Atherington (St. Mary)

ATHERINGTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Barnstaple, hundred of North Tawton, South Molton and N. divisions of Devon, 7 miles (S. S. E.) from Barnstaple; containing 629 inhabitants. A portion of the lands was granted by Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, to the convent of Caen, in Normandy, which she had founded; and in the reign of Henry III. some nuns from that establishment settled here, and erected a chapel, in which was placed a statue of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who in the time of Edward III. was lord of the manor. During the protectorate of Cromwell, Charles II. concealed himself in the parsonagehouse, and the chamber in which he slept is still preserved. The parish is situated on the river Taw, and intersected by the direct road from Barnstaple to Exeter: it comprises 3325a. 2r. 1p., of which 2634 acres are arable, 125 meadow, 449 woodland, and 117 acres rivers and roads; the soil is clay. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £26. 2. 1.; patron and incumbent, the Rev. James Arthur, whose tithes have been commuted for £416, and who has a glebe of 200 acres. The church contains a richly ornamented screen and rood-loft crossing the north aisle; also the monument of a crusader, and an altar-tomb with the figures of a knight and his two ladies on brass plates; and the statue of John of Gaunt, which was removed from the ancient chapel in 1826.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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