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English Topography Part III Derbyshire - Dorsetshire
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[1808. Part II, p. 1057.)
In the register of burials in the parish of Uffculme, Devon, commenced in the year 1538 on vellum, and now in a state of perfect preservation ; the entries, of which, being in a masterly hand, in the office or secretary style, were made, most probably, not by the clergyman, but by some person whose office it was to make such entries;* it appears, that in the year 1551; there was a very great mortality; and, towards the end of August and beginning of September the burials for several successive days were two, three, four, and five in a day (a number very far beyond the usual average).

In the margin opposite to those entries, in the same handwriting, but much larger letters, as if to attract observation, is entered as follows :

" The hote sickness, called Stup-gallant."
Query, What disease could be meant? I do not recollect to have met with, or heard of the name anywhere.†

In the same register also occurs the following entry :
" Anno Dni 1,588, April the first day, was John Pooke, gentle, christened and buried. Anno Phil. et Mar. 6. "

As this man appears to have been christened and buried on the same day, is it not probable that he was either burnt, or executed as an heretic?

Yours etc.,  JOHN NOTT, Surgeon.    


[1791. Part II, pp. 603-611.]
This parish is situated in the hundred of Colyron, in the south east part of the county; and in one part adjoins to Dallwood, in the county of Dorset. Widworthy is rather a small parish about eight miles in circumference, nearly resembling in form a trapezium, bounded on the west and north by Offwill, on the east by Shute, and on the south by Colyton and a small part of Northleigh. The soil varies, being in part meadow and pasture) part arable; and in the centre, on a hill, private property, though not enclosed, there is a very deep and extensive stratum of limestone, in the north-west part of the parish, which employs many of the inhabitants in burning that useful article for building and manure. There is likewise some excellent freestone from the northern and southern extremity of the limestone rock. About a mile distant from each other, issue two remarkably transparent, warm springs, which, when diverted over some meadows immediately beneath them, leave a considerable slime on the surface, and render them luxuriantly fertile. The one falls into the river Coley, the other into a rivulet on the west side of the

[Page footnote]
* On this subject, p. 913.
† The sweating sickness (now happily unknown in this country) was formerly of frequent recurrence ; as may be seen in any of the old histories.

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parish. The parish is enclosed with very good turf-hedges, on which the underwood grows fast; and the usual sorts of timber-trees flourishing and abound in the hedgerows and coppices. The roads made and repaired with flints are sound, but rather rough. There is only one village, Willmington, where a fair or revel is held the Monday after St. Matthew's day. It is situated on the great Western road, which divides the parish from Offwill on the north. The houses are all thatched, except the manor house, and are neat and compact; and have all, even the cottages, gardens and a little orchard annexed to them. The inhabitants are all tenants at rack-rent. Their farms are in as good a state of cultivation as most Devonshire farms, and are from fifteen to a hundred pounds per annum. The number of houses, of every description, is about thirty-five. Reckoning six souls to a house, you will nearly have the number of parishioners ; among whom are not more than three freeholders. The men are mostly employed in husbandry ; the women spin wool. Benedictus Marwood, Esq., of Hornshays, in Colyton, first purchased the manor of the Chichester family, and, dying unmarried, left it to his brother Thomas, whose grandson now inherits it. Besides the manor and barton of Widworthy there are two capital estates in this parish, Cooksbays and Sutton, with large decent houses on each, built by the Marwoods about eighty years since, and twenty years before they purchased the manor of the Chichesters. See Risdon, part ii., p. 64. Widworthy hath had divers knights so named dwellers there, and lords thereof. The last is William, and Sir Hugh de Widworthy his son, in the age of King Edward I. left his daughter Emma, first married unto Sir William Prouse, secondly to Sir Robert Dinham, Knights. These lands remained divers descents in the name of Prouse, until by an heir of Wootton, that had wedded an heir of Prouse, it was carried into the family of Chichester of Raleigh, who gave this manor unto John his son, which he had by his second life, the daughter of Bryett."

The manor house is situated near the church, a large old building, in form of a quadrangle, the undoubted residence of De Widworthy, Knt., the founder of the church. The front of the building is of more modem erection than the three other sides. Over the porch are the arms of the Chichesters, viz., Checky, a chief vairy; crest, on a helmet, an ostrich with a bit of iron in its mouth, in lead. In the ceiling of the hall is the date 1616.

