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Pilton (St. Margaret)

PILTON (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Barnstaple, hundred of Braunton, Braunton and N. divisions of Devon; containing 1805 inhabitants. A Benedictine priory, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded here by King Athelstan, and flourished, as a cell to the abbey of Malmesbury, till the Dissolution, when its revenue amounted to £56. 12. 8. In 1345, the prior obtained for the inhabitants of the place a weekly market and an annual fair, now discontinued. A hermitage is said to have been also founded here; and an hospital, instituted before the year 1191, in honour of St. Margaret, is still in existence: the inmates are a prior and a brother and sister. Pilton communicates with Barnstaple by a bridge over the river Yeo, 800 feet in length, and by a causeway: part of it, including the hamlet of Bradiford, was, by the Reform act, comprised within the borough of Barnstaple. The woollen-trade and lace manufacture are carried on. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £105; patron, W. Hodge, Esq.: the glebe consists of 22 acres, and there is a glebe-house. The church contains a carved oak screen, a stone pulpit, and a handsome monument to Sir John Chichester, dated 1569.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.