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ST. MARY-CHURCH

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)]

"ST. MARY-CHURCH, a parish in the hundred of Haytor, county Devon, 2 miles N.W. of Torquay. The parish is situated on the southern recess of Babbicombe Bay, where the great limestone formation terminates in bold and rocky cliffs. The village is large, and may be considered a suburb of Torquay. It has greatly increased in population during the last ten years, and now contains many mansions and marine villas, most of which overlook Babbicombe Bay, divided from Torbay by the bold promontory of Tor Point, or, as it is sometimes called, Hope Naze. There is a large ale brewery, the Palk Arms, the royal marble works of John Woodley, several comfortable inns, and a coastguard station. For the enjoyment of the numerous summer visitors there are bathing-machines, and two pleasure yachts. The town stands on marble rock, of which it is chiefly built; and in the vicinity are several limestone quarries. In this parish is Bishopstowe, the palace of the Bishop of Exeter, built in 1842, from a design by Mr. Gribble. It is in the Italian style of architecture, and is surrounded by grounds which rise in front in three terraces, connected by flights of steps. The appropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £305, and the vicarial for £205. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Exeter, value with the curacy of Coffinswell annexed, £450, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, who are the appropriators. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient structure, with a tower containing four bells. It has recently been restored and the chancel rebuilt at a cost of £6,000. There is also a new church at Furrough Cross. The Baptists and Wesleyans have chapels. There are National schools, for boys and girls; also schools at Furrough Cross. There are two manors, called Combe-Pafford and St. Mary-Church; of the former, Sir Lawrence Palk is lord, and of the latter, R. S. Carey, Esq. In the vicinity is a large bone cavern, called Kent's Hole, in which bones of the elephant, hyena, cave bear, and other extinct animals have been found.

"BABBICOMBE, a hamlet in the parish of St. Mary Church, hundred of Haytor, in the county of Devon, 1 mile from Torquay. It is built in a rock on the coast of a beautiful bay named after the hamlet, and amidst scenery of unrivalled beauty. It is sheltered by a chain of bold hills on the northern side, and has charming prospects over hill, valley, and sea. A coastguard station is fixed here, and the bay affords good anchorage."

Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003