A Topographical Dictionary of England


 Samuel Lewis (1831)

Transcript copyright Mel Lockie (Sep 2016)

CHUDLEIGH, a market-town and parish in the hundred of EXMINSTER, county of DEVON, 9 miles (S.S.W.) from Exeter, and 182 (W. S. W.) from London, containing 2053 inhabitants. This place, anciently called Chidleighe, was formerly the residence of the bishops of Exeter, who had a sumptuous palace, of which there are some small remains. In the year 1309, Bishop Stapleton procured for it the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair. During the parliamentary War, the army under General Fairfax was quartered in this town: in 1807, nearly half of it was destroyed by fire, the loss of property having been estimated at £60,000 value. The town is pleasantly situated on an eminence near the eastern bank of the river Teign, and consists principally of one long street; the houses are in general modern and neatly built, and are well supplied with water: the environs are pleasant, and abound with woodland scenery. The trade, which consisted principally in the manufacture of woollen cloth, has lately declined: extensive quarries of good marble and excellent limestone, which abound in the vicinity, afford employment to many of the inhabitants; and the neighbourhood is famed for cider of superior quality. The market is on Saturday: the fairs, chiefly for cattle and sheep, are on Easter-Tuesday, the third Tuesday and Wednesday in June, and October 2nd, unless it falls on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, in which case it is postponed till the Tuesday following. The living is a vicarage, in the peculiar jurisdiction of the Bishop of Exeter, rated in the king's books at £21, and in the patronage of the parishioners possessing freehold property to the amount of £5 per annum. The church, which is small and not entitled to architectural notice, is dedicated to St. Martin. There is a place of worship for Independents. The free grammar school was founded, in 1668, by Mr. John Pynsent, of Combe, in the county of Surrey, who built the schoolroom, with suitable accommodations for the master, and endowed it with a rent-charge of £30 per annum, founding also three exhibitions for its benefit at Cambridge, of £5 each, tenable for four years. There is also an endowment of £5 per annum for teaching poor children; and a National school, recently established, is supported by subscription. Half a mile from the town is Chudleigh Rock, a stupendous mass of limestone, in which is a cavern of considerable extent; and near it are very perfect remains of an elliptical encampment, supposed from its form to be of Danish origin, but, from its proximity to a Roman road, to have been previously occupied by that people. The quarries yield argillaceous slate; antimony and cobalt may be found in the neighbourhood, and many organic remains have been discovered. Chudleigh confers the title of baron on the family of Clifford.