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Heavitree (St. Michael)

HEAVITREE (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of St. Thomas, hundred of Wonford, Wonford and S. divisions of Devon; containing 3048 inhabitants. This place, which is supposed to derive its name from having been the spot of execution for criminals, was the western head-quarters of the parliamentary forces, during the civil war. The parish is bounded on the south-west by the river Exe, forms a suburb to the city of Exeter, and comprises 3032a. 1r., whereof 2000 acres are pasture, and 1000 arable; the surface is boldly undulated, in some parts rising into hills of considerable elevation, and the scenery is embellished with numerous lofty elms, growing in the hedge-rows. Stone of good quality for building is quarried, and facility of conveyance is afforded by the Exe, which is navigable by aid of canal up to Exeter. The villages in the parish are lighted with gas, under an act of parliament passed in 1836. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £34. 3. 4.; net income, £641; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The church, an ancient structure in the later English style, has been rebuilt by subscription, at an expense of £3300, and is now one of the largest churches in the county, containing 1220 sittings, of which 550 are free: it was consecrated in Aug. 1846. Here is a place of worship for Independents. Dennis' almshouses, for twelve aged poor, are endowed with a rent-charge of £45; and there is an almshouse, founded in 1603 by R. Duck, consisting of four tenements. A cell of the Cluniac order, dedicated to St. James, existed here, the estates of which were given to King's College, Cambridge, by Henry VI.

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