Chagford (St. Michael)

CHAGFORD (St. Michael), a market-town and parish, in the union of Oakhampton, hundred of Wonford, Crockernwell and S. divisions of Devon, 15 miles (S. W. by W.) from Exeter, and 186 (S. W.) from London; containing 1836 inhabitants. This place, originally held by Dodo, a Saxon, was given by William the Conqueror to the Bishop of Constance, and in 1328 was made one of the stannary towns by Edward III., who invested the lords of the manor with the power of inflicting capital punishment. In 1643, an action took place between the royalists and the parliamentarians, in which Sidney Godolphin was killed; and in the same century a fire occurred, when the charter for holding the market, and other records, were destroyed. The town is pleasantly situated near the river Teign, and sheltered by hills of romantic form; the houses are irregularly built: the environs abound with picturesque scenery. On the banks of the Teign is a large woollenmanufactory. The market is on Thursday; and there are fairs on the last Thursday in March, the first Thursday in May, and the last Thursday in September and October. The stannary court, in which the principal business of the mines is transacted, is held here. The parish comprises by measurement 8000 acres, of which 1200 are commons; two-thirds of the remainder are arable, and the rest pasture and woodland. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £39. 0. 10., and in the patronage of Mrs. Grace Hames; net income, £442. The church is a handsome structure, and contains a richly-executed monument to the memory of Sir John Widdon, chief justice of the court of king's bench in the reign of Mary. At the hamlets of Great Weeke and Teigncombe, in the parish, are the remains of ancient chapels, and there was a chapel also at Rushford.

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

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