From White's Devonshire Directory of 1850
TIVERTON, an ancient borough and market town, formerly principal seat of the woollen manufacture, and now noted for its extensive lace manufactory, and its numerous charities, is pleasantly situated on the sloping banks at the confluence of the river Exe and the Loman rivulet, 13 miles N. by E. of Exeter, 62 miles S.W. of Bristol, and 165 miles W. by S. of London, by road, or 184 by rails. It has a branch railway, which extends 51 miles eastward to the Bristol and Exeter line, and was opened in June, 1848. The Grand Western Canal extends north-eastward from this town to Taunton, where it joins the navigation to Bridgewater and the Bristol Channel. This canal is 23 miles in length, and is used chiefly for supplying the neighbouring districts with lime, coal, corn, manure, &c. It has very ingenious machinery in lieu of the ordinary methods of raising barges from one level to another, and is worked on friendly terms with the railway, under the able management of H.J. Smith, Esq. It is the only portion ever completed of that extensive scheme - the Grand Western Canal, for which an act of parliament was obtained in 1796, and which was intended to have proceeded southward to Topsham, and thus to have opened a direct inland navigation from the English to the Bristol Channel. The situation of this ancient town, on the southern declivity between the Exe and the Loman, over which it had two fords, gave it the name of Twy-ford, or Two-ford-town, which has since been corrupted to Tiverton. The PARISH OF TIVERTON is co-extensive with the Borough, and comprises no less than 16,790 acres of fertile land, picturesquely undulated, and forming an irregularly shaped district, extending in two directions five miles, and in others one to three miles from the town. Its total population amounted in 1801 to 6505, in 1831 to 9766, and in 1841 to 10,770 souls, of whom 7769 were in the town, and the others in the four QUARTERS of the parish, viz., 465 in Clare; 740 in Pitt; 488 in Prior's; and 578 in Tidcombe. These quarters contain several hamlets, and many scattered farm-houses, neat villas, &c. In Pitt Quarter, which extends four miles north, are the small villages of Chettescombe, Bolham, and Cove. In Tidcombe Quarter, are the hamlets of Chevithorne, West and East Mere, Craze-Loman, and Manley, extending two miles east and north-east. In Clare Quarter are Palmer's and Withleigh villages, and many scattered houses, extending two miles westward. In Prior Quarter is the hamlet Ashley, the seats of Ashley Court, Ashley House, and Collipriest House, and many scattered houses, extending two miles south of the town. The MANOR of TIVERTON, which had been part of the royal demesne, was given by Henry I. to the Earl of Devon, who is supposed to have built the Castle here about the year 1100. Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who died in 1419, was a distinguished admiral, and made Tiverton Castle his chief place of residence. After the battle of Tewksbury, in which the Earl of Devon was slain, in the cause of Henry VI., this manor was seized by the Crown, but was restored to the succeeding Earl of Devon in 1485. Catherine, widow of William Earl of Devon, and daughter of Edward IV., died at Tiverton Castle in 1517, and a handsome monument was erected to her memory; but this and the other monuments of the Courtenay family, with the chapel which contained them, were destroyed in the civil wars. In 1643, the royalists drove the parliamentarians from Tiverton. The Earl of Essex and the King were here with the army in 1644. In Oct., 1645, Sir Gilbert Talbot was governor of Tiverton; but General Massey marched thither from Collumpton, and took possession of the town. Sir Thomas Fairfax joined the latter on the 18th, and on the following day, the church, castle, and outworks were taken by storm, and Sir Gilbert Talbot, several officers, and 200 privates were taken prisoners. In December, Sir Thomas Fairfax made Tiverton the head-quarters of his army. In 1549, during the commotion occasion by the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer, and the enclosure of the monastic lands, a battle was fought at Cranmore, between the insurgents and the King's army: the former were soon disperse, and several of them hanged and quartered. (See pages 55 and 56) Edward VI. gave the manor of Tiverton to the Duke of Somerset, and in 1556 it passed to the heirs of the four sisters of Edward, Earl of Devon. Their several shares were afterwards sold to various purchasers. The CASTLE was purchased by Roger Gifford, Esq., and in 1605 was sold to John West, Esq. In 1728, the castle and six-eighths of the manor and hundred of Tiverton, passed with a co-heiress of the Wests to the Carews, and they now belong, with another eighth of the manor, to Sir W.P. Carew, Bart., but a great part of the parish is freehold. belonging to John Heathcoat, Esq., M.P., of Bolham House; J.F. Griffiths, Esq., and many smaller proprietors. The CASTLE, which stands on the hill north of the town, was dismantled after the civil wars; but the habitable part of it was afterwards formed into a mansion, for the residence of the Wests, and was occupied by the late Lady Carew. It is now occupied by two families, and near it are some remains of the towers and gateways of the ancient fortress. Tiverton is the head of a large UNION, as noticed at page 303.
