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Widecombe-in-the-Moor (St. Pancras)

WIDECOMBE-in-the-Moor (St. Pancras), a parish, in the union of Newton-Abbott, hundred of Haytor, Teignbridge and S. divisions of Devon, 5¾ miles (N. W. by N.) from Ashburton; containing 1106 inhabitants. It is bounded on the west and south by the river Dart, and comprises about 12,800 acres, of which one-half is open common; the soil is light and sandy, and the parish is more adapted to rearing live-stock than to the purposes of agriculture. The surface is varied, consisting of several valleys bordering on Dartmoor, inclosed with rugged hills, and watered by three streams which flow into the river Dart. Tin has been found, and there are remains of ancient stream-works of considerable extent; granite is also abundant on the commons. Many of the inhabitants are employed in weaving serges at their own dwellings. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £25. 13. 9.; net income, £268; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The church was greatly injured by lightning during the performance of divine service, on Oct. 21st, 1638, when portions of the stone and woodwork fell in. There are places of worship for Calvinists and Wesleyans. The last Lord Ashburton, of the Dunning family, and the late Gilbert Dyer, of Exeter, who collected the most extensive library in the west of England, were natives of the parish.

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