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Entry from White's Devonshire 1878

BIGBURY, a parish which includes the village of St. Ann's Chapel, is in Kingsbridge union and county court district, Ermington and Plympton petty sessional division, Kingsbridge polling district of South Devon, Ermington hundred, Totnes archdeaconry and Woodleigh deanery. It had 465 inhabitants (229 males, 236 females) in 1871, living in 99 houses, on 2902 acres of land, and 265 acres of water. Bigbury village is about 11/2 mile from Bigbury Bay, 4 miles south of Modbury, 6 miles from Kingsbridge, and 81/2 from Ivybridge, and is situated on an eminence about 400 feet above the level of the sea, open on one side to Dartmoor, and on the other to the Channel. It is one of the healthiest in England, and gives its name to the magnificent bay lying between the Bolt Tail and Stoke Point, into which the two rivers, the Erme and the Avon, fall. On the bay are situated no less than nine parishes, all of them containing fine sites for villas, many of them possessing good hard sands, grand cliffs, and other advantages, which will, no doubt, at some future period make this part of Devonshire, now almost unknown, as justly celebrated as Torbay or Mount Bay. With the exception of the Dart, the Avon is the best salmon stream in South Devon. The supply has increased considerably during the last few years, in consequence of the stricter conservancy regulations, and in course of time under improved regulations, adopted with special reference to the locality, it may be confidently expected that the annual take of salmon will be very large. The right of fishing at the mouth of the Avon belongs to the lord of Bigbury manor; it goes with the Court Farm, and is at present rented by John Ellis, Esq., of Aveton Gifford. The manor was held for nine generations by a family of its own name, and afterwards passed to the Champemownes, Willoughbys, and Pawlets; it now belongs to the Duke of Cleveland and the Dowager Duchess of Cleveland, and they and J. A. Pearce, Esq., are the principal owners of the soil. In the little hamlet of St. Ann's Chapel there still remain traces of the old chapel. At Milburgh was an oratory near a spring. At Holwell is yet in existence the holy well, from which it is called; on the island of St. Michael de la Burgh, now known as Borough Island or Burr Island, was a fisherman's chapel, dedicated to St. Michael. The CHURCH (St. Lawrence), which had become almost a ruin, was rebuilt in 1872 at the cost of about £1200, raised by subscription, the lord of the manor giving £100. It consists of chancel, nave, and side chapel in the Decorated style, and north aisle of Perpendicular date. The tower, which contains five bells, is surmounted by a spire. In a mortuary chapel, now used as a pew by the holder of Court Farm, is a brass in memory of a member of the Arundel family, and a slate monument, with a very quaint inscription in verse, in memory of a husband and wife of the name of Pearce, bearing the date of 1582. The living, a rectory valued in K.B. at £28 7s. 11d., is in the patronage of Lord Sandwich and the Duke of Cleveland, and incumbency of the Rev. F. Farrer, M.A. The tithes are commuted for a rent-charge of £500, the glebe is 100 acres. The BAPTISTS have a chapel here, built about 12 years ago by Mr. W. Hooppell. The parishes of Bigbury, Ringmore, and Kingston constitute the School Board district known as the ERME and AVON SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT. It was formed in 1873, and now consists of the Rev. F. Farrer (chairman), and Messrs. J. Wroth, W. S. Wroth, John White, P. Randle, Wm. Stidston, and Wm. Hooppell. F. M. Farrer, Esq., is clerk. Existing buildings have been utilised as schools, at a nominal rent, in all the three parishes. The three schools will accommodate 200 children, and the average attendance is 170.

LETTERS are received by foot messenger from Aveton Gifford at 9.30 a.m. There is a WALL LETTER Box, which is cleared at 3.30 p.m. Modbury is the nearest Money Order Office, and Ivybridge the nearest Railway Station.