"SOWTON, a small village and parish in the picturesque valley of the Clist rivulet, 3½ mi1es E. of Exeter, contains about 1360A. and 382 inhabitants, of whom 215 are in the village and tithing of CLIST SACKVILLE, which has also 71 inhabitants in Farringdon parish on the opposite of the valley in East Budleigh Hundred, and is sometimes called Bishop's Clist, from its having been for some time the property and one of the seats of the Bishops of Exeter. John Garratt, Esq., owns most of the parish, and is lord of the manor of Clist Sackville, or Bishop's Clist. and Sowton, alias Clist Fomeson. The former was held by the Sackville family till the reign of Edw. I., when it was mortgaged to Bishop Bronscombe, who built a mansion here, and afterwards annexed the manor to the See of Exeter; but in the reign of Edward VI., it was given to the Earl of Bedford, from whom the mansion was called Bedford House, till the civil wars of the 17th century, when it was garrisoned and fortified by Sir Thos. Fairfax, during the blockade of Exeter. . . . The Church (St. Michael,) is a handsome structure of perpendicular architecture, with a tower and eight bells." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]
Also known as Clyst Fomison and Clyst St Michael. A parish in Wonford Hundred, the Archdeaconry and Diocese of Exeter.