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The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868
English Topography Part III Derbyshire - Dorsetshire
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[Page 183]


[1829, Part I., pp. 398-400]
Horwood is a small parish in the north of Devon, consisting of about 800 acres. It is situated about a mile south of the turnpike road leading from Barnstaple to Bideford, and is five ½ miles from the former and 3½ from the latter town. It is bounded on the north and

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east by the parish of Fremington, on the west by Westleigh, and on the south by Alverdiscott.

The parish is a rectory and the advowson, for some generations, has been in the family of the present rector, the Rev. John Dene, who was instituted in 1803. It is a discharged living ; the yearly value according to examination. is £40. Tenths, 14s. 10d, The glebe is about 45 acres.

The church has a nave and chancel and north aisle, which is separated from the nave and chancel of five pointed arches. Springing from clustered pillars, with capitals, apparently richly carved with heads and foliage, but daubed over with repeated coats of whitewash. At the west end is a square embattled tower, containing three bells. At the west end of the tower is a handsome Gothic window, under which is an arched door. This window formerly gave light to the nave, through an arch in the eastern wall of the tower, which is now closed with lath and plaster. Under the battlements, on the south side of the tower, are three escutcheons, but no arms are at present visible.

The church is dedicated to St. Michael. St. Michael's well, in a field near the church, was once famous for its efficacy in the cure of sore eyes and eruptions.

The seats in the church are open, and formed of thick oak. On the side panels are rude carvings of human figures and the emblems on the crucifixion of our Saviour, as the lance, the crown of thorns, nails, etc. On one of the panels near the door are two escutcheons — the arms of Pollard, a chevron between three mullets ; another a chevron between three escallop shells ; and on another panel adjoining, two others, a chevron between three birds end a demi-wolf rising out of wavy bars.

On a ledge of a window in the north aisle is a recumbent female figure, beautifully executed in alabaster. Risdon says an aisle of the church built by the Pollards has this in one of the windows:

" Orate: pro bono statu Joh'is Pollard et Wilmote uxoris ejus, qui guildam fiery fecerunt; in which he hath impaleth with Pollard a griffin rampant in a field Argent, which griffin (as they have it) was born by a Duke in ffrance, whose daughter one! of their ancestors matched. She being in a nunnery ; he then serving his Sou'reigne grew so enamoured with her, as ye humbly besought ye King to procure him a dispensac'on to marry her. Before a window of which ile Eliz. Pollard lieth intombed, whose 'porc'n in alabaster, with two children on each side, elevating her hands, it most curiously cut, as any I have seen."

At the side of the window, near the monument, on a small stone let into the wall, is the following:

"Here resteth the bodies of Arthur Pollard of this parish, gent, and Johne his wife. He was buried the 10th of October, 1633. She ye 3 of June, 1622. Requiescant in pace. "

In the windows of the north aisle are many fragments of stained

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glass ; but there exist at present no remains of the griffin of Pollard's arms or of the inscription mentioned by Risdon.

The font is more than 5 feet in height. It is of freestone, square, hollowed, and lined with lead, with a vent at the bottom to let off the water. It rests on a rounded column of freestone which is placed on a square base. The cavity within the font, is deep, and wide enough for the immersion of an infant.

The ceiling of the north aisle is coved, and, before it was lathed and plastered, must have been very handsome, The ribs still project with bosses, which appear to have been curiously carved, as does a frieze which runs along both sides of the aisle. The windows were filled with stained glass. On a boss near the east window in this aisle are the arms of Pollard, such as are on a slab covering the grave of Anthony Pollard viz., a chevron between three mullets. This Anthony was buried 1589, and on scrubbing away the filth which had covered the slab the arms were found perfect as when first placed there. A kind of pitchy cement had been run into the arms and inscription which surrounds the slab. Nearly in the middle of this aisle are, side by side, two slabs, about 6 feet in length, with a cross on each; but no inscription.

There are nineteen houses in the parish and 121 inhabitants.

In twenty years, from January I, 1699, to December 31, 1718, there were baptized 61 ; males 36, females 25. Marriages 15 ; Funerals 46; males 22, females 24.

In twenty years from January 1, 1799 to December 31st 1818, baptized 98; males 46, females 52. Marriages 17. Funerals 41 ; males 19, females 22.

Horwood throughout its whole extent is a very elevated ridge, stretching from east to west and sloping gently, to the north and south, to rivulets, the boundaries of the parish. A highway, connecting turnpike roads from Barnstaple to Torrington and Bideford, passes along the summit of this ridge, and affords many delightful views of the surrounding country of Barnstaple Bay, and Lundy Island.

The substratum is a stiff clay and the soil very shallow. The agriculture of the parish is the same with that generally adopted throughout the county; viz., pareing and burning with 40 bushels of lime to an acre previously to the sowing of wheat. The average crop of wheat is 1.8 bushels per acre, 30 bushels of barley, and 30 of oats.

The Exmore sheep are those generally bred; and the cattle known as the North Devon breed are reared in this parish in high perfection. A bull bred in it obtained the prize at a late agricultural meeting.

