From White's Devonshire Directory of 1850

Transcribed by Neil Stanton

OKEHAMPTON, or Oakhampton, is a small but busy market town, and ancient borough which gives name to a large union, deanery, and polling and county court districts; picturesquely seated near the northern extremity of Dartmoor Forest, in the valley of the river Okement, which is formed here by the confluence of two moorland streams, called the East and West Okement, which unite below the East and West Bridges the former of which was rebuilt in 1841, and the latter in 1831. The town is on the high road from Falmouth to Exeter, 22 miles W. by N. of the latter; 16 miles N.N.E. of Tavistock, 12 miles N.W. of Moreton Hampstead, and 194 miles W. by S, of London. Its large parish had 1430 inhabitants in 1801, 2055 in 1831, and 2194 in 1841, and extends over 9552 acres of land, including the scattered hamlets of Chicecott, Brightley, Lower Fatherford, Meldon, and KIGBEAR, the latter of which includes Southcott. Maddaford, Nethercott, and Croft farms, &c., and comprises about 1400 acres, all in Black Torrington Hundred. The parish extends several miles round the town, and includes several large commons and moorland tracts, containing slate, limestone, and granite. There is a very superior quarry of the latter at Meldon. Near Cranmere Pool, among the rude and mountainous tors and hills, and the deep rocky glens of Dartmoor, about six miles south of Okehampton, seven rivers have their sources, namely, the East and West Okement, which unite below the town; the Taw, Teign, Dart, Tavy, and Lyd. (See page 44.) In Domesday, the town is called Ockmenton, from the river, and is described as having a castle, four burgesses, and a market; and as being the head of a great barony or honor, which was given by William the Conqueror to Baldwin de Sap, or de Brioniis. Richard de Redvers, or Rivers, Earl of Devon, obtained the Barony of Okehampton from William II., and in the thirteenth century it passed to the Courtenays, (Earls of Devon, "c.,) as noticed with the account of that noble and ancient family, at pages 32 and 33. After the death of Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, in 1556, without issue, the baronial estates were divided among four co-heiresses, who married into the families of Arundell, Trethurfe, Mohun, and Trelawny. Their shares afterwards passed to various other families; and the parish now belongs to A.B. Savile, J.M. Woollcombe, H. Hawkes, J.C. Luxmoore, and Jas. Crotch, Esqrs.; the Rev. C.T.C. Luxmoore, Sir R.R. Vyvyan, and many smaller owners. Mr. Luxmoore is lord of the manors of Halstock and Meldon and that of Kigbear belongs to J.G. Newton, Esq. Albany Bourchier Savile, Esq., is lord of the manor, and owner of Oaklands, a large and handsome mansion in the Grecian style, built about 30 years ago, on the north side of the town, in a finely wooded lawn. On the summit and declivities of a high rocky mound, in the valley of the West Okement, and at the feet of the lofty hills of Dartmoor, about half a mile S.W. of the town, are the venerable ivy-clad ruins of Okehampton Castle, which was long the seat and fortress of its powerful Barons, who held 92 manors in fee, and had here a numerous retinue. The declivities of the mound are thickly clothed with foliage, and on its lofty summit rise the massy mouldering walls of the keep, some fragments of which are much higher than the rest, and appear ready to fall on the assault of the next boisterous tempest from the neighbouring wilds of Dartmoor; but owing to the durable quality of the cement, they may long withstand the fury of the elements. There are still remains of the centre gate, the moat, the base court, and the chapel. The extensive area occupied by the ruins, the solidity of their structure, and the advantages of the situation, prove that this fortress, before it was dismantled, in 1539, must have been of great strength and importance. The site of the castle has recently been purchased by Sir R.R. Vyvyan, Bart. The Park, which surrounds the castle and extends nearly three miles along the southern side of the West Okement valley, contains about 1600 acres, and belongs to the Rev. C.T.C. Luxmoore, but is leased to J. Luxmoore, Esq. It was disparked and alienated by Henry VIII., at the instance of Sir Rd. Pollard, but is said to have abounded in fine oak trees till the latter part of the last century. During the civil wars, Okehampton was occasionally occupied by the contending parties, but was seldom more than temporary station. Prince Maurice was here with 2000 troops in 1644 from July 2nd to the 19th; and the King was here on the 29th. Sir Richd. Grenville was quartered here in Dec., 1645, with a considerable force, but he suddenly left the town on the approach of Sir Thomas Fairfax, who was here again in March, 1646. In the 20th of Edward I., Hugh de Courtenay, then lord of the barony of Okehampton, gave to the Portreeve and Commonalty about 300 acres of land, near the town, to he used by the burghers