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LYDFORD

From White's Devonshire Directory of 1850

Transcribed by Neil Stanton

LIDFORD, or Lydford, is a small ancient village, on the banks of the small river Lyd, and on the western side of Dartmoor, 7½ miles N. by E. of Tavistock. Its parish contains 280 souls, and 3604 acres of land exclusive of DARTMOOR FOREST QUARTER, which has a scattered population of 933 souls, and extends over about 53,900 acres of wild moorland hills and dales, including the hamlets of Prince Town, Hexworthy, Huckaby, Dinnabridge, Two Bridges, and the extensive but now unoccupied Prison of War; as already noticed with the general description of Dartmoor, at pages 38 to 40. There are cattle fairs, at Lidford on the Tuesday after July 20th, at Two Bridges on the Thursday after August 2nd, and at Prince Town on the 23rd of August. The Prince of Wales is lord of the manor, which forms, with the forest, part of his Duchy of Cornwall. Lidford, though now only an indifferent village, was anciently a borough, and had a grant for a market in 1267. It is said to have had the honour of entertaining Julius Caesar and his army on his second expedition to Britain. In the Saxon Heptarchy it was a town of some note, and had a mint. In 997 it was ravaged and despoiled by the Danes, when they destroyed Tavistock Abbey. At Domesday Survey, it was evidently a walled town, and it sent burgesses to Parliament twice in the reign of Edward I. Vestiges of the walls and gates were often found in Risdon's time. Lidford Castle, which has been long reduced to a mere shell, is the place where the stannary courts were held till the latter part of the last century, and within it was the prison, in which offenders against the stannary laws were confined. (See page 28.) In an Act of 1512, this prison is described as "one of the most heinous, contagious, and detestable places in the realm", and it had not improved in its reputation a century afterwards, when Browne wrote, - "To lie therein one night `tis guest, `Twere better to be stoned and prest". The arbitrary nature of Lydford law is proverbial in the saying, "hang first and try afterwards." The infamous Jeffries is reported to have been the last judge who presided in the court. Crockern tor, Wistman's Wood, and many of the romantic scenes and Druidical remains in Dartmoor are already noticed. (See page 40.) Lidford Bridge crosses, by a single arch of only a few feet span, over a dark and apparently interminable chasm, under which the river Lyd is heard falling 50 or 60 feet beneath. Many stories are told of tragical events and remarkable occurrences which have taken place at this romantic bridge, near which is the much admired Lidford Waterfall, where the river falls down a deep rocky ravine, beautifully festooned with thick foliage. Higher up the river is a smaller waterfall, called Kitt's Hole, from a woman said to have been drowned there. Some portions of Dartmoor have been planted and cultivated during the last and present centuries; and, since 1846, G.W. Fowler, Esq., of Prince Hall, (see page 40) has greatly improved that estate, where he has now 130 acres in tillage, and 30 acres in grass, besides a large extent of rough pasture land. He has cleared much of his extensive farm of stones, and used them in constructing drains and fence walls; and the abundant crops which he now reaps shew that many other of the extensive Dartmoor wastes may be profitably cultivated, even to the altitude of 1000 to 1500 feet above the level of the sea. Lidford Church (St. Petrock) is an ancient structure, with a tower and five bells, and is in the lancet style of the 13th century. The rectory valued in K.B. at £15. l3s. 9d., and in 1831 at £197, is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. John Rooke Fletcher, D.D., of Quethiock, Cornwall, who has 25A. of glebe, and a small house, occupied by a farmer. The Wesleyans have a small chapel in the village. Dartmoor Chapel of Ease, at Prince Town, was built by Government, in 1812, for the use of the prisoners of war and the soldiers in the barracks, as noticed at page 40. The curacy is in the patronage of the Duchy of Cornwall, and incumbency of the Rev. J. H. Mason, of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, who has a yearly stipend of £300. The formation of a large portion of Dartmoor into a district parish is in contemplation.

In the following Directory, those marked 1 are in Lidford; 2, at Prince Town; 3, at Two Bridges, and the rest mostly in other parts of Dartmoor Forest Quarter.


Fowler Geo. Wm. Esq., Prince Hall
1 Horn John, corn miller
1 Marsh Rev T. H., curate

INNS AND TAVERNS.
Dartmoor Inn, George Blatchford
2 Duchy Hotel, (empty)
Greyhound, Wm. Connybear, Post Bridge
Moreton Inn, Joseph Warne
2 Plume of Feathers, John Leger
2 Railway Hotel, James Rowe
Rundlestone Inn, Wm. Friend
3 Saracen's Head, Peter Chaffe
White Horse, Nicholas Rayment
Beerhouse, Richard Gregory

BLACKSMITHS
1 Bickle Henry
3 Finch John
1 Miliman Thomas
1 May John

BOOT & SHOE MAKERS
1 Newton John
1 Parsons Thomas

CARPENTERS
1 Bickle John
1 Bickle Henry
2 Caunter Edward
2 Creber James

FARMERS
(* are Owners)

Barker John
Bickle Henry
Bishop Thomas
Brooking Robert
Caunter Edward
Cleave James
Cleave Richard
Coaker John
Coaker Richard
Coaker Thomas
Creber John
Frear George
* French John
French Richard
Friend Richard
* German John
Gill James
* Gill Wm.
Gregory Richard
* Hamlyn James
Hannaford John
* Hext James
Heydon Richard
Heydon W., Foxtor
* Hill Hugh
Hunter John
Irish Thomas
Mann Peter
Mason James
Matters Caunter
Michelmore Pp
Michelmore John
Morris George
Mudge Wm.
Nicholas Kennard
* Noswortby John
* Paull John
* Phllips Roger
Powell Valentine
* Russell James
Scott Gilbert
* Sherwill T. H.
Stanbury Wm.
Stranger George
Tapson Thomas
* Taverner Thomas.
Tuckett Richard.
Tuckett Samuel.
1 VeaIe John
Williams Pp., Dury
White W. H., Babny.

MASONS.
3 Chaffe Peter
1 Gregory Richard
1 Higgins W. L.
2 Stevens Wm.
2 Toop John