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Colyton, or Culliton (St. Andrew)

COLYTON, or Culliton (St. Andrew), a market-town and parish, in the union of Axminster, hundred of Colyton, Honiton and S. divisions of Devon, 5 miles (S. W.) from Axminster, and 151 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 2451 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the river Coly, on which it is situated, near the confluence of that stream with the Axe. In the reign of Edward III. it obtained the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair. During the civil war, the royal forces in possession of the town were attacked and defeated by a detachment of the parliamentarian army stationed at Lyme. The town is pleasantly seated on the road between Axminster and Sidmouth, in a fertile vale, containing some fine pasture land and orchards, and abounding with excellent timber; the houses, many of which are very ancient, are in general irregularly built of flint, with thatched roofs. The inhabitants are supplied with water from two conduits connected with springs a little south of the town. The principal branch of manufacture was that of paper, which is at present on a reduced scale, there being but one establishment, in which only ten persons are employed: a tan-yard gives employment to about thirty hands. The market is on Thursday, and there are smaller markets on Tuesday and Saturday. Two small fairs are held under the control of feoffees, by charter of Henry VIII.; one on the first Thursday after the 1st of May, and the other on the first Thursday after the 14th of October; and there is likewise a fair at Colyford on the first Wednesday after the 12th of March. The petty-sessions for the division are held here; and two constables and a tythingman are annually appointed at the court leet of the lord of the manor.

The parish comprises 6430 acres, of which 140 are common or waste. The living is a vicarage, with the perpetual curacies of Monkton and Shute annexed, valued in the king's books at £40. 10. 10.; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The great tithes have been commuted for £600, the vicarial for £460; and there is a glebe of about an acre, with a glebe-house. The church is a spacious structure in the later English style, with a low embattled tower rising from the centre, surmounted by a handsome octagonal lantern turret with pierced parapets: the aisles have been widened to include the transepts, and the cruciform arrangement is thus destroyed. In the chancel is a beautiful altar-tomb with the effigy of a daughter of one of the Courtenays, earls of Devon, richly enshrined in tabernacle work; and in the angles north and south of the chancel are the sepulchral chapels of the Poles, and of the extinct family of Yonge: the Poles' chapel is separated from the church by an exquisitely carved screen. There are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. A school is supported out of a general fund arising from an endowment in land by Henry VIII.; the land, now worth about £300 per annum, was part of the property of Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter, who was executed Feb. 14th, 1539. The ruins of Colcombe Castle, the seat of the Courtenays, have been converted into a farmhouse.

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