and inhabitants of the borough as a common pasture, in satisfaction of the rights which they had previously exercised in the castle park. About 40 years ago the lord of the manor claimed the sole right of pasturage on this common during the Summer half of the year, and restricted the burgesses to the Winter half. The common is now being enclosed, and five sixths of it have been allotted to the lord of the manor, and the remainder to the landowners and inhabitants of the borough, after selling 39A. 3R. 15P., for £1011, to pay the enclosure expenses. The portion belonging to the landowners and inhabitants will be let, and the rents applied to public uses. The Borough comprises a circuit round the town of about a mile in diameter. By prescription and feudal charters, the burgesses enjoyed a market and many important rights, from an early period, under the government of a portreeve; but the borough was not incorporated till 1623, when James I. granted it a charter, which vested the government in a mayor, eight principal burgesses, and eight assistants, with a recorder, town clerk, and other effects; and directed that the mayor should also be chosen portreeve,- thus uniting, in the same person, the feudal and corporate offices. This charter was confirmed and enlarged by another granted by Charles II. in 1684. The latter is still the governing charter, as the borough is not included in the Municipal Reform Act of 1835, though it was disfranchised by the parliamentary Reform Act of 1832. It first sent two members to Parliament on the 28th Edward I., but after the 7th of Edward II., it ceased to return representatives till 1640, when the privilege was restored, and was regularly exercised till 1832. The right of election was in the freeholders and freemen, who numbered about 180. The mayor is chosen yearly by the corporate body from two burgesses nominated by the late mayor; and the mayor, the late mayor, and the recorder, are justices of the peace, and hold general quarter sessions for the borough, but the court of pleas has been long disused. The mayor and burgesses are lords of borough, and have a guildhall, a small prison, and it share of the rents of the "Common Lands, as afterwards noticed. The Corporate Body and Officers are, as follows:- H.R. Colling, Esq., mayor; H.C. Millett, H.R.. Colling, J. Carpenter, G. Lacey, and John and Jas. Crotch, Esqrs., principal burgesses; Rev. H. Hutton and J.W. Thorne, A.B. Savile, J. Lacy, H. Hawkes, and J.M. Burd, assistants; the Rev. H.B. Wrey, recorder; Hy. Hawkes, town clerk; Jph. Sprague and Jph. Moore, serjeants at mace; and Thos. Brown, town crier. The COUNTY COURT, for all the parishes in the Okehampton Union, is held at the Guildhall on every fourth Friday, and Mr. P. Pearce, of Newton-Abbot, is the clerk; Mr. H. Hawkes, assistant clerk; and J.H. Hawkes, high bailiff. The town was formerly engaged in the manufacture of serges and other coarse woollens. It has been much improved during the last 30 years. The present commodious market buildings were erected in 1826, when the old shambles were removed from the street. The market, held every Saturday, is extensively supplied, and great quantities of agricultural produce are bought here for the markets of Exeter, Plymouth, &c. Here are also large cattle fairs on the 2nd Tuesday after March 11th; on the 2nd Thursday in May; on the Thursday after July 5th and August 5th; on the Tuesday after Sept. 11th; and on the Wednesday after October 11th. Here is a great market on the Saturday before, and a giglet, or pleasure fair, on the Saturday after Christmas day. At Brightley, in this parish, was a small abbey, founded by Richd. de Rivers, Earl of Devon, but afterwards removed by his sister to Ford, near Thorncombe. On the site is an ancient house, and the remains of a chapel. The Parish Church (All Saints,) stands 011 on a bold eminence, nearly half a mile west of the town, and was destroyed by fire, except the tower, on the 13th of Feb., 1842. It was rebuilt soon afterwards, at the cost of about £3500, and is a spacious and handsome structure, in the perpendicular style. The tower contains six bells, and has crocketted pinnacles. A. B. Savile, Esq., is patron of the vicarage, valued in K.B. at £20, and in 1831 at £450. The Rev. J. Downall, M.A., is the incumbent, and has 230A. of glebe, and a good modern residence in the Tudor style. The tithes were commuted in 1839, the vicarial for £370, and the rectorial for £271 per annum. A.B.E. Holdsworth, Esq., is impropriator of the latter. St. James' Chapel is an ancient building in the town, and was founded as a chantry, but was given to the Corporation by one of the Courtenay family. Divine service is performed in it occasionally by a chaplain appointed by the Corporation. Here is a neat Independent Chapel, erected in 1822, and a Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1841. Here are National and Infant Schools. established in 1837 and 1848, and a literary society with a library, commenced in 1834.

