of books amounted to
more than one hundred thousand volumes annually, and
his shop, of enormous size, called "The Temple of the
Muses," was at the corner of Finsbury Square.
What is a Church ? let truth and reason speak,
They should reply, " The faithful, pure, and meek ;"
From Christian folds the one selected race,
Of all professions and of every place.
In the old days of Nonconformist persecution, great
sufferings were endured by many peaceable people in
Kingsbridge and the neighbourhood, for their religious
The Conventicle Act, forbidding religious meetings, caused
much strife and persecution ; and many of the inhabitants,
on account of such meetings, were heavily fined, while
others had their furniture and beds sold from them, and
some were immured in Exeter Gaol.
George Reynell, Esq., of Malston, in the parish of Sher-
ford, and John Beare, Esq., of Bearscombe, in the parish
of Buckland-tout-saints, were two magistrates most rigid
in carrying the law against conventicles into execution;
while Matthew Hele, Esq., of Halwell, and William
Bastard, Esq., of Gerston, two other justices of the peace,
were mild and tolerant; so much so, indeed, as to incur
prosecution for not being sufficiently active to suppress
these religious assemblies.
Several of the ejected ministers sought refuge in Kings-
bridge, among whom was the Rev. John Hicks. He was
born in 1633, at Moorhouse, Kir kly wick, near Thirsk, in
Yorkshire. He became minister of Stoke Damerel, Devon-
shire, which being in the gift of the crown, he was obliged
to quit at the restoration of King Charles, when he re-
moved to Saltash, in Cornwall, but at the passing of the
Bartholomew Act of 1662, he gave up his benefice, and
came, with his wife and children, to Kingsbridge.
Here he held religious meetings, and took all opportunity
that offered for preaching; but for many years he met
with great persecution, especially from Justice Beare, and
he was harassed by the Bishop's Court ; but his great spirit
carried him through with cheerfulness. He seems to have
been generous, frank, and daring to a fault; and for some
things he suffered, he had reason to blame himself. On
one occasion, when a warrant was out against him from
the Kingsbridge justices, for preaching, and two messengers
came to take him in charge, he answered their abusive
words by lifting his cane and thrashing them soundly.
After this, he determined to reach the ear of the King;
and took his horse, and rode to London. By means of
one whom he well knew, and who was then a favourite
at court, he was introduced to the King's presence, and
laid before him the state of things at Kingsbridge. The
king told him he had abused his ministers and the justices
of the peace. He replied, "Oppression, may it please
your Majesty, makes a wise man mad. The justices,
beyond all law, have very much wronged your Majesty's
loyal subjects, the Nonconformists, in the west." He
instanced several particulars, and spoke with such presence
of mind and ingenuity, that the King heard him with
patience, and promised that they should have no such cause
of complaint for the future. Soon after this the Dissenters
had some favour shown them, and liberty was given to
build meeting-houses. Hicks had a congregation after-
wards at Portsmouth, and continued there until he was
driven away by fresh persecutions; and his last place of
residence is ascertained from an old indictment, in which
he is described as " John Hicks, clerk, of Keynsham, near
At length, being led on by the impulses of his ardent
nature, he joined in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion,
for which he suffered death in 1685; but he seems to
have been firmly impressed to the last with the belief
that Monmouth had the prior claim to the throne, and
not the Catholic Duke of York. His brother, Dr. George
Hicks, became Dean of Worcester.
The atrocities perpetrated by the Royalist troops after the
suppression of this rebellion, in the reign of James II.,
were for many long years bitterly remembered in the West
of England. Few cases excited at the time more com-
miseration than that of the Lady Alice Lisle, who was
actually executed for giving shelter to this same John Hicks.
She was the widow of John Lisle, a man (says T. B.
Macaulay) "who had sat in the Long Parliament, and in
the High Court of Justice ; had been a Commissioner
of the Great Seal, in the days of the Commonwealth, and
had been created a Lord by Cromwell. Lady Lisle was
generally esteemed, even by the Tory gentlemen of her
county, for it was well known to them that she had deeply
regretted some violent acts in which her husband had
borne a part, that she had shed bitter tears for Charles I.,
and that she had protected and relieved many cavaliers
in their distress."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 75
After the engagement at Seclgemoor, John Hicks, and
Richard Nelthorpe, a lawyer who had been outlawed for
his share in the Rye-house plot, sought refuge at her
house. [In the account of the trial, Lady Lisle is described
as "of Moyle's Court, near Fordingbridge."] "The same
womanly kindness," continues Macaulay, "which led her
to befriend the Royalists in their time of trouble, would
not allow her to refuse a meal and a hiding-place to the
misguided men who now entreated her to protect them.
She took them into her house, set meat before them,
and shewed them where they might take rest. The next
morning her dwelling was surrounded by soldiers; strict
search was made; Hicks was found concealed in the malt-
house, and Nelthorpe in the chimney." Lady Lisle was
also herself captured by Colonel Penruddock, brought to
trial for harbouring the fugitives, condemned by Jefferies,
and executed — thus adding another to the long list of
atrocities perpetrated by the "unjust judge."* From this
historical incident Ward has painted one of the frescoes
in the Houses of Parliament, in which picture may be
seen represented the Lady Lisle, John Hicks, and Richard
The following ejected ministers are also associated with
Kingsbridge. Of the Rev. George Hughes, the friend of
Crispin and Geffery, mention has already been made.
Anthony Wood, in his "Athense Oxoniensis," says he
entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1619, and took
the degree of B.D. in 1633, about which time he became
vicar of St. Andrew's, Plymouth. Wood says that "he
exercised a kind of patriarchal sway in Devonshire," and
* " In the first year of William and Mary, the attainder was removed, and
Lady Lisle's two daughters were restored to all their former rights."
that, "on his obtaining permission to remove from St.
Nicholas Island to Kingsbridge, he was welcomed to the
house of one Daniel Elley, in that town, in whose house
"The Rev. John Quicke, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford,
was born at Plymouth, anno 1636. He went to Oxford
about 1650, and left it 1657, when he returned to his
native county, and preached for some time at Ermington.
He was ordained at Plymouth, February 2nd, 1658, being
called to be minister of Kingsbridge and Churchstow.
From thence he was called to Brixton, where the Act
of Uniformity found and ejected him. After imprisonments
and persecutions, he died in the seventieth year of his
age, April 29th, 1706."
"The Rev. Christ. Jellinger, M.A., was born in the
Palatinate of the Rhine, near Worms, in the hereditary
dominions of Frederic, King of Bohemia, at whose court
he was when he was in Holland. After being in various
parts of England, he settled at South Brent, from whence
he removed to Marldon, not far from Totnes, and then
to Kingsbridge. He continued to preach when he was
very old, and died at Kingsbridge, at about eighty-three
years of age."
" The Rev. James Burdwood, of Pembroke College, Oxford,
was of an ancient family which had an estate at Preston,
in West Alvington, near Kingsbridge, which hath been in
the name of the Burdwoods for many generations. He was
born at Yarnacombe, in that parish, of religious parents, and
had his grammar learning at Kingsbridge school. When
he left the University, he was for awhile minister at
Plympton St. Mary, near Plymouth. From thence he
removed to St. Petrox, Dartmouth, where he continued
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 77
till the Act of Uniformity ejected him. He then rented
an estate at Batson, in the parish of Malborough. There
he stayed five years, and preached in his own house, as
long as he was permitted, to great numbers who flocked
to hear him, and when his house would not receive them,
in his orchard; * * * but one Beer, or Bear, (who
had been for some time the head of the informers, and
now, for his good service in disturbing conventicles, was
advanced to the degree of a justice of the peace), together
with another justice, and a crew of informers, who were
at their beck, occasioned him much trouble and vexation,
unhung his doors, rifled his house, seized and carried away
his goods, ripped off the locks of his barn doors, and put
others on, and obliged his wife and children to seek
shelter among the neighbours. He was also heavily fined.
He removed from Batson to Hicks Down, near Bigbury,
and finally back to Dartmouth, where he died, August
21st, 1693, in the sixty-seventh year of his age."
* ; The Rev. Edmund Tucker, of Trinity College, Cam-
bridge, was born at Milton Abbot, near Tavistock, in 1627.
His father had a good estate. He was first settled at
Dittisham, and was a man of good natural abilities. He
succeeded Mr. Hicks at Kingsbridge, where, for his non-
conformity, he suffered much from the barbarity of Justice
Beare and his informers, who seized all his household
goods, his bed, and even his children's wearing apparel.
He died July 5 th, 1702, in the seventy-fifth year of his
age, and was succeeded at Kingsbridge by the Rev. John
There is a pamphlet still in existence, which was printed
* The foregoing accounts arc extracted from the "Nonconformists'
in 1671, bearing the following title: — "A True and Faithful
Narrative of the Unjust and Illegal Sufferings and Oppres-
sions of many Christians, Injuriously and Injudiciously called
Fanatics, holding all the Fundamentals of the Christian
Religion, believing all the Articles of the Christian Faith,
and whose Lives and Conversations are as Consonant and
Agreeable to the Laws of God, as theirs that persecute
them, &c, &c." This pamphlet is in the hands of the
representatives of the late Jeremiah Cranch, and a reprint
was issued in 1821, by Mr. Joseph Cranch.
In those days of pains and penalties, the early Non-
conformists used to meet for worship, by appointment, at
Sorley Green (then called Surley Butts) and Lincombe
Cross (then known as Linckam Hill Head), and perhaps
in other places, in the open air, where they could meet
undiscovered, or from whence they should be able to escape,
if discovered by those who sought them out for punishment
The first meeting-house of which there seems to be any
account stood on the west side of Fore Street, a little
south of Duncombe Street. This was taken down towards
the end of the last century, and a new Independent Chapel
was built on the east side of Fore Street, by Millman's
Lane, in the year 1780. This chapel was enlarged during
the pastorate of the Rev. Edward Newton. The present
handsome and commodious chapel was erected in 1858 :
Mr. J. Pulliblank architect.
We have been supplied with a list of the Independent
ministers, as far as can be ascertained.
— Rev. Alexander Walker —
1775 „ William Evans ... 1794 or 5
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 79
William Skinner Keale .
George H. Hobbs ... .,
John Elrick, M.A
James C. Postans ...
— „ John Stewart (the present Pastor)
In the chapel are tablets to the memory of deceased
Pastors, viz., Rev. Josiah Davies, Hugh Watts, Edward
The Independents have recently purchased a house in
Fore Street, for the use of their minister.
The celebrated George Whitefield visited Kingsbridge
more than once. On one of these occasions, whether in
1749, or at an earlier date is not quite clear, he preached
out of doors, near the spot now occupied by Quay House.*
A youth named Philip Gibbs (great uncle to the individual
of that name, who for many years conducted a school
in Kingsbridge, and who afterwards removed to Canada)
Avent to hear Whitefield preach, and he says "being little
of stature, I got up, not into a sycamore, but into an
elm tree." The words of the preacher took such a hold
* It was probably at tbis time tbat Mr. Natbanicl Crancb lent a tabic
for Wbiteficld to stand upon, wbile preaching. Tbis table Miss J. I!.
Crancb bas caused to be restored, and a plate inserted with an inscription
showing the honoured use to wbich it was applied.
upon him, that he appears to have entered, as it were,
on a new life. He afterwards became an eminent minister,
and was Pastor of the Baptist Church at Plymouth for
fifty-one years. He was highly and very generally re-
spected, and at his funeral, which took place 5th of
December, 1800, the Rev. Dr. Hawker, Vicar of Charles
Church, and another Clergyman, together with four Inde-
pendent and two Baptist Ministers, supported his pall.
In connection with the account of Philip Gibbs, it may
be mentioned that the Hon. T. N. Gibbs, who was educated
in Kingsbridge, at the school of his uncle (the late Mr.
Philip Gibbs), has for some years been a member of the
Canadian House of Commons, and recently accepted a seat
in the Canadian Cabinet as Minister of Inland Revenue.
The Baptists have existed in Kingsbridge from a remote
period. In the published denominational list of Churches,
the date of the Baptist Church, Kingsbridge, is given as
16i0. On the accession to the pastorate of the Rev. Marty n
Dunsford, in 1700, the Baptists resolved on building the
chapel in Meeting Lane. This still stands, but is now
turned into a chapel-keeper's dwelling, and into two large
rooms, which are used for the elder Bible classes.
In 1798, a larger chapel was erected several feet lower
down the lane; this was enlarged and altered in 1852,
at considerable cost. On the walls are tablets, with
inscriptions, which form almost a continuous history of
the pastorate from the year 1689.
To commemorate the names of
Leonard Kent, Philip Weymouth,
and Arthur Langworthy,
who with others in the reign of Charles II.,
laboured and suffered for the truth's sake,
in connection with this Church.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 81
Also, that of
Rev. Samuel Hart,
Who held the pastorate of this Church in 1689 5
and of the
Rev. Martyn Dunsford,
who accepted the call of this Church about the close of the
seventeenth century. He died in 1713, and was buried in the
old Meeting House.
The Rev. Crispin Courtis
succeeded him in the pastoral office, and ministered to this
Church and congregation during a period of fifty years :
He died December 14th, 1768, aged 86,
and was buried in Venn Yard.
" They rest from their labours and their works do follow them."
Rev. H. Penn,
nineteen years a beloved and successful pastor of this Church,
Died 25th October, 1802, aged 44,
By whose exertions
(Crowned with the Divine blessing,)
This house was erected,
and his ardent desires for its exoneration were gratified.
The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.
His remains are deposited at the door.
Rev. John Nicholson,
Twenty-nine years the beloved pastor of this Church,
Died August 26th, 1832,
aged 71 years.
He possessed a vigorous understanding,
Extensive knowledge, and solid piety.
The memory of the just is blessed Prov. x. 7.
His remains are deposited in Venn yard.
The following are the names of Pastors succeeding the
Rev. John Nicholson, to the present time.
Rev. Edmund Hull.
James P. Hewlett.
Enoch Williams, M.A.
Elias H. Tuckett.
Rev. Thomas Peters.
„ J. Upton Davis, B.A.
„ John O'Dell, (the present Pastor).
In 1673, the Baptists seem to have become a numerous
and permanent religious body, for in this year Arthur
Langworthy, Esq., of Hatch, bequeathed to them by deed
of gift, a piece of land near the village of Venn, for
the quiet burial of those amongst them who were removed
from those troublous times. This yard is still occasionally
A convenient Minister's house is situated at the entrance
of Meeting Lane; and one or two small endowments
also belong to the Society.
The first Sunday School set on foot in these towns was
at the Baptist Chapel, in the year 1812. In the following
years schools were opened, and are still carried on, in
connection with almost each place of worship. It is im-
possible to suppose that several hundreds of children have
received religious instruction every Sunday, in the various
churches and chapels, for so many years, without an
important influence on the population.
We are indebted to Robert Dymond, Esq., F.S.A., for
most of the following information respecting the "Society
of Friends " in Kingsbridge.
George Fox's journal relates that he first entered this
county from Dorsetshire in 1655, in the company of his
trusty friend, Edward Pyot, of Bristol, ex-captain in the
army. Passing somewhat rapidly through the southern
parts of the shire, these companions sowed the first seeds
of Quakerism in the towns of Topsham, Totnes, Kingsbridge,
and Plymouth, and then crossed the Tamar into Cornwall.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 83
G. Fox says, (on the occasion of this, his first visit) "the
next day we got to Kingsbridge, and at our inn enquired
for the sober people of the town. They directed us to
Nicholas Tripe and his wife, and we went to their house."
These " sober people " appear to have adopted the views
entertained by their guests, for G. Fox says afterwards,
" and since, there is a good meeting of Friends in that
After passing several months in the pestilential dungeon
of Launceston Castle, the two pioneers of Quakerism again
traversed Devonshire, on their eastward journey, propagating
their views in the central towns of Okehampton, Exeter,
and Collumpton, G. Fox's second visit to the county
was in 1659, -the third in 1663, when he again came
to Kingsbridge. In his journal he says that he went "at
Kingsbridge to Henry Pollexfen's, who had been an ancient
justice of the peace." This Henry Pollexfen, of West
Alvington, joined Friends at an early date, and was
imprisoned at Totnes in 1657.
In 1680, an enquiry was made as to the more prominent
oppressors of Friends. It appears, from an old record
belonging to the Society, that, at that time, there were
but two persecuting magistrates in West Devon : " the one,"
says this record, "is called by his surname, Champernown
of Modbery, and the other is called by surname, Bare,
dwelling near Kingsbridge. These are both very wicked
to friends, and meetings, in these westarne parts, and,
indeed, also to other professors, both priestbiterjans and
baptists. The one of the two espetially, namely Champer-
nown, he doth glory greatly in his acts of wickedness,
who said to a baptist at whose house the said Champernown
was, inquiring his name, I am one Champernown who
persecuteth the Saintes. This is as farr as wee can say-
in this matter att the p'sent."
We find under date 1684, that "a justice called John
Bare, keeps Friends out of their house." [This was a
house they rented for the purpose of holding their meetings
in.] In the first month of 168i the prisons of Devon-
shire alone held no less than 104 members of the Society
of Friends ; the fines also were ruinous : for one small
" First day " meeting alone, of Kingsbridge Friends, in
1670, goods were levied by distress to the value of
£85 lis. 8d., and in consequence of this severe opposition,
it was not until 1702 that they could assemble here in
a building of their own.
The Friends of Kingsbridge had, in 1693, purchased a
plot containing twelve perches in Sugar, (or Sidger) Lane,
for a burying place, and in 1697 they obtained for the
site of their present meeting house and burial ground,
a plot called Old Walls, or Cutler's tenement, also an herb
garden behind the said Old Walls, and a meadow or quillet
of land, lying below the herb garden, and divided from
it by a " lake of water, that runneth to the town mills
The monthly Meetings of the Western division of the
County continued to be held at Kingsbridge in rotation,
till the end of 1871; but the migration of Friends from
the town has now so reduced their numbers that it has
been found necessary to close the Meeting House.
The information respecting the Wesleyan body, was
supplied by Mr. J. Pulliblank. He says, " Although Kings-
bridge possesses interesting souvenirs of the preaching of
George Whitefield, there is no reason to believe that either
of the brothers Wesley, or their coadjutors, ever visited
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 85
this locality. That branch of Methodism which perpetuates
the name of Wesley was introduced into the town about
the beginning of the present century by a few pious
Welshmen, who were stationed here in one of the militia
regiments from the principality. They having met together
in a cottage, in Dodbrooke, for social prayer in their native
language, invited the townspeople to join them, and con-
ducted religious worship in English. The times of meeting
were announced by the town-crier, and the services thus
commenced amidst much obloquy and scorn, resulted in
the gathering of many converts, who formed the nucleus
of a society which attracted the notice of the Methodist
conference, who appointed a duly-qualified minister to
labour in Kingsbridge, Dartmouth, Modbury, and all the
intermediate country, under the denomination of the South
Devon Mission. A school-room was hired in Kingsbridge,
where regular services were held every Sabbath-day during
several years, when the Methodists having lived down the
opposition which met their first efforts, and considerably
increased in numbers, purchased the site which they at
present occupy, together with the house adjoining, and
in the year 1813 erected a commodious place of worship,
which for some time was known exclusively in the town
as the Chapel; the preaching places of the Independents
and Baptists being at that time designated respectively
the Higher and Lower Meetings. Kingsbridge became the
head of what is known in Methodism as a circuit, extending
from Salcombe on the one side to Modbury and Ermington
on the other, and containing at the present time seven
chapels, besides several other preaching places, with each
of which is connected a Sunday-school.
In the early part of the year 1870, the chapel built in
1813-14 wa3 very considerably enlarged and improved.
It was lengthened thirteen feet, had a new roof with a
circular ceiling (by which increased internal height was
secured), new doors and windows throughout, and the
internal fittings restored on a more modern construction."
A place of worship for the Plymouth Brethren was
built in 1853. It has a neat stone front, with a colonnade
before the principal entrance. The chapel stands back
from the street, from which it is separated by a grass
lawn and handsome iron railing. The Brethren have
no burying-place in the town, but they mostly use a
small cemetery in the village of Galmpton, or one at
About fifty years since, several persons holding Calvinistic
doctrines opened a room for worship in Ebrington Street,
Dodbrooke, which was continued until about twenty years
ago, when they removed to a large room near Gallants'
Bridge; but in 1872, the Friends' Meeting House being
vacant, they resolved to endeavour to rent that place of
worship, and after some little difficulty, permission was
given for the "Calvinistic Baptists" to hold their services
Cities and towns, the various haunts of men,
Require the pencil, they defy the pen.
Could he who sang so well the Grecian fleet,
So well have sung of alley, lane, or street ?
DODBROOKE, which is so closely connected with Kingsbridge
that it is not easy to define the boundaries, is more ancient
than the latter place. At Domesday survey, the Manor
of Dodbrooke belonged to the widow of Edward the Con-
fessor, and after her it was held by the family of De
Dodbrooke, whose heiress married Alan Fitz Roald, ancestor
of the family of Fitz Alan, who were possessed of it for
five descents. The heiress of this family brought it to
Champernowne. The manor now belongs to John Froude
Sir William Pole says : " Dodbrooke discended from the
Lady Alis de Dodbroke, by Rohant, unto Sir Richard
Champernon, of Modbury."
In 1801, the number of inhabitants in Dodbrooke
amounted only to 608. As far as we can ascertain, we
believe the numbers reported at the census of
1841 amounted to 1,229
1851 „ 1,302
18G1 „ 1,181
1871 „ 1.245
The living of Dodbrooke is a rectory. The advowson
was appendant to the manor till 1790, when it was severed
and sold separately to the Rev. Benjamin Kennicott, at
that time rector (nephew of the celebrated Hebraist, B.
Kennicott, D.D.) The Rev. James Dewing was for many
years rector of this parish ; and on his removal to another
part of the country, the Rev. John Power, M.A., the
present rector, became his successor,,
The Rectory House, which is an attractive-looking
dwelling, is situated almost close to one of the entrances
to the churchyard.
The parish church, dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket,
is at the north end of the town. The tower was formerly
surmounted by a spire, which was taken down in 1785.
Many have remarked that the south side of the church
has a more finished appearance than the north side. This
is accounted for by the fact that the church is a nave and
south aisle only, which, perhaps, was thought sufficiently
large for the population at the time of its erection; and
it was, no doubt, expected that a north aisle would be
added at some time afterwards.
There are a few tablets on the walls of the interior.
One of them has an epitaph in Latin to the memory of
Elizabeth, wife of John Beare, Esq., of Bearscombe (usually
spoken of as "Justice Beare"). She died in June, 1666.
Hawkins gives the following translation : —
" What grief is this, O marble, say ?
A public loss, see ! shrouds the day :
Of purity the model true,
And modesty, — devotion too,
Is gone, (0 sad!) — who does not sigh,
Must more unfeeling be than I."
A stained glass window has been placed at the south
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 89
side of the church, the subject being the Adoration of
the Magi, and at the lower part is this inscription: — "To
the glory of God, and in pious memory of Prestwood
Pearse, who died on the 10th May, 1862, aged 77 ; and
of her sister, Mary Hele Pearse, who died on the 28th
of October, 1862, aged 76 years."
On the opposite side of the church is a window of
stained glass, erected by the widow of Thomas Harris, Esq.,
to the memory of her husband, who died in December,
1861; and also in remembrance of other relatives.
A small diamond-shaped tablet is to be seen, in memory
of the Rev. Thomas Lampton Chilton Young, A.M., of
Emmanuel College, Cambridge, who succeeded the Rev.
Simon Webber, A.B., of Wadham College, Oxford, in 1817,
as rector of the parish.
When the Rev. Mr. Owen was Rector of Dodbrooke,
he effected some alterations in the church, and it was
also re-seated in 1846.
A board hangs in the vestry, on which are painted the
arms of John Peters, Esq., " who gave twenty shillings
every year, for ever, to the poor of this parish of Dodbrooke.
He was buried at St. Thomas, Exon."
In the present year, 1874, considerable improvement is
being effected by the restoration of the chancel, and the
removal of the old window of wood over the Communion
Table, and replacing it with stone and stained glass,
representing the Ascension. A window has also been placed
in the Well Aisle,, (as it is called), by J. K. Gillard, Esq.
Many members of the Gillard family lie in the vault
underneath the family pew, and also under the pavement
of that portion of the church.*
* Well, or Langvvell House, the residence of J, K. Gillard, Esq., will
be alluded to presently.
In the churchyard, which is surrounded by tall elm
trees, there are several old monuments and tombstones.
The following appeared in a newspaper of the time,
respecting Mrs. Prosser, who was interred in Dodbrooke
churchyard ; as also was Sir John Savery Drake, her brother.
"At Kingsbridge, in 1822, died Mrs. Ann Pollexfen
Prosser, aged 76, widow of Capt. Prosser, of the Royal
Marines, and last surviving child of John Drake, formerly
collector of customs at Plymouth, the lineal descendant of
Sir Francis Drake, Bart., and sister to Sir John Savery
Drake, with whom the title became extinct, he dying
without issue, and from whom the last Sir Francis cut off
the entail of the property given to his ancestor by Queen
Elizabeth for his services and discoveries, and gave it to
the late Lord Heathfield, after him to Sir Thomas Trayton
Fuller Elliott Drake, Bart., High Sheriff of Devon."
The late Mrs. Pearce, widow of William Lyfe Pearce, Esq.,
was the last survivor of Mrs. Prosser's family of eleven
Beyond the bottom of Duncombe Street, and facing
a pleasant row of houses, called Waterloo Place, stands
Langwell House, or as it is generally called, Well. It is
a very old mansion, which has been partly rebuilt, but
there are still remains of what appears to have been a
monastery, . probably belonging to the Monks of Buckfast.
But there is no authentic record remaining to tell the
history; all the old documents and deeds relating to it,
as well as to some other church property, are supposed to
have been accidentally destroyed by a fire which occurred
in the house of the churchwarden about a hundred years
ago. In confirmation of the idea that Langwell was
originally monastic in its character, is the fact that one of
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 91
the aisles in Dodbrooke Church belongs to that estate, and
that the proprietor is bound to keep the same in repair.
The ancient portions of this place, now mostly used as farm
buildings, are situated at the entrance of Wallingford Lane.
In John Gye's deed of 1529, Well appears under the name
of La Wyll, hence perhaps Langwell. In a feoffee deed
1601, Well occurs as Will-yeate. Yeate is used on Dart-
moor for a running stream, and thus Will-yeate would
mean that stream which comes down by Will. Well is
probably an ancient Saxon word for a spring of water.
Again, we find the following, "It is spoken of by tradition
that there was a holy spring of water at the once religious
establishment, at Well, in Dodbrooke, near Kingsbridge,
which the priest affirmed, with his prayers and incantations,
would relieve whatsoever complaints were brought to it;
and it seems that there were numbers of people from all
parts of the neighbourhood who resorted thither, and no
doubt considered it infallible. * * * There is no doubt
but that the place received its name from this famous
well; and there are many other places in the county, called
Holywell, Halwell, &c, which perhaps may be derived from
the like circumstances." There is an ancient road leading
from this house to the religious house at Leigh, near
In Oliver's History of Exeter, he says, "There was in
ancient times, a hermitage at Dodbrooke :" and in Polwhele's
account of this parish we find these words, "In a place
called Court Green, near Court House, are the remains of
an old chapel, and the vestiges of a burying place belonging
to it. It is situated in a triangular plot, where three ways
meet. The walls are still standing, but roofless." This,
however, is not the case at the present time. We believe
every portion of the ruins has been removed, and that
pieces of the stone may be seen built into hedges and
walls in the immediate neighbourhood. Some of the larger
stones, probably the upright sides of arches, we rather
think have been laid down as steps in the Dodbrooke
churchyard. With regard to Court House, it has been
stated that it was the original residence of the Champernon
family, whose seat is now at Partington; and in J. Gye's
deed of gift of that field now called Gye's Field, 1529,
it was spoken of as Champernon's property; but Prince
says that "Sir Arthur Champernon, Knight, was born at
Court House, at the western end of Modbury Town in this
Leaving Wallingford Lane on the left hand, and Batt's
Lane, as it is usually called, on the right, we proceed
towards the National School, which was established in
1847, and of which James and Dorothy Weekes were the
first master and mistress. The building, which can boast
of no architectural beauty, was originally a malt-house,
but was purchased for the purpose of being converted into
a school-house. "The managers of the National School,"
says the Kingsbridge Gazette of September 5th, 1873, "have
determined to erect a new class-room adjoining the present
building, so as to meet the Government requirements."
This decision has accordingly been carried out.
Just outside the school-house there is a clear spring of
water, which flows through a pipe, causing a tiny waterfall.
Many of the inhabitants come to "the shoot," as it is
familiarly termed, for a supply of this necessary of life,
which, we believe, never entirely fails, even when other
springs are dry. It is truly a refreshing "brook by the
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 93
Instead of mounting the hill towards the church, we
will turn round the point elegantly termed " Bellow's Nose,"
and we soon reach the British School, which (as well as
the National) appertains to the children of both Kings-
bridge and Dodbrooke.
The piece of land on which the British School now
stands was purchased in 1841, by the late Richard Peek,
Esq., of Hazelwood, from George Prideaux, Esq., once of
Plymouth, but during the latter part of his life a resident
The indenture describes the property as "all that close or
parcel of land, with the appurtenances, called or commonly
known by the name of Hill Close, alias Hill Parks, situate
or lying within the parish and manor of Dodbrooke." The
indenture also " witnesseth " that Mr. Peek conveys a certain
portion of this land to individuals whom he named, "upon
trust, to permit the said premises and all buildings thereon
erected, or to be erected, to be for ever hereafter appro-
priated and used as and for a school or schools, for the
education of children or adults, or children only, of the
labouring, manufacturing, and other poorer classes, in the
parishes of Kingsbridge and Dodbrooke, and their vicinity,
and as a residence for a schoolmaster and schoolmistress,
if required; which said school shall always be conducted
upon the principle of the British and Foreign School Society,
established in London, and shall be under the general
management and control of the committee for the time
being of the subscribers to the said school, and shall be
at all times open to the inspection of the Government
Inspector or Inspectors for the time being." The school
was first opened in 1842.
In December, 1850, Richard Peek, Esq., conveyed to
the Trustees the remainder of the before-mentioned Hill
Close, or Hill Parks, the income arising from which was
to be applied to the purpose of " reparation of the school
A raised causeway extends the whole length of the
main street of Dodbrooke ; and in some parts it mounts
up to such a height above the roadway that it has been
described as "suggestive and provocative of broken bones,
being entirely destitute of fence or hand-rail;" and yet we
scarcely ever heard of a catastrophe of the kind occurring
in this locality. At the foot of this bank is a broad
open space of sloping ground, on which the monthly cattle
market is held, and where temporary sheep pens are pitched.
There were formerly weekly markets, both in Kingsbridge
and Dodbrooke; the former granted about the year 1256,
and the latter about 1461. Dodbrooke weekly market
became obsolete about the close of the last century, after
the establishment, in 1773, of a great cattle market, which
is still held on the third Wednesday of every month.
There is also a fair on the Wednesday before Palm Sunday.
Whereabouts the Dodbrooke Pillory was situated we
know not, but it is left on record that "in the reign of
King Henry III., Henry Fitz Alan impleaded Matthew Fitz
John, with forty others," for throwing it down.
In the main street there are two tanyards ; also the
station of the Dodbrooke fire engine. There are a few
good houses, but the greatest number are small, and some
of them very old.
A parchment deed has been placed in the hands of the
writer, relating to buildings in Dodbrooke which are no
longer in existence. It is an indenture made the 24th
day of December, 1797, between Sir Jonathan Phillipps,
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 95
of Newport, in the county of Cornwall, Knt., and Richard
i Hawkins, of Highhouse, in the parish of Dodbrooke, Esq.,
of the one part, and Thomas Luscombe, of Kingsbridge,
cordwainer, of the other part, concerning the sale to the
latter of "all that messuage called the Cheap House, of or
situate in the Borough and Parish of Dodbrooke," together
with various other buildings ; but we find that part of this
property was reserved, viz., " the little shed or room erected,
and built up against, and resting upon, and fastened to
the north wall of the said Cheap House; as the same now
is, and many years last past hath been used as a Toll
House, or place for collecting the Tolls, Dues, and Duties
of the Fair and Market of Dodbrooke aforesaid, which
belong to the said Richard Hawkins," &c.
What portions of these buildings still stand, we know not,
but the property remains in the possession and occupation
of different members of the late Mr. Thomas Luscombe's
In former times, the parish stocks stood in front of
the Cheap House, which erection was a part of the Manor
Hawkins, in 1819, wrote of "the butchery, which still
stands at the market cross, between the sheep-pens, and
what, since the year 1804, has been called Barrack Street,
though enclosed on every side long since, and at present
converted into separate dwellings, had, within memory,
and perhaps still retains, many parts of the interior, to
show for what purposes it was originally used." Doubtless
these are the premises referred to in the deed just mentioned.
