THE north-eastern division of the parish was formerly occupied by some of the most ancient and influential families of the neighbourhood, and is distinguished for its romantic scenery. The Teignmouth road divides it from the vale of the Ugg, and on the west it is bounded by the highway to Plymouth. Haldon rises immediately above, and completely shelters it from the north and east winds.
This part of the parish is traversed by distinct ridges of mountain limestone, extending from Hams Barton to the foot of Haldon, while fragments of rock lie scattered in all directions. Some of the latter are clothed with ivy and various plants, others altogether bare, whilst others again sink beneath the verdant sod. The rocky heights are planted with apple trees, and although their growth is not so large as in clay soils yet they bear plentifully.
The air of this upland region is exceedingly invigorating. Springs of water clear as crystal, welling up from beneath the rocks, are abundant; they irrigate the meadows that stretch towards the vale, and supply the farms and cottages on the way.
We now proceed to particularize a few of the most interesting localities. Hams, formerly the seat of the Hunt family * is situated a mile north-east of the town, near Kate Brook. The family was settled there as early, at least, as the commencement of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Thomas Hunt was mayor of Exeter in 1517; and one of the same name held the same office in 1537. In the Heraldic Visitation of 1620, the family is described as of " Exeter and Chudleigh." The last entry of the name in the Parish Register is the burial of Thomas Hunt in 1730.
* Arms :Az., on a bend, between two water bougets, or, three leopards' faces, gules; crest, on a mount, V., a hound seiant, or, collared, G., chained to a pikestaff, S; the head per pale, or, and argent.
Polwhele says: " Hams was an estate of very considerable extent when in possession of the Hunts. It afterwards belonged to the Inglett, now the Fortescue family, of whom what remained, was purchased by one Beech, who sold it to Sir Robert Palk." It now belongs to Lord Clifford, the sixth Lord having purchased it of Sir Lawrence V. Palk, Bart.
Hams was originally a large Elizabethan structure, approached by an avenue. It is now only a farm house, situated in a court, and surrounded by a few chestnut trees. The principal doorway with several others are arched, and formed of granite. The ceilings of some of the rooms are of oak, smoothed and jointed; and the windows are of the ancient form, some of them are now blocked up or modernized. A fine banquetting room is still left, with the date of its erection, 1621; over the chimneypiece are the arms of Hunt, and on the opposite wall the royal arms.
Upcott is situated north-east and not far from Hams Barton, with it the rocky district commences. The farm house was built by the Rev. G. Burrington (the first vicar of that name), about a century and a half ago. It commands fine views towards the south, and is sheltered by the range of limestone rocks.
Upcott cannot but be regarded with deep interest when it is known to have been the birthplace of that celebrated geographer Major James Rennell, F. R. S. He was born Dec. 3,1742, and educated at the Free Grammar School. At an early age he is said to have taken a map of the town of sufficient merit to attract the notice of the vicar, the Rev. Gilbert Burrington. At the age of fourteen Rennell entered the navy as midshipman and went out to India with Admiral Hyde Parker. He was present at the siege of Pondicherry where be gave proofs of enterprise and ability. At twenty-four, on the suggestion of a friend who possessed considerable interest in the India House, he quitted the navy for the army, and was immediately sent on service to the East Indies, where he served as an officer of engineers. Here he speedily distinguished himself during the sanguinary war which led to the conquest of India. He received many severe wounds, and was favourably noticed by the Government who promoted him to the rank of major, which was the highest rank he ever attained.
While thus employed he published " A Chart of the Bank and Current of Cape Agulhas," which procured him the lucrative appointment of Surveyor General of Bengal. His second and third publications were "The History of the Transactions of the British Nation in Hindostan," and a "Description of the Roads in Bengal and Bahar."
He soon afterwards published his Bengal Atlas, and an "Account of the Ganges and Brahmapootra Rivers." While in- India he married one of the daughters of Dr. Thackeray. In 1782 he returned to England, and was unanimously elected a member of the Royal Society. Sometime afterwards he published his celebrated "Memoir of a Map of Hindostan," and at a subsequent period assisted Dr. Vincent in his commentary on "Arrian's Voyage of Nearchus." He also aided Sir W. Jones in his "Oriental Collections," and assisted in the formation of the Asiatic Society, to whose publications he contributed many of the best articles. At a later period he was elected a member of the Royal Institute of France, as well as of the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg, and of the Royal Society of Gottengen.
