A Topographical Dictionary of England
Samuel Lewis (1831)
Transcript copyright Mel Lockie (Sep 2016)
HATHERLEIGH, a market-town and parish in the hundred of BLACK TORRINGTON, county of DEVON, 29 miles (W. N. W.) from Exeter, and 200 (W. by S.) from London, containing 1499 inhabitants. The manor originally belonged to the abbey of Tavistock; one of the abbots bestowed upon the inhabitants the common of Hatherleigh, which is said to comprise an extent of four hundred and sixty acres, and on which are many good springs. Hatherleigh is situated on a branch of the river Torridge, near its confluence with the Oke, and is chiefly remarkable for the peculiar redness of the soil. The town is small, irregularly built, and of very mean appearance, being chiefly composed of low cottages formed of red loam and thatch. The lands in the environs are very fertile; and about a mile to the north of the town is a handsome and substantial bridge over the river Torridge. The woollen manufacture is carried on to a very limited extent, but the inhabitants are chiefly employed in agriculture. The market days are Tuesday and Saturday: the fairs are, May 21st, June 22nd, September 7th, and November 9th; and a large cattle market is held on the Friday nearest to the 21st of March The town is governed by a portreeve annually elected at the court leet of the lord of the manor, at which time constables are also chosen. The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Totness, and diocese of Exeter, rated in the king's books at £20, and in the patronage of James Ireland, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is an ancient structure, with a tower surmounted by a neat spire. There is a place of worship for Independents. A day and Sunday school is supported by subscription. Several houses near the church, and some un-endowed almshouses, are given rent-free for the use of the poor, for whom also there are some small charitable bequests. Jasper Mayne, equally noted as a preacher and as a dramatic writer, was born here in 1604, and died in 1672.