"OTTERY St. MARY is an ancient and irregularly built market town, of about 3500 inhabitants, picturesquely seated on the east side of the river Otter, sheltered on the east and west by boldly swelling hills, and distant 11½ miles E. by N. of Exeter, . . . Its Parish had only 2415 inhabitants in 1801, but in 1831 they had increased to 3849, and in 1841 to 4194 souls, residing in the town, and in the seven tithings of Alphington, Cadhay, Fluxton, Gosford, Rill, Tipton, and Wiggaton, which extend from one to three miles on all sides of the town, . . . The parish includes also the hamlets Taleford, Combelake, and Metcombe, and many scattered farm houses, &c. . . . The woolen manufacture which formerly flourished here is extinct, but there is in the town a large silk factory, employing about 400 hands. . . . Sir John Kennaway, Bart., of Escot House, is lord of the manor, but a great part of the parish belongs to Sir Thomas Hare, Bart., Sir F.H. Bathurst, the Coleridge family, the Rev. Dr. Cornish, R.J. Marker, and many other freeholders. . . . The Church [of St. Mary] is one of the largest and handsomest parochial churches in the county. . . The discharged vicarage . . . is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. S.W. Cornish, D.D., who is also head master of the Grammar School. . . . " [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]
In Ottery Hundred, Archdeaconry of Exeter. According to Peskett, several modern parishes have been formed by subdivision of this parish: Escot (1840, including also a part of Talaton): Tipton St John (1840); Westhill (1863 but register starts in 1843); Alfrington (church built in 1849 as a chapel of ease, later a modern parish with registers from 1883).