Not long before his death, Richard Peek, Esq., contributed
£190 towards the erection of a chapel in Dodbrooke, to
be used by the "Bible Christians." One was accordingly
built near that part where three streets branch off in
different directions, viz., Duke Street, Bridge Street, and
In Duke Street is situated Lidstone's iron foundry, which
it seems, is in Kingsbridge; but as the stream which
divides the parishes is underneath Duke Street, it is not
easy to discover to which some of the houses belong. Mr.
Lidstone's foundry stands on the site occupied by the same
business in possession of the same family for more than
a century. The blacksmith's department was first founded,
but has been gradually increased and added to, and at
present iron-founding, smithery, and practical engineering
are all carried on, with the assistance of the varied
appliances of modern machinery, turning lathes, iron-
planing machines, boring and punching machines, all of
which are worked by steam.
All kinds of edge tools, agricultural machines, and imple-
ments, as well as steam engines, are manufactured on the
premises. Salcombe being the nearest port to the Channel
Islands, a large trade (principally in edge tools) is carried
on with them, in connection with the fisheries of Newfound-
land and Labrador, and there is also a considerable amount
of business with the whole of the South Hams. .
Here we find ourselves on Dodbrooke Quay. In November
fbZif of the year 1825, there was so high a tide that several men
went in a boat from the quay to the " King of Prussia "
Inn (which is situated just at the junction of the three
streets), and through Duke Street and Mill Street.
And again, in 1869, there was a very similar inundation.
The quays were covered, and in a very short time, Bridge
Street, and a considerable part of Duke Street, Mill Street,
and a part of Union Road, were completely flooded; large
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 97
pieces of timber floated in every direction, and boats were
rowed through the streets.
In reference to the death of one of the inhabitants of this
part of the town, the following appeared in the Kingsbridge
Gazette of June 17th, 1865: —
"Longevity.— 'The oldest inhabitant' of Kingsbridge,
who died last week (we allude to Mrs. Gard), was one of
three old ladies, who, singularly enough, are mothers of
three tradesmen living close adjoining each other in Duke
Street, viz., Messrs. Gard, Lidstone, and Oxenham. The
united ages of the three were 274 years; and two of them
have lived most, if not all, their lives at the lower end
of the town, which is frequently said to be less desirable,
in a sanitary point of view, than the higher part."
The only name on the Registrar's books as that of a
centenarian is Grace Tucker, who died at Kingsbridge,
in December, 1845; aged 102.
Although Kingsbridge is so conveniently situated for
commerce, being exactly at the head of an arm of the sea
which is navigable for vessels of burden, yet neither of the
quays for landing goods belong to the parish; Dodbrooke
Quay being in the parish of that name, and Square's Quay
in that of West Alvington. There used to be a creek
at right angles with these two quays, but some years
ago it was covered in, and superseded by the "Prince of
Wales' Road," to the manifest improvement of the sanitary
condition of that portion of the toAvn, where the receding
tide left anything but a fragrant perfume. Besides many
schooners, sloops, barges, and boats, two steamers ply up
and down the Estuary; one, the "Kingsbridge Packet,"
runs to and from Plymouth twice a week ; the other which
is smaller, called the "Queen," is only used as a river
steamer. During the summer months this last, in addition
to the regular trips between Kingsbridge and Salcombe,
makes frequent excursions to the North and South Sands,
near Salcombe; thus affording the inhabitants the benefit
of a day's enjoyment at the sea-side, in an easy and in-
Let us cross, by the " Prince of Wales' Road," to Square's
Quay. This road runs in front of the house formerly
occupied by the late Roger Ilbert Prideaux, and which
was then surrounded by a high stone wall, but has been
laid open, and it is now separated from the road by a
handsome iron railing only. We now come to Quay
House, which was erected in 1789, by Lieutenant-Colonel
William Elford Ilbert. It stands near one end of the
quay, from which it is separated by a low wall. On
this side of the Estuary is West Alvington.
Scenes must be beautiful which daily viewed
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge, and the scrutiny of years.
Just appearing above the brow of the hill on your right
hand, the pinnacles of West Alvington Church tower may-
be seen. One of these pinnacles was struck by lightning
in the winter of 1833, when one of the large granite stones
at its base, weighing more than a hundredweight, was blown
out. It was afterwards replaced.
Risdon says, "The manor of West Alvington, which had
been an 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." The lords of
this manor had the power of inflicting capital punishment.
The vicarage of West Alvington includes also the parishes
of Malborough, South Milton, and South Huish. The
present Vicar is the Ven. Archdeacon Earle, M.A., Preben-
dary of Exeter.
The church, which is dedicated to " All Saints," has a fine
embattled tower, and there are within the church some
memorials of the Bastard and Holditch families, and a vault
belonging to Bowringsleigh. At the time of the restoration
of this edifice, a handsome painted window was placed over
the communion table, in memory of the late William Ilbert,
On a headstone in the churchyard is an inscription, which
Polwhele says is transcribed verbatim et literatim, It is a
curiosity in its way : —
" Here lyeth the Body of
Daniel Jeffery, the son of Mich-
ael Jeffery, and Joan his Wife he
Was buried y e 2nd day of September
1746 and in y e 18th year of his age
This youth when in his sickness lay
did for the minister Send * that he would
Come and With him Pray * But he would not atend
But when this young man Buried was
the minister did him admit * he should be
Carried into Church *' that he might money geet
By this you see what man will dwo * to geet
money if he can * who did refuse to come
and pray * by the Foresaid young man."
"Upon setting up this stone, the churchwardens imme-
diately waited on their minister, representing to him the
offence which the epitaph had given to themselves, and to
the parishioners in general, from the scandalous falsehoods it
contained, and the stigma intended to be fixed on his cha-
racter; for they knew that the deceased had died of a virulent
smallpox, and that so suddenly, that there was scarce time
for giving notice of his illness before his death confirmed it.
They, therefore, begged the epitaph might be obliterated,
and that they might be supported by his concurrence in
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 101
doing it. But he, having gratified the churchwardens'
indignation, and his own curiosity, by looking at the in-
scription, begged it might be permitted to remain, for he
could not allow himself to have a share in the destruction
of such poetry, of which, probably, he chose to be the sub-
ject rather than the composer."* This minister was the Rev.
and learned Mr. Pyle, the incumbent of the parish at that
time, and a Prebendary of the Church of Winchester. We
believe the hand of Old Father Time has since swept over
the offending inscription, and effected the desired oblite-
When the Rev. A. Earle succeeded to the living in 1866,
he found the Church affairs of the united parishes in a
very critical condition. Three of the churches were in a
dilapidated state, and the school-houses required extension
and re-building. The churches of West Alvington, Mal-
borough, and South Huish, were considered positively
unsafe, and formidable as the enterprise appeared, the
restoration or the re-building had to be set about. West
Alvington Church has been restored, at a cost of £2,600;
new schools have been built in the parish; and a public-
house converted into a reading-room for the working classes.
Malborough Church has been restored at a cost of £2,500,
and handsome new school-rooms also erected. The Church
at South Huish was in such a perilous state that it had to be
abandoned, and a new one was built at Galmpton to replace
The Vicarage House is pleasantly situated near the
village of West Alvington; and the vicar is assisted in
f It was afterwards re-cut.
X See chapter on Bigbury Bay.
this, his more immediate locale, by a curate. A resident
minister has been placed by him in each of the other
parishes. Formerly, when the vicar, or curates, had to
travel from one parish to another, the services were few ;
now there are either two or three services each Sunday,
besides those on week days, in all of them : nor are
other means of influence neglected; such as harvest
thanksgivings, penny readings, and other social gatherings.
Combe Royal, which is about one mile from Kingsbridge,
is in the parish of West Alvington. The Rev. John Earle
says, " There is a very old document almost consumed by rot,
which, however, has a sound piece with the name Combe
Royal on it. Roger Efford remits, releases, and for ever
cries quits to Richard Chiceli of all his right and claim
in Kingsbridge, Dodbrooke, and Come-royel. The date of
this is 1373."
It may be mentioned that at this date the Archbishop
of Canterbury was a member of this family of Chiceli.
This beautiful place, Combe Royal, is the property of
John Luscombe, Esq. The mansion was enlarged and
restored some years ago, and it is now the most attractive
residence in the neighbourhood.
After passing the lodge, which is a pretty ivy-covered
building, you enter on a winding carriage road, bordered
by magnificent rhododendrons, hydrangeas, and other fine
evergreen shrubs. The sloping grounds are beautifully
diversified with wood and water : the orange walk presents
great attractions to strangers, unaccustomed as they probably
are to the sight of oranges, lemons, and citrons, flourishing in
the open air, and bringing their fruit to perfection, with
only the occasional protection of straw mats placed against
the recesses in the walls at night.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 103
In the Journal of Horticulture of August 31, 1871, there
is an interesting paper describing Combe Royal. It is
here inserted, with one or two corrections.
"'Who are you?' 'Visitors to Combe Royal.' 'Ha!
Ha !' Such was the query, reply, and final laugh which
occurred at the door of the Malster's Arms, at Harberton,
where we pulled up on a 120°-in-the-sun day of this present
month of August, to give our horses a few mouthfuls of
water. If our interrogator had been even a better authority
than a parrot we should not have been deterred from pro-
ceeding to our destination, for we were assured by good
judges that we should be well recompensed for enduring a
drive of thirty miles under such a sunshine; those judges
were right, without any reference to the specially excellent
cider made in the parish. That parish is West Alvington,
in Devonshire, about a mile from Kingsbridge. The Manor
was an ancient demesne of the crown in the time of the
Norman monarchs, if not even previously, and was given by
King John to Alice de Rivers, Countess of Devon, but
reverted to the crown, and was subsequently granted by
Henry III. to Matthew de Besils. Afterwards it was divided
into various smaller estates, one of which was certainly ' all
that barton known as Combe Royal,' for a barton was the
demesne lands of a manor, and is named in an existing deed
of the time of Edward III. This barton passed to various
possessors until the Gilberts became its possessors, and one
of the Gilberts of Holwell sold it in 1722 to an ancestor
of the present proprietor, John Luscombe Luscombe, Esq.*
Luscombe is a truly Devonian name (and is Anglo-Saxon
for 'a valley of delight'), and the Luscombes of Luscombe,
* " Great gnat grandfather of the present proprietor. He was High Sheriff
of Devonshire in 1740."— J. L.
in the parish of Rattery, held there a knight's fee in the
time of Henry IV. and were residing there in 1630*
The family were never ennobled, but they have always
borne ' the grand old name of Gentleman/ and we can add,
from experience, that the Luscombe of the present fully
sustains Westcote's character of the Devon gentry, ' they are
civil, affable, kind, and courteous to strangers.' Combe
Royal undoubtedly was so named because part of the King's
demesne, but it also merits the distinguishing epithet, as
one of the kings of the wooded valleys of the country.
The entrance lodge is at one extremity of the valley,
the house is at the other end; and the approach is by a
road winding along the valley between the well-planted
hills which border each side. Its situation is peculiarly
adapted to the growth of exotic plants, as it is two hundred
and eighty feet above the sea level, and screened by hills from
the prevailing south-west winds, and also from the north
The successful culture of the trees of the Citrus family
is a peculiarity of Combe Royal, as it is believed that the
luxuriance and fruitfulness of the trees cannot be equalled
in England, when it is remembered that no protection is
afforded them beyond the walls on which they are trained,
and the frames of wood or reed with which they are
covered by night, and partially by day, when needful, in
the winter. One Seville Orange tree, from which vast
quantities of fruit are annually gathered, is traditionally
known to be 250 years old, from the fact that the grand-
mother of the present proprietor was told when a child by
* " It is believed that the Combe Royal family branched from the parent
stock more than three centuries ago, and after residing at Scobbahul and
Wood, settled in their present home." — J. L.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 105
her grandfather, John Luscombe, Esq., that it was more
than a century old when he became the possessor of the place.
The Citron trees often produce enormous fruit, several
having attained seventeen, eighteen, and even nineteen
inches in circumference. The Shaddocks, Lemons, and
Limes are fine in proportion.
No permanent injury has ever been done to the trees
by the severest winters, except in 1859-60, when a vigorous
Bergamot Lemon was killed, which at the time bore a
fine crop of fruit, averaging twelve inches in circumference.
A magnificent basket of Citrus fruit was in 1850 presented
to the Queen, who, through Sir Charles Phipps, graciously
expressed her surprise and admiration of their size and
beauty, and sent Mr. Toward from Osborne to inspect the
trees. The Orangery, or, as it might more justly be
entitled, the Citrusry, for it includes the best fruit-bearers
of the genus, is on the side of the valley, has nearly a
southern aspect, and is a recessed wall. * * * The
recesses are all eleven feet high, but vary in width. That
in which the Lemon is growing is fifteen feet, that of the
Citron sixteen feet, and the six other recesses are twelve
feet : aU of them are fifteen inches deep. The occupants
of these eight recesses are the Lemon, Bergamot, Citron,
Seville Orange, Shaddock, Orange, Lime, and Mandarin
Orange. Although the thermometer fell to zero last winter
no injury was caused to any one of the trees, although
their only protection was reed panels. When we saw them,
ripening fruit was on all of them, and the healthy
luxuriance of their foliage was most striking. Anyone
about to erect such recesses for the culture of the Citrus
genus would do well to have each eighteen feet wide, for
the need to prune back the branches in the Combe Royal
recesses must increase the difficulty of securing the fruit-
fulness of the trees by avoiding over luxuriance.
Perhaps one of the largest specimens of Acacia dealbata
in England once ornamented the grounds. It was, unfor-
tunately, broken down and uprooted by the weight of
snow in an unusually heavy fall in December, 1859. It
measured fifty-four feet in height, and the trunk was more
than five feet in circumference. From the heart timber
an ornamental drawing-room chair has been manufactured.
A very large species of Eucalyptus, a native of Tasmania,
has stood the last winter well, and bloomed profusely in
the spring of the present year, while Embothriums coccineum
and lanceolatum have been gorgeous with their scarlet
flowers, and Camellias prodigal of bloom. Desfontainea
spinosa has done well, and Opuntia Rafinesquiana grows
and blooms in the open air. Many more plants, shrubs,
and trees, deserving notice must be omitted, but we will
observe that the Datura arborea in the conservatory had four
hundred of its noble flowers open simultaneously. In the
open ground we saw specimens of Cycas, huge bushes of
Camellias, species of Aralia, Bamboos from the Himalaya,
Abutilon vitifolium, all of which endure the winter un-
protected. We also noticed a deciduous Conifer, the name
of which is doubtful. We think it is the Glyptostrobus
pendulus, a native of China; at all events it is hardy at
Combe Royal, and we should like to be certified of its
name. We must note one bed of Phlox Drummondi in
front of the conservatory. We never saw a bed of crimson,
scarlet, purple, and pink flowers so brilliant. Beds of
verbenas on each side looked poor and paltry in comparison.
Almost equalling the orangery in interest is the American
garden, formed by the present proprietor in a branch of
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 107
this 'happy valley.' Among a collection of other trees
and shrubs, it includes the Sikkim Rhododendrons received
from Kew through the kindness of the late Sir William
Hooker. Many of them are doing well. The strongest
and most floriferous are Thomsoni, niveum, and Bland-
fordiseflorum ; the latter produces its gay and peculiar
blossoms in the greatest profusion, and the bushes of
Thomsoni are gorgeous with their wax-like bells of the
richest crimson. Being seedling plants they vary much,
and several cannot be identified when compared with Dr.
Hooker's exquisite drawings, or rather the plates from his
drawings. This year the beautiful yellow Rhododendron
Wightii flowered for the first time, but the blossoms were
pure white; its foliage, however, is unmistakable. Some
of the more tender sorts, Dalhousise, Edgworthii, Aucklandii,
Falconeri, and one or two others, will not endure the
winter even at Combe Royal. The Japanese Rhododendron
Metternichii has borne the severity of the last two winters
well, as have five plants of the Himalayan R. cinnamomeum.
The preceding winters have proved fatal to many large
specimens of the true R. arboreum, two only having
survived. The trunk of one of the defunct trees was
measured recently, and found to be, a short distance above
the earth, three feet one inch in circumference.
The recent proprietors of Combe Royal have been
gardeners as well. As far back as 1812 a practice of
J. L. Luscombe, Esq., for successfully raising cuttings of
the Citrus genus was made known to the Royal Hor-
ticultural Society, and approved by the then President
T. A. Knight, Esq. The same Society awarded him a
Banksian medal for Oranges, Lemons, and Citrons, exhibited
in the April of 1827."
We may add that J. Luscombe, Esq., says, "Wood in
Woodleigh, where the family also lived was a very large,
low, Tudor mansion, originally the seat of one of the
many branches of the Fortescue family. During the
minority of the late John Luscombe Luscombe, Esq., a
great portion of the house was taken down, the porch and
two or three gables only remaining : one of the wings is
used as a barn, and still goes by the name of 'the dining
parlour,' and on the walls of which fresco paintings might,
a few years since, be here and there discerned: the chapel
stood on the opposite side of the enclosed court-yard:
the andirons of the hall chimney, three feet high, form
the stand of a marble table at Combe Royal."
In this parish is also Bowringsleigh ; a large and
ancient Tudor mansion, recently restored, but admirably
retaining its former character. It lies in a beautiful valley
below West Alvington.
Sir William Pole says of this place, " Bowrings Legh was
th' ancient dwellinge of the name of Bowringe ; the last of
which name, called Thomas, had issue Alis married unto
William Pike of Pike's Ash, in Somersetshire, and had
issue Robert Pike, which had issue Thomas, which by
Mary, daughter of John Stowell, of Cotheston, had issue
Elizabeth, married unto one James Leghe, called Reynolds,
sometyme a singing boy in the church of St. Peter, in
Exon, a man of great baseness, which hath sold a great
estate, which he had by the said Elisabeth, and this unto
Nicholas Webber, alias Gilbard Esq., who now dwelleth
theire. Theire is now a tytle sett on foote, that the said
Thomas Pike should have a sonne called Stephan, long
tyme concealed, and never known unto his supposed father,
or publickly unto any other, before all Pike's land was sold."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 109
This fine old mansion was purchased of the Gilberts
in the reign of William III., by William Ilbert, Esq., of
Rill, (of which place there is a picture over one of the
mantlepieces at Bowringsleigh). Since that time Bowrings-
leigh has continued in this family, and it is now the
residence of W. R. Ilbert, Esq.
An old picture of Bowringsleigh represents it after
undergoing a restoration, when the roofs were replaced
by others in the Dutch style, and the gardens were laid
out in the same formal manner; but the present possessor
has adopted the original style of architecture in carrying
out the recent restorations.
Many years ago the chapel and some other parts of the
building were accidentally burnt, many of the old family
portraits and other valuable paintings were destroyed,
besides the tapestry which hung on the walls; but there
are still paintings of value remaining; amongst them is
a portrait of Queen Anne, which was given, we believe,
by that Queen herself to Mr. Ilbert's great grandmother,
to whom her Majesty had performed the office of god-
The chapel, which abuts from the south front is a
faithful restoration of the original chapel : a magnificent
screen, (which was formerly in South Huish Church),
admirably restored and gilded, adorns the interior.
In one of the rooms there is a grand old ceiling, with
emblematic figures moulded in plaster, in high relief. In
the centre is Fame, blowing her trumpet, while in various
compartments around there are warlike implements and
instruments of music; the whole of the figures so raised
as to appear as if clinging by magnetism to the ceiling.
There is a Yery curious clock in one of the rooms, the
date 1702. The present writer cannot attempt to recapitu-
late all the wonderful things it undertakes to perform.
A clock on the tower roof is dated, we believe, 1717; its
bell might be made to sound, in case of need, for some
Bowringsleigh has not been without its traditionary ghost,
and haunted room. The " singing boy," " the man of
great baseness" (according to Sir William Pole) was said
to have been murdered on the premises, which dreadful
event coming to the ears of his wife "Elisabeth," she
rushed, shrieking wildly, into the room where the tragedy
occurred ; never again to be seen or heard of, save as a
haunting ghost, occasionally wandering about the house in
her rustling silk attire ! How much, or how little of truth
there may be in this story " deponent sayeth not."
However, the ghost seems to have been summarily ejected,
for the room, which was for many years closed up, and
specially devoted to its ghostly inhabitant, has been con-
verted into a dressing room, into which she certainly
never intrudes her presence.
One of the curiosities at Bowringsleigh is an ancient
bed, with hangings of needlework, the laborious production
of a lady-ancestor of the family. Many other things
of interest might be mentioned, but we must retrace our
steps down the noble avenue of lime trees, and across
the wooded meadows, through which passes the " private
road" to Bowringsleigh, and also to Norden, the residence
of Mrs. Ilbert, mother of W. R. Ilbert, Esq.
Although South Milton is situated not far from the shore
of Bigbury Bay, being within an easy distance of Thurle-
stone Sands, yet this seems the most fitting place to
introduce a few words respecting it, seeing that it is
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. Ill
included in the vicarage of West Alvington ; and that
Horswell House, the residence for many years of W. Ilbert,
Esq., is in this parish. Of South Milton Sir William Pole
says, "Midleton, or South Milton, anno 24 of Kinge
Ed. 1, James de Mohun held; and anno 19 of Kinge Ed. 3,
Sir William Pipard Kt. held the same. Hee died anno
Domini 1349, and left issue Margaret, wief of Sir Gerard
de Lisle, and Matild, wief of Sir Osbert Hameley. This
mannor came afterwarde unto Carew of Haccomb; and
is lately sold unto Sir James Bagge, of Plymouth, by
Carew, of Haccomb." White said in 1850," Mrs. Prideaux
is lady of the manor." We believe it has descended to her
daughter, Mrs. Douglass.
South Milton Church "is a fine ancient edifice in the
perpendicular style, with a noble embattled tower, containing
The old stone font is surmounted by a high, conical
carved wood cover, which is much admired. There is also
a carved screen. On the walls are tablets recording the
names of Elliot, Prideaux, &c. ; and on the pavement, that
of Roope, accompanied by coats of arms.
Very many tomb-stones in the churchyard bear the name
of Elliot. There is also a vault of the Ilbert family
distinguished by a yew tree within iron railings. Milton
is now (like Thurlestone and Buckland) noteworthy from
the absence of a public house ! The one which formerly
existed there was converted, some time since, into school-
rooms, where considerable numbers of children are now
educated. Some of the farm houses in this neighbourhood
bear evident traces of a somewhat aristocratic origin, such
as Higher and Lower Sutton, Callicott, &c.
With ceaseless motion comes and goes the tide,
Flowing it fills the channel vast and wide ;
Then back to sea, with strong majestic sweep
It rolls, in ebb yet terrible and deep.
Returning to Dodbrooke Quay, and passing the house,
with timber and coal stores, (once the property of the late
Joseph Hingston, who was a deservedly respected and
valued resident for many years; and afterwards belonging
to F. H. Fox & Co., who sold it to Messrs. Beer & Trant)
we come to Pindar Lodge, which now stands on the site of
the "smart little mansion," where John Wolcot, M.D., was
born (an account of whom is given in the fourth chapter).
Almost, if not quite, the only mile of level road adjacent
to the town, is that which runs from Dodbrooke Quay
down by the side of the Estuary. This is a very pleasant
promenade, especially when the tide is in.
After passing Pindar Lodge, as well as a pretty cottage
which was built in 1816 by Mr. John Lidstone, and
Victoria Place, and Glena, pleasant looking modern houses,
we reach Boxhill, a substantial mansion, with a verandah
in front. Part of it was built on the site of the old
Dodbrooke Poor-house ; indeed, until rather recently, a
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 113
small portion, of that ancient erection might still be found
somewhere on its back premises.
Then comes Foxhole, or as it now called, Vauxhall, and
behind it is Garden Mill, overlooked by Buttville, the
property of the late Admiral Hawkins, and now of his son,
C. S. Hawkins, Esq.
A quarter of a mile below Dodbrooke Quay is Saltmill
Quay, on the same side of the Estuary. Here stood some
corn mills until the middle of the eighteenth century,
driven by the water secured by flood gates at the flowing
of the tide, in an enclosure at the side of the Quay, but
which about the year 1800 was turned into a meadow.
A lime kiln just here was for a long time noticeable on
account of a noble Wych elm, growing quite through a
side wall, and spreading its graceful branches all over the
front of the kiln. It was the only specimen of this
particular kind of elm that we knew of anywhere in the
neighbourhood, but it was laid low by a fearful gale which
occurred in January, 1866, and did much damage in this
vicinity. At Wallingford, the gale seems to have been felt
in its greatest force — the wind taking the line of the valley.
There are, or rather were, in that valley, several hedges
full of fine elm trees, and one after another of these
were completely swept away, the trees lying along in
regular rows, as if they had been felled with an axe.
There were altogether one hundred and four trees prostrated
in this valley alone.
About the end of the last century, a wall was com-
menced by Edward Hodges, Esq., at Salt Mill Quay, in
order to form a public walk, to be planted with trees,
which would make a pleasant communication, secure from
the flowing tide, between the wharf and Dodbrooke Quay ;
but when this design had been partially effected, a dispute
arose as to the freehold right, and the work remained
unfinished till 1816, when it was completed by a public
In the year 1804, a spot of ground on the east side
of the Estuary was selected by the late Lieutenant-General
Simcoe, and temporary barracks were erected thereon to
contain six hundred men. Various regiments occupied them
during the war : the materials of these structures, however,
were disposed of by auction in the spring of 1815, but
some of the buildings, particularly the hospital, having
been purchased by the owner of the land, are yet suffered
to remain, and are occupied by different families. We
have been told that the bakehouse which belonged to the
barracks now forms part of the house once known as Ivy
Cottage. Winsor Lodge was erected in one of the fields,
by Mr. Andrew Winsor, in 1818. High-house, a seat
situated on these lands, is about half a mile to the east,
but not in sight of the water.
We must not omit to notice the Shipwright's Yard, where
many a well-built vessel is constructed, to be employed in
the foreign fruit trade, or some other branch of commerce.
Date's yard presents a busy scene, and is especially attractive
to the population of Kingsbridge and Dodbrooke when it
becomes known that a launch is to take place. There is
generally, at such times, a large gathering assembled to
watch the new vessel make her first plunge into the tide.
This yard was first established in 1837. Vessels are there
built of from one hundred to five hundred tons burden;
the largest, as yet, five hundred and fifty tons; and the
average number of men employed, forty.
Complaints having been made that the public path
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 115
beneath the cliff was much interfered with by the lodgment
of timber, the Harbour Commissioners requested the owner
to remove the obstruction, which was effected; but only
for a time. He was therefore requested to make a new
and good road, as an approach to the steamer landing-
place at High-house Point. This has been done, and it is
much used, instead of the steep and narrow path some
time since cut in the cliff.
A field at High-house Point has recently been purchased
from the Rev. P. A. Ilbert, for the purpose of forming a
new cemetery for Kingsbridge. This being considered a
larger piece of ground than would be required, a portion
of it was again sold, and the remainder retained for the
cemetery. It was expected that the ground would be ready
for use about the end of last year (1873) ; but it is not
Nearly opposite the shipwright's yard, on the other side
of the estuary, is Tacket (or Ticket) Wood, where there
are a few houses and a slate, quarry. There is a bridge
near by, bearing the same name, crossed by the old road
to Salcombe. It was erected by the county in 1768.
Ticket Wood is supposed to have derived its name from
the circumstance that, in the days of Nonconformist perse-
cution, tickets were here given to all who were in the
habit of attending the meetings, probably as a precaution
against the admission of spies amongst them.
On a hill, between Ticket Wood and Kingsbridge, there
is a large rope-walk, which was established by Mr. Thomas
about fifty years ago. This rope-walk Avas burnt down
on the 14th of August, 18G8, and re-built early in 1869.
Since that time, it has been lengthened very considerably,
necessitated from the increased demand for the cordage made
here. Large quantities are sent off to the North of England;
also to Quebec and the Labrador fisheries. About eighteen
men and nine boys are usually employed here.
To return to the east side of the estuary. Rather
beyond the first mile-stone on this, the "new road" to
Dartmouth, is Charleton Bridge, crossing a creek, near the
head of which is Shindle mill. This bridge possesses some
peculiarities of construction, probably not to be found else-
where. The following particulars were kindly furnished,
in 1864, by Mr. Joseph Pulliblank, builder, and son-in-law
of Mr. John Eddy, therein mentioned: — "The present hori-
zontal swing-bridge over the Bowcombe creek was erected
in the year 1845. The contract for its erection was taken
on the 1st of January in that year by Mr. A. Saunders, of
Kingsbridge, millwright and engineer, and the work was
carried out under the superintendence of Mr. John Eddy,
surveyor. The principle of the bridge (being required to
open to allow of the navigation of the creek) is a strong
horizontal framework of wood, about forty-five feet long
by sixteen feet wide, resting on a strong fulcrum of timber,
built into a solid mass of masonry, and shod with tempered
iron at its upper end — the weight resting on twelve cannon
balls, which play freely in two grooved pieces of cast-iron,
one of which is fixed to the movable framework, and the
other to the solid masonry below. This application of
cannon balls excited the admiration of a very worthy
member of the Society of Friends, since deceased, who
observed that it was such an use of cannon balls as he
could approve of, and he wished they were always as well
Since the foregoing was written, the bridge being much
out of repair, it was rebuilt. Mr. Pulliblank says : " The
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 117
plans for the present bridge were prepared by Mr. W.
Symons, who was also the contractor for its erection. There
are a few unimportant alterations of detail in construction,
but the principle is the same, and I believe the cannon balls
remain where the good Joseph Hingston was pleased to
From the Bowcombe quarry, on the Charleton side of
the inlet, is drawn a large quantity of good building stone.
Descending a little further, you get a pretty near view of
Charleton church (St. Mary), which is an ancient structure,
but it was thoroughly renovated in 1849-50, when the
nave and aisles were mostly re-built, and new windows
were inserted, with mullions of Caen stone. "The lordship of
Charleton was, amongst other lands, granted by Henry VIII.,
in the thirty-fifth year of his reign, to Catherine, Queen ,/F2rv£
of England, for her dower. On the death of Catherine,
in the second year of the reign of Edward VI., it reverted
to that king, on whose death it descended to, and became
the property of, his sister Queen Mary, who by letters
patent of the 22nd of June, in the first year of her reign,
granted the same unto Francis, then Earl of Huntingdon."
It was afterwards held by Lord Borringdon; and is now
the property of Lady Ashburton. As lately as the year
1753 the Hundred Court was regularly held, presentments
were made, and the different parishes in the Hundred paid
small chief-rents to the lord of the manor. The original
grant conveyed most extensive privileges, but many of them
are no longer exercised. The rectory house, which was
spoken of by Polwhele as an "uncouth structure," was
mostly taken down by William Tickell, L.B., at that time
the Incumbent, and re-built; and it is now said to be one
of the "best parsonage houses in the county." The Rev.
Thomas Twysden, M.A., is the present Rector.
Charleton is divided into two portions, so that it appears
like two separate villages ; these are known as East Charle-
ton and West Charleton. The hamlets of Goveton and
Lidstone, as well as part of Frogmore, are in this parish;
as also is Slade, the residence of the late Fortescue Wells,
Esq., and now of his son-in-law, Edward Arthur, Esq.
Across the estuary, and nearly opposite High-house Point,
is Park, a very pleasant house, overlooking the water, and
further on are the remains of a decoy, commonly called
Coypool, which, in the beginning of the last century, was
much used for taking wild fowl.
Gerston, or Garston, the ancient seat of the Bastard
family, lies just above, but is not visible from the water.
During the eighteenth century, the gardens at this place
were famed for producing oranges and lemons, trained
against the walls in the manner of peach trees, and sheltered
only with mats of straw in winter. Some of the fruit?
said to be "as large and fair as any from Portugal," was
presented to the king by Lady Bridget Bastard's brother,
Vere, the third Earl Poulett, about the year 1770. Here the
noble family of Bastard resided from the days of William
the Conqueror till the year 1773. William Bastard, Esq.,
having, however, fixed his abode at Kitley, the ancient
mansion was deserted. When the French fleet menaced
Plymouth in the summer of 1779, this gentleman raised a
large force of yeomanry and peasants, and repaired to the
scene of alarm. For his exertions on this occasion he
was created a baronet on the 19th of October in that year.