In 1794 Major Rennell published a pamphlet entitled "War with France the only Security of Britain." He also gave important assistance to Mungo Park in preparing his travels in Africa for publication. In 1800, appeared his principal work " The Geographical System of Herodotus Explained," and in 1814, he produced his "Observations on the Topography of the Plain of Troy."
Major Rennell died March 29, 1830, through the accidental fracture of his thigh, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
The Rennell family classed with the respectable yeomanry of the neighbourhood. Their ancient inheritance still stands, and is known as Rennell's farm. .The name is of frequent occurrence in the Parish Register and with those of " The Seven Men." Talents of no ordinary kind were the birthright of this ancient family.
The descendants of another branch who resided at Fishwick, in the parish of Kingsteignton, were distinguished even to a late date -by superior taste in sculpture and painting.
Thomas Rennell, of this branch, was born at Chudleigh in 1718, and educated at the Grammar School at Exeter. He was apprenticed to Hudson, the portrait painter in London. Some years after he settled at Exeter with a wife and family, but subsequently removed to Plymouth, where his pictures attracted much attention, and obtained for him the patronage of the Duke and Duchess of Kingston * which was wholly lost by his indolence and improvidence. From Plymouth he removed to Dartmouth where he lived in great poverty. " He has been known," says Northcote, " to lie in his bed for a week together, with no other subsistence than a cake and water." About two years before his death he enjoyed a comfortable home through the bounty of J. Seale, Esq.; he died Oct. 19,1788.
* The Duchess of Kingston, as is perhaps well known, was the beautiful Miss Chudleigh, of Ashton.
Upcott.just mentioned, may be considered as occupying a central position amidst the surrounding limestone rocks. Its quarry has been extensively worked. Marine fossil shells of perfect form, classed by Professor Phillips as Murchisonia spinosa, are found imbedded in the sand in the centre of the rock. Porcombe quarry, close by, appears to be the most ancient belonging to the Waddon district. It is situated behind Lower Upcott farm house, and is reached from an orchard adjoining. This magnificent developement of mountain limestone must have been grand and imposing before assailed by the hand of man. A road direct from the quarry led to Haldon, and the lime .and stone for building were removed by horses with crooks and panniers.
Very few if any of the present generation can recollect this method of conveying heavy materials by pack horses. A number of them might have been seen jogging along the narrow Devonshire lanes, the head horse having a bell the tinkling sound of which kept the cavalcade together and prevented them from straggling at night fall. This old quarry is well worth visiting.
An unusual stillness and seclusion now prevail where all was once bustle and activity. The old lime-kiln is deep and cavernous. A tree of some size grows from its centre, while the hillocks around are covered with vegetation. Close by are two fine beech trees, their dark foliage forming' a striking contrast to the underwood and trailing plants around. The recesses formed by the excavations have nearly lost their rocky character, except where the broken outline rises above the tangled wreaths of luxuriant vegetation. It appears as though nature hastened to hide the shattered wreck of former grandeur. However, the southern aspect, the sheltered recesses, and light soil are attractions for all the sweet wild flowers that adorn this old quarry.
Near the quarry stood the ancient "Waddene" hamlet, the ruins of which were well known to some of the old inhabitants of the neighbourhood, and were taken down by Lord Clifford's grandfather in consequence of their being a haunt for vagrants and smugglers.
Modern Waddon (a portion of the ancient district) is about a quarter of a mile south-east of Porcombe. It is an estate of some extent with a respectable farm house and several cottages, and was evidently at one period divided between the Rennells and Hellyers. The last name is also of frequent occurrence in the Parish Register and amongst " The Seven Men." The representatives of this family were successively baptized Christopher. Mr. Hellyer, the last of that name, sold an extensive inheritance at Waddon to the sixth Lord Clifford. There is a floor-stone in the south transept of Chudleigh Church to the memory of several individuals of this ancient family.
A burial of one of the family is mentioned in the Parish Register as far back as 1585.
