"COMBE MARTIN, or Combmartin, is a decayed market town, in one long, irregular street, in a deep and picturesque valley, about a mile from a fine cove of the north coast of Devon, and 4 miles E. of Ilfracombe. Its parish contains 1399 souls, and about 3900 acres of land, including 1837 acres of open commons and hilly moorlands. The manor was given by William the Conqueror to Martin de Tours, ancestor of the Lords Martin, from whom it passed to the Lords Audley. It was dismembered by the Pollards many years ago. The Barton, or Manor House, with a large estate, now belongs to Sir C.W. Watson, Bart, and the rest of the parish belongs to the Fursdon, Tregonwell, Cornish, Pyke, Gill, and other families. The market and fair, granted about 1264, were discontinued last century. Hemp was formerly grown in the neighbourhood, and shoemakers' thread was spun from it in the town. Coal vessels and fishing smacks resort to Combe Martin Cove, where pilots for the Bristol Channel are generally to be found. The houses extend more than a mile along the dale, amid woods and ridges of rocks, tufted with foliage down to the level of the sea. The scenery is magnificent, and the mines in the parish and neighbourhood have long been celebrated for their argentiferous lead ore. In the reign of Edward I., 337 men were brought here out of Derbyshire to work the silver mines, which are said to have furnished money for the wars in the reign of Edward III. They were again worked with success in the reign of Elizabeth, by Sir Beavis Bulmer. Unsuccessful attempts were made to work these mines with profit about 1800, 1813, and 1817; and they were reopened in 1837, and are now worked by a spirited company of adventurers, who have a smelting-house here." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]
A parish in Braunton Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and the Diocese of Exeter.