A Topographical Dictionary of England


 Samuel Lewis (1831)

Transcript copyright Mel Lockie (Sep 2016)

COLYTON, a market-town and parish in the hundred of COLYTON, county of DEVON, 22 miles (E.) from Exeter, and 151 (W. S. W.) from London, containing 1945 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the river Cole, on which it is situated, near its confluence with the river Axe. In the reign of Edward III. it obtained the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair. During the parliamentary war, the royal forces in possession of the town were attacked and defeated by a detachment of the parliamentarian army stationed at Lyme. The town is pleasantly situated in a fertile vale, surrounded by fine pasture land and orchards, and abounding with excellent timber: the houses, many of which are very ancient, are in general irregularly built of flint, with thatched roofs; the inhabitants are supplied with water from two conduits connected with springs a little south of the town. The principal branch of manufacture is that of blue, brown, and common white paper; there are also two tanneries. The market days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, which last is the principal market: the fairs are on May 1st and November 30th, for cattle. The petty sessions for the division are held here; and two constables and a tythingman are annually appointed at the court leet of the lord of the manor. The living is a vicarage, with which the perpetual curacies of Monkton and Shute are annexed, rated in the king's books at £40. 10. 10., and in the peculiar jurisdiction and patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a spacious and handsome cruciform structure, in the later style of English architecture, with a low square-embattled tower rising from the centre, and surmounted by a handsome octagonal lantern turret with pierced parapets: the south transept is separated from the nave by an elaborately carved stone screen; and in the chancel is a beautiful altar-tomb, with the effigy of the daughter of one of the Courtenays, earls of Devonshire, richly enshrined in tabernacle work. There are places of worship for Independents and Unitarians. A school, in which twenty boys are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, is supported by part of a fund given to the parish by Henry VIII. for divers charitable purposes, amounting to about £220 per annum, out of which the schoolmaster is paid a salary of £30; and a Sunday school for one hundred and forty children is supported partly by an endowment of £200 in the five per cents., given in 1816, by its founder, the Rev. James How, and partly by subscription.


COLYFORD, a hamlet in the parish of COLYTON, and hundred of COLYTON, county of DEVON, 1 mile (S. S. E.) from Colyton, with which the population is returned. Colyton was made a borough before the reign of Edward I.: it is governed by a mayor, who is chosen annually at the court of the lord of the manor. The tolls of a large cattle fair, held on the first Wednesday after March 11th, belong to the mayor, and the great tithes within the limits of the borough to the vicar of Colyton. Sir T. Gates, who discovered the Bermuda Isles, was born here.