Kerswell is situated on the west of the rocky district just described, and was purchased some years since by Mr. R. Richards of Sir Lawrence Palk. He greatly improved It and the surrounding neighbourhood by making a new road from Kerswell to Haldon, and by building the present neat and commodious house which commands fine views towards the south, and is adorned with gardens, shrubberies, and plantations. It is now occupied by J. Wilson, Esq.
Kerswell Rock is one of the most conspicuous of the western ridges, and, having an easy access, is frequently visited by pleasure parties during the summer months. The scenery from its summit is remarkably fine and extensive, and excites general admiration. It has in its own neighbourhood, the attraction of kindred quarries, and a romantic old wan-en and woody dellÈ Several farms and villas enliven the scene, but towards Chudleigh the eye is especially attracted by its rocks and deep ravine which are here displayed to advantage. Beyond the vale the view embraces all the extensive range of country described in the scenery from Chudleigh Rock. From this high ground the morning mists and summer haze are frequently seen hanging lightly over the vale below, giving as they gradually rise an exquisite loveliness to me scene, and one that artists so much admire.
The hamlets of Higher and Lower Harcombe are two miles north-east of the town, under Haldon. Higher Harcombe belonged to the Balle family.* Several branches of this family are mentioned in the Parish Register, and designated as of Harcombe, Ranscombe, Northwood, Wappell Well, and Bridgeland. The family is said to have removed from Harcombe to Mamhead. Dr. Oliver inquires (Eccl. Ant.) whether John Balle of Mamhead who is mentioned as overseer to the will of Nicholas Balle the elder of Chudleigh, dated 17th October, 1553, was not the first of the family who settled at Mamhead. The estate passed with the Mamhead property by purchase, in the year 1823, from the Earl of Lisburne to Sir Robert Newman, Bart. The estate has been much improved since it has become the property of the Newman family by enclosing, planting, &c., and it is now considered as a model farm.
* Arms :Arg., a chevron between three fire-balls, gules; crest, an arm holding a fire-ball, proper.
On the side of the glen, immediately opposite their old heritage at Harcombe, the last of the Balles began to build a mansion which accidently took fire. This not only stopped the progress of the building but caused the design of its erection to be altogether relinquished. Some of the old walls are still standing, while such of the materials as were worth removing were taken to Mamhead to form part of a mansion there. It is well known that Thomas Balle purchased the manor of Ashcombe of Edward Balle, Esq. No entry occurs in the Parish Register of the Harcombe Balles later than 1673, but in Ashcombe churchyard there are several gravestones to the memory of the Balles, yeomen, and Balles of Mamhead, from 1693 to 1755.
Lower Harcombe in the latter end of the sixteenth century belonged to a branch of the Stawell or Stowell family.* Eustace Stawell, in a pedigree from the Heralds' College, is described of " Harcombe in the Parish of Chudleigh." He was second son of Edmund Stawell, Esq., of Hatherleigh, and married Elizabeth, daughter of one Baker, of Monmouth. He was succeeded by his eldest son William Stawell, of Harcombe, in Chudleigh; baptized there April 8, 1548, buried Feb. 9, 1591. He married Joanna, daughter of John Bennett, of Whiteway. His eldest son was Anthony Stawell, of Wrosall, in the county of Dorset; born at Chudleigh, and baptized March 19, 1573. He was uncle of Sir John Stawell of Bovey-Tracey. The estate passed by purchase to the Templer family, and was sold by the executors of the Rev. John Templer, of Lindridge, to the late M. E. N. Parker, Esq.
* Arms :Gules, a cross lozengy, arg.
The entire north and north-eastern part of the parish is bounded by Haldon which rises to 817 feet above high water mark. " From this elevation," says Professor Sedgwick, " we command on the eastern side the rich woodlands of the valley of the Exe; on the south-west we have a country equally diversified, and of tlie same general aspect, though less exuberant in vegetation. To the west and north-west, however, the face of nature is completely changed. A succession of ridges rising to an elevation considerably greater than any of the neighbouring hills exhibits a singularly broken and rugged outline."
Haldon presents to the antiquarian and geologist many interesting features in ancient camps, barrows roads, fossils, &c.
