CULLOMPTON, BRADNINCH AND NEIGHBOURHOODS
Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Berks, Bucks ...[Part 1: Berks to Glos] (1844)
Transcribed by Caroline <tilburycm <AT> netscape.net>
Cullompton is a market town and parish, in the hundred of Hayridge; 161 miles W. by S. from London, between 11 and 12 N. E. by N. from Exeter, and 6 S. E. from Tiverton - pleasantly situated in a fertile and extensive vale, on the line of the Bristol and Exeter Railway, for which the town is a station. It is a place of great antiquity - was the king's demesne in the Saxon heptarchy, and derives its name from the river Culme, (or, according to Risdon, the Columba), upon the banks of which stream it is seated.
The casting of church bells is a branch peculiar to this town. It was in the year 1746 that the establishment, now known as the 'West of England Church Bell-Foundry', first became noted. It is now carried on by Messrs. Pa[u]nell and Sons, and is the only considerable bell-foundry in the western counties. Not many years since the place carried on a great trade in the manufacture of woollens of various textures, including broad-cloth and serges; its staple branch is still of this character; but its importance, in common with other western towns, has diminished in proportion as those in the north have prospered.
The lord of the manor holds manorial courts occasionally; and the county magistrates have vested in them the general government of the town; they hold a petty sessions for the division of Cullompton monthly.
The church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is a large and very handsome building with a lofty tower; the interior of the roof is neatly carved and gilt, and the nave is separated by a richly sculptured rood loft; the altar is ornamented with a good painting, representing the passion of our Saviour in the garden, executed by a native artist, named Whitty. The aisle on the south side was built by John Lane, a clothier, of this town, in the year 1526, as recorded by the following curious inscription round the church, in large old English characters, in a perfect state of preservation:-
'In honour of God and His blessed Mother Mary, remember the sawlis of John Lane, Wapentake Cust Lenarii, and the sawlis of Tomsyn his wiffe too, have in memory with all other their children and friends, who were founders of this chapel, and here lyeth in cepulture, the year of our Lord God a thousand five hundreth six and twentie. God of His grace and their boyth sawlis to have marcy, and finally bring them to the eternal glory, amen, for charity.'
The living is a vicarage. There are places of worship for several classes of dissenters: as Baptists, Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, and Unitarians. A public charity-school for boys and girls, an alms-house for the poor, and many other charities, are well supported. The weekly market is on Saturday; and there is a monthly one for cattle on the same day of the week. Fairs, the first Wednesdays in May and November. Cullompton parish contained, in 1831, 3,3813 inhabitants, and in 1841, 3,909.
BRANDNINCH is a small market town, and an ancient prescriptive borough, in the same hundred as Cullompton, about two miles from that town, on the road to Exeter.
This place enjoys many privileges, under charters granted by Reginald, Earl of Cornwall, and James I. At one period it returned members to parliament; but in the reign of Henry VII, the inhabitants declined making any return on account of the expense attending such distinction. The corporation consists of a mayor, twelve masters or capital burgesses (including the mayor), twenty-four inferior burgesses, and a recorder.
A general quarter sessions is holden four times a year; and the mayor holds a court, once a month, for the recovery of debts under 40s.The manor is parcel of the dutchy of Cornwall, and consequently attached to the Crown. A court leet and baron is held, about Easter and Michaelmas, annually.
Three mills, worked by the river Culm (which passes within half a mile of the town), are employed in the manufacture of paper - the only branch of importance here.
The places of worship are, the parish church, and chapels for the Baptists and Wesleyans. The living of Bradninch is a rectory, leased under the dean and canons of Windsor.
The market is held on Thursday; and there are two small fairs on the 6th of May and the 2nd of October. The parish contained, in 1831, 1,524 inhabitants, and in 1841, 1,714.
POST OFFICE, Fore-street, CULLOMPTON, Thomas Mitchell, Post Master - Letters from LONDON, LIVERPOOL, MANCHESTER, BIRMINGHAM, BATH, BRISTOL, BRIDGEWATER, TAUNTON and all parts of the NORTH OF ENGLAND arrive every morning at a quarter past four and afternoon at two, and are despatched every morning at half-past ten and night at a quarter past nine.
Letters from EXETER, the SOUTH OF DEVON and CORNWALL arrive every morning at half-past ten and night at a quarter past nine, and are despatched every morning at a quarter past four and afternoon at two.
The Box closes one hour previous to the departure of each mail.
POST OFFICE, BRADNINCH, Henry Pearse, Post Master - Letters from all parts arrive (from CULLOMPTON) every morning at half-past six, and are despatched thereto every evening at six.