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A Topographical Dictionary of England


 Samuel Lewis (1831)

Transcript copyright Mel Lockie (Sep 2016)

CHAGFORD, a market-town and parish in the hundred of WONFORD, county of DEVON, 15 miles (S. W. by W.) from Exeter, and 186 (S. W.) from London, containing 1503 inhabitants. This place, originally held by Dodo, a Saxon, was given by William the Conqueror to the Bishop of Constance; and in 1328 was made one of the Stannary towns by Edward III., who invested the lords of the manor with the power of inflicting capital punishment. In 1643, an action took place between the royalists and the parliamentarians, in which Sir Sidney Godolphin was killed; and in the same century a fire occurred, in which the charter for holding the market, and other records, were destroyed. The town is pleasantly situated near the river Teign, and sheltered by bills of romantic form; the houses are irregularly built, but the environs abound with pleasing and picturesque scenery. On the banks of the Teign a large woollen-manufactory has been established. The market is on Saturday: fairs are held on the last Thursday m March, the first Thursday in May, the last Thursday m September, and the last Thursday in October. The Stannary court, in which the principal business respecting the mines is transacted, is held here. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Exeter, rated in the king's books at £39. 0. 10., and in the patronage of Mrs. Grace Hames. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a handsome structure, and contains a richly executed monument to the memory of Sir John Widdon, Chief Justice of the court of King's Bench in the reign of Mary. The sum of about £12 is annually paid to a schoolmaster, out of the rental of certain church lands, for teaching ten poor boys, who are appointed by the churchwardens; and a schoolmistress receives £7 per annum, arising from a benefaction of £200 by John Weekes, about 1790, for instructing six children. At the hamlets of Great Weeke and Teigncombe, in this parish, are the remains of ancient chapels: There was a chapel also at Rushford.