Kingsbridge (St. Edmund)

KINGSBRIDGE (St. Edmund), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Stanborough, Stanborough and Coleridge, and S. divisions of Devon, 36 miles (S. S. W.) from Exeter, and 209 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 1564 inhabitants. This place is pleasantly situated at the head of the estuary, or haven, of Salcombe, on the summit and declivities of a hill, surrounded by other hills of great elevation. The parish is nearly in the form of a boat, keel upwards, in the midst of a valley: the main street forms the keel, running from north to south; and at the rear of the houses at each side, are gardens, which slope down into the valley east and west. The parochial limits are exceedingly small, comprising not more than 30 acres, chiefly laid out as gardens and orchards to the several houses. The town, which is separated from Dodbrook on the east by a small rivulet, consists principally of one long street, of which the centre is macadamized and the footpaths are paved; the houses are generally well built, and many of them are of handsome appearance. A reading-room is supported. The trade is mostly in corn, malt, leather, cider, and slate. A manufactory for blankets and inferior woollen-cloths, affords employment to about 60 persons. Various articles of commerce are brought coastwise, chiefly in vessels of from 50 to 100 tons' burthen, though the haven is navigable for ships of a large size: about 30 of these vessels belong to Kingsbridge and Salcombe. The market is on Saturday; and there is a fair on July 20th, unless that day fall later in the week than Thursday, when the fair is postponed to the following Tuesday: it is continued for three days, the first of which is for cattle. The town is under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, but a portreeve, or chief officer, is appointed at Michaelmas, when a court leet is held by the lord of the manor. The powers of the county debt-court of Kingsbridge, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Kingsbridge. The living is a vicarage, annexed to that of Churchstow. The church, originally founded about 1330, has been enlarged of late years. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyans. A free grammar school was founded pursuant to the will of Thomas Crispin, who, in 1689, bequeathed an estate for its endowment. William Duncombe, in 1691, gave by will property now producing about £350 per annum, for the support of three or more exhibitioners from the school to Oxford or Cambridge; for apprenticing boys educated in the school; and for the salary of a lecturer at the parish church. Almshouses for four persons were founded by Robert Mydwynter, in the reign of Elizabeth. The poor-law union of Kingsbridge comprises 26 parishes or places, and contains a population of 21,537.

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

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