However, although the dignity conferred was gazetted, yet
neither he nor his descendants have thought proper to use
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 119
After passing Gerston Point there is a creek which leads
to Collapit. Besides the farm-house, there is a bridge of
the same name in the road to Salcombe. Then comes
Rowden Point, and a creek runs thence to Blanks' or Alston
Mill, also headed by a bridge. On the left side of the
estuary there is a piece of land now used by the Volunteers
as a " rifle range," which is usually denominated " Charleton
Marshes." In 1805 Earl Morley here formed an embank-
ment, by which between thirty and forty acres were re-
claimed from the tide, and in a couple of years this land
began to vegetate.
You now enter an extensive breadth of water, called
Wide-gates, where, in a high wind, it is occasionally a
little hazardous to small boats; for instances have occurred
now and then of a capsize.
Upon the high land overlooking the little port of Sal-
combe, and about four miles from Kingsbridge, stands " All
Saints'," the church of the parish of Malborough, one of
the four included in the West Alvington Vicarage, and (as
elsewhere stated) this church has undergone a thorough
restoration, through the exertions of the Vicar, the Ven.
Archdeacon Earle. Decayed as many parts of the building
were, the masonry is remarkably substantial; so far, there-
fore, as the walls were concerned, little was required to be
done; but new roofs have been constructed, the windows
re-filled with stone mullions and tracery, the pews cleared
away and replaced by open benches, and the tower-arch
thrown open, by the removal of the gallery, so that the
bells are now rung from the ground. Of these bells, Pol-
whele says "they are much esteemed by those who like
such ding-dong sounds." The building is chiefly of the
Late Perpendicular period ; but the tower and chancel
exhibit indications of Early Decorated work; and the font
is Early English.
Within the church is a handsome white marble monument,
erected to the memory of the 28th Baron Kingsale. This
will be referred to in the account of Ringrone.
A memorial window was placed in the church by —
Pinwell, Esq., of Salcombe ; and there is another, the history
of which is unknown to the writer. Both of these are
In the month of August, 1829, this spire was struck by
lightning in a very similar manner to that which injured
the Kingsbridge spire in the previous year. At the time
of the occurrence the minister was reading the burial service
in the church, while the relations and friends of a deceased
parishioner were assembled for the funeral. The sudden
flashes of lightning, and the tremendous peals of thunder,
caused such an alarm, that the clergyman, as well as all
the people, rushed out of the church, and did not return
until the storm was over. The spire was so much injured
that it had to be taken down and re-built.
Some new school-rooms having been erected in Mal-
borough, they were opened, in May, 1873, by Dr. Temple,
Bishop of the Diocese.
A Baptist chapel was built in this place in 1815. This
was enlarged and repaired in 1872. A new school-room
was also built in 1872; and much has been done this
year (1874). The names of successive pastors are
Rev. John Nicholson,
„ W. H. Evans,
„ H. Crossman,
„ E. Tamsett Davis (the present pastor).
A Wesleyan chapel, of very neat design, has also recently
been erected in Malborough.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 121
This place stands on very elevated ground, and commands
an extensive prospect, bounded on the south by the open
sea, in the direction of Bolt Head and Bolt Tail.
Some of the inhabitants used to say, no moon ever shone
so brightly as "Marber moon," and perhaps this is not
altogether imaginary, for, being raised so far above the
mists and fogs of the valleys, there may be less vapour
to intercept the light which shines down upon them.
Batson, Bolberry, Collaton, Combe, Rew, and Shadycombe,
are hamlets forming part of the parish of Malborough.
At Batson (where some of the most productive cider
orchards in the kingdom are situated) there is an old ruin,
partially covered with ivy, which is still known by the
name of "Batson Hall." Tradition says that it was formerly
a prison. Bit by bit, the materials which composed this,
evidently, at one time fine old place, are removed, to serve
as repairs for the adjoining farm-house, which was doubtless
a part of the same mansion. There is little now remaining
save a window or two, where the fine carved work may
still be seen, and a stone mantlepiece, on which a very
early date may be deciphered. This place is the property
of Mr. Bastard, of Kitley.
At the upper part of Blanks' Mill Creek is seen Alston,
the seat of the late Abraham Hawkins, Esq., author of
the "History of Kingsbridge" which was published in 1819.
This gentleman was a descendant of Sir John Hawkins,
who, as well as his son, Sir Richard, were both celebrated
navigators and naval commanders in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth. On the south of Alston, but scarcely to be seen
from the water, is Yarde House, in the parish of Mal-
borough. This is on the barton of Yarde, and was formerly
the residence of the family of that name, to whom, according
to Prince, it belonged for twenty generations. In the reign
of Richard II., a Yarde having married the heiress of Bussel,
their posterity changed their dwelling to Bradley. It then
came to the Dyers, in whose family it remained until the
male heirs became extinct. In 1765, Samuel Savery, Esq.,
succeeded to it, with other estates, in right of his great-
grandmother, whose maiden name was Dyer, from whom
it descended to Miss Burnell.* The name of Yarde still
continues in the Buller and other families.
In the middle of Wide-gates is an islet, or rock, called
the Salt-stone, about a hundred feet in length, and more
than fifty in breadth. "As it is extra-parochial," says
Hawkins, " and perhaps doubtful to whom it belongs, lying
nearly equi-distant from the parishes of Charleton, South
Pool, and Malborough, it is surprising that no one has
taken possession of it, to erect some building thereon for
speculative purposes." This remark leads some to think
that formerly the Salt- stone must have been considerably
more raised above high-water mark than it is at present;
others do not suppose this to be the case.
" The Earl of Devon claims to hold a Court of Admiralty
— a royal privilege granted by the Crown to his ancestors,
extending from this islet on the east to a place called
Shaggy Rock, in the river Aune 3 or Avon, which empties
itself into Bigbury Bay on the west, including the sea
coast between these limits, as far off as a man on horseback
can see an umber barrel; and by a jury of thirteen re-
spectable men, settles matters respecting salvage, pays the
amount, and preserves the property for the owners till
* It is now the property, by purchase, of T. W. Weymouth, Esq.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 123
claimed, when the same is delivered over, deducting only
what has been paid the salvors."*
It is traditional that in the old days of persecution, the
Nonconformists took advantage of the fact of this rock
being a sort of "no man's land," and accordingly resorted
thither at low water, in order to hold their meetings,
seeing that the "justices" could not legally interfere with
them there; not that these justices were always very par-
ticular as to the lawfulness of their proceedings. These
meetings appear to have been associated with the name
of Flavel rather more than that of John Hicks.
The Salt-stone is mentioned by Colonel Montagu in his
"Testacea Britannica," as the locality in which he procured
several marine animals ; amongst others, the Amphitrite
infundibundum, one of the molluscous tribe, which he
describes in the Transactions of the Linnsean Society; and
amongst the Crustacea he particularises Cancer astacus sub-
terraneus (we give the Colonel's own nomenclature, though
many changes have taken place in this respect since his
time). "This crab," he says, "is a new and curious
species, discovered in digging for Solen vagina." Of the
Solen vagina he remarks, "this shell has been usually
considered as rare in a living or recent state, but we have
lately had the good fortune to discover it in its native bed.
In a sand bank, near the Salt-stone, in the Estuary of
Kingsbridge, it is by no means uncommon at the depth
of two feet or more beneath the surface." Montagu also
says, that by far the finest specimens he ever saw of Bulla
hydatis were found on the south side of the Salt-stone.
The Turbo clathrus is found in the same locality. He
says, "as the animal becomes sickly by keeping for some
days in sea water, it frequently discharges a most beautiful
purple liquor. This circumstance was known to Plancus,
who observes that it is one of those shells which yields
the purple dye of the Mediterranean."
Kingsbridge Estuary is full of interest to the student in
natural history. Amongst the feathered tribes almost every
genus has its representative, either as an inhabitant, or an
occasional visitant. In winter these sheltered waters become
the rendezvous of a great variety of birds.
Many different kinds of gulls may be seen, preening
their delicate plumage, and enjoying the still, cold water,
or standing in groups on the shore, making the most
entertaining noises. Did you ever listen to them holding
forth in one of their conventicles ? (for they, too, frequent
the Salt-stone). If not, you have missed one of the most
amusing sounds of the sea shore. Frequently, herons are
seen, stalking silently about in search of their slippery
prey; while flocks of tringa are coursing over the mud
when the tide is low, industriously foraging for their daily
food; streams of wild ducks vary the scene; and to crown
all (if the weather is very severe) the Hooper, or wild
swan, with its snow-white plumage, and its gracefully-
arching neck, may be seen sailing along.*
Various sorts of fish are caught in the estuary, such as
millet, bass, eels, dabs, smelts, and mackerel. About sixty
years since, a large shoal of porpoises were seen rolling
up past Salcombe, apparently in hot pursuit of some of
their favourite prey (probably mackerel). It was about
* Mr. Henry Nicholls lias kindly furnished a list of birds which have
been found in the neighbourhood ; and also of butterflies. Both will be
found at the end of this book.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 125
half-tide, and it was ebbing rapidly. The fish passed over
what is called the "four hours' mud" into the shallow
water, the porpoises still pursuing, and intent on their
anticipated feast. At last they were seen to be flapping
and floundering about in a distressed manner, until it
became evident that sixteen of them were completely left
by the tide, and were stranded on the mud. The whole
of them were secured, and became a profitable speculation
to their captors.
Passing Wareham Point, and just at the mouth of the
Frogmore Creek, Halwell Wood rises from the water's edge.
Halwell House lies about half-a-mile from thence; it is in
the parish of South Pool. In Domesday Book, Halwell
is spelt Halgewelle, which is nearly the correct Saxon
spelling of Holywell. The wood used to be a favourite
resort for pleasure parties from Kingsbridge on a fine
summer's evening; and frequently a thin column of smoke
might be seen rising in the vicinity of the shed which
was erected for their accommodation; for a fire was some-
times extemporised, and the kettle boiled amongst the trees.
But since the Queen steamer has been available, the North
and South Sands have almost entirely superseded the wood
in the matter of picnics.
A murder was suspected to have been committed near
this spot many years ago. Nicholas Wood and another
man, who both lived at Kingsbridge, and worked at Sal-
combe for Mr. Strong, maltster, went down together in a
boat. They were apparently on good terms, but on re-
turning it appeared that, although both sober, they must
have disagreed about something, as Wood's companion was
overheard saying, "I'll settle thee before we get back to
Kingsbridge;" but this was thought nothing of at the
1 26 KINGSBRIDGE
time. It was nearly dark when they returned, or rather
when one of them returned, for Wood was never more
seen alive. Several persons bore witness to the fact of
having heard cries of murder in the direction of the water,
but being dark they did not ascertain the exact spot from
whence they proceeded; it was thought, however, that
some withheld their testimony lest through their means the
man's life would be forfeited; and so the affair remained
a mystery; but sixteen years afterwards, a human skeleton
was found buried beneath the beach on one of the points
of land, and kept down by large stones.
The village of Frogmore (which is partly in Charleton
and partly in Sherford parish) is situated at the head of
a navigable creek. Vessels of one hundred tons here load
and unload their cargoes; and there are lime kilns, coal
wharfs, and corn stores. There was formerly an extensive
flour mill in this village, but it was destroyed by fire about
the year 1845, and it has never been re-built, which is
somewhat surprising, considering the amount of water power
which would be available for working it. The ruins of
the mill, although gradually crumbling away, have been so
beautifully covered with ivy, and look so picturesque, that
strangers very commonly suppose them to be the remains
of an old monastery, which they closely resemble.*
There are some valuable slate quarries in the neigh-
bourhood of Frogmore. The Molescombe quarries were
first opened in the reign of Henry VIII. The Winslade
quarries were very old workings re-opened a few years
ago, but from repeatedly falling in, are, we believe, again
* "The Thames to the Taniar" has the following remark: — "At Frog-
more a decayed flour mill, covered with ivy, has received a kind of counterfeit
dignity, being generally taken for a ruined castle."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 127
abandoned. The watchful care of a superintending Provi-
dence was remarkably exemplified on the occasion of one
these fallings-in, and ought to be recorded. About thirty
men, we believe, were assembled by appointment, in order
to work at one particular spot, when it was discovered
that the man who had the key of the powder store was
absent; and after waiting some time for his return, they
dispersed, being unable to proceed with their work without
the blasting powder. In a very short time that part of the
quarry in which they ivould have been, but for this dis-
appointment, fell in, and entombed the two men who alone
were there, instead of the large number who were thus
providentially prevented from going. Although great exer-
tions were made at the time, yet the bodies of these two
poor fellows were not recovered for two or three years.
We should like to know that the men who experienced this
remarkable preservation were duly sensible of the great
mercy shewn them, and that thanksgivings arose in every
And now leaving the Frogmore creek, we are advancing
towards another, which soon divides into two branches, or,
as Hawkins expresses it, " with a bifurcated continuation ; "
that to the left leading to South Pool, while that towards
the right runs up to Waterhead, and almost to Chivelstone.
South Pool is said to have been formerly a part of the
parish of Stokenham. The church, which is dedicated to
St. Syriac, is a fine specimen of the perpendicular style,
with a lofty tower. The interior has transepts; the screen
is elaborately carved; and in the chancel is a handsome
altar tomb, or Easter Sepulchre, with a representation in
the front of the Resurrection. In this church there are
many handsome antique monuments.
The Rev. R. D. Alexander, the Incumbent of South Pool,
says (April 7th, 1873) : — "The church is mainly of fifteenth
century work. Our school, which everybody said was
absurdly large, &c, has proved a great success. Indeed,
the only mistake I made was that I did not build it large
enough; H. M. Inspector having twice told us he shall
expect to see a class-room built soon."
Risdon says, that "South Pole was the lands of the
Lord Nicholas de Pola in the time of King Henry I.,
whose son, the Lord William, went with King Richard I.
into the Holy Land: after whom Maurice de Pola held
this land. In South Pole is Scobbahull, and Chivelstone
the ancient inheritance of Scobbahull, which, from Robert,
in the reign of King Henry III., unto Robert, in King
Henry IV.'s time, remained in that name." Scobbahull,
or as it is now called Scobell, is not within sight from
the Estuary. Chivelstone is a small village, but the parish
extends southwards to the romantic sea cliffs between Start
and Prawle Points ; it includes the fishing village of Prawle,
and the hamlets of Ford and South Allington. The church
at Chivelstone is an ancient one, dedicated to St. Silvester;
this is the only church named in his honour in all England.
The old rood loft remains, and the pulpit is formed of a
solid block of wood.
"South Pole, in Kinge Henry I. tyme, the Lo. Nicolas
de Pola held; and Will a m Pomeray held it anno 27 of
Kinge Henry III,; anno 24 of Kinge Edw d I., John de Ciren-
cester was lorde thereof; anno 8 of Kinge Edw. II., Thomas
de Cirencester held the same; afterward, anno 19 of Kinge
Edw. III., S r Thomas Courtenay was Lord of South Pole,
from whom, by Peverell and Hungerford, it descended unto
Henry Hastings, Erie of Huntingdon, w cU sold this mannor
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 129
unto Walter Hele, of Gnawton; from, hym it descended
unto Samson Hele, the now lorde thereof."*
" Scobhull and Chevilston lieth in the parish of South
Pole, anciently Scobbahull, and belonginge unto y* name,
w ch I finde to have contynewed their possession their from
Kinge Henry III. tyme unto Kinge Henry V. tyme. * * *
This land came wholly unto Speccot, and is linealhy
descended unto Sir John Speccot." f
The rectory house of Portlemouth stands near the
entrance of this creek; it is a pleasant looking dwelling,
surrounded by trees, and overlooking the water.
Parts of the building are very ancient. An archway,
without a key-stone, the Rev. T. B. Wells says, is of the
time of Henry VII. or VIII. On the premises there is
a granary, which once formed a part of the old Kings-
bridge Barracks. At the time they were taken down,
this portion was purchased by Mr. Wells' father, and
re-erected in his yard. A few years ago a swarm of
bees took possession of part of the wood-work, and since
then two other swarms have migrated there also ; endea-
vours have been made to eject them, but unsuccessfully,
and the three separate families are still occupying this
The following account of a son of the rector of Portle-
mouth, is copied from the " Illustrated London News "
of December 27th, 1873.
" Lieutenant Lewis Fortescue Wells, R.N., late of H.M.S.
Barracouta, died at sea, on board the Biafra, on the 26th
ult. This gallant young officer, whose demise occurred
* Sir William Pole.
f Sir William Pole.
on his return from the West Coast of Africa, entered
the Navy in 1861, and since that period has been suc-
cessively employed in the allied expedition to Mexico,
for nearly four years on the China station (where he was
present at the bombardment of Kagosina and Simonassaki)
and afterwards on the North American station, as Sub-
Lieutenant in H.M.S. Royal Alfred. He became a Lieutenant
June 1st, 1869, and was subsequently appointed to the
training ship Indefatigable, and then to the Volage. In
March last Mr. Wells was made First Lieutenant of H.M.S.
Barracouta, which proceeded to the West Coast on the affairs
of the Ashantee expedition. While crossing the Bay of
Biscay the Lieutenant courageously leaped overboard, and
saved a man of his ship. On June 13th, at the action
at Elmina, he greatly distinguished himself by leading
a small body of Barracouta men against the Ashantees,
receiving the thanks of his commanding officers upon
the field for his great skill and decision.
He was subsequently thanked by the Commander-in-
Chief for gallantly landing despatches through a heavy
surf, and was afterwards left in command of a small naval
brigade at Abrakrampa, where, too, he rendered effective
service. The fatal fever of that region was the cause of
his untimely death. Lieutenant Wells was the second
son of the Rev. Thomas Bury Wells, rector of Portlemouth,
Devon, (formerly in the navy) by Catherine Frances, his
wife, eldest daughter of the Rev. William Stockdale, rector
of Wilby, Northamptonshire. His ancestors in the female
line were the old Devon race, the Fortescues of Fallapit."
In addition to the foregoing, it may be mentioned, that
at the time of his death, Lieutenant Wells was on his
way home, in order to take the command of Her Majesty's
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 131
yacht, the Victoria and Albert, to which important post
he had just been appointed. A portrait of this gentleman
appears in the "Graphic" of December 27th, 1873.
The Church at Portlemouth, which is dedicated to
St. Onolaus, stands on very high ground, and commands
extensive views of the neighbourhood. It is an ancient
cruciform edifice, somewhat dilapidated, but contains a very
beautifully carved oak screen. The stone font is also very
ancient ; but we could not learn the probable date of either
font or screen. At the west end of the churchyard there
is a lych-gate, not uncommon in Devonshire, but seldom
seen elsewhere. ? Some of the inscriptions on the tombstones
are becoming almost obliterated by time and exposure to the
weather — indeed we looked in vain for some of the old
epitaphs which were legible a few years ago, and failed
altogether to discover a curious one which we copied not
many years since, respecting a master who had been
poisoned by his servant girl. It was as follows : —
"Through poison strong he was cut off,
And brought to deajh at last;
It was by his apprentice girl,
On whom there's sentence past.
may all people warning take,
For she was burned to a stake !"
The tombstone bears date May 25th, 1782, and the
execution of the criminal was performed at Exeter; but in
her case the burning did not take place until after death
by hanging. This is the last recorded instance in the
country, it is believed, of the infliction of burning as a
punishment for poisoning.
Very different are the relations between master and
servant recorded in the following inscription : —
132 . KINGSBRIDGE
The Memory of
Who departed this life
On the 25th Jan 1 - 1835 ;
Aged 26 years.
by Mr. Jackson, of the Moult, as a testimony of his sincere
regret for the loss of a most valuable servant, whose many
excellent qualities caused him to be respected and lamented
by all who knew him."
On another stone, over the remains of a child, aged two
years, we read these lines : —
"Death takes the good,
Too good on earth to stay,
And leaves the bad,
Too bad to take away."
(A sentiment, by the way, not particularly gratifying to
A white stone cross (on which, for a considerable time,
hung a wreath of "immortelles") bears the following
inscription : —
"In memory of
John Dyker, eldest son
of John Dyker and Jane Thew,
of Kings Lynn, Norfolk,
who was drowned
off Prawle Point, Dec r 10th,
1868; aged 16 years."
Many are the tombstones in this churchyard, overlooking
the sea, on which is inscribed the mournful word drowned.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 133
Jewitt, in his History of Plymouth, says — " When a sea-
port from which a ship was required for the King's service
was too poor to furnish it, the neighbouring towns were
ordered to contribute for the purpose. Thus in 1310, when
the inhabitants of Dartmouth declared that they were unable
to maintain a ship and its crew, orders were sent to the
people of Totnes, Brixham, Portlemouth, and Kingsbridge,
to assist those of Dartmouth, on the occasion."
The mention of Portlemouth, rather than Salcombe, has
been suggested as " strongly indicative that Portlemouth was
more important than Salcombe, in the time of Edward II.,
and probably the harbour was Portlemouth Harbour rather
than Salcombe Harbour at that time."*
Taking the lane on the right hand of the church at
Portlemouth, you pass through the little village of Rickham,
and about three-quarters of a mile further on reach the
coast-guard station, situated near the top of the fine bold
cliffs. The row of houses presents a neat and substantial
appearance, and attached to each one is a well-cultivated
little plot of garden ground. The rocket apparatus, for
saving life from shipwrecks, occupies a detached building
close to the flag-staff.
From the look-out rock a fine sea view is obtained : the
Start on the left, and the Bolt Head on the right.
Iron mines have, until lately, been worked by a company,
just beneath the station, the quality of the ore being better
than at other portions of the coast. Some little distance on
the left is a bold arched rock, always called by the coast-
guard " Temple Bar : " it is not approachable by land at
any tide. From this rock the jagged outline of the point on
* So also, Kingswear is said to be of greater antiquity than even
which the Start Lighthouse is built may be seen. Rickham
was one of the Fitzroy storm-signal stations.
An amusing circumstance is narrated of a party of ex-
cursionists, who a few years since were rounding the point
from whence the flag-staff came in view, and they imagined
the collapsed drum (signifying "fine weather") hoisted on
the mast to have been a teakettle, which some of the party
had thus hoisted as a sort of telegraphic intimation that tea
It appears by the Domesday survey, that not long
before that survey was taken, Thurlestone, Portlemouth,
West Alvington, Collaton-Prawle, East Sewer, and other
manors on the southern coast, were laid waste by the
In King's "Dartmoor," we find it stated that Godwin
and Edmund, the sons of King Harold, fled into Ireland
with the greater part of the Saxon fleet; that in the
spring of 1068 they landed on the coast of Somerset-
shire, where they were met by Ednoth, who had been a
"leader of the army," under their father Harold, but
who had now become the liege man of the Conqueror.
A battle took place in which many fell on both sides,
amongst whom was Ednoth : and the sons of Harold,
having plundered the coasts of Devon and Cornwall,
returned again to Ireland. Here they received fresh
assistance from Dermot, King of Dublin : and in the
following year again appeared off Exeter, with a fleet of
sixty-six ships, and a numerous army. From Exeter
they plundered along the southern coasts ; and the line
of their ravages may be traced from the Domesday
survey, which tells us how the manors lying along the
coast from Dartmouth to Kingsbridge were " laid waste
by the Irishmen."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 135
The little seaport town of Salcombe is seen to the greatest
advantage from the Portlemouth side of the harbour;
indeed, Ringrone, Woodcot, and some other villas, are so
embosomed in trees, that they are scarcely discoverable to
a passer-by on the same side of the water.
Strangers who are desirous of obtaining the view in
question, (if they are going from Kingsbridge to Salcombe
by the Queen Steamer), can be landed at " Dutch
End," and after spending a little time in a ramble on
the Portlemouth shore, they can proceed to the Ferry
House, from whence the boat will readily convey them
across to Salcombe.
CHAPTER X£ IX.
" Silvery bays
Are seen, where commerce lifts the peaceful sail ;
The indented coast
Frowns with wave-breasting rocks, and cliffs high crowned,
And flags that wave in the fresh ocean gale."
In Leland's Itinerary (temp. Hen. VII.) Salcombe is thus
described : — " Saultcombe Haven sumwhat barrid, and having
a Rok at the entering into it, is about a vij miles by West
South West from Dertmouth ; and aboute half a mile within
the mouth of this Haven, longing to the Privileges of Dert-
mouth, is Saultcombe, a fishar towne and a three miles upper
at this Haven Hedde is Kingesbridg, sumtyme a praty
Town. The Est Point of Saultcombe Haven is a great
Foreland into the Se, caulled the Sterte."
Salcombe is a port under Dartmouth, and the out-port of
Kingsbridge. Foreign vessels sometimes land their mails
here, when prevented by stress of weather from proceeding
to their usual ports. It is often used as a harbour of refuge,
and has safe anchorage for about two hundred ships.
Hawkins thus describes the situation of this place : —
" Salcombe lies between those two well-known points of land,
the Prawle and the Bolt Head, the former on the oriental,
the latter on the occidental side, which last, rising to a
tremendous height, discloses the resemblance of a human
profile, while the projection immediately opposite, and nearly
two miles within the Prawle, called Peartree Point (being
part of Rickham Common), is low and flat."
The town of Salcombe does not present a very attractive
appearance on first entering it. The streets are narrow and
ill-paved, and the shops by no means first-rate, but great
improvements have taken place of late years; many new
houses have been built, and there is a prospect of its
becoming a place of much more importance than it has
hitherto been, especially if the Kingsbridge Railway should
ever be opened, and the proposed extension to Salcombe
The coast scenery around is very fine, and the climate
exceedingly mild ; indeed, it is considered the warmest place
on the south-west coast. The celebrated Dr. John Huxham,
who practised at Plymouth in the reign of George II., used
to call it " the Montpellier of England ; " and Humboldt
says " its mean temperature is but 2 A Farht. below that of
Montpellier and of Florence." Invalids resort thither for
shelter during the winter months, and doubtless will do so
to a much greater extent when there is more accommodation
provided for them than is to be found there at present.
The manor of Salcombe belongs to the Earl of Devon,
whose steward holds a court leet and court baron here, and
appoints the constables. He is also Lord of the Manors of
Malborough, Ilton,* East Sewer, Bolbury, Batson, Collaton-
Prawle, Hope, &c.
* " Uton, or Ithdstone Castle, was the ancient dwelling of Bozun, in
King Henry II.'s time, whose inheritance after some descents, was divided
between two daughters ; the one married Sir Hugh Ferrers, and the other
The old Salcorabe chapel, which had gone to decay for
some centuries (it was licensed by Bishop Stafford in 1401),
was re-built, partly by subscription, but chiefly at the
expense of James Yates, Esq., formerly of Woodville. It
was afterwards augmented with Queen Anne's Bounty, but
being too small for the greatly increased population, it has
given place to Salcombe District Church, dedicated to the
" Holy Trinity," erected by subscription and grants in 1843,
at the cost of £2,605.
The east window is enriched with stained glass, given by
Viscount Courtenay (now Earl of Devon). The perpetual
curacy is in the patronage of the Vicar of West Alvington.
The present incumbent has a handsome modern residence,
a little out of the town.
Until rather recently almost all funerals took place at
Malborough; consequently there are no tombstones of
ancient date to be found in Salcombe Churchyard. This
yard is planted with aloes, yuccas, myrtles, and other
The Wesleyan minister at present stationed at Salcombe
has kindly furnished the following facts relative to the com-
mencement of Methodism in that place : —
"Methodism was introduced into Salcombe shortly after
its appearance at Kingsbridge, I think about the year 1809
or 1811, but it is impossible on this point to be strictly
accurate, as I find no documents that throw any light upon
Sir John Chiverstone, who had this house. Two Knights of this tribe
succeeded, the son and grandson of Sir John, who dying without issue,
settled this land on his father-in-law, Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon, to
which family it now belongs." Ilton Castle has so long been in ruins, that
in the middle of the eighteenth century nothing was to be seen except a
heap of brambles, which having been cleared away .about the year 1780, the
traces of the foundation of a square building, flanked with turrets, were
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 139
the subject. A room near the present Market Hall was first
used for Divine worship, and afterwards the Infant Society-
removed to another in Buckley. The next migration
was to the site of the present chapel at the Island ; then
occupied by a pretty looking cottage. This was bought and
turned into a preaching house, which soon became too small
for the worshippers. At this early stage a Sunday School
had been commenced, and was in so flourishing a condition
as to call for some special accommodation for the children,
beyond what the already enlarged structure would afford.
After successive alterations and enlargements the house
was taken down, and, in 1 824, a chapel was built, which in
its turn gave place to the present much larger edifice, which
consists of a fair-sized, substantially-built chapel, with school
room and vestries on the ground floor. This was in 1849,
since which date the gallery has been extended along each
side, an organ has been introduced, and the accommodation
from time to time improved. The present congregation is
large enough on ordinary occcasions comfortably to fill the
chapel, and the Sunday School, consisting of nearly two
hundred children, loudly calls for some further addition to
The " Plymouth Brethren" have a Room at Salcombe, in
which their meetings] are held ; and we believe there is also
a small gathering of the body calling themselves the " Catholic
Apostolic Church." In August, 1 866, the Baptists commenced
holding their services in the Town Hall at Salcombe, and in
April, 1868, the Earl of Devon was applied to, and granted a
site on which they might build a chapel. The foundation
stone was laid on June 24th, 1869, by Mr. Peter Adams, of
Plymouth, and the chapel was opened June 22nd, 1871. At
the evening meeting, after the opening, the pastor, the Rev.
F. Pugh, on behalf of his late wife's mother, presented for
the use of the church, a silver communion service, engraved
with the following inscription : — " Presented to the Trustees
for the use of the church worshipping in Courtenay Park
Chapel, Salcombe, June 22nd, 1871, by E. W., Mother of
Eliza, the beloved wife of Frederic Pugh, first pastor of the
said church, who departed this life, November 29th, 1870,
The National School at Salcombe was built in 1847; and
there is, besides, a flourishing Infant School.*
There are Shipwrights' yards from which many fine clipper-
built vessels are turned out ; indeed this may be considered
the principal trade of the place. The facilities for launching
vessels, of almost any burden, are great ; and of subsequently
fitting them up, without leaving the port.
You will find at Salcombe those usual accompaniments of
a sea-port town, viz., a Custom House, and a Coast-guard
station. Among the various societies and institutions, an
important one is that of the Salcombe Shipping Association.
The Gas-works, which were erected in the little creek,
almost close to Salcombe, called Shadycombe, were opened in
"The new Pier, or landing place at Orestone,t Salcombe,
was built in the summer of 1871, by public subscription,
to which the Harbour Commissioners, the Earl of Devon,
and the shareholders of the Queen steamer Co., were the
chief subscribers. The stones used for the work were taken
from Limebury, with the exception of the steps which
are Cornish granite. The whole is covered with a thick
coat of Portland cement, and fenced with a stout fence of
A new National school-room for girls is about to be built in the town,
f Hawkins calls this place "Hoar, or Old Stone."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 141
iron tubing. The work was very satisfactorily executed
by Messrs. George Stear & Sons, of Salcombe, under the
superintendence and from the designs of Mr. John Wills,
of Dodbrooke. While this erection facilitates the landing
from boats at low water, it is a matter for regret that its
length was curtailed in deference to the wish of some of
the leading shipowners of Salcombe, who apprehended a
danger to sailing vessels in tacking. It is admitted, how-
ever, on all hands, that the original design, which was
twenty feet longer, might have been carried out with the
greatest possible advantage."*
This new pier is a great accommodation to passengers
in the ferry-boat which plies between Salcombe and the
Portlemouth shore, being exactly opposite the ferry-house.
The following report respecting a proposed "Oyster and
Mussel Fishery " is extracted from a more lengthy account
which appeared in the Kingsbridge Journal of October 7th,
1871, and of May 4th, 1872.
"A meeting of the inhabitants of Salcombe and neighbour-
hood was held in the Town Hall on Friday afternoon last,
for the purpose of considering the application made by
Capt. Russell, of Gillingham, Kent, to the Board of Trade,
for permission to lay down oyster and mussel beds in the
river, from Keeve Mud to the Ferry. Capt. W. H. Webb
Capt. Hill pointed out the importance of the issues in-
volved. He stated that if Mr. Russell obtained the permission
he sought from the Board of Trade, and laid down the
oyster beds he contemplated, the harbour and immediate
approaches to the port of Salcombe would be practically
* Information from Mr. J. Wills.
under his control, and mariners would be legally compelled
to ask his permission before anchoring their ships, or to
enter over his ground. Such an assumption of authority
would prevent dredging for scallops and netting by the
fishermen of Salcombe, and a very large number of them
would thus be thrown out of employment, especially in
winter. Capt. Hill having pointed out the disastrous conse-
quences of the granting of the application, proposed the
following resolution: 'That, having regard to the com-
mercial and shipping interests of the port of Salcombe, this
meeting considers that the application of Captain Jonathan
Russell to the Board of Trade for an oyster and mussel
fishery, from Keeve Mud to Salcombe Ferry, would be most
injurious to those having charge of the harbour, as well
as to the inhabitants of the neighbourhood.'
