Chudleigh (St. Martin)

CHUDLEIGH (St. Martin), a market-town and parish, in the union of Newton-Abbott, hundred of Exminster, Teignbridge and S. divisions of Devon, 9 miles (S. S. W.) from Exeter, and 182 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 2415 inhabitants. This place, anciently called Chidleighe, was the residence of the bishops of Exeter, who had a sumptuous palace, of which there are some small remains. In the year 1309, Bishop Stapleton procured the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair. During the parliamentary war, the army under General Fairfax was quartered in the town. In 1807, nearly half of it was destroyed by fire, the loss of property being estimated at £60,000 value. It is pleasantly situated on an eminence near the eastern bank of the river Teign, and consists principally of one long street; the houses are in general modern and neatly built: the inhabitants are indifferently supplied with water. The environs are pleasant, and abound with woodland scenery; antimony and cobalt are among the mineral productions, and there are quarries of argillaceous slate, in which many organic remains have been discovered.

The trade, which consisted mainly in the manufacture of woollen-cloth, has lately declined: extensive quarries of good marble and limestone, which abound in the vicinity, afford employment to many of the inhabitants; and the neighbourhood is famed for cider of superior quality. The market is on Saturday: the fairs, chiefly for cattle and sheep, are on Easter-Tuesday, the third Tuesday and Wednesday in June, and October 2nd, unless it falls on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, in which case the fair is postponed till the Tuesday following. The parish comprises 5188 acres, whereof 1660 are common or waste. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £21, and in the patronage of Trustees for the inhabitants; the impropriate tithes, belonging to Lord Clifford, have been commuted for £250, and the vicarial for £550; the glebe comprises one acre, with a glebe-house. There is a place of worship for Independents; also a Roman Catholic chapel at Ugbrooke, in the parish. The free grammar school was founded in 1668, by John Pynsent, of Combe, in the county of Surrey, who endowed it with a rent-charge of £30 per annum, founding also three exhibitions for its benefit at Cambridge, of £5 each, tenable for four years. Half a mile from the town is Chudleigh Rock, a stupendous mass of limestone, in which is a cavern of considerable extent; and near it are very perfect remains of an elliptical encampment, supposed from its form to be of Danish origin, but, from its proximity to a Roman road, to have been previously occupied by that people. Chudleigh confers the title of Baron on the family of Clifford.

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

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