The Parish and Church Lands comprise 8A. and 3 houses, which had belonged to a chantry, and were purchased at the Reformation. The Common Lands, mostly acquired at the same time, and in the same manner, are vested in trust for the poor and the general benefit of the borough and parish. They comprise about 84 acres and four houses, "c., mostly let at low rents, in consideration of fines paid by the lessees. Half of the clear income is carried to the churchwardens' accounts, and the other half belongs to the Corporation, except 40s. a year for the poor parishioners, who have also the following charities; viz., the rent of 90A. of moorland, at Blackdown, left by Walter Holditch, in 1485; and about £21 per annum arising from the benefactions of Rd. Brock, R. Harragroe, Mary Field, J. Buckle, A. Palmer, and H. Macey. In 1713, John Northmore left for the poor of 0kehampton and South Tawton, a farm of 45A., at Drewsteignton now let for about £32 a year. The Almshouses in Castle Lane, for two poor people, were rebuilt in 1848, and were founded in 1588, by Richard Brock, and endowed with a field of 1A. 31P. They have also the interest of £20 given by several donors. The Wester Almshouse, a small old building, has no endowment. Joan Stone, in the 2nd of Richard III., left a farm of 150A. at Lower Westacott, for repairing the bridges and highways. The rents and fines are paid to the Corporation, who repair the bridges and roads out of the rents and profits of the ancient town and borough lands. OKEHAMPTON UNION 13 is described at page 799.

The POST-OFFICE is at Mr. Richard Crotch's, and the mail is despatched to Exeter, London, &c., at 5 min. before 6 eveng., and to Cornwall, &c., at 5 min. before 7 morning.

Bestall Rev. W. S. (Wesleyan)
Bond Mr Wm. II Carpenter Miss
Bradshaw Rev Samuel, Oaklands
Burd John Marsh, solicitor
Carpenter John, timber merchant
Colling Henry Robson, solicitor
Crotch Jas., Esq. Queen's foreign messenger
Downall Rev John, M.A., Vicarage
Drew Henry, contractor
Eastman Peter Wm cooper
Evely Wm. veterinary surgeon
Fryer Merlin, solicitor
Gibbings Richard, relieving officer
Gould Geo. sen. &jun. surveyors, Nortcott
Gower Rt. F. agt. to National Provincial Bank of England
Hawkes Henry, solr. town clerk, &c.
Holland Rt. gent || Gilbert G. P.
Jackson Rev Wm. (Independent)
Lake Mr John II Lewis Mrs
Landick Mr Samuel II March Wm.
Luxmoore Mrs || Walsh Captain
Millett Hannibal Curnow, Esq.
Newcombe Thomas, fellmonger
Painter Wm. plasterer
Paltridge Peter, master of Workhouse
Seymour Mary, lace, &c. dealer
Seymour Chas. clerk to Savings' Bank
Sparrow Rd. rope and bag maker

City of London, Thomas Chaming
Clerical and Medical, E. Newcombe
English and Scottish, M. Fryer
Farmers, W. Ashley
Globe, Hy. R. Colling
Legal and Commercial, Henry Newton
Star, Richard Jessop
Sun, P. W. Eastman
United Kingdom, C. Seymour
West of England, G. Lacey