Rev. T. B. Wells remarked that it had been an un-
interrupted privilege throughout generations for the in-
habitants to dredge in the river for oysters and scallops.
£500 worth of scallops were caught during the winter
of 1869. He proposed 'That this meeting uses every
legitimate means to oppose the establishment of oyster
and mussel fisheries in Salcombe river.'
Capt. Sladen moved 'That a memorial be prepared, pe-
titioning against the grant, that the memorial be taken
round to the inhabitants of the district for their signatures,
and then forwarded to the Board of Trade; also, that a
copy be sent to Capt. Russell.'
These resolutions were seconded and carried."
Notwithstanding the universal feeling against this measure,
and the general belief that, if carried out, it would be a
serious injury to the neighbourhood, the Board of Trade
decided on " granting to Mr. Russell a several oyster and
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 143
mussel fishery, from Snapes Point to Salt-stone Rock, instead
of from the Passage-way to Keeve Mud, as applied for. Mr.
Russell will not be allowed to interfere in any manner
with any persons using seine, tuck, or other nets, which
do not fish for or take oysters. This order will continue
in operation for sixty years from its confirmation by Act
Ringrone House, a little out of Salcombe, is a handsome
marine villa, with terraced gardens extending quite to the
water's edge. Until his lamented death, which took place
in April of this year (1874), it was the residence of the
Right Honourable Michael Conrade de Courcy, Lord Kingsale,
respecting whom the following account appeared in the
Illustrated London Neius of April 25th, 1874: —
"The Right Honourable Michael Conrade de Courcy,
thirtieth Lord Kingsale, Baron Courcy of Courcy, and Baron
of Ringrone, Premier Baron in the Peerage of Ireland, died
at Salcombe on the 15th instant. His Lordship was born
December 21st, 1828; the second son of John Stapleton,
twenty-eighth Lord Kingsale, by Sarah his wife, second
daughter of Joseph Chadder, Esq.; and inherited the title at
the decease of his brother, June 15th, 1865. He was not
married, and is succeeded by his cousin, John Fitzroy de
Courcy, born March 30th, 1821, now thirty-first Baron, who
is son of the late Lieutenant-Colonel, the Honourable Gerald
de Courcy, fourth son of John, twenty-sixth Lord Kingsale.
The historic and very ancient family of which the deceased
lord was the representative, was founded in Ireland by the
famous soldier Sir John de Courcy, created Earl of Ulster in
1181, and granted the privilege that he and his successors
(after first obeisance being paid) should remain covered in
the presence of the King and all future Sovereigns of
England. The privilege is still enjoyed by the Lords
Kingsale, whose right to it was confirmed by William III.,
George I., and Queen Victoria."
Ringrone was built on the site of a former house by the
twenty-eighth Baron, John Stapleton de Courcy, who died
in 1847, and was buried in Malborough church, where there
is a monument to his memory, of white marble, surmounted
by the arms of the family, and motto, "Vincit omnia
Veritas" (Truth conquers all things). It bears the fol-
lowing inscription : —
"This Monument is erected to perpetuate the memory
of the Right Honourable John Stapleton de Courcy, 28th
Baron Kingsale, and Premier Baron of Ireland, whose
ancestors have obtained for themselves laurels which time
can never wither. He died at Ringrone House, in this
Parish, justly lamented, on the 7th day of January, 1847;
aged 42 years.
Also the Honourable William Everard de Courcy, third
son of the above, who was born the 11th day of January,
1832, and died the 25th day of May in the same year."
The particulars respecting the De Courcy family were
mostly gathered from a work on the "Aristocracy of the
Empire," by Richard Sprye.
" The family of Courcy claims alliance with most of
the royal houses of Europe, paternally through the Dukes
of Lorraine, and maternally through the ducal house of
Normandy. Louis IV., King of France, born in 920, married
in 939, Gerberga, daughter of Henry I., Emperor of Ger-
many, by whom he had two sons, Lotharius, who suc-
ceeded to the French throne (and with whose son, Louis
V., the race of monarchs descended from Charlemagne
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 145
ceased,) and Charles Duke of Lorraine whose immediate
descendant, Robert de Courcy, was Lord of Courcy, in
Normandy, in 1006,* and was succeeded by his eldest
son Richard de Courcy, who accompanied his sovereign
William into England, and distinguished himself at the
battle of Hastings, participated largely in the Conqueror's
.spoil, having been allotted numerous lordships, amongst
which was that of Stoke, County Somerset, and thence
denominated Stoke Courcy." (Passing over four descents,
we reach the name of) " Sir John Courcy, who having
distinguished himself temp. Henry II., in that monarch's
wars in England and Gascony, was sent into Ireland, in the
year 1177, as an assistant to William Fitz-Adelm, in the
government of that kingdom. Sir John having prevailed
upon some of the veteran soldiery to accompany him,
invaded the province of Ulster with twenty-two knights,
fifty esquires, and about three hundred foot soldiers; and
after many hard-fought battles, succeeded in attaching that
quarter of the kingdom to the English monarchy — for
which important service he was created, in 1181 (being
the first Englishman dignified with an Irish title of honour),
Earl of Ulster. His lordship continued in high favour
during the remainder of the reign of his royal master, and
performed prodigies of valour in Ireland; but upon the
accession of King John, his splendour and rank having
excited the envy of Hugh de Lacie, appointed Governor of
Ireland by that monarch, the Earl of Ulster was treacherously
* About midway between Amiens and Laon in France, stands Courcy
castle, a great object of attraction to visitors, and among the finest of the
kind in France or Western Europe. The most conspicuous remains are one
entire wing, with great corner towers, and, rising above all, the massive
circular keep, a solid machicolatcd pile, 190 feet "high, and 30 to 32 feet
seized (while performing penance) unarmed and barefooted,
in the churchyard of Down-Patrick, on Good Friday, anno
1203, and sent over to England, where the King condemned
him to perpetual imprisonment in the tower, and granted
to Lacie all the Earl's possessions in Ireland.
After his lordship had been in confinement about a year,
a dispute happening to arise between King John and Philip
Augustus of France, concerning the Duchy of Normandy,
the decision of which being referred to single combat, King
John (more hasty than advised) appointed the day, against
which the King of France provided his champion ; but the
King of England, less fortunate, could find no one of his
subjects willing to take up the gauntlet, until his captive in
the tower, the gallant Earl of Ulster, was prevailed upon to
accept the challenge. But when everything was prepared
for the contest, and the champions had entered the lists, in
presence of the monarchs of England, France, and Spain,
the opponent of the Earl, seized with a sudden panic, put
spurs to his horse, and fled the arena; whereupon the victory
was adjudged with acclamation to the champion of England.
The French King being informed, however, of the Earl's
powerful strength, and wishing to witness some exhibition
of it, his lordship, at the desire of King John, cleft a massive
helmet in twain at a single blow. The King was so well
satisfied with this signal performance, that he not only
restored the earl to his estates and effects, but desired him to
ask anything within his gift, and it should be granted. To
which Ulster replied, that having estates and titles enough,
he desired that his successors might have the privilege (their
first obeisance being paid) to remain covered in the presence
of his majesty, and all future Kings of England; which
request was immediately conceded. This heroic warrior and
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 147
able statesman died in France, about the year 1210, and was
succeeded by his only son, Miles, upon whom Henry III.
conferred the Barony of Kinsale,* in Ireland, as a compen-
sation for the Earldom of Ulster, which was retained by
Hugo de Lacie.
For five centuries afterwards the honours descended
regularly. (But we pass on to) "Almericus, twenty-third
baron, outlawed in 1691 for his adhesion to the fortunes of
James II., but the outlawry was very soon removed, and his
lordship took his seat in the parliament of Ireland, in 1692.
This nobleman, in observance of the ancient privilege of his
house, appeared in the presence of King William, covered,
and explained to that monarch, when his majesty expressed
surprise at the circumstance, the reason thus : — ' Sire, my
name is Courcy. I am Lord of Kinsale, in your majesty's
kingdom of Ireland ; and the reason of my appearing covered
in your majesty's presence is to assert the ancient privilege
of my family, granted to Sir John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster,
and his heirs, by John, King of England.' The King
acknowledged the privilege, and giving the baron his hand
to kiss, his lordship paid his obeisance, and continued
covered." He died in 1719, and was buried in Westminster
Abbey, where his tomb may be seen.
It is left on record that his successors, Gerald, twenty-
fourth baron ; John, twenty-sixth baron ; and John Con-
stantine, twenty-ninth baron; on different occasions "exer-
cised this ancient privilege of their ancestors."
A fine specimen of the American Aloe flowered last year
(1873) in the grounds at Ringrone House. The continuance
of a colder atmosphere than is usually experienced here, just
* We know not when the family of De Courcy first adopted the present
mode of spelling the name King sale : it was clearly not so at first.
at the time that heat was desirable, probably prevented this
noble plant from attaining the height it would otherwise
have done. Twenty-six feet was about the length of the
flower stem. The photograph accompanying these pages
was taken from this plant.
The Journal of Horticulture of September 5th, 1872,
sa y S — "The first of our herbalists who mentions the
American Aloe is Parkinson. In his ' Theatrum Botanicum,'
published in 1640, he says — 'It grew first in America,
which being brought into Spaine, was from thence spread
into all quarters.' He also observes on its early flowering
in the hotter countries, 'but never in these colder,' so that
at that time we may conclude it had not flowered in
England, although we know that it had flowered in France
and Italy. ^ ^ # This Agave is not merely an orna-
ment, for, as stated by Dr. Hogg, in his ' Vegetable
Kingdom,' the root as well as the leaves yield excellent
fibre, called Pita fibre, which is separated by bruising and
steeping them in water. The Mexicans make their paper
of this fibre."
The following paper, which was contributed to the
Gardeners' Chronicle, in October, 1842, by John Lus-
combe, Esq., of Combe Royal, will doubtless be read with
interest. It was kindly lent by the author, with permission
THE SALCOMBE ALOES.
"Believing that there is no part of England, where so
many plants of the Agave Americana have grown to maturity
in the open ground, without the slightest protection, I am
induced to send you a brief statement of the specimens that
have flowered at Salcombe, a small seaport near Kings-
bridge, in the South of Devon. The first on record bloomed
KINGSBRIDGE 1 5 1
in 1774,* being then only twenty-eight years old: it grew
in the garden of Cliff House, a residence (as its name implies)
within a few yards of the sea. In the middle of June the
plant was first observed to have shot forth a flower-stem,
which grew rapidly, and advanced about nine inches daily,
until at the end of September it had attained the height of
twenty-eight feet, bearing innumerable flowers on forty-two
branches : its leaves were nine feet long and six inches wide.
In 1820 a second Aloe flowered at Woodville, the seat of the
late James Yates, Esq., which attained the height of twenty-
seven feet, and produced forty flowering branches, bearing
sixteen thousand flowers: this plant is fully described in
the fifth volume of the ' Transactions of the Horticultural
Society.' In 1832 a third flowered at the Moult, the seat of
W. Jackson, Esq., which was twenty-eight feet high. The
lawn at Woodville was again ornamented in 1835 with the
almost countless blossoms of this most stately exotic : the
stem of this specimen was twenty-four feet nine inches in
height, forming the fourth Aloe that had flowered here. In
the Autumn of 1840 a fifth flowered at the Moult, and was
* Hawkins gives a copy of a handbill which was printed and circulated
at the time this Aloe was flowering. It is as follows : —
" Now to be seen at SALCOMBE, near
KINGSBBIDGE, in full blow,
A Remarkable ALLOE,
Supposed to be the largest ever seen in this kingdom ; and although
continually exposed to the Weather, it hath grown to the following
Dementions : —
In height 20 Of
Length of the leaf „ 9
Thickness of ditto 6
As the Proprietor hath been at great expenses to keep it for the Inspection
of the Curious, the Terms of admission are, for Ladies and Gentlemen
2s. 6d. each ; all others at one shilling each person, and to be paid at the
t It afterwards grew eight feet more.
twenty- seven feet in height : this plant was transplanted the
previous year, which perhaps threw it into bloom, as the
leaves were not quite so large as those of its predecessors.
At the present time (1842) a sixth Aloe is coming into bloom
at Cliff House, the residence of Mrs. Prideaux. This plant
is between thirty and thirty-five years of age, and is inferior
in beauty to the others that have bloomed at Salcombe, as
instead of sending up a central flower-stem, seven stalks
have protruded themselves from different parts, the principal
of which are about ten feet high. From this circumstance
the peculiar character of the plant is lost, and it is at present
a mass of stems and flower-stalks, upon which only one or
two blossoms have yet expanded. At each of the places
mentioned, many fine young Aloes, of large size, are growing
luxuriantly; and in another small garden, overhanging the
sea, and constantly exposed in stormy weather to the spray,
five magnificent specimens are manifesting more than ordi-
It may not, perhaps, be out of place to speak of Salcombe
itself, and the other tender plants that flourish there. It is
a populous village,* carrying on a considerable trade, and
situated between Torquay and Plymouth. At the west end
are Cliff House, and the mansion of Lord Kingsale, with
other respectable abodes, and towards the entrance of the
harbour, which is about a mile from the village, are placed
in their wooded grounds the delightful residences of Wood-
ville and the Moult. From the south-west gales, which in
this part of Devon blow with such resistless violence, the
harbour is entirely protected by the magnificent head-land,
called the Bolt Head, and from the storms from other
quarters by lofty hills on almost every side. In point of
* So denominated when this paper was written, but decidedly a town now
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 153
picturesque scenery, there are few portions of the coast that
exceed it, while the various tender plants which it displays
^render it a spot of no ordinary interest to the horticulturist.
At Woodville there is a wall of thriving Orange, Lemon,
and Citron trees, protected only by temporary frames of reed.
Near them stood, a few years since, a large Olive tree, trained
also against a wall, but wholly unprotected, and there is still
a specimen in the grounds. The luxuriance of the New
Zealand Flax is remarkable, some immense masses being
more than seven feet high. The beauty of these plants is
great, as they evince the strongest health, and are uninjured
by the severest Devonshire winters. Two smaller plants have
blossomed, the flower-stalks being between two and three feet
higher than the leaves.
At the Moult, a great number of exotics have been
planted in the open air, and the grounds at the present
moment are gay with Dahlias, Salvias, Petunias, Seneceos,
Sollyas, Bouvardias, Pelargoniums, and Brugmassias. The
last-named shrubs stand the winters well; and though often
cut down to the ground, form strong plants by the end
of the summer. There are also some fine specimens of
Cassias, New Holland Acacias, an interesting species of
Eucalyptus (raised from seed) marked ' White Gum.' A
still finer species, called the 'Blue Gum,' (the fragrance
of which was very perceptible after rain) was killed by
the severity of the winter of 1840-1. Various herbaceous
plants from Mexico, particularly Stevias, are perfectly ac-
climatized; and a species of Phytolacca is conspicuous
from its numerous spikes of deep purple berries. Until
the intense cold we experienced a few years since, the
varieties of Cape Pelargonium had formed immense bushes,
and were everywhere rising from self-sown seeds. A
splendid Ipomoea, apparently allied to, if not identical
with, I. Tyrianthina, raised from South American seeds,
nourished for several years at the foot of a wall, but
was destroyed by the incessant rain of last winter. It
had a fleshy root, and its twining stems, which perished
in December, bore an abundance of rich purple flowers,
of large size." * * *
Some few years after this paper was written, four Aloes
were in flower at one time at Salcombe, in different gardens
there; and last year (1873) a fine one flowered in the
grounds at Ringrone, as we have previously stated.
There are many good and attractive residences in and
around Salcombe, but we cannot attempt to mention them
all. Adjoining the Ringrone grounds (on the Salcombe
side) are the terraced gardens belonging to Cliff House;
one way of approach to them from the house being by a
bridge thrown across the road.
Woodville, now called Woodcot, was built in the year
1797, by James Yates, Esq. It is now the property and
residence of Major-General Birdwood. The windows of
the villa, which are shaded by a colonade, command a
fine view of the Bolt Head, and the rocks and high hills
of Portlemouth. The grounds are tastefully laid out, and
abound with evergreens and flowering shrubs. Oranges,
Lemons, and Citrons, are produced here in great luxuriance.
Hawkins, when referring to this place, speaks of "a large
camera obscura, fixed on a perpendicular rock"; of "a sort
of quay, with a mock parapet, and small swivels to fire a
royal salute"; and of "a sinuous enclosure for retaining
and preserving fish in their natural element." All these,
excepting the small quay with the mock parapet, are now
things of the past.
"One lonely turret, shattered and out-worn,
Stands venerably proud— too proud to mourn
Its long-lost grandeur."
Perhaps no period of English history is more momentous
than that of the Civil Wars, in the time of Charles I.; nor
was the share which this neighbourhood and the adjacent
towns had in these events of inferior importance.
Long before the rebuilding of the castle at Salcombe,
collisions took place between the forces of. the King and
the Parliament in this neighbourhood. The Royalists were
quartered at Tavistock, Plympton, and Modbury.f Ply-
mouth seems to have supported the Parliament throughout,
and shewed a remarkable spirit of disaffection; and being
strong, often sallied out to the Royalists at Plympton,
Modbury, and elsewhere, generally bringing back prisoners,
and arms, and also cattle. |
In 1642, Sir Edmund Fortescue was High Sheriff of
Devon. He has been known to us mostly as being Governor
* Although this chapter is headed " Fort Charles," yet it includes many
particulars respecting the Civil Wars, as affecting this neighbourhood
of Salcombe Castle, and maintaining a gallant resistance
for a lengthened period; but it seems this was far from
being all he did for the Royalist cause. From the first,
he had shewn great activity on behalf of the King, and
his bravery and daring were known to his opponents, inso-
much that they speak of him at this date as " a very
Early in February, 1642, Sir Edmund's head quarters
being at Plympton, he had gone over to Modbury to meet
other gentlemen of distinction in the county, and the trained
bands, when they were attacked suddenly by a party of
five hundred horse from the garrison at Plymouth; and
the men being seized with a sudden panic, under the im-
pression that the forces of the enemy were more numerous,
took flight, and Sir Edmund Fortescue and the other gentle-
men were taken prisoners. The particulars are found in
the following quotation.
"The Commanders of the garison at Plymouth having
had intelligence that the High Sheriffe of that Shire, by
name Sir Edmund Fortescue, a very great malignant, lay
at Modburie, where the trained bands, by virtue of his
' Posse comitatus,' met also Avith him that day, the Cavaliers'
chief quarters being then at Plympton, which was within
three miles of them; hereupon they thus formed their
designs. Very early in the morning, Capt. Thompson, Capt.
Pym, Capt. Gould, and some others, with five hundred horse
and dragooners, marched to go away privately northward
towards Rowbardown, as if they meant to go to Tavistock;
but suddenly wheeling about, they came secretly to Mod-
burie, where, in Master Champnon's house,* they found
* This was Modbury House, the residence of the Champernowne family
from the time of Edward II. to the end of the seventeenth century. The
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 157
the High Sheriffe, with divers other gentlemen of quality,
and two thousand trained souldiers and volunteers, who
presently, on their approach, crying out 'The Troopers are
come/ most swiftly all ran away, many of them leaving
their arms behind them. The house fore-mentioned was
instantly beset, where the High Sheriffe stood stoutly on
his defence, till the house was fired, and the assailants
breaking in upon them, possessed the house, and took
there divers prisoners, to the number of twenty eminent
persons of those parts, among whom were Sir Edmund
Fortescue, High Sheriffe of the County, Sir Ed. Seimour,
Baronet, Mr. Ed. Seimour, Mr. Basset, Capt. Champnoon,
Capt. Pomeroy, Capt. Bidlock, Capt. Peter Fortescue, Mr.
Barnes, Mr. Shipton, Clerk of the Peace, and others. After
this, they marched with their prisoners towards Dartmouth."*
The following extracts are from an old pamphlet of the
same month and year, bearing the date, Plymouth, Feb.
" On Tuesday last all the Devonshire forces met at Kings-
bridge, and marched towards Modbury — they were in all, as
is supposed, eight or nine thousand, at the least — and came
to Modbury about noon, where the Cavaliers had strongly
fortified themselves with brest Workes, and laid all the hedges
round about the Towne, for half a mile's compasse, with
Musquetiers. There went from hence the London Gray-
coats and about four hundred Horse and Dragooners, who
came time enough to doe good service. But the Bastable
site was sold in 1705, find the family seat is now at Dartington, near Totnes.
One of the Champernownes was the mother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and,
by a second marriage, the mother also of Sir Walter Raleigh. Sir Edmund
Fortescue was descended from the Champernownes through his grandmother.
* For this account, obtained at the British Museum, and for many
particulars of the siege of Fort Charles, from the same source, we are
indebted to Mr. John Hooper.
and Biddeford men were the first that came on, before
they were aware, about halfe a mile ere they came to the
Towne, not expecting to be charged by the enemy so soone,
yet so forward and desperate were the Cavalliers that they
let flye amaine upon them, but did little or no execution,
nor did abate the courage of their assailants ; but the
Bastable men went on with such abundance of resolution
as if they feared not bullets, and the whole Army comming
up, and our men joyning with them, they beate the Caval-
liers from hedge to hedge. The fight beganne about one
of the clocke at noone; and towards night they drave
most of them into the Towne, and to their Works, where
they made a very hot defense, and had many men slaine,
which they perceiving, and our Forces having beaten them
out of their Works, the chiefe of them privately stole away
about three of the clock in the morning (the fight continuing
all night), and by degrees drew away all their Forces by a
way which the Easterne Army supposed was kept by our
men, but in truth neglected by both, onely their haste
forced them to leave their Armes behind them, and some
threescore of their Dragooners, to keepe our men in sus-
pense, with command to keepe shooting continually until
the day appeared, and then to take their horses and to
follow them. But when the day came on, our men found
out their drift, how they were deluded, and pursued them,
took fourscore prisoners and many horse, much armes
scattered in the way, which they were faine to cast off
that they might flye the faster.
Our Horse and Foot, on Munday night last, visited Fleete
House, where Baronet Heale dwels, and there tooke about
twenty Horse, with some Prisoners. Our army have taken
in all above a thousand armes, double the number they
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 159
tooke from us at Liskerd. We lost seven men that were
slaine, and Sergeant-Major Herbert's Lieutenant and six
others, that were taken prisoners by adventuring too
farre. It is supposed that they have a hundred men
slaine, besides abundance hurt : we have three or four hurt,
but not dangerously.
This evening, Captaine Boskowen, with a partie of Horse,
hath brought in twelve prisoners, of which there are two
Captaines, viz., Captaine Nevill Blight (a furious malignant),
and one Captaine Pomroye, that was sent to London by
water, with the Sheriffe, but escaped thence."*
By this pamphlet we see that the Sheriff, Sir Edmund
Fortescue, Captain Pomeroy, and others, who were taken
prisoners at Modbury, were marched towards Dartmouth for
the purpose of " sending them to London by water" And
we are also told that Captain Pomeroy (and probably the
others) " escaped thence." The manner of this escape is not
known, but that they did escape accounts for their being so
soon again at their old posts of duty for the King.
About three quarters of a mile beyond Salcombe, towards
the harbour, are the remains of Fort Charles, built on a rock,
and insulated at high water.
There had been an ancient castle, called the Old Bulwark,
standing on this site for ages before the time of the civil war,
(Hawkins says it was attributed to the Saxons) but which
was in 1643 "utterly ruined and decayed" It is not
improbable that Sir Edmund Fortescue suggested the im-
portance of its restoration. He certainly made known his
willingness to undertake to reconstruct and re-fortify it, and
* This very rare old pamphlet was in the possession of the late George
Prideaux, Esq., of Plymouth. It is also among the King's pamphlets in
the British Museum.
received an order for that purpose from Prince Maurice, the
King's nephew, by whom he was also appointed Governor.
The following is a copy of his commission.
"Prince Maurice, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of
Bavaria, to Sir Edmund Fortescue, Kt. Forasmuch as I have
received very good satisfaction that the fort, called the Old
Bullworke, near Salcombe, now utterly ruined and decayed,
which being well fortified and manned may much conduce to
y e advancement of his Ma ts service in annoying the rebells,
and securing those partes from their incursions ; and whereas
you the said S r Edmond Fortescue, have given mee assurance
of your readyness and diligence in refortifying and manning
y e said fort; These are to will and require you, hereby
giving you full power and authority, by all possible ways and
means, to refortify and man the same, willing and requiring
the Sheriffe of the county of Devon, and all other his Ma ts
officers and loving subjects, to aycle and assist you in perfect-
ing of the said fortification, which fort with the officers and
souldiers you shall for his Ma ts service by virtue of this
commission receive into your charge and command, requiring
all officers, souldiers, and others belonging thereunto, you to
obey readily, to receive and accomplish your directions and
commands, and you yourselfe in all things well and duely to
acquit yourself for the best advancement of his Ma ts service,
for which this shall be your warrant. Given at Whitley
under my hand and seale att armes this 9th of December,
Sir Edmund immediately set about repairing this fortress,
which by the 15th day of January, 1646, he had completely
provisioned and fortified with great guns and muskets, the
expense of which, as appears by the Knight's daily account,
amounted to the sum of £3,196 14s. 6d., exclusive, as he
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 161
remarks, of a single penny being charged for furniture. The
provisions laid in for the siege amounted to £740 Is. 6d. The
wages paid in the rebuilding of the castle were, for masons,
quarry men, and carpenters, a shilling a day each; plasterers,
one shilling and two pence each; joiners, one shilling and
eight pence each. The attendants (which it is supposed
means labourers) ten pence ; and lime was at six shillings a
The garrison consisted of Sir Edmund Fortescue,
Governor, Sir Christopher Lucknor, Mr. Thomas
Fortescue, Captain Peter Fortescue,* Major Syms,
Major Stephenson, Captain Roch, Captain Kingston,
Captain Powett, Captain Peterfield, Captain Doues,
Mr. Snell, Chaplain, and the men, in all numbering sixty-
six. The names of all the men are on record, together with
a few notes respecting some of them ; such as that Lieut.
John Ford, William Cookworthy, and Stephen Goss, ran
away, and that Thomas Quarme, being sick, went by leave.
Everything was now ready, and the little garrison only
waited the attack. They would know that Sir Thomas
Fairfax had arrived at Totnes, and an eager watch would be
kept for the first sign of his coming, but Fairfax had decided
first to reduce Dartmouth. On the 12th January, 1646, he
sent his regiments with orders to besiege the garrison of
Dartmouth, and on the 18th followed them himself with his
army, and the summons to surrender being refused, com-
menced storming the town the same night. " Every
commander was assigned to his post, and to fall on upon
the word of command given. The contest was vigorous and
severe, but short. Col. Hammond entered the west gate,
* Captain Peter Forteseue was uncle to Sir Edmund. Ho married
Elizabeth, daughter of John Bastard, Esq., of Gerston.
where four guns were placed, and two by the Mill-pool, but
the great guns were fired but once. Hammond's men went
freely on, and possessed one fort after another, from the West
Gate to Little Dartmouth, while Col. Pride took the north
part of the town called Hardness, unto the Drawbridge.
Townstal Church, which was manned with above a hundred
men, and had in it ten guns, was next taken, so that now
there only remained the great fort, and the castle, into which
the Governor, with the Earl of Newport, and as many as
escaped, did nye."
" Sir Thomas Fairfax's Dragoons, with two companys of
Firelocks and some seamen, were ordered to alarm the great
fort, wherein was Sir Henry Carey with his regiment,
twelve guns, and store of amunition, but they came willingly
to terms, and Sir Thomas Fairfax agreed that Sir Henry
Carey should march away with the rest, leaving the arms,
ordnance, ammunition, and provisions, in the fort, and
engaging never to take up arms against the parliament, which
was done by them, and the next morning the Governor
yielded the castle."*
An extract from a letter of the period shows that Fairfax
now turned his attention to Salcombe.
"The General then sent for five hundred men from Ply-
mouth, that he might employ those of his own in reducing
other places which was not then resolved, only a party was
sent to fall upon a fort near Salcombe, a harbour that lies
between Dartmouth and Plymouth, which hath Frigots in it
that much infest the seas.f"
These Salcombe frigates had made themselves a name, and
* Whitelocke's Memorials.
f " The Moderate Intelligencer impartially communicating Martial Affairs
to the Kingdom of England."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 163
sad stones were told of their deeds in the Channel; for,
during the re-building of the fort, they had been ever on the
watch, to pursue and harass the vessels of the enemy.
Another letter says — "The General having left at present
the care of Dartmouth to Col. Lambert, went on Wednesday
to Totnes. We go on to attempt Fort Charles, near
Salcombe. It is commanded by Sir Edmund Fortescue.
There must be ordnance to batter it, which are coming;
likewise some addition of forces to Col. Inglesby's* regi-
ment, now before it, are to be raised and gathered out of
the country, which they do willingly." f
The commencement of the siege is said by some authorities
to be January 15th, while others say January 23rd. It is
probable [that Col. Inglesby commenced proceedings on
January loth (the siege of Dartmouth was on the 18th),
and that General Fairfax, having with him the additional
force and the ordnance to batter it, which was said to be
coming, summoned it to surrender on the 23rd. The
General was, however, unable to produce much effect upo n
"When Fairfax entered Devonshire the Royalists had
most of the garrisons in the county in their possession, as
Tiverton, Exeter, Dartmouth, Barnstaple, Torrington; but
he speedily reduced one garrison after another." t It must
have been mortifying therefore to Fairfax to have to leave
the little garrison at Salcombe unsubdued, as well as to
Col. Inglesby, who had been so successful elsewhere.
It is probable the situation of Fort Charles was a difficulty,
but may it not have been that the Governor and his garrison
* Col. Inglesby was killed soon afterwards, at the siege of Pendennis.
f Martial Affairs.
Avere also difficult, and not so easily made to yield as they
had found those at Dartmouth and elsewhere to be ?
There is no doubt Fairfax recognised the Governor's
qualities, and the determined stand which he took in his fort,
and endorsed the opinion of those who, so long before, had
called him " a very great malignant."
Among some notes left by Sir Edmund Fortescue is the
following : " Item, For great shot and musket shot when
Fort Charles was formerly twice besieged, £15 17s. Od."
This alludes to the two short sieges before the last. The last
siege which necessitated capitulation is said to have been a
lengthened one, and there is no doubt " Sprigge" refers to
this last siege, when he says, " Salcombe Fort yielded in 50
dales. 8 pieces of ordnance taken."*
On the 25th March, a week after the commencement of the
last siege, Colonel Weldon no doubt perceiving how little he
would be able to accomplish, made offers to Sir Ed. Fortescue
to surrender, which are called by the writer " very faire,"
and were somewhat similar to the articles afterwards signed.
It was supposed, on the side of the besiegers, that Sir
Edmund intended to yield, and premature news to this effect
was sent to Plymouth, and from Plymouth to the " Diurnall
of Parliament." What was the motive of the Governor in
this feint, does not appear ; but it is unlikely that he intended
any thing of the kind, well knowing, as he did, that the
enemy could produce but little effect upon the fortress, and
that he could hold out until May. We at least know, that he
did not yield, that the siege went on, that certain men of
the garrison were shot after this date, and that at length,
articles of capitulation were signed " y e 7th of May, 1646."
Tradition has handed it down, that the Parliament forces
* Sprigge's Anglia Eediviva.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 165
attacked the castle from Rickham Common, on the opposite
side of the harbour, and a half-moon trench with a mound,
and places for guns, is shown on the hill-side exactly facing
the castle, where they erected a battery. They must,
however, have had other positions also. Be this as it may,
on the 7th of May, 161*6, a little less than four months after
the commencement of the siege, the garrison was obliged to
capitulate, which they did upon honourable terms.
One account says, " For a period of nearly four months,
the retired inlet of Salcombe was a scene of incessant uproar.
The batteries thundered from each side of the harbour, but
at the end of that time, the garrison capitulated. For this
spirited resistance, Sir Edmund Fortescue was allowed to
march with the honours of war to his mansion, Falapit
A letter to the " Diurnall of Parliament" says, " Charles
Fort, sometimes called Salcombe, is surrendered to us, to the
obedience and use of the Parliament, which is the only
considerable place that the enemy has lately held, in all the
west parts, except the strong garrison of Pendennis Castle."
This ruined fort, therefore, although regarded by many as
of no particular historic interest, may at least boast that it
held out for the King until almost every fortress in Devon-
shire had succumbed.