The great tumulus is situated on the east side of Haldon and is a conspicuous object. It is 200 feet in circumference, and about 10 feet high. In the year 1780 it was opened by Mr. Tripe, and found to contain, within a stone cell, an inverted urn, containing the burnt bones of a small size and ashes. Others were opened in 1793, when several Roman coins and three urns were found under a bed of flint. The Rev. John Templer had several Roman coins of the later empire, which were found by a labourer in 1816, when digging for stone in the great barrow on the western side of Haldon. Polwhele makes mention of celts, most of them brass, found singly in the parishes of Chudleigh, Ilsington, and Buckfastleigh. Several were found in some caims between Bridford and Christow.
The principal Roman Way entered the county at Ax-minster, passed through Exeter up St. David's hill to the old ford below the bridge, and thence straight to the top of Haldon. " It is quite plain even at this day," says Dr. Bennett, " in the ascent to Haldon, on the right of the present turnpike-road; but just beyond the road leading from Mamhead to Sir L. Palk's crosses that road and continues on the left, being often seen in this direction at intervals, by Newton Bushel! to Totnes, where Musgrave describes the crest as quite perfect."
The camp on Little Haldon, in the parish of Ashcombe, is circular, and has a single vallum, containing about an acre and a half of ground. There is another on Sir Lawrence Palk's Estate.
Fossils are found abundantly in the greensand on the Haldons. There is a sand pit on Great Haldon, close to the Newton Road above Kenne, which exhibits in the descending order(1) A "head" of chalk flint gravel mixed with white clay. (2) 12 feet of alternating layers of gaulty sand and clay. (3) 14 feet of sand, with darker layers containing fossil sponges. (4) Near the bottom of the pit a band of " fire-stone," about 2 feet thick, containing numerous- fossils, especially large pectens, all highly silicified. (5) Green ferruginous and chloritic sands, abounding with shells, &c. On Little Haldon, at a point where the parishes of Ashcombe and Dawlish meet, the greensand is about 90 feet deep.
An Act of parliament was passed in 1813 for enclosing that part of Haldon (1500 acres) which is in the parish of Chudleigh; and a considerable part has been planted with fir and larch.
Haldon House the seat of Sir Lawrence Palk, Bart., was built by Sir George Chudleigh, about the year 1735. It was ultimately purchased by Sir Robert Palk, by whom the house and grounds were much improved; he also erected the tower on Pen Hill, called the Belvidere, in memory of General Stringer Lawrence, Commander-in-Chief in India, from 1747 to 1767.
Whiteway lies at the foot of Haldon, two miles and a half from Chudleigh. At an early period it appears to have belonged to a family of that name, and passed by marriage to Bennett.
Westcote gives the pedigree of the family of Bennett* thus:" Richard Bennet married Julian, daughter of William Whiteway of Chudteigh parish, and had issue Nicholas, William, and John. Nicholas married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Pomeroy, of Brindley in the parish of Harberton, knight, and had issue John, William sine prole, English, (married to Thomas Thorn of Mamhead;) Julian, (to Roger Harewell of Kingsteignton;) Joan, (to Peter Bear of the same;) Sabine. (to Humphrey Ball of Chudleigh.) John married a daughter of John Trosse, of Exeter." The last mention of the name in the Parish Register is in 1634.
Whiteway became the property of the Parker family. Lord Boringdon exchanged it for some land belonging to his younger brother Montague Parker, Esq. Lord Boringdon commenced building the present mansion on the site of the old house. He built the centre and one wing. It was completed by his nephew who added the other wing, and is now a handsome and commodious edifice.
* Arms :Sable, a chevron erminois between, three tripled ears of wheat, or.
Arms;Sab., a stag's head, caboshed betmeen, two flaunches, arg.
The interior is elegantly furnished and remarkable for its neatness. In some of the rooms there are valuable paintings, and exquisite cabinets filled with rare china in the collection of which no expense was spared by the late M. E. N. Parker, Esq.; also beautiful tables* made from the various marbles of the district, others are of rich jasper cut from a block weighing several tons found in a field, at Trusham, called the Great Southdowns.
* There are two similar tables at Ugbrooke House, each containing about fifty specimens.
The entrance to Whiteway is by a lodge-gate from the Old Exeter road. The house is reached by a pleasant drive, about half a mile in length, through an extensive lawn, which commands fine views of the vales of Chudleigh and the Teign. The extensive preserves are well stocked with game.
Oxencombe farm, belonging to the estate, is one of the largest in the parish, and has on it several lime-kilns.
