"TORRINGTON, (GREAT) is an ancient borough, and clean and well-built market town, pleasantly seated on a bold eminence, on the north-east side of the picturesque valley of the Torridge river and canal, 34 miles N.W. by W. of Exeter; 6 miles S.S.E. of Bideford; 10 miles S.S.W. of Barnstaple; and 196 miles W. by S. of London. It is the head of a large union, and its parish contains 3419 souls, and about 3640 acres of land, including Moortown, Norwood, Staple Vale, Beam, many scattered farm-houses, and some extensive commons, the enclosure of which is opposed by the inhabitants. The Trustees of the late Lord Rolle are lords of the manor. and barony, and owners of most of the soil; and the rest belongs to J.H. Furse, Esq., Archdeacon Stevens, Mrs. Stevens, and a few smaller owners. . . . Torrington was visited by the plague in 1591, and in the 17th century it was the scene of some of the most important actions of the civil war. . . . There was formerly a considerable manufacture of woollens carried on at Torrington, and here are still many glove makers. . . . The PARISH CHURCH (St. Michael,) which was mostly rebuilt in 1651, after being nearly destroyed during the civil wars, is a large and handsome structure, with a lofty tower, containing six bells, and crowned by an octagonal spire, the latter of which was erected in 1830, when the curious old spire was taken down. . . ." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]
A parish in Fremington Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and the Diocese of Exeter.