The highest point of Widworthy Hill, which is as high a hill as any in the neighbourhood, is nearly the centre of the parish, on the north-east side of which are some remains of an ancient entrenchment; and near the church, on an eminence having a descent every way, in a field still called Castle Wood, are remains of a small entrenchment. In the northern extremity of the parish there is a remarkably large flint-rock, five feet in height and four in width and depth, known

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by the name of gray-stone ; and nearly opposite, on the southern extremity, is another stone of nearly the same dimensions, both of them evidently placed there by design. A school was founded by one Searl, but, having been endowed with a leasehold estate, is fa11en into hand. A house and school have been since given by James Marwood, Esq., 1767; some other benefactions have increased the masters salary eight pounds per annum. No dissenting meeting or dissenters. The church is situated on a rising ground in the north part of the parish, dedicated to S. Cuthbert. It is built of flint, in the form of a Latin Cross, as are all the churches I have hitherto seen dedicated to that saint. The church is a uniform building consisting of a nave, a chancel, and a transept, and, I should suppose, was built by one of the De Widworthys, knights, though Mr. Incledon supposes it to have been built at different times. The height of the church inside is 21 feet ; the extreme length within, from the altar-piece to the tower, 51 feet; the breadth of the transept, including the nave, is 36 feet. The old timber being decayed, a new roof, covered with slate, was erected in 1785, and neatly plastered within, with a handsome cornice. There is strong square, plain tower, with battlements, in height 40 feet, with five bells ; a neat wainscot altar-piece, given by Jas. Marwood, Esq.; and the church was newly-seated with wainscot by the parishioners in 1787. The font is of one solid freestone, in an octagonal form, about 4 feet high, and bears evident marks of antiquity. The screen and rood loft were taken down before my remembrance. There are several small niches for the holy water; and, on removing the old plaster when the church was lately new-roofed, the walls appeared to have been painted throughout. No stained glass. On the north wall of the chancel is a handsome marble monument, erected to the memory of some of the Izacks of ford, who were buried here though they lived in the adjoining parish of Dallwood co. Dorset; it bears date 1685. Arms : Sable, a bend, or; in a canton argent, a leopard's head sable, impaling, ermine, on a bend, between bendlets sable, three griffins' heads or. The rest are modern, viz., another, on the north, erected to the memory of three brothers, James Marwood, M.D. Benedictus and Thomas Marwood Esqrs., " eminent for honesty, piety, and good economy. " Armes : Gules, a chevron ermine, between three goats' heads erased ermined. On the south wall of the chancel is a monument to the memory of

" Jacobi Somaster, viri probi & rei medici periti, quam Honitoni novem per annos felicter exercuit ; 1748 ."

Arms. : Argent, a castle between five fleurs-de-lis, within a bordure or. crest, a portcullis. In the south transept is a very handsome monument to the memory of Robert Marwood, Esq., of Cookshays, 1755, and Mrs. Bridget Marwood, his sister, 1756, an unmeaning inscription at the bottom, " Sua præmia virtus," Arms of the Marwoods as above described. Crest to this : a goat couchant proper,

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on a wreath sable and gules. In the north transept is a monument to the memory of the late James Marwood Esq. which exceeds my description. It is executed by that celebrated statuary Bacon, and is in his happiest style. (See Plate I.) In the centre is a beautifully-enriched vase placed upon a Roman pedestal. On the right side is a most animated figure of Justice, suspending her scale : and on the left Benevolence, reclining over a pelican in its nest, feeding its young from its breast, The delicacy and expression of their countenances, attitude, and drapery, and the harmony and just proportion of the whole rank it with the first performances of its artist, Beneath is an inscription:

" James Marwood, Esq., died April 3, 1767, aged 65. The memory of the just is blessed. "

The whole is pleasingly relieved by a background of deep yellow marble with an elegant white marble bordure rising conically to an obtuse angle over it.

Under an arch in the wall, immediately under the northern window in the same transept, lies the statue of a man, very perfect, at full length, in complete armour, with spurs; his shield, suspended by a belt from his right shoulder, hangs over his left arm, and reaches to the lower part of his thigh. His head is supported by a cushion, with a cherub on each side, his feet by a lion. His hands recline on his breast, in the attitude of prayer. On his shield are three lions rampant between five crosslets, two at the top, one in the centre and two in the base. There is not the least vestige of an in inscription, nor, I believe, was there ever any. There is no tradition in the parish whom it was intended for, though I should suppose it the founder of the church, De Widworthy, Knt. There are two large flat stones, one in the chancel, the other in the: body of the church. One has its inscription quite d'efacd ; the other the Chichester arms, with this inscription:


In a table over the door at the west end of the tower on the outside, are three emblems (as at top of Plate I.), and over them some relict, but much defaced, which has the appearance of a crucifix, and on each side a person in a suppliant posture.