Montague Parker, brother of the first Lord Boringdon, married, and had two sons, Montague Edmund and Francis; the latter died unmarried. The elder married one of the co-heiresses of Robert Lidstone Newcombe, Esq., of Starcross, and had issue two sons and one daughter, Montague Edmond Newcombe, John, and Harriet Sophia.
M. E. N. Parker was born Jan. 22,1807, arid succeeded to the estates on the death of his father. He was returned as M. P. for the Southern Division of Devon in 1837, and became high sheriff in 1850. He died July 1, 1858. His tomb in Chudleigh churchyard has been already noticed.
The younger son, John Parker, Esq., born July 30, 1811, was Captain in the 66th Regt. He married, in 1841, Lady Catherine Caroline Leslie, daughter of the Earl of Rolhes, Scotland, and had one daughter. Lady Catherine died, Jan. 11, 1844, John Parker, Esq., died soon after, and the daughter also filled an early grave.
The daughter, Harriet Sophia Parker, was first married to William Coryton, Esq., of Pentillie Castle, Cornwall, and had issue one daughter. Mrs. Coryton's second marriage was with her cousin, the Earl of Morley, in March, 1847, who died at Whiteway, Aug. 23, 1864, leaving the third and present Earl, and Lady Emily Katherine Parker.
According to the Heralds' Visitation of 1620, the earliest known settlement of the Parkers was at North Molton, where they had a seat about the end of the fourteenth century.
The Cholwich family* had a considerable estate in the north side of the parish; they resided in a large house in the centre of the town, which was destroyed in the Great Fire. These estates were sold about a century since by John Burridge Cholwich, Esq., of Farringdon House, to different proprietors. The last notice of the family in the Parish Register is the burial of Thomas Cholwich, Sept. 16,1727.
* Arms :Per pale, or, and A., three chevrons, sab.; over all, a file of as many lambeaux, G.; crest, a lions paw supporting a shield, per pale or, and arg., mantled G., doubled arg.
The Inglett family* were seated at Catteshall, or Cats-hole, on the banks of the Teign, near Crocombe Bridge. This estate and Farleigh now belong to Sir L. Palk, Bart. The last John Inglett Fortescue, Esq., of Buckland Filleigh was the representative of this family. "Madam Inglett bur. Dec. 20th" (1764) is the last entry of the name in the Parish Register.
* Arms :Sab., a bend sinister, between six escallop shells, or.
Filleigh, the residence and property of E. Baillie, Esq., is situated about a mile from the town. The house stands on an open and extensive lawn, and faces the east, but is sheltered on the north by a thick copse. While it commands pleasant views, it is itself a great addition to the scenery of that part of the neighbourhood.
Oaklands, the residence of Major General Riddell, is situated west of the Old Exeter road, and was built some years since by Major Mills. The estate was formerly the most steril tract of land in the parish, and called Filleigh Waste. It was much improved about thirty years since by the enclosure of the waste and a judicious system of farming.
There are several pleasant villas, recently erected, near the town, to the east: Littlehill the residence of W. Brodrick, Esq.; Heathfield, of W. Rouse, Esq.; and Oakfield, of J. Oldham, Esq.
Culver House, the residence of Mrs. Yarde, was enlarged and much improved some years since by the late Thomas Yarde, Esq., and is a handsome house. Mr. Y. represented the ancient family of Yarde,* formerly of Bradley, near Newton Bushell, now of Whiteway, in Kingsteignton, and possessed the family estate at the latter place.
* Arms: Argent, a chevron, gules, between three water bougets, sable.
" From this town," says Risdon, " the origin of the Chudleighs began."
Sir W. Pole (d. 1636), after remarking that Chudleigh was the ancient possession of the bishops of Exeter, observes, " and came unto the famyly of Chidlegh, & dispersed & sold amongst the tenats & others, by John Chidley, father of Sr. George. The name of the famyly of Chidlegh took their originall from this place, where they dwelled in their own land, wch Sr. George Chudlegh yeat hath."
The Chudleigh family, of Ashton, may have been originally from Chudleigh, and may have possessed land there, but they never had the manor; it passed direct at the alienation from the Bishops of Exeter to Thomas Bridges, who appears to have sold a great deal of it off, in parts and parcels, soon after he became possessed of it.
