Chulmleigh (St. Mary Magdalene)

CHULMLEIGH (St. Mary Magdalene), a market-town and parish, in the union of South Molton, hundred of Witheridge, South Molton and N. divisions of Devon, 21½ miles (N. W.) from Exeter, and 194 (W. by S.) from London; containing 1647 inhabitants. This place was anciently called Chimleighe; in the reign of Henry III., John de Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, obtained for it the grant of a weekly market. During the parliamentary war, a skirmish took place here in 1645. The town, a considerable portion of which was destroyed by fire in 1803, is situated on an eminence rising gently from the eastern bank of the river Taw; the houses, with the exception of a few that are modern and well built, are low and covered with thatch. The market is on Friday; and fairs are held on the third Friday in March, the Wednesday in Easter-week, and the last Wednesday in July. A portreeve, whose office is merely nominal, and other officers, are appointed annually at the court leet and baron of the lord of the manor. The parish comprises 6835 acres, of which 1244 are common or waste. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £20. 18. 1½.; net income, £415; patron and incumbent, the Rev. George Hole. In the church are five prebends, endowed with glebe and a portion of the tithes, viz., Brookland, valued at £4. 8. 4.; Denes, at £4. 6. 8.; Higher Heyne, at £5. 13. 4.; Lower Heyne, at £5; and Penels, at £5. These prebends were permanently annexed to the rectory by the act 3rd and 4th Vict., cap. 113. The church, which was damaged by lightning in 1797, is an ancient and spacious structure in the decorated English style, with a square embattled tower; the interior is fine, and contains a screen of oak richly carved. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans.

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

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