The articles signed were ten in number. It was agreed
first, "That the Governor and all the garrison, in their
several and respective places, capacities, and degrees, should
have full liberty in thire profession of the true Protestant
religion, professed and vowed by both houses of this present
Parliament, &c" Also, "That the said fort may not bee
knowne by aney other name than Fort Charles, as now itt is,
or any coate of arames in y e dininge rume defaced ; or any-
thing belonging to y e said fort." The eighth article in the
agreement runs thus — "That the Governor, with Sir Ch r -
Luckner, thire servants, and all officers and souldiers in the
fort, have free liberty to march from hence to Fallowpit with
there usuall amies, drums beating, and collars flyinge, with
boundelars full of powder, and muskets apertinable, and
after three vallues to yield up theire armes to those whome
Corronell Welldon shall appoint to receive them — the Gover-
nor, Sir Ch r- Luckner, with both thire servants, likewayse y e
officers in common, excepted."
When the tide is particularly low, numbers of bullets,
large clumsy pieces of metal, are found.
"A large key, said to have belonged to this fort, is
preserved by the representatives of the Governor's family.
It is sixteen inches long, and two-and-half inches wide at
the bit or ward."*
For the expenses of the garrison, Sir Ed. Fortescue had
an order from the Commissioners of the County of Devon,
dated from the Charter House, Exeter, the 12th day of
August, 164-4, assigning him the weekly contributions of
the parishes of Malborough and Portlemouth — the former
amounting to £11 15s., and the latter to £6, making
together £17 15s. weekly; and this he continued to receive
till the first day of November in the same year, when it was
further ordered by the said Commissioners that he should be
paid £14 weekly by Mr. Geo. Potter, supposed to be the
receiver-general for the county. This, perhaps, proceeded
from the Parliament army having by that time possessed
themselves of the neighbouring district, so as to prevent
these payments from being made by the parishes to the
royal party. It appears that the Governor received also a
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 167
weekly contribution of £7 Is. 8d. for some time from West
Alvington, and that he was paid by them to the amount of
£245 16s. lOd. The Knight seems to have kept a very
regular account of his receipts and disbursements. At the
end of the account he observes that he has not taken a
single penny for himself as Governor.
The question arises, how has this fort, rebuilt, and restored
in 1644-5, at a large cost, become an utter ruin, although
not destroyed in the siege ? Many buildings, less substantial,
and of greater age, remain. There seems little doubt that the
articles agreed upon were broken, viz., " that not any coate
of armes in y e dininge rume should be defaced, nor anything
belonging to y e said fort." Perhaps the Parliament feared
to allow a fort to remain intact which had for nearly four
months resisted all the attempts of the enemy ; and probably
an order was sent down for its destruction, which may have
been effected by its own gunpowder, after its " eight pieces
of ordnance were taken."
Sir Edmund Fortescue married a daughter of Lord
Sandys. He was created a Baronet by Charles II., in 1664.
He lies buried at Delft, in Holland, where a monument is
erected to his memory. He was succeeded by his son Sir
Sandys, at whose death, without issue, the title became
THE SANDS, BOLT HEAD,
AND BOLT TAIL.
" Old majestic sea !
Ever love I from shore to look on thee,
And sometimes on thy billowy back to ride,
And sometimes o'er thy summer breast to glide ;
But let me live on shore."
" The field above the Castle is called the Gore, or Gutter ;
and tradition points it out as the scene of a bloody
affray. The summit of the hill is known as the Bury,
or Berry, and it is said to be marked with an old cir-
cular entrenchment."* A little below this spot a battery
has been constructed, mounting two pieces of ordnance,
and used by the Salcombe Volunteers for artillery practice ;
the target being ..moored off the bar at the entrance of
the harbour; and on the other side, at Limebury Point,
a battery of much older date, mounting two smaller
pieces, points its guns at patches of white paint on the
cliffs, a little beyond Splat Cove. During their practice,
the concussion amongst the rocks is far from pleasant to
those who may be sauntering along the walks just above;
the first notice of anything taking place being announced
by the puff of smoke in the distance, and the reverbe-
ration of the explosion.
Not far from the castle there is a beach called North
Sands. A wood is believed to have been here over-
whelmed by the waves in times remote, and the stumps
of a number of large trees, discernible some years ago,
strengthen the supposition ; some of these may yet be
seen at the low ebb of spring tides. These relics may
also be found in Millbay, on the opposite shore. Three
kinds of Pholas, the dactylus, candidus, and parvus, are
found burrowing in these old stumps. The animals be-
longing to all these shells are luminous in the dark, even
while living. That fan-like shell, the Pinna ingens, is
found in Salcombe Bay, where it has been known to
fishermen as the French mussel. These creatures lie on a
gravelly bottom, covered with mud and long sea weeds,
and are only to be got at when the sea recedes further
than usual. They stand upright, with the large end about
an inch above the surface ; the lower end fixed by a very
large, strong byssus, or beard, so firmly attached to the
gravel, that much force is required to draw them up, and
most commonly the beard is left behind. This is com-
posed of numerous fine, silk-like fibres, of a dark purplish
brown, two or three inches in length. Some of these shells
were taken occasionally for many years, the animals having
been accounted very good food, but they require five or
six hours stewing, to render them eatable; if this is pro-
perly attended to, they are said to be nearly as palatable
as scallops, but never so tender. The Pinna has been long
celebrated for giving protection to a small species of crab,
which was supposed to be of great use to the animal, by
giving it notice either of approaching danger, or of its
prey. Montagu says it does occasionally become the habi-
tation of a small crab, which seems to live in harmony
with it, but that in not less than fifty of the Pinna ingens
which he opened, not a single crab was found; yet in
the only specimen of Mytilus modiolus, taken in the same
place, three crabs were found within the shell. The ancients
used to make costly vestments from the silky byssus of
this animal, and modern travellers assert that gloves and
stockings are still manufactured from it at Palermo, Naples,
and one or two other places.
We have been furnished with a few particulars respecting
the laying of the telegraph cable at Salcombe : they are here
"In order to effect a direct communication between the
French- Atlantic telegraph cable and London, a sub-marine
cable between Salcombe and Brest has been laid. The
steamer William Cory, having the cable on board, under the
superintendence of Captain Mayne, R.N., C.B., arrived off
Salcombe on the 27th, and the shore end was landed on the
28th of May, 1870 — the point selected being a sandy beach
at Starehole Bottom, under the Bolt Head. It was then
conveyed about two hundred and fifty yards, to the top of
the adjacent cliff. The temporary testing house into which
the cable was carried was, in the course of a few months,
dismantled, and a more substantial erection of stone received
the instruments, so as to test at intervals the state of the
insulation and continuity of the submerged portions of the
cable. Subsequently, the Anglo-American Cable Steam-ship
Robert Lowe was engaged off the coast, raising the shore
end and making a fresh splice, so as to bring it into the
instrument house built for the purpose on the North Sands.
This was effected on the 15th of October, 1871; the wires
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 171
also being connected at the same time with the Salcombe
receiving office.* Some of the leading telegraph gentlemen
of the day were engaged in testing the cable at this building,
by forwarding and receiving messages from very distant
parts of the world; the long ribbons of communication
uncoiling from the beautiful instruments in a marvellous
manner, and displaying their hieroglyphic dots and strokes
to the amazement of the uninitiated.
In these times of rapid telegraphic or railway communi-
cation, one is rather inclined to smile at the primitive style
of postal arrangements at Salcombe in days gone by, for
Hawkins, who wrote in 1819, says — "No regular mail
reaches this place ; but a woman on foot (reversing the order
of expediency) proceeds daily to Kingsbridge, where she
arrives long after the letters are sorted, executes numerous
petty missions, and returns to Salcombe, heavily loaded,
at night, charging a penny for each letter conveyed to or
from the office."
Between the North and South Sands, stands the Moult,
the property of the Earl of Devon, but for many years it was
the summer residence of the late Lord Justice Sir George
Turner. Lady Turner continued to reside there until her
death, when her daughters removed from the Moult to another
house at Salcombe. The Moult was built in the year 1764,
by the late John Hawkins, Esq., as "a mere pleasure box,"
but he did not live to finish it. He left it to his widow, who
in 1780 sold it to the late Henry Whorwood, Esq., of Holton
* The Robert Lowe was lost, November 20th, 1873, having struck on the
" Shotts," near St. John's, Newfoundland. She filled and settled down a
few minutes afterwards. The commander, Capt. Tidmarsh (who remained
on the bridge to the last), and sixteen of the crew, were lost, some of them
having been washed overboard by the heavy seas which struck the vessel ;
thirty-three others were saved in three of the boats which got clear of the
Park, Oxford. The grounds were laid out under his direc-
tions, the trees planted, and the house fitted up as a decorated
cottage. Since then it has changed hands, until it came into
the possession of the respected nobleman who now owns it.
The gardens and conservatories contain plants and shrubs
rarely to be seen elsewhere, many of which are referred to
in Mr. Luscombe's paper, already given.
Although the Moult stands in such a sheltered spot, yet
in some winds the waves have been known even to surmount
the barrier at the bottom of the garden, but this is of rare
The South Sands, which are in the manor of Batson, have
been for many years a favourite place for pic-nic parties.
Boats laden with pleasure seekers flock to this delightful
locality, and the Queen steamer also makes periodical trips
to the Sands during the summer months.
A shed, known by the name of the Boat-house, is the
frequent rendezvous of luncheon and tea-parties; that
essential element, hot water, being procurable from the
cottage on the opposite bank ; or if you prefer it, a fire may
be made, gipsy fashion, close at hand, and water brought
from a little nearly hidden stream which comes down on the
rocks from the Moult grounds.
In 1869, R. Durant, Esq., of Sharpham, near Totnes,
presented Salcombe with a life-boat and its accompani-
ments, at a cost of £700, in connection with the Life-boat
It was arranged that Miss Durant should " christen" the
boat: she therefore said, "May this life-boat realize the
object of its institution. I send it forth on its mission of
mercy, to save the tempest-driven and shipwrecked mariner,
under the name of the " Rescue ;" and I ask you all to join
with me in the prayer, " God bless the Rescue."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 173
A house for the reception of the life-boat was built by-
subscription, on the South Sands. This situation being
chosen was a matter of regret to many, who feel some
doubt, whether, in case of a violent storm (when its services
are the most likely to be needed) it would be possible to
get the boat over the Bar.
" There is," says Hawkins, " a large and dangerous knot
of rocks, about a furlong within the Bar, "and rather on the
east side, called Blackstone, rarely covered at flood tide ; and
a smaller rock named the Wolf, towards the west shore.
Some are of opinion that if these were blown up, the
harbour would be greatly improved ; while others as confi-
dently pronounce, that the removing of these obstructions
would cause the port to fill with sand."
In June, 1869, H.M.S. Cadmus, Capt. Gibbs, 1,466 tons
burden, in running down the Channel from Portsmouth to
Devonport, whilst going eight knots an hour, struck on
the Hillstone, close under the Bolt. There was a very
dense fog, and the vessel was carried by the strong current
peculiar to that coast out of her course. No suspicion
seems to have been entertained that she was so near the
shore. The Salcombe fishermen, Avho were pursuing their
avocations at the time, witnessed her perilous position, and
warned them to back off at once, so as to ground on the
Bar, otherwise, owing to the injury she had sustained from
her plates being broken in, she would have sunk in deep
water. Telegrams were forwarded from Kingsbridge to the
naval authorities at Devonport, who at once despatched a
tug and other assistance. The position of the leak was
soon discovered by the divers, and temporary repairs effected
by patching the plates. By means of constant pumping
and lightening the ship, she Avas at last floated off, and
was taken in tow by the Scotia and Trusty, and brought
to Devonport, where she was docked for repairs. At a
Court-martial subsequently held it was proved that every
care had been taken, but, owing to the denseness of the
fog, the captain was unaware that the ship had approached
so near to the shore.*
From the South Sands we commence the ascent of a hill,
and after passing through some fields, we reach a pathway,
called " Courtenay Walk," cut about half way down the
magnificent cliffs, for the accommodation and gratification
of the public, through the liberality of Lord Courtenay, now
Earl of Devon. This pathway is bordered by ferns, fox-
gloves, purple heath, and yellow broom; in fact, with a
great variety of such plants as will thrive with but little
soil to support them. The lovely little Burnet rose, with
its deliciously scented cream-coloured blossoms; the dwarf
scabious tinting the banks with its blue flowers; various
orchises; the delicate pink convolvulus, with the woodbine
and briar rose, are mingled with the dark-green glossy ivy,
which is wrapped around the overhanging rocks, while the
purple iris, arid the butcher's broom, with its bright
scarlet berries, in the winter season, diversify the scene.
The furze bushes are plentifully covered, in some places,
with the long tangled crimson threads of the parasitic
dodder, sometimes sprinkled with pink- white blossoms.
Suddenly the path becomes obstructed by rocks, which allow
only a narrow egress, and on turning a corner, we find
ourselves in a most exposed situation, the path strewn with
fragments which have fallen from the sharp tors, now tower-
ing above our heads, like ruined castles. Although the road
* The Illustrated London News of the day contained an account, ac-
companied by a pictorial representation, of the grounding of the Cadmus.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 175
is* rugged you should still push on, for the Bolt Head is a
noble pile of rocks, and should be viewed from either side.
Be cautious, however; for a high wind sometimes renders
it a " pursuit of scenery under difficulties ;" but if you
prudently can do so, by all means go on, and then look back.
The Bolt Head seen from that side is a magnificent object,
towering high above us, and extending to the sea, down far
below. There is a curious hole, all through these rocks,
which, seen from either side, has a very peculiar effect.
From this point may be seen the whole of the bay 1 , shut in
by the opposite headland.
It is to be feared that the frost and rains of another winter
or two will render a portion of this pathway impassable, as
slips have already taken place in different parts, and there is
a feeling of insecurity even now, when passing over cracks,
and sunken bits of ground, when you remember that the sea
is a hundred feet or more below.
In clear weather, the double peak of Heytor, on Dartmoor,
and also the Eddystone Lighthouse, can be distinctly seen
from the Bolt Head.
The larger rocks, out of the reach of the spray, are
ornamented with lichens of a deep golden colour, while
the little Sedum Anglicum, inserting itself into the crevices,
and reddened by exposure to the wind, adds greatly to
the beautiful colouring around you.
It may not be altogether unacceptable to botanists if we
give a short list of plants and flowers (with both their
English and Latin names) which have been found in this
immediate neighbourhood. We shall only mention those
which, in botanical works, are . denominated rare. It is
scarcely worth while to insert the names of such as are
common to almost every locality.
Burnet Rose (Rosa spinocissima.)
Yellow-horned Poppy (Glaucium luteum.)
Stinking Iris (Iris fcetidissima.)
Climbing Corydalis (Corydalis claviculata.)
Sea-side Everlasting Pea (Lathrus maritimus.)
Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum.)
Lesser Dodder (Cuscuta epithijmum.)
Bird's-nest Orchis (Listera nidus avis.)
Butcher's Broom (Buscus aculeata.J
Vernal Squill (Scilla verna.)
Autumnal Squill (Scilla autumnalis.J
Bloody Crane's-bill (Geranium sanguineum.)
A lady' named Acton, who was staying at Salcombe awhile
since, writes, "The lichen I got on the rock beyond Bolt
Head is such a wonder. Dr. Moore, of Glasnevin botanic
gardens, has written to me for a good handful of it for his
museum. He congratulates me for being so happy as to find
this brocella— the rarest and most valuable of lichens. * * *
The only place in the United Kingdom where it had been
previously found was in the Isle of Wight."
A scramble around the point leading towards Splat Cove
(notwithstanding the difficulty from slippery rocks), will be
amply repaid by a sight of the entrance to an old iron mine,
which appears to have been worked for some fathoms into
the schistus rock, and has much the appearance of a natural
cavern. For several feet the walls are studded with patches
of a most brilliant, soft, emerald-green moss, which, reflecting
the light, almost rivals in splendour the gorgeous tints of the
humming-bird, or the elytra of some of the foreign beetles.
It is seen to the greatest advantage at the distance of a few
yards, especially when it meets the eye in one particular
direction. Upon detaching some portions of the moss from
the disintegrating stone, and removing it to a full light, its
resplendent character nearly, if not quite, disappears, and
nothing is visible on the surface of the stone but a filmy,
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 177
irregular network of green, and extremely short moss.
In the "Magazine of Natural History" vols. ii. and iii.,
there are notices of the discovery of a similar "shining
moss." In one of these papers, signed J. E. Bowman,
the Court, near Wrexham, June 3rd, 1830, he says, "I
have no hesitation in referring this beautiful moss to the
order of Algse, of which it will probably be found to belong
to the tribe of Confervoidece, but I must leave it to those
who are better acquainted with this obscure family to decide
whether it has yet obtained a name and place in the system
of modern cryptogamic botanists."
In the Gardeners' Magazine of February 3rd, 1872, there
is an interesting paper, from which we extract a portion.
"In 1843, the luminosity of plants was recorded in the
Proceedings of the British Association. [Dr. Allman had
expressed an opinion respecting a plant, that the phe-
nomenon was not due to phosphorescence, but was referable
to the state of the visual organs, that is, an optical delusion.]
This led Mr. Babington to mention that he had seen, in
the West of England, a peculiar bright appearance, produced
by the presence of the Schistostega pennata, a little moss
which inhabited caverns and dark places; but this, too,
was objected to by a member present, who stated that
Professor Lloyd had examined the Schistostega, and had
found that the peculiar luminous appearance of that moss
arose from the presence of small crystals in its structure,
which reflected the smallest portion of the rays of light.
These remarks having been published in the Gardeners'
Chronicle,* Dr. Lankester, in a succeeding number, said,
'The light from the moss, mentioned by Mr. Babington,
has also been observed in Germany on another species
* 1843, page 691.
(Schistostega osmundacea). It has been observed by Funk,
Brandenberg, Nees Von Esenbeck, Hornschuh, and Struve.
Bridel-Brideri and Agardh attributed this light to a small
Alga, which the former called Catoptridium smaragdinum,
and the latter Protococcus smaragdinus, which they supposed
occupied the moss. Unger, however, has examined the moss
accurately, and finds that at certain seasons the peculiar
utricles of this moss assume a globular form, and, being
partially transparent, the light is refracted and reflected
in such a way as to present a luminosity on the surface
of the vesicles. Meyen says he has confirmed Unger's
Whether the Salcombe shining moss is identical with
either of those above described, we do not know ; but there
is sufficient similarity to render the extracts interesting
and valuable. It should, however, be stated that in this
instance the luminosity does not vary in intensity, but is
precisely the same at all seasons of the year.
The entrance to the cave where this beautiful moss may
be seen is decked with that pretty fern, the Asplenium
Hawkins says that "just within the Splat Cove rocks
(towards the South Sands) is a subterraneous passage called
Bull-hole, which the common people have an idea runs quite
under the earth to another such place, of similar name, in
a creek of the sea called Sewer Mill, about three miles
distance to the west." An absurd story is told of a bull
which entered it, and came out at the opposite end with
its coat changed from black to white; and it is curious
enough to find a similar legend current near Corunna, on
the coast of Spain. "Whether," continues Hawkins, "these
two cavities be really the same continuous aperture from
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 179
one extremity to the other, has never been fully identified;
none of those who have entered the respective openings
having had the resolution to proceed sufficiently far to
ascertain the fact."
A little beyond the Bolt Head is a small cove, called Stare-
hole Bay. Stare (or Stair) Hole is supposed by some to
derive its name from a steep roadway by which sea-weed
is carried up from the beach.
This bay is remarkable (again we quote from Hawkins)
"for a cavern that is reported (or, rather, imagined) to
terminate near Malborough Church, which stands three miles
off. The dripping of water, however, by extinguishing the
torches, added to the fear of otters, which resort thither,
has hitherto compelled the curious to abandon every design
of penetrating to the end, few having advanced above a
hundred yards. On the left of the bay, and near the
mouth of the cave, is an excavated rock, eight or nine
feet high and about five broad, forming a natural arch,
opening towards the sea. It is not improbable that Bull-
hole and the interior of Stare-hole cavern form a junction."
The neighbourhood of Salcombe, and of the Bolt Head,
are peculiarly rich in the variety of animal life existing
there. While strolling along the cliffs near the signal
house on a fine summer's day, you may see in the waters
below, shoals of porpoises, tumbling and rolling about, and
searching in the creeks for the fishes, of which they consume
great quantities. In the caverns of the rocks close to the
sea there are numbers of otters, who take an early bath
and a breakfast at the same time. They may be heard
whistling and calling to their mates and young ones. After
their repast they return to their caverns, and remain in
sleep and solitude until hunger again drives them forth
in search of food. A little higher up in the cliffs there
are rabbits in abundance, and occasionally a wily fox makes
his presence known in the neighbouring poultry yards.
That much-persecuted creature, the badger, has sometimes
been captured here. He is very harmless, unless when
attacked by men or dogs, but then he becomes formidable
and ferocious, The chief food of these animals consists
of insects and roots, though when driven by hunger, they
are occasionally obliged to be satisfied with a duck or a
chicken. What a pity it is they are so seldom allowed to
enjoy, in peace and quietness, the life which was given by
the Creator, on purpose, doubtless, for their enjoyment.
In the clefts of the rocks may be seen an almost incredible
number of herring and kittiwake gulls, sitting on their eggs
in the bare hollows, without any materials used for making
a nest. In the most inaccessible part of the cliff, and
under some projecting rock, the peregrine falcon is snug
in its eyrie. On leaving the nest (which usually contains
two or three eggs, of a red-brown colour), it will drop
almost perpendicularly down to the surface of the water,
and then sail off in majestic style, in search of some poor
stray gull, which becomes an easy prey. Next you may
see, peering over the narrow ledges of rock, a number of
heads and necks of snake-like appearance; they belong to
the shags, or green cormorants; birds which weigh about
four pounds, and whose plumage is of a fine metallic green,
while the male has a fan-like crest. In close proximity to
these are the nests of birds of the same genus, but much
larger size — the great cormorant, which weighs about nine
pounds. These birds sally forth during the day, and levy
contributions from the ocean storehouse beneath, from which
they collect their whole subsistence.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 181
In the sheltered hollows, which are covered with short
grass and furze, the place seems teeming with animal life :
rabbits burrowing in the ground; and polecats, stoats, and
weasels, skulking and hunting them from burrow to burrow ;
vipers, slow-worms, snakes, and lizards, writhing in the
grass, and basking in the sun ; beetles of brilliant hues ;
butterflies of the rarest kinds alighting on the blossoms,
and spreading their beautiful wings ; amongst them is the
large blue butterfly (Polyomatus arion) which is quite a
local fly, being found only in a very few places in England.*
Now look upwards — that kestrel is hovering above our
heads, intent on the capture of an unsuspecting mouse or
mole, who may be enjoying himself amongst the herbage
Soaring aloft over the sea, at an altitude of some hundreds
of feet, the solan goose, or gannet (who looks as if he had
on a pair of spectacles), is surveying the surface of the
waters, on the look-out for a passing fish. Suddenly his
wings are closed, and he plunges down, head foremost,
into the deep ; in a few seconds he is seen struggling
with the prey, which he quickly dispatches, and then away
he soars again to watch for more.
Sometimes, while rambling on the cliffs, a sound strikes
the ear as of horses and dogs rapidly approaching, and a
poor timid hare, almost black with perspiration and terror,
passes before you. He stops a moment, raises his ears,
and then dashes on again. Poor hapless creature, our heart
aches for thee ! oh, if the huntsman could only exchange
places with his victim for one short hour, we think he
would never again have the least desire to pursue this cruel
* For Mr. H. Nicholls' list of butterflies found in the district, see end of
sport. We knew a dear lady who never would willingly
partake of a hunted hare — she always said it had "the
cruelty taste" How we wish other people had palates as
Underneath the cliffs, in the pools left by the ebbing
tide, sea anemonies of the most brilliant colours are ex-
panding their tentacles, and enjoying the rays of the summer
sun; and in the same pools prawns are darting about, and
various kinds of shell fish are clinging to the sides.
Navigation along this rock-bound coast is attended with
many perils, and numerous are the disasters to shipping
left on record from time to time.
In July, 1871, during a very dense fog, the barque
Westmoreland, 250 tons register, belonging to Messrs.
Andrews, Andrews, & Co., of London, for which port she
was bound from Jamaica, went ashore about two miles west
of Bolt Head. No land had been sighted since the vessel
(which was laden with sugar, rum, cocoanuts, walking-sticks,
&c.) had entered the English Channel, and she now stood
in for the land, in order to make the Start light, which the
captain believed was not far distant. About half-an-hour
after midnight the master saw land on the port bow, and
directed the helm to be put down, in order to go about.
The ship was brought up to the wind, but missing stays,
fell off, and went ashore. Rockets and blue lights were
burned, but no assistance arrived. When daylight shewed
them their situation, the captain directed the boat to be
got out, and he and the crew (in all, sixteen persons) got
safely to land. They lost everything but the clothes they
Between the two headlands known as the Bolt Head and
the Bolt Tail, almost every rock and cove seems to have
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 183
its own peculiar name and distinguishing characteristic. At
Stare-hole Bottom, there was, a few years ago, a straight
rampart, or barrow, in perfect preservation, fifty-six paces
in length. It was commonly called the Giant's Grave,
though the popular tradition is equally strong that the
whole bottom is the site of a Danish encampment, or settle-
ment : to use the language of the tradition itself, as recited
by a guide, "by the records of England, it was a Danish
town, and had sixty dwellers." It is said that brass coins
have been found by some labourers on this spot. In a field
just below this there was formerly a quadrangular tumulus,
but it has long been destroyed by agricultural operations.
At Roden or Randon Cove, about the middle of the
eighteenth century, a foreign vessel was wrecked, which
had some marble statues on board.
There were several mounds about that part of the coast,
which had all the appearance of tumuli, but many of them
have been levelled in the process of farming the ground.
A considerable portion of this district is called "The Sewers,"
divided into east, west, middle, lower, &c, and there are
farm-houses bearing these names. The whole neighbourhood
is described as being strikingly fine and beautiful.
Dragon Bay was so called from the wreck of a ship
belonging to London, bearing that name, which was lost
here in the year 1757, in which wreck perished a family
called Chambers. Their remains were buried in Malborough
Churchyard, where a headstone, over-run with yellow lichen,
bore this inscription : —
" Here lye the bodies of Rhodes, Daniel, Mary, and Joseph
Chambers, sons and daughters of Edward Chambers, of
Jamaica, who were shipwrecked at Cat-hole, within this
parish, August 22nd, 1757."
Nearly at the top of the almost perpendicular cliffs of
Bolberry Down is a cavern, called Ralph's Hole, about
twenty feet long, six or seven broad, and eight high. It
is directly facing the sea, which is between four and five
hundred feet below. The rock at the corner of the entrance,
by doubling which this cavern is alone approached, projects
to within two or three feet of the precipice, in such a
manner that a single person from within might easily defend
his habitation from a host of foes; for only one being able
to pass at a time, they might successively be tumbled
headlong down the steep. "There is a tradition," says
Hawkins, "that one Ralph, in order to avoid the bailiffs
or the constables, made this his abode for many years ;
and, with a prong for his weapon of protection, kept his
pursuers constantly at bay." [Others say Ralph was a
noted smuggler, which seems, of the two, the more likely
account.] " On Sundays he was accustomed to wander
abroad, and his wife assisted him through the rest of the
week in getting provisions. At what period this happened
does not appear, but certainly it is of very old date."
Some terrible inundation of the sea, or it may have been
an earthquake, has divided the cliffs about here into deep
fissures, and shattered immense rocks to pieces. At Ouse-hole
Cove there is a noble view of Bigbury Bay, the Rame Head,
the Eddystone, and the Cornish coast. A. mine was com-
menced in 1770, by John Easton, of Dodbrooke, in a part of
the cliffs of Bolberry Down, not far from Ralph's Hole ; but
it was soon abandoned on submitting the spangled produce
to the test of the assayer, who pronounced it to be mundic
instead of copper ; and the adventurer gained nothing save
the empty honour of leaving the shaft his name. It lies
about three or four hundred feet down a declivity, so steep
as to be scarcely accessible.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 185
Mr. John Cranch, when investigating the neighbourhood
many years ago, said, " About twenty yards from Easton's
mine is a most admirable and abundant chalybeate spring,
very pure, and grateful to the taste. In combination with
the advantages of marine air and water, sea bathing, the
fisheries, &c, &c, this spring I consider as inestimable, and
that it will one day be the means of drawing to the vicinity
a great resort of wealthy invalids and others, and make the
neighbourhood of Hope and Salcombe rich and prosperous."
This expectation, however, has not yet been realised. Hope,
although it possesses much to attract in the surrounding
scenery, still continues to offer scarcely any accommodation
for visitors beyond what is to be found at the two small inns.;
which is certainly much to be regretted. In the cliffs, under-
neath the Greystone, which is a very lofty rock rising high
above this village, an iron mine was opened some years since*
but it did not produce sufficient ore to pay the cost of work-
ing; and moreover the access to it was so dangerous for
vessels, that one was wrecked there with its cargo of ore
on board. It was therefore discontinued. There are veins
of iron in many parts of the coast, and several attempts
at mining have been made, but ere long relinquished. Just
about here begins Bolt Down, where the Kingsbridge races
used to be held. The remains of two barrows are mentioned
as having been found on this spot.
In the hurricane of 15th February, 1760, so dreadful both
by sea and on shore, the Ramilies, a fine ship of seventy-
four guns, and seven hundred and thirty-four men, com-
manded by Captain Taylor, was lost near this promontory,
where she was embayed in consequence of mistaking the
Bolt Tail for the Rame Head, and erroneously supposing
they were driving into Plymouth Sound. Having let go
their anchor close upon the rocks, and cut away all their
masts, they rode safely till evening, when the gale increased
to such a degree that the hull parted ; and only one
midshipman and twenty-five men, out of the whole number,
jumping off the stern upon the rocks, were saved. This
fatal spot is near the cove and village of Inner Hope, and it
has ever since been known as " Ramilies Hole." It is so
peculiarly situated that it can only be entered by boats at
certain tides and winds, in very calm, still weather, and
when there is no swell of the sea. It cannot even be seen
from any part of the cliffs. It is said that some of the
guns of the ship may yet be perceived in six or seven
fathoms of water, near the mouth of the cavern.*
Close to the flagstaff, on the cliff which rises just above
the coast-guard station at Hope, there is an old cannon,
which was recovered from this wreck. The present writer
also possesses a memento of the Ramilies : it is a small
instrument, which appears to have been a guinea-weigher.
There is a thin rod of ivory, with graduated marks on it ;
a brass saucer hangs at one end, and the weight is to be
suspended to the rod, on the steelyard principle. The
whole is enclosed in a small, dark wooden case, in shape
not very unlike a fiddle.
The following paper was contributed by Robert Dymond,
Esq., F.S.A., to a local newspaper, some years since. He
kindly permits its insertion here.
"a fragment of local history.
The appearance of Miss S. P. Fox's book on Kingsbridge,
its Estuary, and Neighbourhood, has doubtless rekindled the
interest excited nearly half a century ago by Mr. Abraham
* Mostly from Hawkins.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 187
Hawkins' History. Any additional particulars relating to
a locality so rich in historical incidents may, therefore, be
acceptable to the readers of a local journal.
Stories of shipwreck and maritime adventure can hardly
fail to be prominent amongst these incidents. Standing
far out into the English Channel, the rocky coast of South
Devon has witnessed the loss of but too many gallant ships.
The wreck of the Eamilies man-of-war in 1760, and that of
the Chantaloupe twelve years later, have been well described
by the writers above-named; but I am not aware that the
story has yet been told in print of an earlier shipwreck,
that may as worthily fill a page of local history.
Let the reader carry back his thoughts to the reign
of Elizabeth, and to the year of grace 1588 — the most
eventful of that remarkable era. Early in the month of
May the long-expected Armada, fitted out with vast and
careful preparation by Philip of Spain, had entered the
Channel to fulfil his long-cherished plan for restoring heretic
England to the bosom of the Church of Rome. No sooner
was the Spanish fleet descried off the Lizard than the ready
beacon fires carried the news from headland to headland,
all along the southern coast to the capital. On the morning
of Saturday, the 20th of May, thousands of eager spectators
crowded on the Start, on Bolt Head, and upon every cliff
from which a seaward view could be obtained, to look
upon a sight, the like of which had never before been
witnessed from those grim rocks. One hundred and forty
ships, most of them of unwieldy bulk and strange form,
were moving slowly up Channel in crescent-shaped array,
closely beset by the smaller and less numerous, though
nimbler, vessels, in which Drake and Hawkins, and many
more renowned sea captains, had issued the night before
from Plymouth Sound, under the command of the Lord
High Admiral Howard, of Effingham.