It is considered one of the healthiest and principal towns of Devon, and was known by the name of Twyford as early as 872. Nearly three centuries ago it had become a principal seat of the woollen manufacture; but it afterwards lost much of its trade, in consequence of repeated calamities by fire, in one of which, in 1612, no less than 600 houses were destroyed. The property consumed on these various occasions was immense, and utterly impoverished the inhabitants. In 1625, a flood destroyed 53 houses; and the town suffered severely from a great storm in 1703. The last calamitous visitations by fire were in 1731, when 298 houses were destroyed, and in 1785 and 1788, when 67 were burnt to the ground. The chief cause of these devastating conflagrations appears to have been the prevalence of straw thatched roofs. In 1731, after the great fire of that year, an Act was obtained for the substitution of slated and leaded roofs, and for the rebuilding of the town, and determining differences touching the houses destroyed by the late fire, and for the better prevention of such calamities in future. Acts for paving, lighting, and otherwise improving the town, were obtained in the 34th of George III., and the fourth of George IV. Under the act of 1731, the streets were widened, and the new houses regularly built. The town has now four principal streets, and is about a mile in length and breadth. The central part of it is between the Exe, and the Loman, on the slope of the hill, which rises gently to the north from the angle formed by their confluence. Both streams are crossed by stone bridges, and that over the Exe has a considerable endowment for its support, as afterwards noticed. A stream called the Town Leat, which rises about five miles above the town, and still supplies the inhabitants with water, was given by Isabel, Countess of Devon, about 1262, and was so contrived as to run through the principal streets. Since 1831, the Gas Works at Messrs. Heathcoat's factory have been purchased and enlarged by a company of proprietors, and the now supply many of the shops and houses, and about 90 street lamps, at the rate of 7s. 4d. per 1000 cubic feet. Tiverton is now one of the cleanest and best built towns of its size in the West, and its inhabitants have long been characterised for social intercourse: assemblies and concerts are often held, and many friendly societies, clubs, &c., have been formed for mutual benefit. The town has a Lodge of Free Masons, a Lodge of Odd Fellows, and an Agricultural Society. A spacious Market Place, with convenient approaches, was built in 1830; and over the entrance from Fore street, were built at the same time large Subscription Rooms, for assemblies, reading, billiards, &c. The reading room is well supplied with newspapers and periodicals; and in the same street are commodious rooms, occupied by the recently formed Literary and Scientific Institution. There is a small Theatre in Peter street. Races are held about the end of August. Sir W.P. Carew, Bart., is master of the Tiverton Hunt, which has a full pack of fine hounds. The markets, held every Tuesday and Saturday, are well supplied with provisions, and the former is a considerable market for corn, cattle, &c. There are also great markets for cattle four times a year, on one of the Tuesdays in February, April, August, and December. Two fairs for cattle, horses, wool, &c., are held on the second Tuesday after Trinity Sunday, and on Michaelmas-day. A market and fair were established here before A.D. 1200. The manufacture of serges, druggets, drapeens, and other woollen goods at Tiverton, began to decline about the year 1740, though in 1790 there were in the town and vicinity 1000 looms and 200 wool combers. Here are now only two blanket, serge, and flannel manufactories; but in 1815, a large woollen mill, which had been built in 1790, was purchased by Messrs. Heathcoat and Co., who, by extensive additions, converted it into an immense Lace Manufactory, which, now employs about 1500 men, women, and children. In 1809 they obtained a 14 years' patent for a greatly improved lace or bobbin net machine and built a large factory at Loughborough; but owing to the damage done to their machinery by the Luddites of the Midland Counties, they removed to Tiverton and greatly augmented the prosperity of that town. Their machinery here is chiefly set in, motion by a water wheel, 25 feet broad, and 25 feet in diameter, and they have lately commenced a large iron foundry in their gigantic establishment.