The following is an extract of the table of benefactions.

In 1733 Robert Marwood, Esq. annually 20s. to the poor on St. Luke's day, 1741, Benedictus Marwood, Esq., the interest of £100 to the parish schoolmaster. 1767. James Marwood, Esq. 40s. yearly and a school-room to ditto. 1769, Rev. Joseph Somaster, Rector, the interest of £100, half to the parish schoolmaster, the other to the poor in bread, on Christmas-day. The communion-plate is handsome: a chalice and a large silver vessel for the wine, given by Mrs. D. Marwood, of Cookshays, dated 1756, and a paten, given by the late rector, Jo. Somaster, in usum sacrosanctæ eucharistæ, 1756, who also gave a

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velvet cloth for the pulpit. The churchyard is large for the parish being near half an acre. A large flourishing yew-tree decorates it. There are two old tombs and a few headstones, the inscriptions not remarkable. The register is in good preservation, and quite complete from 1540 to the present date, 1791. The population has been rather on the decline, though it is now increasing. . ..

The parish is a rectory ; the present incumbent is William John Tucker, M.A.; the patron James Thomas Benedictus Marwood, Esq., of Sutton, who is lord of the manor, and proprietor of almost the whole parish.

The following is a list of the incumbents since the Reformation, with the date of their institutions:

Roger Slade, 1515, Bartholomew Palmer, 1610.  Robert Perry, 1644, John Chichester.  1650. Samuel Periam.  1659, John Bury, 1663, Benjamin Dukes.  1695, Robert Cole. —The Chichesters patrons.

1728. Peter Stuckley. —Sir William Pole, by grant from Chichesters, patrons for this turn.

1736, Joseph Somaster.  1769, William John Tucker. —The Marwoods patrons.

Bartholomew Cowde was instituted May 23, 1554, in the place of Robert Coyle, deprived as uxoralus.

The parsonage house is about half a furlong distant from the church, is an old building covered with thatch, but has some good rooms, and is not inconvenient. All tithes are payable to the rector in kind, and there is a customary modus of 3s. 4d.payable to the rector for every pit of lime burned in the parish, and the manor mills pay an annual modus of ten groats.    W. J. TUCKER.

[1800, Part, II., p. 785.]
August ... The manor-house of Widworthy, co, Devon, " a large old building, in form or a quadrangle, and once, in the days of chivalry and religious enthusiasm, the hospitable mansion of the family of that name, which ended in an heir-female in the reign of Edward I, but now to John Thomas Marwood, of Hornshays, in Colyton," was discovered to be on fire, and was in a few hours totally consumed, together with a house belonging to Sir William de la Pole, of Shute House. Bart.


[1794, Part I., pp. 113-114]
There is a tower (exactly like the one I sketched at Teignmouth) in the neighbouring parish of Bishopsteignton, of which I will give you a description. I send you also enclosed a drawing (Pl. II, fig. I) which will better illustrate the building. The style of architecture is correspondent (in regard to the towers) to that at Teignmouth. This, however, at Bishopsteignton is enriched by a doorway at the western end of the church, ... I must not omit noticing that the

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windows in the church, over this doorway, are Gothic, which (without we suppose that these were superadded at a later period) will necessarily still farther detract from its antiquity. . . .

From the consequence of the place, as well as from the sweetness of its situation, lying near the river Teign, we find that in the fourteenth century was a residence of the bishop of Exeter ; hence its name. At that time there was a famous sanctuary here, which, says an old writer, none durst violate, though it protected many wicked people, as others of that nature did through corruption; and upon that account John de Grandison, a noble Burgundian, and bishop of this diocese in the reign of Edward III., built a fine house here, that his successors (for so are the word of his will) might have a place to lay their heads if at any time their temporalities should be seized into the king's hands. But his benevolent designs were all frustrated, for his successors have lost not only this house, but the major part of the revenues which in the time of Grandison belonged to the bishopric. The imputation of this waste rests chiefly upon Voysey who possessed the see about the latter end of the sixteenth Century, and who alienated fourteen manors out of twenty-two, and the circumstances of Babington, the successor of Voysey, passing away the manor of Crediton, about the year 1595 possibly gave occasion for the enaction of a statute which prohibits ecclesiastics from alienating the revenues of the Church.

There are a few remains of this place, which are seen in the background of the sketch beyond the church, consisting of a wall with a window or two all overgrown with ivy.

Yours. etc.,    J. S.