The reader of English history needs not to be reminded
how, in spite of isolated captures, the Spanish fleet held
its course through the narrow seas, with purpose to form in
Calais roads a junction with the land forces of Alexander
Farnese, Duke of Parma, Philip's astute general in the
Netherlands; how this purpose was frustrated by the com-
bined agency of the weather, the confusion resulting from
the attacks of the English ships, and the blockade of Farnese
by the Dutch in their own harbours; and how, scattered
by a storm, the remnants of the great Armada staggered
northwards through the German Ocean. The great heart of
England again beat freely, for the disaster which had well
nigh changed her history was providentially averted. The
comparatively few vessels that escaped loss on the perilous
shores of Norway, and the equally inhospitable Hebrides,
sought to beat their way homewards by the western coasts
of Britain and Ireland, till of all that splendid fleet of
gilded and turreted ships, scarce fifty returned to bear the
tidings to King Philip of the lamentable end of the mightiest
of his great enterprises.
One of the two hospital ships appointed for the Spanish
navy was named the St. Peter the Great. She was upwards
of 500 tons burden, and was laden with drugs and medical
stores. Either the adverse gales of November had driven
the ship from its course, after completing the entire circuit
of Great Britain, or her commander had made for the
enemy's land as the only chance of saving his sinking
vessel. Certain it is that she came ashore in Hope Bay,
near Salcombe. Manned by a thoroughly dispirited crew,
the ill-fated St. Peter was set upon and plundered by the
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 189
country people, before the authorities could take measures
for securing the prize in the name of the Queen.
George Cary, of Cockington,* one of the Deputy Lieu-
tenants of the county, received intelligence of the wreck
at Plymouth, and immediately rode across the country to
Hope, where he took order for the disposal of the crew,
and the recovery of the remnants of the cargo. Mr. Cary
found the hulk lying, full of water, on a rock, where she
soon fell in pieces. He gathered from the sailors that
at their departure from Spain they had numbered thirty
mariners, a hundred soldiers of various nations, and about
fifty persons attached to the duties of the hospital. Out
of these, one hundred and forty succeeded in reaching the
shore in safety. Of the drugs and 'potecary stuff' of six
thousand ducats value which had been on board, the greater
part was spoiled by water. The plate and treasure had
already been carried off, and even the seamen's chests had
been plundered by the wreckers. The ordnance, which
was all of iron, appears to have been secured; but of
the tackling only one cable remained.
Twenty of the Spanish officers were separated from the
rest : eight of these were left to the charge of Sir William
Courtenay, at Ilton Castle, near Kingsbridge, the wreck
having occurred on that good knight's property. Mr. Cary
undertook the custody of the apothecary and the surgeon,
and having caused the remainder to be guarded by day
* This gentleman was an ancestor of the present R. S. S. Cary, Esq., of
Torre Abbey. A member of one of the most ancient and distinguished of
our county families, be himself became one of the most illustrious of bis
race. He had already done the state good service in tbe measures taken for
the defence of the coasj:, and shortly after received the honour of knighthood
at the bands of bis kinswoman, Queen Elizabeth. He was a friend of tbe
great Secretary Walsingliam, and in later years was successively Lord
Treasurer and Lord Deputy, or Viceroy of Ireland. His biograpby will be
found in Prince's " Worthies of Devon."
and night, lie assigned for each prisoner's subsistence an
allowance of one penny per diem out of his private means,
until the pleasure of Her Majesty's Privy Council should
be made known. His report to their Lordships of these
proceedings is dated 5th November, 1588, from his house
at Cockington, near Torbay, whither he had retired after
leaving the further care of the matter to Anthony Ashley,
the Clerk of the Council, who took up his abode with Sir
William Courtenay, at Ilton Castle. The orders received
for the execution of the prisoners having been counter-
manded, Ashley proceeded in a business-like way to make
a careful inventory of their names, offices, and quality,
distinguishing such as made offers of ransom, from those
who were unable to purchase their liberty. In his report
to the Council, bearing date the 12th of November, he refers
to the wholesale rifling of the cargo, and the injury sustained
by the drugs ; and adds,
'By late examinations taken of the Spaniardes, I fynde
that certain besar stones and other simples was purloyned
out of the shippe, of which besar stones I hope to recouer
the most of them. I have been bould to staie this messenger
hitherto, thinking I should have been able to have advertised
some certaintie of them, but must now leave the same to
my return, w eh shall be as speedilie as I maie.'
As to the prisoners, he writes,
' X. or XII. of the best sorte are placed in a towne
called Kingsbridge, where order is taken for the provision
of their wants, and accompt kept of their expence. The
rest, untill yo r - Lpps. further pleasure knowen, are remaining
together in one house, whither they were first committed,
where they are safe kept, and provided of necessarie food.'
With what eager curiosity must the good townsfolk of
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 191
Kingsbridge have regarded the ten or twelve olive-com-
plexioned gentlemen of Spain, whom Anthony Ashley had
sent over to their keeping. A good idea of the aspect of
Kingsbridge at that period may be formed from an exami-
nation of the quaint frontispiece to Mr. Hawkins' History.
It is a kind of picture-plan, bearing the date 1586, or only
two years before the wreck of the St. Peter the Great.
People the scene here depicted with the Jarvises, the Adamses,
and the Lidstones, who then, as now, thronged to their
market town from the neighbouring South Hams. Imagine
groups of these countrymen and countrywomen gathering
round the foreigners, who lounged in strange costumes about
the ' Cheap House,' which then encumbered the centre of
the Fore Street, near the Church. Being, as Ashley says,
1 of the best sorte,' these Spaniards most likely had their
liberty on parole, and could regale their hosts with many
a story of proud endurance of the hardships of their luck-
less voyage. Some could doubtless recount tales of personal
adventure in the golden colonies of their royal master in
the Indies. They may have stirred the blood of these
men of Devon by glowing narratives of encounters on the
Spanish main, with Raleigh and Drake, and their bold
But my present concern is with historical facts, and these
conjectures must, therefore, be left with the novelist. The
presence of the foreigners could hardly have failed to leave
a deep impression on the inhabitants of the district, and
possibly some of your readers, possessing, like the author
of 'Kingsbridge Estuary,' the advantages of good local
sources of information, may find, still lingering in the
neighbourhood, traditions whose origin may be traced to
the wreck of the St. Peter the Great.
It only remains for me to direct those who may desire
to verify the strict historical accuracy of these particulars
to the Domestic Series of State Papers of the reign of
Elizabeth, preserved in the Record Office in London, and
to which ready access may be obtained for literary purposes.
The original letters of George Cary and Anthony Ashley
to the Privy Council will be found in vol. ccxviii. of the
Exeter, December, 1865."
" There is a rapture on the lonely sbore ;
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar."
Snugly ensconced within a beautiful cove are the two
fishing villages of Inner and Outer Hope, from whence
the neighbourhood derives its chief supply of lobsters and
From the flag-staff, just above the coast-guard station,
there is a charming look-out; indeed, it is marvellous that
this part of the coast has not become the resort of a greater
number of visitors. This usually quiet little cove sometimes
presents a curious spectacle, from its being a sheltered
retreat for wind-bound vessels, which occasionally lie there
for a week or more, at least, until the breeze is a favourable
one. We have seen between fifty and sixty vessels lying
at anchor, at the same time, within a limited space; and
then the villages presented a very animated scene, from
the influx of sailors, both foreign and English, who came
ashore, and caused great demand for provisions of various
kinds. Cart after cart arrived with butchers' meat and
loaves of bread, and were as speedily emptied of their loads,
with much laughter and vociferation. Then came the filling
of water casks from the clear spring just in front of one
of the inns ; and then the discovery of water-cresses in an
adjoining meadow. How they raced and chased, and vaulted
over the stone hedge, and then came back again with caps,
and handkerchiefs, and arms full of this wholesome and
"About the time the restoration of West Alvington Church
was completed, South Huish Church had become so dilapi-
dated that one Sunday, while the resident clergyman (the
Rev. F. R. Hole) was preaching, a large window was blown
in, and it was impossible that Divine service could be any
longer conducted there. It was, therefore, determined to
build a new church at once. But as the bulk of the
parishioners resided at Galmpton and Hope, it was desirable
that the new building should be erected amongst the popu-
lation ; and a site close to the former village was given by
the Earl of Devon, where a commodious and neat church
has been raised. The site of the building is all that could
be desired — on a slight elevation, and with a large yard sur-
rounding it. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
It is of the style of the fourteenth century."* The conse-
cration took place in July, 1869, by the Bishop of Exeter,
Dr. Temple. Upon this new church, about £2000 has
been expended; and the little chapel within sight of it,
at Hope Cove, erected at the expense of the Earl of Devon
and the late Sir George Turner, has been converted into a
At Inner Hope there is a small chapel belonging to the
Wesleyan Methodists; and the Plymouth Brethren have a
meeting-house at Galmpton.
* From the Kingsbridge Gazette of July, 180'J.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 195
Unless your walking powers are very small, we would
advise a ramble over the cliffs between Hope and Thurle-
stone, for carriages have to make a considerable detour
inland, through the village of Galmpton; consequently you
would miss a sight of the rocks and white pebbly beaches
along the coast.
Thurlestone is a village and parish, about four miles
west of Kingsbridge, and near the junction of the Avon
with Bigbury Bay. The village is situated on high ground,
about half a mile from the sea. It is a straggling place,
with pretty rural cottages, the fronts of which are, many
of them, covered with roses, woodbine, and fuschias.
It is worthy of remark that neither in Thurlestone nor
Buckland (as is the case with South Milton) can you find
a single public house. The Rector has, so far, been suc-
cessful in his determination to prevent the opening of any
place for the sale of strong drink; knowing well its
demoralizing effect on a rural population.
"This parish is called Torleston in Domesday Survey,
and is there described as having 'two meadows and two
pasture lands ; it seems to have been, about the time of
Edward the Confessor, the property of Ordgar, or Algar,
the Saxon Earl of Devon. About the thirteenth or four-
teenth century, it appears to have passed into the possession
of Courtenay, the Norman Earl of Devon, from whose
family it has but recently passed away.
Thurlestone, (or Torleston, Saxon) takes its name from
a curiously arched rock of conglomerate, of so hard a
character, that while all the other rocks around, being of
clay slate, have been washed away by the violence of
the waves, this arch which is a small isolated portion of
the D e yonian y-Qt-old red formation, still stands erect, and
It ry - '/
//r,/v^<*^>. <$. e, $
has given rise to the well-known saying of the neigh-
' Brave every shock
Like Thurlestone's Rock.' "*
The noise made by the wind rushing through the archway
is sometimes heard many miles away, and when it is
perceptible at Kingsbridge it is regarded as the fore-runner
of storms of rain.
" An eminent geological authority considers that the sea,
in the course of many centuries, has effected strange changes
here, and that there are manifest proofs that there was
once a forest where Thurlestone Sands are now. There
is perhaps no healthier locality in the kingdom than
this, owing to its enjoyment of the full, pure, bracing,
though comparatively warm, breeze that from the Atlantic
accompanies the course of the Gulf Stream, a portion of
which appears from the character of the shells and
debris frequently cast into the little bays, to flow straight
in here, more particularly than elsewhere, before making
its bend more directly eastward.
At the mouth of the Avon, which bounds this parish
westward, stands Burrow Island (or Burr Island) where
the waves in a storm appear so grandly wild, that it is
reported to have been the spot chosen by the celebrated
marine artist, Turner, as the best he could select for the
study of such a scene.f
Doubtless when modern facilities for approaching it render
this neighbourhood, with its picturesque valley of Buckland,
its fine sands and cliffs, beautiful coast scenery, its bathing
* Morris's " Devonshire."
f Mr. Cyrus Redding describes Turner at a pic-nic on Burr Island, watch-
ing the long dark Bolt, under the varying changes of a stormy day.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 197
and other advantages, more known, it will be far better
appreciated than it is at present. The Rectory is in the
incumbency of the Rev. Peregrine A. Ilbert, MA.."*
The church is an ancient edifice, not long ago restored
at considerable expense, and there is a good school for
children of both sexes.
Some time since there were seen on Thurlestone beach
several specimens of that curious creature called the
"Portuguese Man-of-war" (Physalia pelagica). They are
abundant in tropical seas, and especially so on the vast
shores of Australia, but it is a very unusual circumstance
to see them on our own coast, whither they were probably
driven by stormy weather. After being beaten about by
the waves, much of the beauty of the creature was de-
stroyed; but in its natural condition it has been described
as "an inflated oblong bladder, glowing in delicate crimson
tints, as it floats on the waves; and not only with crimson,
but with veinings of rich purple, and opaline flashes of
azure, orange, and green, changing in position at every
movement; with long dependent tentacles of the deepest
purple, the rich tone of which is seen even beneath the
water." The earliest modern name of this zoophyte, Acale-
pha pelagica, or Sea-nettle, was given it in consequence of
the venomous sting caused by the tentacles, a sting which
leaves after it a white pimple, precisely similar in appear-
ance to that caused by a nettle.
" Strange traditionary tales of the practice of ' wrecking '
or plundering the cargoes of lost ships are rife all round
the extensive coast line of Devon and Cornwall. It cannot
be denied that the spectacle of a homeward-bound Indiaman,
or richly-freighted trader from the Mediterranean, drifting
* Morris's " Devonshire."
disabled towards their shores, was openly rejoiced over by
the half-seafaring, half-agricultural population of the more
secluded cliffs and beaches of these two counties. The
rifling of the cargo was the first object, and it is even
said that sailors whom the waves had spared sometimes
encountered a worse fate than mere neglect."*
"About the year 1772, a vessel returning from the West
Indies, called the Chantiloupe, was wrecked in Bigbury
Bay; all on board perished, with the exception of one man,
who was rescued by the humanity of a farmer, who lived
in the neighbourhood, of the name of Hannaford. Amongst
the other passengers there was a lady, who it is supposed,
seeing the desperate state of the vessel, put on her richest
gems and apparel, with the hope that if she were washed
towards the shore, those who found her might be induced
to save her. She was thrown by the sea on to the beach,
and they say that life was not extinct when she reached
it, but the savage people (from the adjacent villages) who
were anxiously waiting for the wreck, seized and stripped
her of her clothes ; they even cut off some of her fingers,
and mangled her ears in their impatience to secure her
jewels, and then left her miserably to perish ! A lady in
the neighbourhood, hearing the frightful tale, sent and had
the body removed from the sands where it was left, and
decently buried. It was supposed that the unfortunate lady
was married, and that she had attendants on board the
wrecked vessel, but her name was never known. The men
who were principally concerned in plundering, and most
likely murdering her, seemed from that time marked men,
even in the rude neighbourhood in which they lived, and
what is singular, they all three came to awful and untimely
* Dymoncl's "Early Records."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 199
There is in the possession of Miss J. B. Cranch a corner
of the ill-fated lady's apron, which was secured by a man
(doubtless one of the wreckers), and given on the evening
following the wreck to her grandmother, who preserved it
as a relic of the sad fate of its unfortunate wearer. The
fragment is a beautiful specimen of finely embroidered
muslin. The account goes on to say that "the celebrated
Edmund Burke came down at that time, fearing some
relatives or friends of his whom he expected from abroad
might be on board the wrecked vessel. He stayed some
days at Bowringsleigh House."
After receiving this deplorable history, we had its truth
confirmed by a gentleman to whom application had been
made on the subject. He says "The tradition here is that
the vessel was called the Chantiloupe. The old man who
seemed to know most about it said, 'the lady ivas a-mur-
dered, he believed — 'cause the doctors said so, for the blood
that was about the fingers and the ears proved it. All hands
were lost except one man. Jan Whiddon's father's dog
found this here lady buried in the sand : he scratched up
the hand. 'Twas never found out who murdered her ; but
one thing was knoiv'd — which was this — that when the
wreck was about to take place, this here lady had put on
her best clothes, and all her jewels, in order that if she
was drownded, she might be buried decent. However, (he
added) all who were concerned in it, or supposed to be,
came to a bad end.' I have looked in the register (of
Thurlestone church) but can find no entry of about 1772
respecting the burial, but I hear she was buried here, and
then exhumed and taken to London, and that her name was
Burke, or Birt, or some name like it."
It would appear from the book entitled "A dreadful
Alarm," which has been already spoken of as written by
Henry Hingeston about the year 1700, that in his day
wrecks were much more frequent on the neighbouring
coast than is the case now (which, without lighthouses,
and with inferior vessels and seamanship, would be likely),
and wrecking was carried on in the most hard-hearted and
barbarous manner. The following are Henry Hingeston's
remarks on this subject.
"I have been deeply affected to see and feel how sweet
the report of a shipivreck is to the inhabitants of this
country, as well professors as profane, and what running
there is on such occasions, all other business thrown aside,
and away to wreck. * * * I am verily persuaded
that it hath been more sweet to hear that all the men
are drowned, and so a proper wreck, than that any are
saved, and by that means hinder their more public ap-
pearance on that stage for getting money. 0! the cruelty
that hath been acted by many. My heart hath been often
heavy to consider it, insomuch that I verily think multitudes
of heathen are nothing near so bad. Remember the broad-
cloth slupe, stranded in Bigbury Bay, richly laden. !
for shame, for shame, I am really vext that ever my country-
men should be guilty of such devilish actions."
Is it not sickening to think that such scenes ever were
enacted in this professedly Christian country ? But the
days of these savage deeds are long past away, and now
instead of the greedy wrecker, we may picture the life-boat
launched, and manned by a brave and honest crew, eager
to risk their own lives in the endeavour to save those of
The most recent wreck which we have to record as having
occurred in Bigbury Bay is that of the brigantine Theodore,
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 201
of Hamburgh, which came ashore at Thurlestone Sands, in
February of this year (1874). She was laden with cotton
seed and dye woods. During a heavy gale, a few days
previously, she was struck by a heavy sea, which swept
off the captain and two men, and damaged the vessel.
The mate then took the command, and having been at
the wheel for several days, got out of his reckoning, and
the vessel became embayed. The brigantine was then off
Hope, and the officer of the coast-guard, seeing she must
come ashore, got out a small life-boat, and took off the
mate and two lads before she struck, and landed them at
Many years ago, some young people were amusing them-
selves by digging in the sand just under Bantham Ham,
and to their astonishment they came upon a human skull.
It was apparently that of a negro — certainly not that of an
Englishman. Afterwards several other skulls were disin-
terred near the same spot, and it seems probable that they
were relics of those who perished either in the wreck of the
Ramilies, or of the Chantiloupe.
When the valley between Bantham and Thurlestone was
in process of being drained some years ago, the workmen
stumbled upon a mass of bones, which were at first supposed
to be human remains; they were, however, afterwards dis-
covered to be those of various animals, but how they came
there remains a mystery. Many cartloads of bones were
carried away to be used as manure. This draining altered
the course of a stream which ran all through the valley,
and after a while a beautiful bubbling spring burst up
through the saiid of the beach, where it remains a great
boon to thirsty picnic-ers.
Thurlestone parish includes the hamlets of Buckland,
Bantbam, and Avon-mouth. Buckland is in a warm shel-
tered valley, studded with orchards, and presents such an
old-world appearance that it called forth the remark from
a working man, when he saw it for the first time, that he
thought "it must have been built when Adam and Eve
A short distance from the village of Buckland is Clan-
nacombe — a fine Elizabethan mansion, but much modernised.
It is approached, from the gateway, through a short avenue
of elms. In one of the gardens is a fine specimen of the
old dovecote — a circular, domed building, in a good state
of preservation. Access to the interior is obtained by a
small square doorway at the base, when upon looking up
you will see a great number of square " pigeon holes,"
arranged in circular tiers, one above another. There is no
projecting alighting place for the birds, and the only place
of ingress and egress is a circular aperture at the top of the
dome. No safer home could have been designed for the
feathered inmates, as it would be impossible for either
quadruped or biped to obtain access to the nests, except
by the proper doorway, and then by a long ladder.
Bantham is built almost close to the mouth of the Avon,
where there is a harbour for sloops and barges. There is
here a salmon-pool; and at low water the fine flat sands,
which extend some way up the creek, are much frequented
by cockle-boys. The Ham, which is a piece of turfy land,
of considerable extent, is used for sheep grazing : it is a fine
breezy down, frequented by rabbits, who burrow in the
banks ; while the joyous songs of hosts of skylarks may be
heard high over head. Oh, who that has ever heard the
song of the free skylark, could think of making him a
captive within the bars of a cage ! Truly we believe these
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 203
poor prisoners often sing for sorrow of heart, and we miss
the exulting, gleeful strains of the free "bird of the
The sands on the beach at Bantham are the firmest for
walking on of any we know in the neighbourhood, and
a great variety of shells (some of them rare ones) may
be collected here. The rocks are capital for a scramble, and
the deep rock pools, fringed with beautiful sea-weeds and
corallines, and tenanted by prawns, periwinkles, hermit crabs,
sea anemonies, and many another creature, most tempting
to the collector for a marine aquarium, may occupy the
attention very pleasantly on a long summer's day. In the
village of Bantham there is what may be termed an out-
station belonging to the coastguard, in connection with
the larger station at Challaborough. Avon-mouth, or as it
is generally called, Onnamouth, consists of only a very few
houses, higher up the creek than Bantham.
The Avon divides the parish of Thurlestone from that of
"Where Avon's waters with the sea are mix'd,
Saint Michael firmly on a rock is fix'cl."
St. Michael's rock, now called Burrow, or Burr Island,
belongs to Bigbury parish. The sands that connect it with
the mainland are passable at half tide : in these sands may
sometimes be found beautiful microscopic shells, which can
be scooped up by handsful in some states of the Avind and
tide. A very elegant shell, supposed to be a nautilus, was
found here by the late C. Prideaux, Esq., and given to
Colonel Montagu. He describes it as "minute, with sides
perfectly equal, and very much resembling the cornu-
ammonis, transparent, and strongly ribbed." Of this
shell he found three specimens.
Camden mentions the ruins of an old chapel as existing
somewhere here, but there is no appearance of such now.
On the summit of the island there is a ruin, and some time
ago we were informed by a Coastguard that he supposed it
to be the remains of an observatory that had been erected
in war time. He was rather surprised at receiving the
counter information that it had been built by the writer's
grandfather, for the accommodation of pic-nic parties at the
island. The short turf here affords about ten acres of sheep
pasture. It is riddled with rabbit burrows, so as to render
it quite a perilous feat to ascend to the top on horseback.
The wild squill is so abundant, that in the season of flower-
ing, the ground has the appearance of being overspread with
patches of blue carpet. There is a fine archway of rock at
the base of the island, and deep fissures in the cliffs tenanted
by innumerable sea gulls.
Large quantities of pilchards are taken in Bigbury Bay.
These fish annually assemble in millions, and perform a
stately march through the sea, generally in the same
direction, and within certain limits.
Mr. Couch, in his Report of the Penzance Nat. Hist,
and Antiq. Soc, 1847, says, "The main body retires for
the winter into deep water, to the westward of the Scilly
Islands. About the middle of spring they rise from the
depths of the ocean, and consort together in small shoals,
which, as the season advances, unite into larger ones, and
towards the end of July or beginning of August combine
in one mighty host, and advance towards the land in such
amazing numbers as to discolour the water as far as the
eye can reach. They strike the land generally to the north
of Cape Cornwall, where a detachment turns to the N. E.,
and constitutes the summer fishery of St. Ives; but the
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 205
bulk of the fish passes between SciHy and the Land's End,
and entering the British Channel, follows the windings of
the shore as far as Bigbury Bay and the Start."
It is said in Moore's "Devon" that "many years since
a quantity of pilchards large enough to produce about
£7000 were taken in Bigbury Bay; but of late years the
fishing seasons have been less successful."
"There is a Bigbury Bay Company, possessing the
necessary boats and nets, &c, for the pilchard fishery,
and cellars for the cure of the fish at Challaborough and
at the Warren, from whence they are shipped in hogsheads
for the Mediterranean market."
Pilchards constitute an important article of food to the
poorer classes in all the villages and towns surrounding
The Avon (which is navigable for barges as far as
Aveton GifFord only) rises in Dartmoor, a short distance
north of Brent Beacon. It flows through a fertile country,
rich in interesting views Immediately before it passes
under Brent or Leedy Bridge, it pours down a ledge of
rocks, not much higher, indeed, than a common weir; but
the height of the arch of the bridge, beautifully covered
with ivy, and the waterfall seen through the arch, together
with the picturesque approach of the stream towards the
bridge, afford an assemblage of romantic objects, so finely
harmonised, that Polwhele says it has been preferred even
to Becky Fall, and considered superior to the cataract at
Passing Brent, the Avon runs between Diptford and North
Huish; there it is crossed by two or three bridges, besides
that at Loddiswell and Aveton Gifford, and discharges itself
into the sea near Bantham.
Sir William Pole says, "Bigbery (anciently, Bikabiry)
th' ancient dwelling of y* name. John de Bikabiry, in Kinge
John's tyme, dwelled in this place. * * *"
In Billing's "Devonshire," we find "Bigbury, anciently
Bikdberry, was held by a family of this name for nine
generations. * * * The village is very pleasantly
situated, on the west side of the Avon valley, about a
mile and a half from Bigbury Bay, and three and a half
miles from Modbury. The navigation of the bay is very
dangerous, on account of its rocky nature ; the coast is here
indented with several coves, affording convenient retreats
for smugglers ; there is a coast-guard station here. The
bay commands a magnificent view of the ocean."
"Bigbury, Prall, Yarde, Toutsaints, Huish, Bolberry, &c,
are the names of ancient families of importance who once
resided at these places, or to whom they belonged. The
Bigburys lived in this neighbourhood from the Conquest
to the time of Edward III."
Bigbury Church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, has a hand-
some tower, surmounted by a spire. There are, or were,
some remains of paintings in the windows, and armorial
bearings of the Champernowne and Drake families.
This church has recently undergone a complete restoration,
at a cost of about £1,200. It was re-opened in May, 1873,
by Dr. Temple, Bishop of Exeter. It contains a fine brass
for a lady of the Bigbury family, 1440. There is also a
brass for Robert Burton (effigy gone) and wife, Elizabeth
de Bigbury, 1460.
THE AVON VALE.
"Ever varied, too,
Is the rich prospect : valleys softly sink,
And uplands swell — no level sameness tires ;
While in the distance, happily disposed,
Sweeps round the bold blue moor."
Leland says, "Arme Haven is a . . . miles from
Saultcombe Haven. The month of this lyith full of Flattes
and Rokkes, and no shippe cummith in tempest hither,
but in desperation. Two of Philip, King of Castille, shippes,
fell to wrack in this haven, when he was driven into Eng-
land by tempeste. Arme river cummith to this haven;
and, as I have hard say, Aune river likewise."
Neither Bigbury nor Aveton Gifford are strictly within
our limits, both these places being in the hundred of
Ermington; but the latter is in the picturesque valley of
the Avon, and therefore must have a passing notice. The
Giffords were anciently Lords of the Manor of Aveton —
hence the name. Sir William Pole says "William Gifford
held the same anno 27 of Kinge Hen. III.
In Morris's " Devonshire," we find the following : —
" The church is a fine ancient cruciform edifice, in the
Perpendicular style, dedicated to St. Andrew, with a tower
containing six bells. It has been thoroughly restored, at
an expense of £2,003, and was re-opened for Divine service
in October, 1869." The Rectory is a large and handsome
modern residence, built in Elizabethan style, in 184&.Q.
The Baptists, Bible Christians, and Wesleyans, have
places of worship here, and there is a National School for
the children of both sexes, with house for the master,
which was erected in 1857.
The Avon (which is here crossed by a bridge, and is
navigable thus far, and no further) abounds in salmon and
trout, and at the hatch is a salmon weir. Three brooks,
which form feeders of the river, can be crossed at low
tide at a place called 'The Stakes/ which gives a shorter
route to Bigbury."
At one time salmon were much more plentiful here than
they are at present. Of late years they had so materially
decreased that a society was formed for their preservation,
and no one is now permitted to fish in the river for them
without a ticket.
In Domesday Book, among the sources of revenue of the
Manor of Loddiswell, the salmon of the river are mentioned.
It is said of this, as of some other places, that the indentures
by which apprentices were bound in the valley of the Avon
contained the provision that they should not be fed on
salmon more than three times a week.
Loddiswell is a large village, situated on rising ground,
at the western side of the Avon vale, and about three
miles from Kingsbridge.
Risdon's account of this place is as follows : — " Loddis-
well was held by Heath in the Saxons' time, and Judael de
Totnes was owner thereof the twentieth year of William
the Conqueror. William de Brays had this Manor given to
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 209
him by King Henry II., whose grandchild Eva was mother
unto the Lady Millicent de Montacute, of whom Gilbert
Knovill, Knight, held this land. Near about the same
time, Adam de Hatch was Lord of Hatch, which formerly
belonged to the Arundells of Sampford, in Somersetshire.
About the time of King Henry IV., the family of Karswill
came to be Lords of this land."
Sir William Pole says, "Hach Arondell belonged unto
the famyly of Arondell, of Sandford Arondell, in Somerset-
shire; and in Kinge Edw. I. tyme, Adam de Hach held
the same, and John de Hach, anno 19 of Kinge Edw. III.;
afterward, in Kinge Henry IV. tyme, Walter Carswell had
the same." * * *
From Prince's "Worthies," we extract the following: —
"Sir William Karswill, Knight, was a native of Devon,
and the second son of Walter Karswill, of Hach, Esq.,
in the parish of Loddiswell. A descendant of an ancient
and worshipful family of great estate and honour heretofore
in these parts, as most others in its time. Their most
ancient habitation was also Carswell, in the parish of Hol-
berton, near the town of Modbury, from whence they took
their name. In process of time they removed to Hach,
called Hach Arrondel, as belonging to a noble tribe so sur-
named. More anciently this place had owners denominated
from their seat, as Adam de Hach in King Edward I.
time, and John de Hach in the nineteenth year of King
Edward III." Elsewhere it is recorded that "in 1463,
Thomas Gyll had license to castellate his house of Hach
Arundell, and enclose a park ; " but the place has long
been reduced to a farm-house.
In this parish is situated Hazelwood, the residence of
the late Richard Peek, Esq., the "Devonshire magistrate,"
of whose career Mrs. Balfour gives a little sketch in her
work entitled "Moral Heroism."
An interesting notice of this gentleman appeared in the
Kingsbridge Gazette of March 16th, 1867, from which we
"The career of Mr. Peek, of Hazelwood, affords an example
of how a man in this country may raise himself if he has
the spirit and industry which are requisite to success in
most undertakings. Few have begun life under more un-
promising circumstances, and yet raised themselves to a
position of affluence in less time than did the subject of
this brief memoir. Some strange and contradictory accounts
of the business history of this remarkable man are current ;
and we have been favoured with some information from
one of his nearest relatives, which enables us to correct
Richard Peek was born at Hazelwood in 1782, of parents
in a very humble position of life. When a young man, in
the service of Mr. Lampin, a large grocer at Plymouth or
Devonport, he was balloted for the militia; but not liking
to be a soldier, and suspecting he was drawn, he went off
suddenly to London, where he was a perfect stranger, and
with very little money in his pocket. When crossing
London Bridge, he saw a benevolent-looking Quaker [John
Hamilton], whom he accosted, and to, whom he told his
simple tale. This gentleman mentioned his case to a large
wholesale tea dealer, who happened at that time to have
a subordinate situation vacant in his warehouse, which was
offered to the young man. No false pride deterred him
from earning an honest livelihood, and he gratefully ac-
cepted the situation, feeling sure he could work his way
upwards. In two years he got promoted, and introduced
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 211
his brother to his own place. In seven years he rose to
be traveller, and his brother to be head warehouseman.
After being a few years in this position, his brother de-
termined to commence business on his own account. The
great risk attendant upon the long credit (five months)
then given to grocers, considerably enhanced the prices of
their goods. William Peek (the brother referred to) thought
that by buying through the brokers at one month's credit,
and selling for ready money to dealers who could pay cash,
a good and safe trade might be done. The system succeeded
admirably, with perseverance and application, and in about
eighteen months the prosperous state of the business induced
Richard to relinquish his situation, and join his brother
as partner, when the style of the firm was altered from
William Peek & Co. to Peek Brothers & Co., and a younger
brother was taken into partnership as soon as he came
of age. Soon after this, a large broker offered them a
permanent loan of £1500, which enabled them to buy
direct from the East India Company, for cash, and spread
their trade amongst a higher class of town and country
dealers. Since that time the business has been steadily
increasing, and is now divided into three large wholesale
houses, carried on by the sons of the original partners
and young men brought up in the house.
Mr. Richard Peek early devoted much of his time to
public business and various charitable and religious objects.
