Bampton (St. Michael)

BAMPTON (St. Michael), a market-town and parish, in the union of Tiverton, hundred of Bampton, Collumpton and N. divisions of Devon, 21 miles (N. by E.) from Exeter, and 162 (W. by S.) from London; containing 2049 inhabitants. Bampton is supposed by Bishop Gibson to have been the Beamdune of the Saxon Chronicle, where, in 614, the Britons were defeated with great slaughter by Cynegils, King of the West Saxons. Other antiquaries, referring this event to Bindon in Dorset, derive its ancient names Bathermtown and Bathrumpton from the river Batherm, which flows into the Exe, about one mile and a quarter below the town; and thence, by contraction, deduce the present name. The parish contains between 7000 and 8000 acres: the surface is marked by numerous hills formed of limestone; the soil runs through several varieties, and is liable, especially in the valleys, to inundations from the rivers Exe and Batherm. The town is pleasantly situated in a vale; the houses are irregularly built of stone, and amply supplied with water. The principal branch of manufacture is that of serge: limestone is obtained in large quantities, and of excellent quality. The market is on Wednesday: fairs are held on Whit-Tuesday and the last Thursday in October; and on the Wednesday before Lady-day and the last Thursday in November are two large markets, both of which are well attended. At the fairs and great markets a large number of sheep are sold, which, from the excellence of the pastures, are remarkable for size and flavour. A portreeve, two constables, and other officers, are appointed annually by the lord of the manor. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £20; net income, £118; patron, E. Rendell, Esq.; impropriator, Charles Chichester, Esq., whose tithes have been commuted for £720: the vicar has a glebe of two acres. The church is a spacious structure in the early English style, containing several monuments to the earls of Bath. At Petton, four miles distant from the church, is a chapel, in which divine service is performed every Sunday; at Shillingford are the ruins of an old chapel. There is a place of worship for Particular Baptists. In the town is a spring strongly impregnated with iron. The site of an ancient castle erected in 1336, by a member of the family of Cogan, is still discernible on a mount. John de Bampton, a Carmelite monk, and the first who read Aristotle publicly at Cambridge, was a native of the town.

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

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