Exeter Inn, Stephen Hole
Fountain, John Hucker
George, Robert Drew
King's Arms, Charity Frost
London Inn, John Ball (posting)
New Inn, Samuel Gillard.
Old Post Boy, John Hockaday
Plume of Feathers,John Kennard
Red Lion, Richard Rich
Star, John Jope
White Hart, John Crotch, (posting)

Chaming Thomas
Friend John
Harris Jane
Lillicrap Mary
Sprague Joseph

Pitts Jn II Yeo Eliz.

Hooper Thomas
Mallins Thos.
Moore Wm.
Pike Samuel
Paltridge Thos.
Paltridge Wm.

Townsend John

Brook John
Brown Thomas
Harris John
Heanes Wm.
Osborne James
Palmer John
Sampson Wm.
Westcott John
Williams Wm.

Clark John
Leach George
Perry Richard

Ceely Joseph
Coombe Wm.
Lillycrap Rd.
Lillycrap Edw,
Lovell Robert
Moore Joseph
Osborne James
Paltridge Wm.

Lacey George
Lake Ebenz.
Newcombe Eml.
Newcombe J. L.

Kemp Samuel
Lake John

Ashley Wm.
Newcombe John
Sampson Robert

Coombes Simon
Crocker James
Perry Richard

(*are Owners, & + in Kigbear hamlet.)
*Ball John
Ball Richard
+Banbury Charles
+Banbury John
*+Bevan James
+Bevan Robert
+Bevan John
Blackmore Henry
Blatchf'ord Wm.
Bolt John, Halstk.
Britton George
*Brooks Robert
Chastey Mr
Coombe George
Coombe Wm.
Davey John
*+Davey Thomas
Ellis James
Endacott John
*Frost John
Gale Geo. Chicecot
Gard John, Youldch
Gloyne A. Halstock
Hodge John, Moorgt
Howard J. Glendon
Jackman Robert
Jackman Samuel
+Jones Squire
Knapman E. & A.
*Luxmoore John C. Estrayer Park
Newcombe John
+Newcombe Rd.
Palmer Johanna
Palmer Samuel
Pellow John
Rich Samuel
*+Shobrook John
*+Shobrook Jonas
+Smale Wm.
*Smith Richard
Spray Matthew
+Squire George
Stanley James
*Watts Thomas
+Westlake Richard
Wills George

Heanes Wm.
Lacey Geo. & wine & spirit mercht
Lake Ebenezer
Newcombe Eml.
Newcombe John L
Seymour Andrew R

Blatchford Joseph
Coombe James

Jessop Rd. tinner
Seymour Wm.
Tutcher John
Knapman Wm. and Smith Charles
Newton Henry
Paddon Wm.
Treliving Wm.
Yeo Wm.

Bickle Jane
Lewis E. & S.
Josling Lucta.
Sampson M. A.

Moore Wm.
Northam John
Palmer John

Hewitt Wm.
Webber John

Ballamy John
Blatchford Joseph
Hammett Robert
Hewitt Alice
Platridge John

Coombe Simon
Drew Henry
Earle Wm.
Harris Richard
Painter Thomas
Painter Wm.
Seldon Wm.

Jordan Rebecca
Paltridge John

Empson C. M.
Gunning H. J.
Hawkes Thos. C.

Earle James
James George
Moore Wm.
Westcott Wm.
Yeo Wm.

Ashley Wm.
Newcombe John

Lee Wm.
Philip Richard

Bassett John
Coombe Wm.
Holloway Hy.
Lillicrap Giles
Thorne John

(call at the Inns)
Mail to Exeter 5:55
eveng. & to Falmouth.
6.55 mng.
Coaches and Busses
to Exeter, Cornwall,
Tavistock, & Ply
mouth alternate
Carriers to Exeter
Tavistock, & c
twice a week and
Jewell & Hodge,
Mon., Tu., Th.,
and Saturday

Brian Randell, 7 Mar 1999