Bovey-Tracey (St. Thomas Becket)

BOVEY-TRACEY (St. Thomas à Becket), a parish, in the union of Newton-Abbot, hundred of Teignbridge, Teignbridge and S. divisions of Devon, 4 miles (W. by S.) from Chudleigh; containing 1823 inhabitants. This place derives the affix to its name from the family of Tracey, barons of Barnstaple, to whom the manor anciently belonged, and who were descendants of William de Tracey, the chief agent in the assassination of St. Thomas à Becket of Canterbury, in 1170. An encounter took place between the royalist and parliamentarian forces on Bovey-Heathfield. The parish is pleasantly situated near the road from Exeter to Plymouth, and comprises 7186a. 22p., all fertile land with the exception of about 900 acres, which are common or waste: the substrata are chiefly coal of inferior quality, granite, and stone. A manufactory for earthenware is established on Bovey-Heathfield, for which purpose the remains of an ancient building, formerly the priory of Indiho, and subsequently a private mansion, were appropriated in 1772. A canal from Teignmouth to Ventiford bridge, about four miles from the village, and a railroad from the Haytor Rocks to the same place, have been constructed by George Templar, Esq., for the conveyance of wrought granite; they also afford facility for bringing coal, sea-sand, and lime, and sending away Bovey coal, and pipe and potter's clay, which are found here in great plenty. The place is under the government of a portreeve and bailiff; the latter, chosen at the court leet of the lord of the manor, is, after having served that office, appointed portreeve. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £26. 2. 1., and in the patronage of the Crown: the impropriation is in the landholders. The tithes have been commuted for £430, and the glebe comprises 7a. 1r. 10p., with a house. The church is a large edifice in the early English style, of which it displays some interesting details. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans; also a school endowed with a house and garden for the master, and with £35 per annum, arising from lands purchased with the aggregate of various bequests.

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

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