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Clovelly - Lewis 1831

Gazetteers

1831, Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis

CLOVELLY, a parish in the hundred of HARTLAND, county of DEVON, 12 miles (W. by S.) from Bideford, containing 941 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and diocese of Exeter, rated in the king's books at £19. 11. 5., and in the patronage of Sir J. H. Williams, Bart. The church, dedicated to All Saints, and made collegiate for a warden and six chaplains by one of the family of Carew, in the llth of Richard II., stands at the distance of half a mile from the village, and at a considerable height above it. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. At this place was a Roman trajectus from Caermarthen, and till "within the last few years the remains of a fort, erected by the Romans, for the defence of the pass, were plainly to be distinguished. The village is romantically situated on the declivities of a shelving and precipitous rock, rising abruptly from the Bristol channel to the height of several hundred feet above the harbour, and crowned with luxuriant verdure: beneath this the houses are irregularly scattered in narrow ranges, descending in direct and spiral lines from the summit to the base. The prospect from the heights is extensive, and embraces numerous interesting objects, among which the views of the isle of Lundy in the channel, of Barnstaple bay, of the opposite coast as far as the Severn, and of the vessels in the small harbour beneath, are eminently fine: the appearance of the village from the harbour is strikingly picturesque, presenting a singular combination of romantic cottages, rugged precipices, and masses of rock of remarkable configuration, fringed with woods and occasionally interspersed with spots of ground in a high state of cultivation. The harbour, which, together with that of Hartland, is an appendage to the port of Bideford, though small, is remarkable for its security, and is formed partly by the projecting rocks of the coast, and partly by a substantial pier erected by a member of the family of Carew, by one of whom the manor was purchased in the reign of Richard II. A considerable trade is still carried on in the herring fishery, for which Clovelly was formerly the most noted place on the coast: the herrings are esteemed the finest taken in the channel, and the fishery furnishes employment to the principal part of the labouring class. The neighbourhood abounds with geological attractions, but possesses no organic remains; the rocks, of which the strata incline in every direction, consist of alternate beds of dun-stone and shillat. There is a small charity school, partly supported by the rental of the seats in the gallery of the church, and partly by subscription. On the summit of the heights above the village is a large encampment, called Dichen, or the Clovelly ditches, consisting of three trenches, or dykes, enclosing a quadrilateral area three hundred and sixty feet in length, and three hundred in breadth.