Cullompton (St. Andrew)

CULLOMPTON (St. Andrew), a market-town and parish, in the union of Tiverton, hundred of Hayridge, Cullompton and N. divisions of Devon, 12 miles (N. E. by N.) from Exeter, and 166 (W. by S.) from London; containing 3909 inhabitants. This place, which derives its name from its situation on the river Culme, or Columb, was held in royal demesne during the heptarchy; and a collegiate church was founded here by one of the Saxon monarchs, which was annexed by William the Conqueror to the abbey of Battle, in Sussex. In 1278 the inhabitants obtained from Edward I. the grant of a market, which was confirmed by his successor in 1317, with the addition of an annual fair. The town is pleasantly situated in an extensive vale, surrounded by a large tract of level country, and consists of one principal street, roughly paved, from which some smaller streets diverge; the inhabitants are amply supplied with water, and the environs abound with pleasant walks. It suffered severely by an alarming fire that broke out July 8th, 1839, from the roof of a thatched tenement on the western side of the main street; 132 houses and cottages were reduced to ashes, including the whole of New-street. The chief articles of manufacture are broad and narrow woollen-cloth, kerseymere, and serge, the production of which affords employment to several hundred persons: on a stream between the river and the town are two flour-mills, a paper-mill, and a mill for spinning yarn; and there are other manufacturing establishments, and four tanneries. The Bristol and Exeter railway passes through. The market is on Saturday; the fairs are on the first Wednesdays in May and November, and are large marts for bullocks and sheep. The county magistrates hold a petty-session here monthly for the division. Three high constables are chosen for the hundred, of whom one acts for this and the adjoining parish of Kentisbeare; and six petty constables are annually appointed by the parishioners, three for the town, and three for the rest of the parish.

The parish comprises about 9000 acres: the surface is greatly diversified with hill and dale, and the lower lands are subject to occasional inundation from the river Columb; the soil comprehends almost every variety. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £47. 4. 2.; net income, £351; patron, R. B. De Beauvoir, Esq.; impropriators, the proprietors of estates. The church is an elegant and spacious structure, in the later English style, with a lofty tower, strengthened by highly enriched buttresses, and crowned with pierced battlements and crocketed pinnacles: opening into the south aisle is a beautiful chapel, erected in 1528, in the richest style of that period, by John Lane, whose remains are deposited in it: the roofs of the nave and aisle of the church are of oak, finely carved, and decorated with gilding. There are places of worship for Baptists, Bryanites, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. A fund of nearly £70 per annum arising from land bought with a donation from George Spicer, in 1624, is appropriated to the apprenticing of children; and £54. 10. per annum, arising from land purchased with a donation from John and Henry Hill, Esqrs., are given in clothing to aged men. There are several other benefactions, by means of which £100 are annually distributed among the poor. At Langford-Barton are to be seen the remains of an ancient chapel.

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