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Exeter Heavitree


A Topographical Dictionary of England


 Samuel Lewis (1831)

Transcript copyright Mel Lockie (Sep 2016)

HEAVITREE, a parish in the hundred of WONFORD, county of DEVON, 1 mile (E.) from Exeter, containing 1253 inhabitants. The living is a vicarage, with the curacies of St. David and Seidwell, rated in the king's books at £34. 3. 4., and in the peculiar jurisdiction and patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is in the later style of English architecture. This parish is a suburb of Exeter, including the villages of Whipton, Polsloe, Monkaton, and East and West Wonford. The name is said to have been derived from its having been a place of execution, the gallows being called "heavy and grievous tree." It was the western head-quarters of the parliamentary forces during the civil war. At Polesloe was formerly a Benedictine monastery, founded by Lord Brewer, and dissolved in 1538, when its revenue was £164. 8. 11.: some remains of it are yet visible. There was also a monastic cell, of the Cluniac order, dedicated to St. James, the estates of which were given to the Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, by Henry VI. Here is a small school, wherein sixteen children are educated for £5 per annum, paid out of the proceeds of parish lands. Dennis almshouses, for twelve aged poor, are endowed with a rent-charge of £45 per annum: there is also an almshouse, founded in 1603 by R. Duck, consisting of four tenements. The river Ex bounds the parish on the south-west.