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Newton Abbot, Devon

Historical Description

Newton Abbot, a market-town in Devonshire. It stands on the river Lemon, at its influx to the Teign, near Hackneild Ford on The Icknield Way, 15 miles by road but 20 by railway SSW of Exeter, and it has a station on the G.W.R., 209 miles from London, which is the junction for Torquay. There is a post, money order, and telegraph office. Population of the town, 10,936, there being in the parish of Wolborough 8525, and in the parish of Highweek 2411. It was anciently called Nuietone. It appears to have been originally considered one town, of one name, on one manor, but it afterwards, on a partition of the manor, came to be regarded as two towns, of two names. The part in Wolborough parish passed, by gift of Lord Brewer, to The Abbot of Tor, and took the distinctive name of Newton Abbot; while the part in Highweek parish went, by gift of Henry III., to Robert Bussell or Bushell, and took the name of Newton Bushell. Charles I. and his suite, in 1625, on their way to Plymouth, were entertained at Ford House, a large and hand-some mansion close to the railway station belonging to The Earl of Devon; and the Prince of Orange in 1688, on his way from Torbay to Exeter, slept in the same mansion-made it for a time his headquarters-encamped his army on Milber Down, and issued his first declaration to the people of England from the pedestal of Newton Abbot market-cross. The pedestal still stands, and bears an inscription commemorative of the fact. The town comprises several good streets, has been much extended and embellished, and has a head post office, banks, two chief inns, a town-hall, a market-liouse, five churches, several dissenting chapels, twenty-eight almshouses, and a workhouse. The town-hall was erected in 1848, contains a court-room, a reading-room, and a public room for meetings and lectures, and has connected with it a police station. There are Liberal and Conservative clubs, a handsome Freemasons' lodge, and public hall. The market and corn exchange, erected in 1871, forms a commodious block of buildings. One of the churches in Wolborough street is a chapel of ease to Wolborough; another in Exeter Street is a chapel of ease to Highweek; and the third in Devon Square is a chapel of ease for Wolborough parish, a handsome cruciform edifice in the Early English style, erected in 1861 at a cost of about £4000, all defrayed by the Earl of Devon, who also endowed it with £75 a year. The parish church of Wolborough is on an eminence about a mile from Newton Abbot, and is an ancient building of stone in the Perpendicular style. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter; value, £200 with residence. Patron, the Earl of Devon. The church of All Saints, Highweek, a very old edifice, is about a mile from Newton Bushell. There are almshouses for four poor widows of clergymen, founded in 1640 by Lady Lucy Reynell, and rebuilt in 1845. The Mackrell Almshouses are for tradesmen and others in reduced circumstances who must not have received parochial relief. The workhouse is a substantial stone building in East Street, and has capacity for 350 inmates. A weekly market is held on Wednesday, a great cattle market on the last Wednesday of Feb., and fairs on 24 June, 11 Sept., and 6 Nov. Much business is done in the weekly market, and a considerable import and export trade, in connection with Teignmouth, is conducted at good and commodious wharves on the Teign. The G.W.R. Company have some large workshops in Newton Abbot; there is also a large tannery.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDevon 
Civil parishWoolborough 
Poor Law unionNewton-Abbott 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Newton Abbot from the following:


Online maps of Newton Abbot are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Devon online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of the County of Devon in the year 1564, with additions from the earlier visitation of 1531, is online.

The Visitations of the County of Devon, comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564, & 1620, with additions by Lieutant-Colonel J.L. Vivian, published for the author by Henry S. Eland, Exeter 1895 is online.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtTQ12
Post TownNewton Abbot