The family of Wichalse* resided at the hamlet of Wych, south of the town, said to have been so called from a large wych elm that formerly grew there.
* Arms:Per pale, argent, and sable, six crescents counterchanged.
Westcote gives the pedigree of Wichalse of Chudleigh as follows: " Nicholas Wichalse. married Margery and had issue John, William, Nicholas, Margery, (married to Peter Lutton of Mowlish;) Joan, (to Bartholomew Burrington of Ideford.) John, son and heir, married Joan, daughter and co-heir of Dotwel, and had issue Robert, John, George, Nicholas, Bennet, Thomas, Pierce, John, Joan, (married to Thomas Stert of Stert;) Christian, and Helen, unmarried. Robert married Eleanor, daughter of John Marwood of Westcot, and had issue a daughter married to Charles Trevanion, of Caryhays in Cornwall, Esq.
" William Wichalse (second son of Nicholas,) married Helen, daughter of Humphrey Walrond, of Bradfield, esq., the relict of Anthony Fortescue of Fallopit,esq., and had issue, Richard, Margery, Jane, (who married Fortescue of Preston;) and Joan.
" Nicholas Wichalse, of Barnstaple, (third son of Nicholas,) married Mary, daughter and heir of Richard Welsh of Pilton, and had issue Joan.
" Margery (before named) married Thomas Huit of Bishopsteignton. Jane married to Richard Kelland of Totnes. Joan married to Nicholas Pointingdon of Shobrook, Richard, their brother, died sans issue."
The family of Wichalse appear to have gone from Chudleigh to Ashcombe, where are gravestones from 1681 to 1732. The first entry of the name in the Parish Register is in 1558, and the last in 1606.
The parish is bounded on the west by the river Teign which was anciently written, and is now generally pronounced Ting, Risdon says: " So called by the Britons for that it is straitly pent up with narrow banks." It rises on Dartmoor, above Gidleigh, not far from an enclosure called Teignhead, and is the most eastern of the Devonshire rivers which rise on the moor.
" Swift from his copious fount
Descends the Teign." .
Before leaving the moor it is joined by several streams, one of which is called the Walla. It then runs through Gidleigh Park and the lower part of the parish of Chagford; near Holy-street it is joined by another stream, and pursues its course for many miles through a narrow valley, dividing the parishes of Drewsteignton and Dunsford from Moretonhampstead.
Beyond Dunsford Bridge it bounds the parishes of Bridford and Christow, and divides Hennock from Chudleigh. It then runs through a part of the parish of Kingsteignton by Teigngrace near which it is joined by the West Teign or Bovey river, that also rises on Dartmoor. The Teign then flows on to Teign Bridge where the country being flat, it increases much in size, and after a course of twenty-five miles, in a direction from north-west to south-east, falls into the sea at Teignmouth, where it forms a small harbour. The river gives name to several parishes on its banks, viz., Drewsteignton, Teigngrace, Kingsteigton, &c.
It has been observed as a singularity worthy of remark that the Teign which rises on the north side of Dartmoor should find its way by so circuitous a route to the southern coast. Its waters are generally pellucid except after heavy rains, when from the black soil on the moor it assumes a dark colour.
Polwhele observes: " The first river which claims our notice is the Teign, which rises in two heads near Gidleigh. Its course is nearly north and south, sometimes through open moorstone, and then a finely wooded country. It is often pent up in deep and narrow valleys, whence the sound of its waters may be heard at a considerable distance, and ite roar is heightened by the rocky bottom. It is increased at every turn by brooks descending from those combes which terminate in the heights of Haldon and the downs of Bridford and Hennock. The country through which it passes is full of rocks, till it approaches Bovey-Tracey, when it glides over a flat marshy ground, and rolling under Teign-bridge spreads itself into a broad shallow channel, and then runs on without interruption into the sea." *
* Hist. of Devon, vol. 1. p. 23.
The range of hills extending along the narrow vale of the river open up for several miles views of great beauty. The scenery throughout the Ashton vale is remarkably fine there the hills advance and recede, covered with woods and united to rich pastures. This view can be enjoyed from a road near the extremity of Haldon, lying just under the Belvidere, about four miles from Chudleigh.
