"KNOWSTONE, a pleasant village, on a bold eminence, encompassed by lofty hills, 9 miles E. by S. of South Molton, has in its parish 578 souls, and 4994 acres of land, including 1219A. of common, 219A. of moorland; the village of East Knowstone, about a mile from the church; the hamlet of Rochill; and many scattered houses, some of them among the high moorlands near the sources of the river Yeo. Sir Robert Geo. Throckmorton, Bart., is lord of the manor, and owner of the manor-house, called Knowstone Beaple, which was so called from its ancient owners, and was long a seat of the Pollards. J. Handford, Esq., Mr. Joseph Hill, and many smaller owners, have estates in the parish. The manor of Wadham belonged to Ulf at Domesday Survey, and his descendants took the name of Wadham. Shapcote was long held by a family of its own name, and they sold it about 1770 to the Handfords. Sir John Berry, an eminent naval officer in the reign of Charles II., was born here at the Vicarage. The Church (St. Peter,) is a small ancient structure, with a tower and three bells, and was repaired four years ago." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]
A parish in South Molton Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and the Diocese of Exeter.