No doubt is entertained here of the baneful influence of the bilberry bush on wheat. An old and very intelligent farmer asserts

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that he had frequently witnessed its pernicious effects in many fields, but more particularly in one which he rented of Mr. Dene, the present rector's father. For many years, and every year when this field was sown with wheat, he observed a partial blight radiating from a point in the hedge across the field. His attention was at length directed to the barberry bush; it was grubbed up, and, though since the field has become repeatedly sown with wheat, no such partial blight has ever been observed.

I cannot refrain from mentioning at circumstance of which I was a witness, I shall merely state what I saw, without offering any observation. Shaving myself one morning early near the window, my attention was arrested by a very peculiar cry of a bird. I looked out and a small bird hovering in the air, apparently in the deepest distress and descending nearer and nearer to the ground, I suspected to some of its young, but I soon saw a stoat immediately before it, whose eyes seemed to be fixed intently on the bird. I was awaiting the final issue, when someone coming on towards the spot the bird flew away. The stoat didn't escape; he had been, as I supposed, too intent on his prey to take timely precaution for his own safety. He was killed.

The landowners in the parish of Horwood are:
Earl Fortescue.

The Rev. John Dene, His estates of Church Horwood, Pen Horwood, and the advowson be inherits from the Pollards. Elizabeth Futts, the granddaughter and heiress of Arthur Pollard, the last possessor of those estates of that name, was married to John Dene, the ancestor of the present rector.

Mr. Thomas Hog, of Appledore ; his estates of East and West Horwood were purchased by his father; a merchant of Appledore, of the uncle of the present Lord Rolle.

Horwood affords no rare plants, but of some which grow in the neighbourhood below is the habitat :
Pinguicula Lusitanica ; Sentellaria minor; Campanula hederacea; on Torrington Common.
Omunda regalis ; on the bank of the river Torrington.
Melittis Melisophyllum; Tulipa Sylvestris; in the woods near Hall.
Bartsia Viscosa; on the roadside near the third milestone from Barnstaple to Bideford.
Rubia peregrina; common in hedges.
Sibthorpea Europæa; in and around a well near Bucktland Brewer.
Scirpus Holoschsænus; on Braunton Boroughs.
Inuta Helenium, near Brocken Bridge.
Oxalis cotniculata; near Appledore.

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" Here lyeth Anthony Pollard of Horwood, esquier, who deceased the 16 day of June, Ann. D.N. 1589."

In the middle of the slab are the arms of the Pollards.
On the adjoining slab:

" Here lyeth Johan Pollard, wyffee of Anthony Pollard of Horwood, esquier, and daughter of Lewis Stucley of Aston, esquier; she deceased 27 day of February, Anno D.N. 1599."

The Pollard arms impaled with three lions rampant.

" Here lyeth the body of Elizabeth, wife of Henry Futts, gent., daughter of Arthur Pollard of this parish, Esq. who departed this life, 3d day of July, 1658."
" Here lyeth Elizabeth Dene, the wife of John Dene, gent. of this parish, who departed this life ye 8 day of November, 1659."
" Here lyeth the body of John Dene of this parish, gent. who was buried the 19 day of February, 1684."

His arms are on the slab.

" Here lyeth the body of Henry Dene, son of the aforesaid John Dene, gent. who departed this life ye 18 day of July. Anno Dom. 1663."
" Here lyeth the body of Arthur Pollard, gent. at Inston, who died the 25th day of August, 1631. "
" Here lyeth the body of Dennis Rolle, esq. of Horwood, the son of Jn° Rolle, esq. the grand son of Sir Jn° Rolle of Stevenstone, Knight of the Bth, who died ye 20th of September, 1714."
" Here lyeth Anthony Pollard of Horwood, Esq. who departed this life the 16th day of June 1687. "
" Here lyeth the body of Jane, the daughter of Humphrey and Elizabeth Dene, gent. who departed this life the 5th day of December. Anno. Dom. 1715, ætatis suæ 23."
" Here also the body of Elizabeth, daughter of the above, who died January 21, ætatis suæ 26. "
" And also the body of Rebeckah, daughter of the above, who departed this life, 26 of January, 1715, ætat. suæ 22. "
" Here lyeth the body of Elizabeth Dene, daughter of the aforesaid Jn° Dene, who departed this life the 12th day of March, 1661."
" Here lyeth the body of Humphrey, son of Jn° Dene of this parish, gent. who was buried the 8th day of December, Anno Dom. 1693."
" Here also lyeth the body of Ja°, the son of Humphrey Dene of this parish, gent. who departed this life ye 24th day of August, 1688."
" Here lyeth in hope or a joyful resurrection, the body of Humphrey Dene of this parish, esq. who departed this life ye 27th day of May, in the year of our Lord 1761, and in the 71st year of his age."
" Near this place also lyes the remains of Elizabeth the wife of the above Humphrey Dene, who departed this life the 1st day of March, 1783, ætat. suæ 82."
" Katherine Watts of this parish buried 24th January, 1657.
" William Watts her son, buried ye 18th of August, 1657.
" Here lyeth the remains of Mary, the wife or Peter Hole of this parish, who departed this life February 23d 1786. aged 86. "
" Here also lyeth the remains of Peter Hole of this parish, who departed this life March 11th, 1786, aged 88 years."
" Here lyeth the body of William Powe of Holmacott, in the parish of Fremington, who departed this life ye 15 day of May, 1716."
" Also, Ann Powe his wife, who was buried July 15th, 1707."