From Crocombe Bridge the scenery is exquisite. The hills on the western bank of the river rise to a considerable height with their summits covered with rocks peeping above the woods. The fertile valleys extending towards the river are agreeably diversified with some farm houses, while the woods sweep along its' sides for some miles. The bridge may be considered as a central point from which many different parishes can be reached, also the mining districts and Canonteign.
The river formerly abounded in fish, salmon, trout, &c.*
* Elizabeth by Letters Patent, 13 July, 30 anno regni, granted the fee of the Teign Fishery with all weirs and other appurtenances to William Tipper and Robert Dawe, of London, Gents, from Dogmarsh Bridge, in Chagford, unto Hackney, in Kingsteignton. To hold the same by fealty only, under the yearly rent of 12d. Two days after, the grantees sold the same to James Eastchurch, of Chudleigh, Gent. On 6th Sept., 1722, Nicholas Cove, Esq., and William Coombe, Esq., executors of James Eastchurch, conveyed the said fishery with the Manor of Heightly and the Barton of Lewell to James Sheppard, Esq., sergeant-at-law, afterwards knighted. On 17th June, 1768, the reversion of the said premises determinable on the death of Frances Sheppard, relict of James Sheppard, Esq., grandson of the knight, was sold (by John Jones, of Haldon House, Esq., the heir at law) to Hugh, 4th Lord Clifford. The fine of recovery was admitted in the Court of King's Bench, Easter Term, xx Geo. III. Lord Clifford's Papers.
In late years, owing to the mineral waters from the mines near Ashton flowing into it, the fishing has been seriously injured, but the fact that occasionally of a calm evening a few trout may be seen rising, both above and below Chudleigh Bridge, is evidence that the water is losing its destructive power, and we hope that ere long the fish will be plentiful as before.
The Board of Conservators for the Teign Fishery District have taken the matter in hand, in hope that the chances of sport are improving, and have placed a keeper on the lower part of the river, between Bellamarsh and Newton, to prevent the poaching which there is reason to believe is carried on extensively in the salmon season. Licenses are now issued by the Board for salmon fishing.
The geological structure of the parish of Chudleigh belongs to the great Devonian formation, consisting of slate covered occasionally with trappean ash, locally called dunstone, which occupy a position somewhere intermediate between the silurian strata of Wales and the old red sandstone of other countries. It contains from three to four hundred fossils peculiar to itself, with drifted fragments of trilobites and other remains belonging to an earlier period.
It is traversed by several veins of limestone. "The curved band of limestone which commences on the west near Lower Herkley (Heightly), on the south of Chudleigh, and passes thence by Grayleigh, Waddon Barton, and Lower Uppercot, to the lower part of the Haldon Hills, along which it ranges in a northern direction to Whiteway House, much resembles a coral reef in outline. It is coloured on the map of the Geological Survey as Carboniferous, but was pronounced by the late Professor Jukes to be undoubtedly Devonian. It contains the same fossils (including several species of Murchisonia) which are met with in other rocks of middle Devonian age in the district. It is overlaid by sandstones, shales, and conglomerates, containing the remains of calamites and other plants, with carbonaceous matter. At Waddon Barton the limestones rest upon fine argillaceous slates, differing from the general mass of carboniferous slates around them, and we may suppose that the limestone and this slate formed an island of the older Devonian rocks, a continuation of the Bickington band, surrounded by the carboniferous rocks of later deposit which rest upon them. The limestone beds of Ugbrooke Park, Olchard, Well, Ideford, and Lindridge are probably the continuation of the Newton Bushel, Ogwell, and Ipplepen beds." *
* Besley's Hand Book to South Devon.
The faces of the rocks exhibit the most unequivocal marks of the sea at one time having dashed against them; and the neighbouring deep ravine would seem to have been scooped out by an oceanic current. After this a bed of marine alluvial matter must have been deposited in the ravine, remains of which may still be seen near to where the brook enters. By the erosive action of the brook its channel has sunk down in the alluvial bed in some places to a depth of forty or fifty feet. The occurrence of scattered and partially water-worn stones, the same as those we now find in the channel of the brook, would seem. to indicate that the stream must formerly have flowed at a much higher level.
The whole of the valley to the south-west, extending from Bovey to Newton, must at one time have been covered by the sea, which did not entirely take its departure till within the historical period, as anchors have been found in the Bovey coal-field