A Topographical Dictionary of England
Samuel Lewis (1831)
Transcript copyright Mel Lockie (Sep 2016)
BRAUNTON, a parish in the hundred of BRAUNTON, county of DEVON, 5¼ miles (W. N.W.) from Barnstaple, containing 1699 inhabitants. The living is a vicarage, in the peculiar jurisdiction and patronage of the Dean of Exeter, rated in the king's books at £16. 3. 6½. The church is dedicated to St. Brannock, from whom the parish is supposed to derive its name. There is a meeting-house for Independents. A free school was founded by the Rev. William Chaloner, in 1667, to which Arthur Acland, Esq., in 1690, gave land, now producing £75 a year: the children are instructed on the Madras system. There is also a charity school with a small endowment, the gift of Nicholas Beare, in 1751. The parish, which contains several villages, is bounded on the west by the Bristol channel, and has the navigable river Torr on the south, at the mouth of which there is a lighthouse, in addition to another structure of the same kind in the parish. A small tract of land here, formerly covered by the sea, is considered the richest in the county: some of the lands descend to younger sons, and a widow is entitled to a lifehold interest in her husband's inheritance so long as she preserves her widowhood. Within the parish are the remains of several ancient chapels.