He filled the offices of Common Councilman and Sheriff
of the City of London, having in the latter position been
the first returning officer after the passing of the Reform
Bill. Having been made a magistrate for his native county,
he retired to the residence he had built at Hazelwood, and
employed the remainder of his life in works of philanthropy
and beneficence. * * * Among other good works in
which he took a prominent part, we may mention the
British School-house in Dodbrooke, the ground for which
was given by him; and shortly before his death he con-
tributed handsomely towards the erection of a chapel for
the Bible Christians in the same parish. A pretty chapel
on his estate at Hazelwood was erected at his sole expense,
while chapels and school-rooms at Loddiswell, Ugborough,
Staunton, and East Allington, have been built chiefly by his
Mr. Peek warmly advocated the Temperance cause, and
was, during a large portion of his life, a consistent tee-
totaller. Of late years he took great interest in the spread
of Peace principles, and warmly supported the plan of
arbitration between contending nations, in aid of which he
spent both time and money.
The remains of the deceased gentleman were interred in
the catacombs at the new cemetery at Hazelwood, the
funeral service being conducted by the Rev. J. C. Postans;
and notwithstanding the very unfavourable weather, there
was a large concourse of people, anxious to pay the last
tribute of respect to the departed gentleman."
For many years the Sunday School children of this neigh-
bourhood have enjoyed annually "the Hazelwood Treat."
The last time this took place before the death of Mr. Peek
was in July of 1866. Tried as Mr. Peek had been by a
recent illness, he appeared to enjoy this festal day as much
as any present, though he expressed a belief that this was
the last time he should witness the annual gathering.
After singing the hymn " Shall we meet beyond the River ? "
the benediction was given, and the large party broke up,
and thus ended the last "Hazelwood Treat."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 213
The following information has been kindly furnished for
insertion : —
" The Hazelwood Chapel Trust has been founded by James
Peek, Esq., to perpetuate the memory of his brother, the
late Richard Peek, Esq., of Hazelwood, by placing in trust
the sum of £11,000, which amount is to be supplemented
at some future time by other sums from other branches
of the Peek family. The objects of the Trust are — to
support an Evangelistic Agent at Hazelwood, whose duty
it is to conduct Divine worship in the chapel there on
the Sabbath, and in the immediate neighbourhood during
the evenings of the week, as opportunities offer; to super-
intend a Sunday School at Hazelwood, and to distribute
religious tracts, &c, in the neighbourhood around it; to
visit and minister to the sick poor in the same locality,
by supplying them with medical comforts and small gifts
in money, at the discretion of the visitor ; to support either
wholly or partially, by payments not exceeding thirty-two
shillings per month, eight incurable invalids, and to give
annuities of twelve pounds to each of four blind persons,
who, as well as the invalids, must be resident within six
miles of Hazelwood."
The amount of good effected by the "Hazelwood Chapel
Trust," and also by the "Kingsbridge Invalid Trust," is
incalculable. Truly this whole neighbourhood has cause to
hold in high esteem the names and memories of these
benevolent gentlemen, who have done so much for the
temporal and spiritual necessities of their fellow men.
The following is copied from the Western Times, of
April 24th, 1874 :—
" Sir Henry William Peek, M.P., who is one of the first
of Mr. Disraeli's new Baronets, is son of James Peek, Esq.,
of Watcombe, near Torquay, and nephew of the late Richard
Peek, Esq., of Hazlewood, South Devon. This latter gentle-
man was founder of the mercantile house which has
enriched all the family. The father of Richard Peek was
an agricultural labourer, and when Richard served the
office of Sheriff of London and Middlesex he had his aged
father up to town to see his 'brave' equipage. There was
settled in business in London the son of a Devonshire
yeoman, who had employed the father in husbandry in
Devon, and the old man went to him and described, in
ecstatic terms, the wonderment of the finery in which he
saw his prosperous son arrayed. 'Lor a' massy — zilver
harness and goold lace, and sich cattle, and sich a bootiful
coach !' The worthy old rustic was only restrained by the
slenderness of his vocabulary from doing justice to his
feelings. We had the story from a gentleman well known
in Devonshire, and who is a brother of the merchant in
London to whom the old man delivered his mind on the
subject. Richard Peek was a rigid Nonconformist, and was
the life and soul of ' the cause ' in his district. He went to
London an unfriended youth, with nothing but good prin-
ciples and a sound constitution to stay him — and they
brought him to a first-rate position in London. The new
Baronet became a Churchman and a Tory. He has used
his great wealth freely in ' helping ' churches and Tory
candidates. Restoration of fabrics, ornamenting interiors,
giving new organs, have all been described as modes by
which he has shown his zeal for religion."
The village of Woodleigh, which gives its name to a
Deanery, is in the Avon Valley. The manor belonged at
an early period to the Damerells, but now, we believe,
it is the joint property of three or four families. The small
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 215
antique Church belonging to Woodleigh was renovated
a few years ago, and a new east window inserted. The
interior has several handsome mural tablets belonging to the
Luscombe, Cornish, Edmonds, and other families. There is
a silver flagon here, which was given by Lady Amy Fortescue
in 1686; it weighs 41bs. 12oz., and is emblazoned with the
Fortescue and Courtenay arms.
"Woodlegh was aunciently thenheritanc of Damerell; anno
27 of Kinge Henry III., Raph Damerell was lord thereof;
anno 24 of Kinge Edw. 1, John Damerell held it, and after
him Rose, his wief, whom Henry de Rohant tooke unto his
wief; Roger de Rohant, Kt. was lord of this mannor; by his
daughter Elinor it descended to S r Richard Chambernon,
which gave this mannor, wi th other lands, unto Richard, his
eldest sonne, by his 2 wief Katerine, y e daughter of S r Giles
Dawbeney; and soe it descended unto Sir Richard Cham-
bernon, of Modbiry.
Therle of Devonshire had also his mannor of Woodlegh."*
Wood Barton is referred to when speaking of the Lus-
combes, of Coombe Royal, it having been at one time their
Woodleigh Woods are a favourite resort for pic-nic parties :
the rocky river and overhanging trees are very beautiful.
There is a singular history connected with the parish
Church of Morleigh (which formerly belonged to the parish
of Woodleigh). In Prince's "Worthies" we read that Sir
Martin Fishacre had two sons, "Sir William Fishacre, of
Coombe Fishacre, and Sir Peter Fishacre, of Morlegh, which
lies about five miles to the south-west from Totnes, in the
Road to King's-bridg, of which last knight, Sir Peter,
tradition hath handed down unto us this remarkable
* Six William Pole.
passage : — That upon some controversy between him and
the Parson of Woodlegh about tythes, the matter grew so
high that the Knight in his fury slew the Parson. Which
abominable fact was so eagerly followed against him, that he
was constrained to answer the same at Rome, where he could
not be dismissed until he had submitted unto this penance,
enjoyn'd upon him by the Pope — to build a church at Mor-
legh ; which accordingly he did, and lies buried under an arch
in the wall thereof."
Four miles north of Kingsbridge, in the parish of Loddis-
well, is Bleak, or Black-down, commonly called Blakey-down,
which commands a fine prospect. Here are (or were) the
remains of an encampment of large extent. Lyson's account
is this : — " Blackadon Camp is an irregular oval, the extreme
length being above 1,000 feet, and in the broadest part about
500. The whole is said to contain about eleven acres. The
keep at the north-west corner is about ten feet higher than
the vallum. On the south and east of it the vallum is double
The ancient fortress of Stanborough, which gives name
to the Hundred, is similar, but of smaller dimensions.
Several barrows were examined in this district many
years ago, some of them containing fragments of human
Near the Blackdown entrenchment is a copper mine, but
it is not now worked.
About two miles from Kingsbridge, on the road leading
towards Plymouth, is the village of Churchstow, which has
already been mentioned as belonging to the same vicarage
as Kingsbridge. The earliest document known to be in
existence in reference to Churchstow, under the deanery of
Woodleigh, bears date 1291. It appears by the Hundred
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 217
Roll that the Abbots of Buckfast, and also the Lord of the
Manor of Churchstow, formerly had the power of inflicting
capital punishment. The church of St. Mary has a lofty
tower, and Polwhele says "Four bad bells." The church
was restored in 1849. The east window is enriched with
stained glass, and the whole interior has now a handsome
appearance. The Rev. John Wilcocks lies buried in this
cemetery. The following inscription is on his tomb: —
" In memory of the Rev. John Wilcocks, A.B., vicar of
this parish, and during thirty years, master of the endowed
grammar school at Kingsbridge, who died on the 27th of
August, 1809, aged 66 years. In every station of his life
he executed its respective duties with judgment, diligence,
and fidelity. To great and various intellectual acquirements,
he added universal candour of mind and primitive simplicity
of manners, which conciliated the esteem and regard of
all who knew him. This humble testimony of her most
affectionate remembrance was placed here by his widow."
[The widow afterwards married Major Bennett, of the
Cornwall Militia, who had been one of her late husband's
In the valley below Churchstow is Leigh, once a cell
belonging to Buckfast Abbey. The whole place has an
aspect of great antiquity : the walls are composed of large
and beautifully-chiseled stones of blue schist — in many
parts in excellent preservation, but in others crumbling, and
clothed with ferns and ivy. The entrance archway is a
fine specimen of the less acute gothic order. Although the
walls are in many places cracked and shaken, particularly
those of the room above the archway, yet care appears to
have been taken, by iron stays, and other means, to prevent
further dilapidation. In one part of the building there are
steps (containing some unusually massive hewn stones)
which lead to an open balcony, the pillars of which remain,
but the rails and open work which probably at one time
existed, have disappeared. This balcony opens into two
large well-proportioned rooms. Some of the original oak
beams, supporting the roof, remain, but are grey with age
and incrusted with lichen. A narrow doorway in one corner
looks down into a deep well, or pit, which is considered to
have been a place of confinement. This, as well as other
parts of the rooms, is almost full of rubbish.
Leigh, being at present a farm-house, agricultural imple-
ments and such matters are here stowed away ; and sundry
wooden partitions having been erected, the extent and
symmetry of these fine apartments has been sadly marred.
At different periods Leigh has been the property of the
the Hayes family, the Aldams, and the Bickfords.
Norton farm lies a little off the road between Churchstow
and Kingsbridge ; it is a fine specimen of an old Devonshire
mansion, with its stone gate posts, surmounted by large
balls. It was formerly the seat of a branch of the Hawkins
family. Prom some high ground belonging to this estate,
and known by the name of Norton Ball, there is a good view
of the estuary, which, from thence, looks almost like a lake,
shut in, as it is apparently, by the Portsmouth Hills at the
lower end. It is considered that Norton and Norden (pro-
nounced Norn) are only two forms of one name, common to
the slopes which run from Norton quarries to Norden, on the
West Alvington road. The stream which runs down on the
west side of Kingsbridge divides that place from Norton.
The meadows about there are called Norton Meadows, and
were the property of Buckfast Abbey.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS.
The Union House for Kingsbridge and twenty-five other
parishes stands on a slope above Norden House, and opposite
the West Alvington Woods. It is in Churchstow parish,
and was erected in 1837, at a cost of £6,000. Kingsbridge
Union consists of the following parishes, viz.: —
Those marked e are in Ermington Hundred
„ „ c are in Coleridge Hundred
„ „ s are in Stanborough Hundred
"By breezy hills
And soft retiring dales ; by smiling lawns,
Bold headlands, dark with umbrage of the grove ;
By towns and villages and mansions fair,
And rocks magnificent."
Buckland-t out-saints is a small parochial chapelry,
appended ecclesiastically to Loddiswell parish. The manor
belonged to the Tout-Saints family in the reign of Richard I.,
and afterwards passed to the Hills and Southcotes, the latter
of whom, after having held it for several generations, sold
the manor in 1793 to the late William Clark, Esq., of
Plymouth. More recently it has been the property of Mr.
Br un skill.
The chapel (St. Peter) was very ancient, but was mostly
rebuilt in 1779 by J. H. Southcote, Esq. It was appropriated
with Loddiswell to Slapton College in the fifteenth century,
and is now a curacy annexed to Loddiswell Vicarage.
Having undergone alterations, such as the removal of the
screen and pulpit, and the adoption of the more modern style
of seats, instead of inconvenient pews, this chapel was re-
opened in January, 1874.
In the parish of Buckland-tout-saints there are extensive
slate quarries. Before the Dutch War in 1781, great
quantities of this article were exported from these quarries
to Holland, but the trade has not since been resumed.
Bearscombe, or as it was originally called, Woodmaston,
once the abode of "Justice Beare" (whose name so frequently
crops up in connection with Nonconformist persecution) is
in this parish.
In Worth's "History of Plymouth" is the following: —
" When Pope Pius IX. decided upon establishing the present
Roman Catholic hierarchy in England, Plymouth was
selected as a seat of one of the new dioceses. The first
priest who is known to have ministered in Plymouth after
the Reformation, was the Rev. Edward Williams, who was
settled at the seat of Mr. Richard Chester, in Buckland-tout-
saints, and who occasionally visited Plymouth to attend to
the spiritual wants of the few and scattered Catholics then to
be found there. This was a century since."
Mr. Richard Chester's residence was at Bearscombe, which
is, and has been for many years past, a farm-house.*
In the adjoining parish of East Allington, is situated
Fallapit, the seat of the Governor of Salcombe Castle at
the time of the siege. Fallapit was a possession of the
Fortescues for many generations ; this branch of the family
is descended from Sir Henry Fortescue, chief justice of
Common Pleas in Ireland, who married the heiress of
Fallapit about 1450 (Fallapit having been for several
descents the property and residence of a family of that
name). The heiress of this branch married Lewis Fortescue,
a younger son of the Fortescues of Spriddleston, who was one
of the Barons of the Exchequer in the reign of Henry VIII.
* It was at onetime occupied by Walter, brother of the late C. Prideaux, Esq.
Sir Edmund, the fifth in descent from this Lewis, was a
zealous royalist ; he was knighted by King Charles I., and in
1 664< was created a Baronet. The title became extinct on the
death of his son Sir Sandys Fortescue, in 1683. Edmund
Wells, Esq., whose maternal grandfather, Thomas Bury, Esq.,
married one of the cousins and co-heiresses of Sir Sandys
Fortescue, took the name of Fortescue in 1768, and was
grandfather of W. B. Fortescue, Esq., late possessor of
Fallapit, who, however, sold it to William Cubitt, Esq.
The house is a large and handsome mansion, built in the
Elizabethan style, more than half a century ago, very near
the former one — an ivy-mantled portion of which still
remains. It is pleasantly situated in the midst of extensive
and tasteful pleasure grounds.
The church of East Allington is dedicated to St. Andrew.
It contains three aisles, and is supported by eight gothic
pillars. The pulpit and the screen have the appearance of
great antiquity; the former is handsomely adorned with
carved work, and bears the arms and blazonings of the
Fortescues, and many families who have intermarried with
them. Among the mural inscriptions in the chancel,
Polwhele quotes the following as being over the grave of
Elizabeth, wife of Edmund Fortescue, one of the sheriffs of
the county : —
" Here lieth a wight
Of worthy descent,
Whose loss for her worth
The people lament;
The Rich for her love
And kind afFabilitie,
The Poor for her Alms,
Deeds, and Hospitalitie.
Obit 28 Jan., 1611."
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 223
There is another inscription as follows : —
" To the memory of Elizabeth, lately the Pious
Wife of Richard Wood, Gent. She died Jan. 11, 1662.
Eliza's soule a GrafTe divine
With Clay was fastened into Wood
The Tree did suddenly decline
The Fruit was blasted in the Bud.
The Clay which death brake off lies here, the Wife
Is now engrafted on the tree of life.
Reader, expect not long to hold thy breath,
For hearte of Oake thou see'st cut off by death.
Kenedon, in the parish of Sherford, is an ancient house
of the early Tudor period. It was formerly the seat of the
Pralls ; at one time it belonged to Sir W. Elford, and after-
wards it was the property of the late Luke Howard, Esq., of
Tottenham. There was once a tower attached to it, but this
was taken down by the Aldhams, who occupied the place
for some years. The following is extracted from Prince's
"Worthies": — John Halse, Lord Bishop of Coventry and
Lichfield, was born in Kenedon, in the parish of Sherford (a
chapel of ease to Stokenham Church). It hath the name
Sherford from a clear stream of water running there and a
passage through it. John Halse, the Judge, was the first of
the name who possessed this seat (Kenedon) whom I take to
be a native of this county, although where born I cannot say.
In the 1st of King Henry V. he was made the King's
Sergeant-at-Law. In the first of King Henry VI. he was con-
stituted one of the justices of Common Pleas, and in the year
after, 1424, one of the justices of the King's Bench. He took
up his habitation at Kenedon, and made it the seat of his
family, which flourished there many generations in a right
worshipful degree, down to the latter end of the reign of
Charles II., when Matthew Halse, Esq., was so far imposed
upon as to make away this and his other inheritance from
his uncle (a reverend divine of his name, then living in
Cornwall) and his issue, and settle it upon his sisters,
whom he made his heirs."
In a later edition of Prince's "Worthies" we find the
following remarks : — " The sisters of Matthew Halse, whose
disregard of feudal claims in preferring them to his reverend
uncle, excites so much indignation in our author, were Amy
and Rebecca. Amy was married to Jonathan Elford, of
Bickham, Esq. * * * In the division of the property
Kenedon was the property of Amy, and descended to Sir
William Elford, of Bickham, Bart. * * Rebecca, the other
sister of Matthew Halse, was married to Henry Trelawny,
Esq. The estate of Efford was her portion."
" Let us now proceed unto the Bishop ; he was second son
to the judge aforesaid; and it being his fortune (or rather
misfortune, as some may esteem it) to be a younger brother,
he endeavoured to free himself from the disadvantage thereof
by his own personal worth and accomplishments ; and he did
accordingly, by the vertuous improvement of his time, and the
blessing of God upon it, grow up to be a much greater man
in the world than his elder brother was with all his estate.
He was bred a scholar; and had his education in Exeter
College, in Oxford, of which house he became fellow ; and at
length grew into that reputation with the university, that he
was chosen (not by his college according to the late cycle,
but by common suffrage of the masters in congregation)
one of the proctors thereof for the year of our Lord 1432.
After this he took the degree of Batchelur of Divinity ; and
on the 23rd March, 1445, he was chosen Provost of Oriel
College there. In this very reputable station doth Mr. Halse
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 225
(for I don't find he was a doctor) continue the space of fifteen
years ; and then his fame having reached the court, he was,
by that pious prince, King Henry VI., in the 38th year of his
reign, made Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. He continued
Bishop of this Diocese about one and thirty years, and died
upon the Lord's-day, October 3, 1490, at what time, by
computation, he must be nearly ninety years of age. He
lieth buried in his church at Lichfield."
" The village of Sherford is very ancient. It once belonged
to St. Nicholas's Priory, Exeter. The church (St. Martin) is
a fine specimen of the decorated style, and has a lofty tower
and five bells. There are stoups at the north and south
doors, and in the chancel is a fine trefoiled piscina."*
Let us pass through Chillington, which is a long straggling
village, with a few pleasant-looking houses in it. It is one of
the many villages in the parish of Stokenham.
"This manor (Stokenham) belonged, in the reign of
King John, to Matthew Fitz-Herbert ; it continued several
generations to his descendants, by the name of Fitz-Matthew,
Fitz-Herbert, and Fitz-John. Matthew Fitz-John, the last of
this family, was summoned to Parliament as a baron. Dying
without issue, he gave the inheritance of all his lands to the
King (Edwd. I.). The manor was then held under the Cour-
tenays, as of the Honour of Plympton. King Edward I. gave
it to Ralph de Monthermer, his son-in-law, to be held of the
crown, of which the Earl of Devon complained in a petition
to Parliament, and obtained redress. From Monthermer this
manor descended through the families of Montacute and
Poole to Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, who sold it to the
Arierideths. Both Sir Wm. Pole and Risdon state that
this manor was dismembered; Risdon says by the Earl of
* White's " Devonshire."
Huntingdon; Sir Wm, Pole says by Sir John Amerideth, son
of Edward, who purchased the estate. The royalty appears,
nevertheless, to have been retained, the manor of Stokenham
being now vested in R. W. Newman, Esq., who purchased it
of Geo. Cary, Esq., of Torr Abbey." *
The Hundred Court was anciently held here, and there are
some remains of an old building called the Prison, near the
church, and the site of an old manor-house.
Robert Dymond, Esq., E.S.A., has furnished some very
curious particulars respecting the manor of Stokenham,
"derived from the ancient deeds and documents at Torr
Abbey," which he says " have never been published."
"The Carys, of Torr Abbey and Cockington, were Lords of
the manor of Stokenham, from 1608 to the beginning of the
present century. The earliest document relating to the
manor, which I find among the Torr Abbey papers, is the
verdict of the jury at a Manor Court, held 30 Sep 1 '., 5th
Henry VII. (1490), in reference to the title to certain lands
in 'Wydecombe and Colerige,' held by John Somaster and
Margery Littleton, * * * 'and, moreover, the jury say
that the said John and Margery and their ancestors, from
time immemorial, were seized of a fishery in the Kings'
water at the Ley in the manor aforesaid twice a year — once
in Lent time, and once before the end of Pentecost. And
moreover the jury say that the said John and Margery and
their ancestors from time immemorial had, and used to have
in the Park of the King at Stokynham, afs d > twice a year,
a deer, in the feast of the Nativity of our Lord, and one
other deer in the feast of the Nativity of St. John the
Baptist, yearly. * * * ' p
Before the sale to Amerideth it was thought probable
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 227
that Sir Francis Drake would have purchased the manor (of
Stokenham), as the following letter to Lord Huntingdon from
his agent will shew : —
' It maie please yo v honor,
We have been heere at Stokenham w h p r pose
to p'cede yn sale of your lo 113 lands there ; but being crossed
by the practice of one Digbye, a busie curate newlie come to
that towne, and assisted by a companie of light hedded
fellowes, who sent a supplicacon to yo r Lo d P, which we have
seen in a l're dated the Vth of this month, but the chiefe
cause we take to be the very povertie of the tenants who
would not deale anythinge till their messenger should return
from London. So beinge stalled there and at Southpole for
that tyme, we left them and rode to Yelhampton, and first we
enquired for S r if 1 " Drake, who, being still at the courte, we
conferred wth Mr. John Heale, to understand S r F's mynde
in the p r chase of this manor, but Mr. Heale had no com-
mishion to deale therein.'
The letter goes on to state that the writer found it difficult
to deal with the tenants at 'Yelhampton,' suggesting that
Lord Huntingdon should confer with Sir. F. Drake in
London, ' who happilie maie be drawen to yo r L dpps likinge.'
The letter is dated the 14th of April, at Yelhampton,
On the 6 Sepf, 1632, Sir Edward Cary, of Stantor (an
ancient house in the parish of Marldon, between Paignton
and Torquay), Knt., and his son Sir George, granted a lease
for lives to W m Gournay, of Dartmouth, merchant, of ' all that
place and hole, commonly known by the name of Poke Hole,
situate under the cliff at Halsand, in the parish and manor of
Stockingham, neere adioyning unto the fishhouse or sellar of
the s d W M Gournay there.' Another lease of the same year
grants to the same lessee a ' fishing howse at Halesand, and
the Capstander roome thereto belonging.'
The papers also comprise several Court Rolls of the Manor,
recording the proceedings of the Courts Leet. The following
are extracted from the presentments at the Courts : —
In 1675 Richard Hawkings, esq., was presented 'for com-
mittinge of an assaulte, and drawinge of blood fro™ Thomas
Luscombe w th in the manno 1 ' aforesaid, to y e disturbance of y e
peace, and amerced in 3s. 4d.,' and again, 'Roger Parret, for
his irreverent behaviour, and disturbinge y e Co rt , and smoak-
ing tobacco there after notice given him,' is amerced in the
sum of 3s. 4d.' [R. D. remarks the temptation to indulge in
this imported luxury was too strong for poor Roger]. In the
same year, under the head of Button and Muck well, a fine of
8d. was inflicted on ' Elizabeth ffox, widow, for brewinge ale
two severall tymes without y e Lycence of the Lorde of
y e MannoV In 1683 we find John Ewen presented for
'sowinge of garden seeds and placinge of bees in Addle
Michael Pope and John Lowe were fined 12d. each 'for
sufFeringe their hoggs to goe unringed and unyoaked, to
y e annoyance of y e inhabitants of y e Leete.' 1676. Tho s
Paidge was presented 'for keepinge of an unruly and
dangerous dogg wi th in this Leete, wherefore it is ordered by
y e Co rt y* the saide Tho s Paidge doe hange or otherwise
destroy the same.' 1690. 'The jury pssent Stephen Terry
for commitinge of an affray, and drawinge of blood from
John Earle, at Nuttiscombe, w th in this Manno r about y e 13th
day of March last, by throughinge of a stone of five pound
wight, or thereabouts,' for which he was fined 3s. 4d.
About 1745 one Samuel Weekes was Reeve or Bailiff of
the Manor of Stokenham. One of his letters seems worth
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 229
quoting. It is dated 31 Jan., 174?, and is addressed to
' George Cary, Esq., att his Tor Abby. To be left at the Post
House in Totnesse with care.' It commences, 'Sir, I suppose
you hear of the death of the landlady att the Church Hous
in Stockingham town, Mary King;' then after enumerating
the deaths of sundry persons, on whose lives tenements were
held, he continues, ' its fifty to one whether the Lifes on Mr.
Shath Estate in Dun son are not lost. There is no certain
account of Ship nor men, since the whent out of Dartmouth
— then, 'tis said, the are in Spanish prison, then in French
prison : it seems there's nothing in nether of it.' Then,
after a few more business particulars, he concludes, 'This
from your very humble servent, Samuel Weekes. I know
nothing els att present. The Leay being very high, the catch
many fresch water Eles at the sands side.' "
The Vicarage of Stokenham (with that of Chivelstone
annexed) is in the incumbency of the Rev. J. C. Carwithen,
M.A. The Church is large and antique, with a low tower
and six bells. There is a National School in the village.
Sir Lydstone Newman, Bart., of Mamhead, is Lord of the
Manor of Stokenham, and has a marine residence here,
called Stokeley, or Stokeleigh House.
A. B. E. Holdsworth, Esq., owns Stokenham Priory estate:
his residence, Widdecombe House, is picturesquely situated
near the Bay.
Coleridge House, a mansion built in the Elizabethan style,
the seat of John Allen, Esq., who owns the estate which
gives its name to the Hundred, is also in this parish.
Stokenham includes six villages, and a few hamlets,
mostly scattered along the shore of Start Bay. The villages
are Chillington, Beeson, Beesands, Halsands, Kellaton, and
Polwhele says, when alluding to a time of rebellion and
revolution in 1794, "The active loyalty of every description
of persons in Devonshire is beyond all former example.
Signal houses were erected on the south coast of Devon in
the autumn of that year, and Lieutenants of the Navy
appointed to them the 18th of December following. They
were situate as follows, viz., Collegrew, Start Point ; Hurter's
Top, near the Prawle ; Westore, at the Bolt Head ; Gurnose,
Bigbury Bay ; Berry Head, south point of Torbay ; Coleton,
near Dartmouth; Beer Head, near Colyton; Westdown
Beacon, near Exmouth; and Dawlish Head, near Chudleigh."
Prawle Point has been thus described : — " The Prawle is
principally composed of gneiss rock, which on the western
side is weathered like a surface of snow which has been
exposed to the sun's rays. It is everywhere broken into
crags, and terminated at the point by a singular archway,
through which a boat might sail in calm weather. Many
years ago the Crocodile frigate was wrecked upon this head-
land, with a great loss of life."
One authority states that "here in the eleventh century
the ships of pilgrims touched, on their voyage from Denmark
to the Holy Land."
There is a "coastguard station at this fishing village.
In the " Londoner's Walk to the Land's End," the follow-
ing paragraph occurs respecting the scenery between the
Start Point and the Prawle : — " Those who have been
disappointed with foreign travel would do well to bend their
steps to this little-known part of our own country. One mav
journey far before he finds so much to satisfy the eye and
charm the imagination, as came before me in this day's
wandering." A coastguard, whom the "Londoner" met
with, remarked to him, " 'Tis as rough a bit of country as
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 231
any part of Devonshire, but 'tis well worth looking at. An
Englishman don't know what England is till he has been
The following notice appeared in the Kingsbridge Gazette
of February 13th, 1864, headed Ornithology. "That very
rare bird, the Little Bustard (Otis Tetrax, Linn), was shot
at Prawle on Saturday last. The bird is a mere straggler in
this country ; one was shot in the parish of Stokenham
about twenty-five years since ; and, a few years before, one
at Bigbury. The Little Bustard is a bird of considerable
powers of flight; the great deserts of Tartary being its
principal stronghold. Large flocks of them have been seen
wandering thence in the direction of the Caucasus and the
Caspian Sea, also to the south of Russia, Siberia, Turkey,
and Greece; and in small numbers in Italy, Spain, and
France. They are polygamous; but a male specimen has
seldom been met with in this country. Their food consists
of vegetables, insects, worms, grain, and seeds."
Respecting one of the birds above mentioned, the following
communication was made to Loudon's " Magazine of Natural
History," and signed Charles Prideaux, Hatch Arundel, near
Kingsbridge, Devon. "On Friday, the loth November,
1839, a specimen of that very rare bird, the Little Bustard,
was killed at Bigbury, in the south of Devon, which came
into my possession the next day. This is, I believe, the
second occurrence of this bird in that county; and it is
rather singular that in the other instance the bird was
bought in Plymouth market in 1801-, by my brother,
William Prideaux, and presented to the late Colonel
Montagu, and is now in the British Museum : it was killed
in the north of Devon."
" The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
And on its outer point some miles away,
The lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.
And the great ships sail outward and return,
Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn,
They wave their silent welcomes and farewells."
Polwhele says, in reference to Start Point, (but we have
never seen it mentioned elsewhere) "There are still the
remains of columns here, it is supposed, in memory of the
Another authority says, " The name (Start) is supposed
to be the Anglo-Saxon, ' Steort,' a tail or promontory, but
it is more commonly explained as the ' starting point' of
ships outward bound. The point stretches boldly to sea,
sloped on each side like the roof of a house, and crowned
along its entire length by fanciful crags, strangely weathered
and shaggy with moss. Its different sides strikingly illus-
trate the influence of a stormy sea on the picturesqueness
of a coast. On the west, the dark cliff incessantly assaulted,
presents a ruinous appearance; on the east, although
moulded from the same material, it descends to the waves in
a smooth precipice. Beyond this point the sea is seldom
agitated by a roll from the Atlantic, the ground swell of the
ocean rarely extending further eastward than the Start."
The Start Lighthouse is well known. It is situated almost,
but not quite, on the extreme point of land, and at a con-
siderable elevation above the sea; the bold, jagged rocks,
however, rise high above the tower. It has now sent its
warning light across the deep for more than forty years. At
first it only consisted of the single round tower, at the top
of which was the lantern, containing the revolving light,
and also a fixed light, with the necessary apparatus for
working the same. The rooms underneath were used as a
residence by the light-keepers. At first one keeper only had
to attend to this duty; but some years later, a cottage was
erected adjoining the lighthouse, and a second keeper ap-
pointed to assist in looking after the light, &c.
It is the duty of the keepers to light up the lamps ten
minutes before sunset, and watch them during the night, to
see that the machinery which works the revolving light
does not stop or get out of order. For this purpose, the
night is divided into watches, which are taken alternately.
It is a regulation of the Trinity Board, that during the time
the lights are burning one keeper is to be constantly present
in the lantern, watching them.
Up to the end of 1871, the lighthouse continued to be
worked with the lamps and machinery fixed when it was
first erected ; but after so many years' wear the machinery
had become worn and uncertain, and uneven in its action,
and it was determined to fix a new lantern, machinery, and
lights. For this purpose, plans and specifications of the
proposed alterations were issued by the Honourable Trinity
Board. The contract of Mr. Chapman, of West Alvington,
was accepted for the t various alterations in the masonry
department, and that of Messrs. Chance for the new lantern,
The alterations embraced the erection of a new cottage
for the head keeper, the removal of certain of the stone
floors in the tower, the perforation of the tower for new
windows, and the closing of some of the old ones ; the
erection of a substantially-built stone store-room, for the
paraffin oils used for the light, &c.
All these alterations appear to have been satisfactorily
completed. The new lamp, enclosed in its dome of crystal
prisms and reflectors, is considered the best which has yet
been erected; and the contractors, the Messrs. Chance, of
Birmingham, may well feel satisfied with the perfect manner
in which everything has been carried out.
The arrangement for obviating the necessity of a fixed
light, in addition to the revolving one, to throw its bright
gleams on the sunken rocks and sand banks, which endanger
vessels when they approach too near the point, is most
ingeniously contrived ; a portion of the light being reflected
from the lamp on the land side, where its rays are not
required, and thrown down upon powerful prismatic re-
flectors on the story below, and then a second time reflected,
and allowed to pass through a large window in the desired
direction. The light itself is obtained from an arrangement
of a burner of four concentric wicks, supplied with paraffin
Visitors to the Start Lighthouse will be struck with the
extreme neatness, as well as substantial quality, of every-
thing appertaining to the buildings. The apparatus and
interior fittings are beautifully bright, and although some
persons may imagine that the light-keepers must have much
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 235
time on their hands, it does not appear to be so, the
cleaning and trimming of the burners requiring the attention
of both men for a large portion of every day.
