"BISHOP'S TAWTON, a small village on the east side of the fertile and picturesque valley of the river Taw, 2½ miles S. by E. of Barnstaple, has in its parish 4268 acres of land, and 1827 inhabitants, including Newport, a populous southern suburb of Barnstaple . . . Newport is said to have been anciently a borough town. It had formerly a market on Monday, and a fair on the festival of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, granted in 1294. The Duke of Bedford is lord of the manor of Bishop's Tawton, which belonged at an early period to the Bishops of Devonshire, and was the original Bishop's See; but Putta, the second bishop, removed the See to Crediton. The manor was conveyed by Bishop Veysey, in 1550, to Lord John Russell, afterwards Earl of Bedford, at the request of the King, together with other manors. The bishops had a Palace here many centuries after the See was removed, and traces of it are still to be seen. Robt. Chichester, Esq., owns Accot, Hall, Pill, and Halmeston estates, and is now building a large and handsome mansion, in the Elizabethan style, at Hall, the ancient seat of the Hall family, whose heiress brought the estate to the Chichesters. Sir B.P. Wrey, Bart., and several smaller owners, have estates in the parish. The Church (St. John,) is an ancient structure, consisting of a nave, chancel, and north aisle, with a tower and spire." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]
A parish in South Molton Hundred, under the Peculiar jurisdiction of the Bishop of Exeter.