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Help and advice for Hatherleigh 1868

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[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)]

"HATHERLEIGH, a parish and market town in the hundred of Black Torrington, county Devon, 28 miles N.W. of Exeter, and 200 from London. The manor anciently belonged to the abbots of Tavistock, one of whom granted to the inhabitants of the borough exclusively the common of Hatherleigh, comprising about 430 acres, now converted into arable land. The soil is in general rich, consisting of a red mould, with clay subsoil. It is watered by the rivers Lew, Oke, and Torridge, over which last is a bridge of freestone, built in 1812, at the expense of the county of Devon. This bridge is situated about 1 mile from the town of Hatherleigh, which stands near the junction of the rivers Lew and Torridge. The town, which appears once to have enjoyed a separate jurisdiction, is a nominal borough, governed by a portreeve, two constables, and other officers, elected annually at the court-leet held within the borough. Its charter for a market was granted in the 5th of William and Mary; but, until recently, it was a small and irregularly built place, consisting chiefly of low cottages of red loam, roofed with thatch. Many of these old houses, however, were destroyed in the conflagrations of 1840 and 1846, and upon their being rebuilt the town was much improved. It contains public subscription-rooms, built in 1821, and subsequently much enlarged, where the county magistrates hold their general meetings, and the lectures of the literary institution, established in 1852, are delivered; also a market-house, built in 1840. Petty sessions are held at the subscription-rooms on the last Wednesday in every month, for the divisions of Black Torrington East, and South Shebbear. Hatherleigh is a polling-place for the northern division of the county. The woollen manufacture, which formerly flourished here, is extinct. There are four benefit societies, and a religious library established in 1808. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Exeter, value £202. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is an ancient structure, with a tower surmounted by a spire, and containing six bells. There are places of worship for Baptists, Bible Christians, and Plymouth Brethren. Near the church are several almshouses, supposed to have been a college belonging to the abbey of Tavistock, but after the Dissolution given to the parish for the repairs of the church. There is a National school with a small endowment, and several charities for the poor. Market days are Tuesday and Friday. Fairs for the sale of cattle are held on the 21st May, 22nd June, 4th September, and 8th November."

Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003