A short distance from the lighthouse is the fog-bell,
which was erected in October, 1862. Although this does
not appear altogether to answer the object desired — that of
throwing a volume of sound far out to sea — yet no doubt
vessels enveloped in a very dense and bewildering fog, would
be warned in time to keep away from the perilous reef of
sunken rocks lying off towards the south-west of the light.
The machinery by which this bell is rung is very beautiful.
By means of a falling weight, of about thirteen hundred-
weight, the huge clapper continues to strike the bell for
about four-and-a-half hours without additional attention on
the part of the attendants. The machinery is very similar
in appearance and action to that of a large turret clock.
There is every probability, however, that ere long the
fog-bell will be superseded by some adaptation of the steam
whistle, as the sound thus produced is found to penetrate
a foggy atmosphere further and more freely than that of
The following is extracted from a newspaper of March
"The ' Albert Medal* is at last formally announced. It
consists of a gold oval-shaped badge, enamelled in dark blue,
with a monogram composed of the letters V. & A., interlaced
with an anchor erect, in gold, surrounded with a garter, in
bronze, inscribed in raised letters of gold, 'For gallantry in
saving life at sea,' and surmounted by a representation of
the crown of the Prince Consort, and suspended from a dark
blue riband of five-eighths of an inch in width, with two
white longitudinal stripes. It will in future be granted to
such as have distinguished themselves by their bravery in
shipwrecks, or on other occasions, on the recommendation
of the President of the Board of Trade."
Mr. Samuel Popplestone, of Start Farm, was the first
person to whom this medal was presented; it being given
in the presence of the Queen herself, as a mark of appre-
ciation of his gallant conduct in saving, at the imminent
risk of his own life, the mate and one of the crew of the
Spirit of the Ocean, which was wrecked at the Start Point,
on the 23rd of March, 1866, when the rest of the crew
On the day above mentioned, the Spirit of the Ocean
was caught in a strong gale from the south-west, and Mr.
Popplestone, seeing the danger of the vessel, dispatched
messengers to Torcross, and to the Coast-guard for as-
sistance ; and then taking a small coil of rope, proceeded
along the rocks, and a dangerous sea washed him off whilst
endeavouring to obtain communication with the vessel. He,
however, by the aid of a returning wave, regained his
footing, and from that perilous position succeeded in saving
the lives of two persons. For this act, Mr. Popplestone
received the decoration of the Albert medal. Shortly after
this, subscriptions were collected in the neighbourhood, and
a tea service, consisting of a silver teapot, sugar basin, and
cream ewer, were procured. The teapot bore the following
inscription : — " Presented to S. Popplestone, for heroic
conduct, in saving life from the Spirit of the Ocean,
wrecked off the Start, March 23, 1866." The presentation
took place at the Grammar School, Kingsbridge.
About a couple of miles from the spot that witnessed
the loss of the Spirit of the Ocean, but nearer Prawle
Point, the Gossamer, a China tea clipper ship, of 735 tons
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 237
register, was wrecked in December, 1868, and thirteen lives
There was a strong south-west breeze, and a heavy sea.
The vessel stood too close in shore to the Start, and was
driven broadside on to the breakers. Two anchors were
instantly let go ; but the bottom was rock and loose shingle,
and they would not hold, and the Gossamer was soon
beating on jagged rocks, sixty yards from the shore, green
seas breaking over her and sweeping the decks. These
occurrences had been watched by the coastguards, who,
under the orders of their chief officer (Mr. Pengelly) had
got out a rocket apparatus, and conveyed it to the point
nearest to the wreck. The crew were so terrified that they
were unable to perceive the preparations being made for
their rescue, and several of them jumped overboard to swim
ashore. Most of these, however, perished in the attempt;
but all who maintained their position were ultimately
brought ashore by the rocket apparatus. The captain and
his wife were both drowned. Had there then been a rocket
apparatus at Prawle, as there now is, most probably all
would have been saved; but Mr. Pengelly had to send
to the next station, Rickham, about two and a half miles
off, which, of course, took a considerable time. The sur-
vivors were unable to save anything more than the wearing
apparel they had on.
The cargo consisted chiefly of shop goods ; and the stocks
of very many drapers, clothiers, boot makers, and book-
sellers, hardware dealers, and toymen, were strewn along
the coast in the greatest confusion. There were, in all,
with the pilot, thirty-one on board the vessel when she
struck, including eleven able seamen and five apprentices.
In June, 1870, the Emilie, of Altona, Captain Alhsen,
from Iquique, bound to Altona with saltpetre, went ashore
about half a mile from the place where the disastrous
wreck of the Gossamer occurred. A dense fog prevailed
at the time. Immediately she struck, both anchors were
let go, but the chain breaking, she drifted about twenty
yards from shore. The crew, thirteen in number, then
took to two boats, and pulled off clear from land, and
were discovered about five the next morning, upon the fog
clearing, by the coastguard. Mr. Murray, the chief officer,
launched his boat, and brought the crew to Prawle. At
first, the Emilie was standing complete, with her sails
set, but on her beam ends; but she soon began to break
up, and in a comparatively short time was a total wreck.
Scarcely anything was saved from her, with the exception
of the clothes of the crew. The coast for some distance
was strewed with wreckage.
Another disaster occurred in March, 1873, when the Lalla
Rookh fell a victim to miscalculation and fog, and was
wrecked on the rocks at Prawle Point. The Lalla Rookh
sailed from Shanghae in October, bound for London, having
on board an enormously valuable cargo, consisting of 1,300
tons of tea and 60 tons of tobacco. The morning was
thick, and the wind blowing with considerable force from
the south-east, with rain, and it is surmised that strong
currents must have set on the weather side of the vessel,
causing her to drive on the point, of which her officers
thought she was sailing well clear. So close on shore
did she run before land was seen, that four of her crew
actually slung themselves down from her bows on to the
rocks, and thus escaped. The boats were immediately
launched, but one of them was stove, and became useless.
Ten of the crew got into the other, but it was swamped,
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 239
turned bottom upwards, and the occupants were thrown
into the boiling surf. They, however, succeeded in getting
back on board the ship, with one exception, that of the
chief mate, Mr. Groves, who was drowned. The rocket
apparatus was soon got to work, and all hands (with one
exception, already mentioned) were quickly saved.
The Lalla Rookh afterwards parted asunder, and an
extraordinary sight was to be witnessed on the beach. The
cargo of tea washed out, and at high-water mark lay many
tons of loose tea, forming a ridge in some places ten feet
high. Hundreds of entire chests were saved by the coast-
guards and their numerous helpers. Bales of tobacco were
floating about in all directions. The Lalla Roohh was
869 tons register, owned by Messrs. Adams & Co., of Liver-
pool: the captain's name, George Fullerton. The crew lost
everything. The mate, Thomas Groves, was a native of
Kendal, in Westmoreland.
Halsands and Beesands are two very small villages, built
quite on the beach, and almost entirely inhabited by fisher-
men's families. Between Beesands and Torcross there is
a large slate quarry, which, although not now worked, is
said at one time to have produced slate of particularly
good quality. There used to be, in the quarry, a steam
engine, and machinery for squaring the slabs.
Years ago a noble race of Newfoundland dogs might be
found in these Start Bay villages; noble, not so much on
account of their appearance, for we have often seen hand-
somer animals, but for their deeds. They seemed as essential
to the fishermen here as the sheep-dog is to the farmer ; but
somehow they are now almost extinct.
On a dark night, when the wind is blowing hard from the
cast, and south-cast, and there is such a surf that it would
be impossible for boats to approach near enough to the
shore for a rope to be thrown to any one there, the word is
given to a dog, and immediately away he plunges into the
waves. He may be buffeted, knocked back by the surf,
perhaps lost to sight for some time; still the faithful creature
will not give up, but perseveres till he gets hold of the rope,
and returns to the beach, grasping it firmly between his
teeth, until he delivers it up to the men (or women) in
waiting, who then haul in the boat, which perhaps contains
the weather-beaten master, who is come back from his
night's toil. When once the boat is close on the shore, the
dogs are on the look out for the pieces of wood, technically
called ways, which are placed underneath the boats to draw
them up on the beach. It is very rarely that a single way
is lost, owing to the careful guardianship exercised over
them by the dogs. But with all their good qualities we are
bound to confess they sometimes manifest a propensity to-
wards cheating the revenue ! Here is an instance, related by
the dog's master. " One night I was out with the dog when
it was dark, and presently he began snuffing about, and then
dashed off into the waves, and soon returned, lugging along
something, which he dropped, and began digging a pit in
order to bury it in the sand. It proved to be a tub of
brandy, which I brought home, and was very glad of, as my
missus had been ordered to take brandy." Another time,
a dog, probably the same, brought in two tubs of this much-
desired liquor, and again, "he brought in quite a lot of
them" — but alas for the smuggling trade, those blue-and-
white gentry, the coastguard, have pretty nearly put a stop
to these proceedings, both of dog and man.
It is not only property which the dogs thus watch over,
for many a time they have been the means of rescuing
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 241
persons from drowning. Interesting facts might be recorded
to illustrate this noble trait in the habits of these intelligent
and sagacious animals, who well merit our respect as well
as admiration. Here is a fisherman's story : — " A dog was
sitting up on the cliff above the quarry, and all at once he
pricks up his ears, and cuts away right into the sea, of his
own accord, and brings out a little drowning child. He
carefully laid her on the shore, and began licking her face,
but there was no sign of life, so he thinks to his self, 'what's
to be done next ? I can't bring her to ? ' So away he goes
to the nearest cottage, and pulls the clothes of the people to
attract their attention. Guided by the dog, they soon
brought in the poor child, and the means used were suc-
cessful in restoring animation."
The sands, which extend almost uninterruptedly in
crescent form for seven miles, are in reality one vast bank
of regular beach pebbles, extremely heavy to walk on. The
accumulation is due to the exposure of the shore to a long
range of breakers, and to the circumstance of the shingle
being unable to travel, so as to escape out of the bay.
A gentleman, once a resident at Slapton, says, "What
Brighton is to London, Weston-super-mare to Bristol, and
Scarborough to the great cities of the north-east of England,
Slapton (or rather, we should say, Torcross), is to the
humbler towns of Kingsbridge, Dartmouth, and Totnes. It
could not be passed unnoticed in any description of the
South Hams; but as Kingsbridge claims it for most civil
purposes, it deserves especial mention among the environs
of that town."
There are several lodging houses at Torcross; none of
them grand ones, but very pleasant, nevertheless ; and there
is a good inn facing the sea, and quite on the beach — a great
recommendation to occasional visitors who flock there in
the summer time.
It is an interesting sight to watch the fishing-boats
returning home after a night of toil — first one, and then
another, and another, tiny sail appears on the horizon, until
the little fleet comes in close to the shore, where wives and
children are waiting to receive the spoils as they are handed
over to them by the weary fishermen.
You will find a Coast-guard Station at Torcross, and a very
small barn-like dissenting chapel, but there is no church
nearer than Stokenham. Torcross is situated at one end of a
long straight road, two miles in extent, which crosses the
sands midway between the lea and the sea — between the
fresh water and the salt.
Slapton Lea presents many points of interest. It is
situated in the parishes of Blackawton, Slapton, and
Stokenham. Its length from Street-gate on the north, to
Torcross on the south, is more than two miles, and it con-
tains rather more than two hundred and seven acres. It is
fed by three small rivulets, and the water thus accumulated
forms the Lea, which has no visible outlet into the Bay, but
discharges itself by percolating through the sand. A channel
was cut in 1854, underneath the cliffs of Torcross, to allow
of the escape of the surplus water, but it requires frequent
clearing from the sand and pebbles with which it becomes
choked up by the storms of winter.
In Leland's " Itinerary " we find as follows : — " Ther is a
very large Poole at Slapton, a 2 miles in length. Ther is but
a Barre of Sand betwixt the Se and this Poole.
The fresch water drenith into the Se thorough the Sandy
Bank. The Waite of the Fresch Water and the Rage of
the Se brekith sumtime this Sandy Bank. Good Fische in
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 243
At about a mile from Street-gate the Lea is crossed by
Slapton Bridge, which divides it into two parts, called ir-
respectively the Upper and the Lower Lea. The Upper Lea
is entirely overgrown with various kinds of reeds and other
aquatic plants; but the Lower Lea is open water, with the
exception of reeds growing near the shore, especially at the
end near Torcross. That most voracious of all fresh water
fish, the jack or pike, here sometimes attains the size of from
twenty to thirty pounds, but the generality vary from three
to ten pounds each. They feed mostly on their neigh-
bours, the perch and roach, but they are sometimes known
to pull under and devour the coots and young ducks which
breed there in great abundance. The little coots may be
seen swimming about amongst the reeds after their parents,
almost as tame as domestic ducks. The common wild duck
breeds in the meadows adjoining, and immense flocks of
starlings roost in the reeds in the winter, but when summer
comes you will not see one in the whole district. In the
morning they separate in smaller or larger flocks, and range
abroad in search of their daily food, perhaps to a distance of
twenty or thirty miles; and as evening approaches they
return, and may be seen dropping down in amazing numbers
to their nightly repose. In the autumn, swallows, martins,
and sand-martins, make this place their rendezvous, and
about a fortnight previous to their departure to more genial
climes they roost in the reeds in almost incredible numbers.
In the winter the Lea is frequented by almost every kind of
water-fowl, and some very rare specimens have been taken.
The spoonbill, a pair of the glossy ibis, the little bittern, and
the little bustard, have been captured in the valleys near by,
and the osprey, or fishing eagle, visits this spot at rare
intervals. On the sands between the Lea and the sea are
frequently seen large flocks of gulls of different species ; also
great numbers of the various kinds of tringa. Now and
then, in the surge of the sea, the great northern diver, which
is a magnificent bird, makes its appearance ; and the guille-
mot pops up its head from the water. On walking over the
sands, you may disturb from its nest the ring-dottrel, which
will tumble and roll on before you as if wounded, until you
are considered to be at a safe distance from its eggs or young.
A pair of Pallas' sand-grouse were shot, in the summer
of 1863, from a flock of fourteen, which had dropped
on these sands, apparently in an exhausted state. Their
journey must have been a long one, as their general
abiding-place is on the deserts of Tartary ; and not until
that year had any of the species been recorded as having
been taken in England. It seems sad to reflect that these
distinguished strangers should have met with so inhospitable
a reception on this their first appearance on our shores.
Slapton Sands afford but few specimens of shells; such as
there are being common to most shores. Has any one ever
noticed the absence of fresh-water shells in the Lea ? One
would have expected to find in such a locality a great
abundance and variety, instead of which there are, we
believe, scarcely any. Perhaps this may be accounted for
by the occasional influx of the salt water, which would be
prejudicial to their existence.
The " Sands Hotel," which is greatly frequented by
gentlemen-fishers, is built quite on the beach, and is occa-
sionally, during severe south-easterly gales (like the houses
at Torcross), washed by the spray, and invaded by the
waves. The Lea itself is subject to incursions of the sea
on such occasions, which sweeps over the narrow barrier,
much to the discomfort of the fish abounding therein.
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 245
Sir William Pole speaks of " Slapton, thauncient inheri-
tance of Guy de Bryan, from Kinge Henry II. tyme unto
Kinge Henry IV. tyme : " and Leland says " Slaptoun, a
praty college toward the shore, is almost in middle way
betwixt Dertmouth and Saultcombe Haven. Guy Brien was
founder of this college."
"What is this tower hard by, which man has dismantled,
but which the compassionate ivy has mantled round ? This
old tower is the only part remaining of the famous chantry
built by Sir Guy de Brian, one of the first Knights of
the Garter. He was standard bearer to King Edward III.
at the battle of Calais, in the year 1349, and was rewarded
for his intrepidity by a yearly pension of two hundred
marks from the Exchequer. He built this chantry, that
when his worn-out frame had sunk to rest, the priests
might sing masses for his soul."
The parish church at Slapton (St. James') is rather a
peculiar looking one, with a low spire.
John Flavel, an eminent Nonconformist minister, retired
from Dartmouth, after the passing of the Five Mile Act,
to the parish of Slapton. He found an asylum at Hudscott,
then a seat of the Rolles (and still the property of that
family), where he preached in the great hall at midnight.
There is a farm near Slapton called Poole, belonging to
Mr. Bastard. "Here," we are told, "once lived Admiral
Hawkins, who sailed round the world;" and moreover,
" there was a Lady Edith Hawkins, of whom village tra-
dition still reports that she walked on a velvet carpet
from Poole to the church door."
Probably this was the "Pole" which Sir William Pole
describes as " a priory founded by the Lady Joane Pole,
wief of Guy de Bryan in Kinge Henry III. tyme. After
the dissolving it was purchased by the father of Edward
Ameredith, of Pole, Esq., and sold by John Ameredith,
his sonne, unto S 1 ' Richard Hawkins, Kt., whoe dwelled their,
and hath left it unto his sonne."
The village of Slapton, sheltered amid an amphitheatre of
hills, is remarkable for the equable temperature of its climate.
It rests on a red sandstone rock, surmounting the argilaceous
slate, which principally dips in a south-easterly direction.
These rocks, when decomposed, form some of the best land,
and it produces exceedingly fine orchards.
Beyond Slapton Sands you pass Blackpool. Of this village
the following incident is related : — " In the reign of Henry
IV., the French, under the command of Monsieur de Castel,
landed in considerable numbers at Plymouth, plundered the
town, and burnt 600 houses, after which, according to Stowe,
they landed at Blackpool, where they were immediately
attacked and repulsed by the country people. On this oc-
casion the women united with the men in the assault, behaved
with great courage, and rendered important service. The
Commander himself of the invading forces was slain ; three
barons and twenty knights were taken prisoners, and con-
ducted to the King by the countrymen, who returned with
their purses rilled with gold."
At Blackpool Sands, in March, 1869, several valuable gold
coins were picked up. They consist of coins of England in
the time of Edward III. and Henry IV., and French coins of
the reigns of one of the Charles's and Louis of France.
They are in a wonderfully good state of preservation, the
inscriptions being quite legible. It is supposed that these
coins must have formed part of a box of specie on board a
ship which had been wrecked there, and became deeply
imbedded in the sand for some hundreds of years, but owing
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 247
to the recent sweeping away of the sand by the sea, they
have become dislodged, and are now being washed out of
their deposit. These new " diggings " caused quite a little
rush, and at low water every day, for a time, numbers of
people visited the spot in search of the treasure. At an
Archceological Society meeting at Exeter, which took place
after their discovery, the coins were exhibited and com-
Blackpool is in the parish of Stoke Fleming, which is
thus spoken of by Sir William Pole. "Stoke (called from the
Flemyngs, thauncient inhabitants thereof, Stoke Flemynge)
was, in Kinge Henry II. tyme, the land of Sir Richard
Flemynge." In the church at Stoke Fleming is a fine
brass for John Corp, 1361, and his grand-daughter Eleanor,
1391, with canopy.
You pass through both Blackpool and Stoke Fleming on
your way to Dartmouth, a curious old town with narrow
streets, beautiful harbour, and ancient castle; and having
conducted our readers thus far, we leave them to pursue
their researches, either by way of the Dart, a river which
tourists are wont to call "the English Rhine," or, if they
prefer it, they may walk on board the steam-ferry, and
landing at Kingswear, can take the railway, and thus more
speedily leave behind them
" KINGSBRIDGE AND ITS SURROUNDINGS."
The Charter, granted in the reign of Henry VI.,
to hold a Market and Fairs at Kingsbridge and
A true copy of the original record of Chancery, preserved
in the Tower of London, attested by Jno. Bayley.
Rex archiepis epis &c. saltm. Sciatis qd de gra ma
spali concessim' & licenciam dedim' ac per presentes conce-
ding & licenciam dam' pro nob & heredibus nris quantu in
nob est dilcls nob in xpo abbi & conventui domus & ecclioe
be Marice de Bukfast in com Devon & successoribus suis
qd ipi & succesores sui exnunc imperpm heant unu mercatum
apud maneriu sive dnium suum de Kyngesbrygge in com
predco singulis septimanis per diem sabbi tenend aceciam
duas ferias utraque ear per tres dies imperpm singulis annis
duratur unam videlt apud Kyngesbrigge predict in die see
Margarete virginis & per duos dies prox sequentes tenend
alteramque apud manerium sive dniu suu de Buckfastlegh
in com predco in die sci Barthi appli & per duos dies
prox sequen similiter tenend cum omibus libtatibus juribus
& libis consuetudinibus ad hujus modi mercatum & ferias
pertinen sive spectan nisi mercatu illud & ferie ille sint ad
nocumentum vicinor mercator & vicinarum feriam. Quare
volumus & firmiter precipim* pro nob & heredibus nris
quantum in nob est qd predci abbas & conventus & suc-
cessores sui imperpm heant unu mercatu apud predcm
manerium sive dniu suu de Kyngesbrigge in com predco
singulis septimanis per diem sabbi tenend aceciam duas
ferias utraque earn per tres dies imperpm singulis annis
duratur unam videlt apud Kyngesbrigge predict in die see
Margarete Virginis & per duos dies immediate sequen
tenend alteramque apud Buckfastlegh predict in festo sci
Barthi appli & per duos dies immediate sequen singulis
annis similiter imperpm tenend cum omibus libtatibus juribus
& libis consuetudinibus ad hujusmodi mercatum & ferias
pertinen sive spectan nisi mercatum illud & ferie ille sint
ad nocumentum vicinor mercator & vicinaram feriam sicut
predcm est. Hiis testibus venerabilibus pribus Th. Cantuar
& W. Ebom archiepis Th. London & E. Exon cancellario
nro epis ac carissimis consanquineis nris Rico Ebor & Johe
Norff ducibus Rico Warr & Rico Sarum comitibus Henr
Bourghchier thes Angl vie necnon dilcis & fidelibus nris Johe
Nevill camerario nro & Waltero Scull thes hospicii nri
militibus & aliis. Dat' per manu nram apud Oxon xvj
Per issm Regem & de dat predca &c.
The following information — much too valuable to be
omitted — was very kindly furnished by G. B. Lidstone, Esq.,
but too late for insertion in the body of the work.
"Pindar Lodge, the residence of Dr. Wolcot (the author
of 'Pindar's works'), is supposed to remain unaltered, so
far as the house is concerned, with the exception of a new
front, which was put to it by the Rev. Nathaniel Wells, who
became possessed of the property after Dr. Wolcot left it.
The lawn in front of it has, of late years, been converted into
business premises, and now comprises the coal-yards and
cellars of Mr. John Adams, and the stable-yards and small
garden used by the occupier of the Anchor Hotel. There
was also a walled garden on the other side of the road,
behind the house.
The old house, with its lawn, having two or three hand-
some chestnut trees growing in it, stood intact (except the
new front before mentioned) until the property was pur-
chased by Mr. John Foale Annis, builder, about the year
1834. He divided it, and sold the house with that part of
the lawn immediately in front of it, and a part of the walled
garden, to Mr. Joseph Adams, coal merchant, who built
cellars, and made his coal-yard in the lawn. The part re-
tained by Mr. Annis consisted of the little garden and the
remainder of the lawn : on these he built stables. This part
of the premises is now used by the occupier of the Anchor
Hotel. He also retained part of the walled garden.
After Mr. Wells' death his widow occupied the entire
premises, and she was succeeded by Capt. Crozier and Mrs.
Pell, before the property was purchased by Mr. Annis.
The barn alluded to by Dr. Wolcot in his writings as the
resort of itinerant players, has been taken down, and on its
site, on the opposite side of the street, several labourers'
cottages have been built.
The ancient entrance to Pindar Lodge must have been
through the large doorway at the end of Ebrington Street,
as the lawn ran down to the creek, which was then the
muddy beach on which sea-sand, dredged from the Bar at
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 251
the entrance of Salcombe Harbour, was deposited in large
quantities, and taken away by farmers in the neighbourhood
Dodbrooke Quay then only extended so far as Quay Lane,
where the muddy beach commenced.
Mr. Strong, corn merchant, owned the garden on the
south side of Quay Lane, and made a great improvement
by inclosing a portion of the creek, on the west side of his
garden, which now forms South Place. He also built that
portion of Dodbrooke Quay which lies on the west of South
Place, which was afterwards extended to the point at the
steps, where it now terminates. An attempt was then made
by Mr. Winsor, the agent of Mr. Hodges, Lord of the Manor
of Dodbrooke, to erect a sea wall, to form a road from Dod-
brooke Quay to Barrack Lane and Salt Mill, then an ancient
Quay ; but this was resisted by Mr. John Lidstone, who
claimed the right outside his field,* which then sloped down
to the beach, and on which field Quay Cottage, Victoria
Place, and Glena, have since been built. It was then bounded
on the west by the ebbing and flowing tide. After much
litigation a compromise was effected, by which a sea-wall
was built by subscription, with Mr. Lidstone's consent, and
continued on the beach outside of Boxhill to Barrack Lane
and Salt Mill Quay.
Ebrington Street was then called Barrack Street, it
being the only road from the town to the Barracks, then
* On the crest of the hill of this field, which was culled Lower Field, it is
supposed there was a row of cottages at an ancient date, as traces of their
foundations were found in excavating for the new buildings. An ancient
copper coin, or token, was picked up by Mr. G. B. Lidstone, among the
excavations, having William Markell, 1666, on one side of it, and an ancient
galley on the other. It is supposed that William Markell was a merchant
who resided in the town, as there is a tombstone in Dodbrooke Church to
the memory of a person of that name, of the same date.
standing on the hill above the lime kiln at Salt Mill
Quay. It was also the only road from the town to
Charleton, Frogmore, Chillington, Stokenham, and Torcross;
consequently there was a large traffic over this street, and
it was considered an excellent place of business.
The proposed deviation of the traffic from Barrack
Street, by a road over Dodbrooke Quay, to Barrack Lane,
was the occasion of much consternation among the shop-
keepers residing in Barrack Street. [This led to the
composition and circulation of some rhymes, by an anony-
mous author, but as they number seventeen stanzas, their
insertion here is scarcely desirable].
The land from the lime kiln at Salt Mill Quay to
Mr. William Date's shipbuilding yard was, about 1804,
previously to the communication being made by the road
between Dodbrooke and Salt Mill Quays, taken in from
the creek by the Lord of the Manor of Dodbrooke.
It formed a beautiful level piece of ground of several
acres in extent, and was dedicated by the Lord of the
Manor to the public as a promenade and recreation
The only erection then on it was a small house, now
part of the New Quay Inn, then used as an officer's
The promenade ground continued for many years to be
used by the inhabitants of the town, without let or
In the year 1829, the Kingsbridge and Dartmouth
Turnpike Trust obtained an Act of Parliament to make
a turnpike road over it to Charleton, and thence to Dart-
mouth: and from that time the public have been confined
within the walls of the turnpike road, and numerous
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS. 253
erections have been made on new ground, which have
completely spoiled the picturesque appearance of the place.
Although the town has made great progress of late years
in trade and commerce, and the improvement of its streets,
it has sadly retrograded in its public walks and footpaths;
so that in the winter season, the inhabitants are com-
paratively imprisoned in the town, for want of those
conveniences for air and exercise so conducive to health."
NATURAL HISTORY — BIRDS.
Mr. Henry Nicholls, who for a number of years, has paid
much attention to the study of Natural History, has very
kindly furnished a list of the birds which have occurred in
this immediate neighbourhood — all, or nearly all, having
come under his own notice.
White-tailed Eagle Ilaliaetus albicilla
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Buzzard Buteo vulgaris
Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus
Kite Milvus vulgaris
Hobby Falco subbuteo
Merlin F. cesalon
Kestril F. Tinnunculus
Goshawk Astur palumbarius
Sparrow Hawk Accipiter Fringillarius
Marsh Harrier Circus rufus
Hen Harrier C. cyaneus
Great spotted Woodpecker
Lesser spotted Woodpecker
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS.
Black Grouse (male and female)
Pallas's Sand Grouse
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS.
Night Heron, and young
White fronted Goose
Cy gnus ferus
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS.
Great crested Grebe
Red necked Grebe
Great Northern Diver
Lesser black-backed Gull
Great black-backed Gull
A. tor da
Mr. Charles Rogers, of Plymouth (who is one of the
principal collectors for the Crystal Palace Aquarium), has
been kind enough to supply a list of Butterflies which he
had himself captured in this district. This we should gladly
have inserted if Mr. Henry Nicholls (whose facilities for
collecting have been greater, owing to long residence at
Kingsbridge,) had not since given a list, which includes
several in addition to those mentioned by Mr. Rogers.
Pale clouded Yellow
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS.
Small meadow Brown
Large meadow Brown
Small pearl-bordered Frittilary
Dark green Fritillary
We here give a list of some of the provincialisms which
may still be heard among the working classes in the rural
districts surrounding Kingsbridge, although from the in-
fluence of modern improvement they are gradually getting
out of use.
To quiver, " Bivering with the cold "
Comely, " A fine bowerly woman "
Good, or large, " A braave catch of fish "
Small twigs from a wood rick, used for
Sultry, "buldery weather"
A ball (such as children play with)
Waxy, " cladgy potatoes "
In good health
Close, " clitty bread "
A blow, " a clout on the ear "
A female crab
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS.
Very, " cruel good," " cruel kind "
The woodwork around a door
An idler, a lazy fellow
Slow, lagging behind
A throng, or crowd
Sleepiness, " a bit of a dwam."
A three-pronged agricultural implement
To bandage tightly
A stone chat
Large and awkward
A stupid person
A yellow hammer
Offal of grain
Proud, ill tempered
To shrink under sudden pain
A ploughed field
Half door of a cottage
A green woodpecker
A dragon fly
or Jacky lo'
All large hawks and falcons are
Chastise, " I'll lerrip that boy "
An open shed
A disease in a cow's foot
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS.
To work hard, "he can't lowster as he
used to do "
A dirty person
To chew, to eat
To break or bruise
To stir, " time to mooster "
To root out
A boil on the finger
Ought, " you did'nt oft to do so "
A deceitful person
Mouldy, kept too long, "the meat is
A rick, " a haypook "
A great number, " a power of people "
Panes of glass
Awoke from sleep
The cream on the surface of new milk
With a great noise
A shower, " a frisky scad "
Uneven in colour, "this dyed shawl is
To deal out begrudgingly
A great quantity, "such a sight of
o or r
Shut with violence
AND ITS SURROUNDINGS.
To entice, " my clog was slocked away "
Offensive smell in the fire
Strength, " I've no sproil left in me "
Pressed, or squeezed
Spoke, " he never squeaked a word of it"
A young cock
Managing, " a good stewardly wife "
To fling violently
To set, " teel potatoes," " to teel a trap "
A gold-crest wren
Trash, " don't tell me sich traffic "
A slatternly woman
To take money
Mouldy (applied to cheese)
Agriculture, Chamber of ... 38
Albert Medal 235
Ale, wbite 50
„ tasters 9
Allington, East 221
Alvington, West 99
American Aloes 147
Aveton Gifford 207
Avon 203, 205, 208
Bible Christians 95
„ Bay 193
Bird's eye view 13
Birds, list of 253
Bolt Head 168
„ Tail 185
British School 93
Bull Hole 178
Burdwood, Rev. J 76
Burr Island 196, 203
Butterflies, list of 260
Cadmus, H.M.S 173
Calvinistic Baptists 86
Census 7, 87
Charities and Endowments 42
„ Bridge 116
Cheap House 13, 95
Courtenay Walk ...
„ No. 2
Dun combe, W. ...
Fair and Market ...
Fortescue, Sir E
Fragment of History
Hatch Arundell . . .
Hughes, Rev. G. ...
Tellinger, Eev. C.
tingsale, Lord ...
Town Hall ...
Lethbridge, W. S.
Montague, Col. ..
National School 92
Natural History 124, 179, 253, 260
Peek, James . . .
M Sir H. W.
Plymouth Brethren . . .
Quicke, Rev. J
Spirit of the Ocean
... 114, 140
... 3, 216
... 39, 170
30, 251, 268
Tucker, Eev. E.
Page 56, read Progymnasmata
„ „ Themata Homerii
96 ,. 1824, not 1825
136 „ Chapter IX., not XI.
G. P. FRIEND, STEAM PRINTER, UNION STREET, PLYMOUTH.
o vavaav8 vinvs i
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
THIS BOOK IS Dl E ON THE LAST DATE
100M 11/86 Series 9482
I UU\L 3.
3 1205 01254 1932
000 241 702 o