CORPORATION. - In 1615, James I. granted the inhabitants of Tiverton. a charter of incorporation, with the privilege of sending two members to parliament; and in the same year, they built the Town Hall, on the site of St. Thomas's chapel. The privileges granted by this were confirmed by a charter of the 11th of George I., styling the corporation "the mayor and burgesses of the town and parish of Tiverton," and directing that the common council should consist of the mayor, 12 capital burgesses, and 12 assistants; and that the mayor, ex-mayor, and the recorder, should be justices of the peace. Under the Municipal Reform Act of 1815, the borough is included among those which are to have a commission of the peace, a court of quarter sessions, &c., and is divided into three wards, and placed under the government of the borough magistrates, a recorder, a mayor, six aldermen, and 18 councillors. The income of the old corporation in 1833 was only £116, but its expenditure was £160, the difference being paid by the mayor. In 1841, the expenditure of the borough was £628, and its income £695. The number of burgesses entitled to vote for the two parliamentary representatives of the borough in 1837 was 496. It was formerly a "close borough," 23 being the greatest number polled for 30 years previous to 1831. Its present MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT are John Heathcoat, Esq., the great lace manufacturer; and Viscount Palmerston, the present highly distinguished and talented foreign secretary. The former has represented the borough since 1835, and the latter since 1837. The Town Hall or Guildhall, built in 1615, was repaired and modernised in 1788, and has lately been enlarged; but the spacious Mayoralty Room over the adjoining bank is still retained. A spacious and handsome Borough Gaol and House of Correction was built in 1845-6, on the model plan of the separate system, at the cost of about £4000. The Borough Court of Record has given place to the County Court, held here monthly for all the 27 parishes in Tiverton Union. (See page 303) John Tyrrell, Esq., is judge of this court; T.L.T. Rendell, Esq., clerk; and Mr. Richd. Grant Tucker, high bailiff.
The BOROUGH MAGISTRATES are Francis Hole, Robt. Baker, Geo. Coles, Wm. Hole, Wm. Kettle, John Barne, Wm. Dickinson, and John Snell, Esqrs. Mr. Wm. Partridge is their clerk.
MAYOR - G.H. Voysey, Esq.;
RECORDER - John Tyrrell, Esq.
ALDERMEN - Francis Hole, John Heathcoat, J.F. Quicke, Wm. Hornsey Gamlen, Wm. Talley, and J.W.T. Tucker, Esqrs.
|Castle Ward. (No. 3.)||Lowman Ward (No. 2.)||West Exe Ward (No. 1.)|
|Mr. Thomas Foster||Mr. Geo. D. Cobley||Mr. Richard Snow|
|" Joseph Sparkes||" John Hall||" Robert Wotton|
|" T.W.J. Forward||" James Crease||" John Gath|
|" Samuel Gath||" Wm. Richardson||" John Williams|
|" Wm. Smale||" G.H. Voysey||" George Cosway|
|John Burne, M.D.||" J.S. How||" - Beedell|
Coroner - Fredk. Mackenzie.; Gaoler - John Radford.
Sergeant at Mace - G. Parkhouse.; Town Sergeant - J. Smith.
Police Inspector - Edw. Harford.; Town Crier - John Fare.
Inspector of Weights and Measures - James Boyce.
Charity Trustees - Francis Hole, Wm. Kettle, John Heathcoat, Thomas Haydon, George Coles, John Radford, Wm. Chappel, Robt. Were, jun., J.S. How, Theodore Parkhouse, T.C. Haydon, and F.S. Gervis, Esqrs.; to whom Messrs. Hellings and Son are clerks.
The PARISH CHURCH (St. Peter,) which has about 1300 sittings, is one of the largest and handsomest parish churches in the county, consisting of a spacious nave, chancel, and side aisles, with a south porch and a lofty tower, containing 8 bells. Though the work of different ages, it is tolerably uniform in style. The aisles are separated by clustered columns and pointed arches, and a rich Gothic screen divides the nave, and chancel. The interior was cleansed, repaired, and newly-seated a few years ago, and the altar-piece is a fine painting of "The Wise Men offering to Christ" given by the late Rev. Robt. Hole, in 1841. The exterior of the porch and chapel, created by John Greenway in the reign of Henry VIII., is richly sculptured with tracery, and subjects taken from scripture history. The porch was rebuilt in 1825, when the sculpture was renewed by Mr. Wm. Beck. In the chapel is a painting of "Peter delivered from Prison by the Angel." A library, bequeathed to the parish by the Rev. J . Newte, is in a room over the vestry. The Rectory is in four portions, of which the following are the names, with the incumbents, the number of acres in each, the glebe, and the yearly sums for which the tithes were commuted. in 1841 :- Pitt Portion (5840A.,) Rev. John Spurway, M.A., £850, the glebe 30 acres; Tidcombe Portion (3920A.,) Rev. W. Rayer, M.A., £757, glebe 90 acres; Clare Portion (3550A.,) Rev. J.D. Lloyd, M.A., £568; and Prior's Portion (3185A.,) Rev. H.P. Measor, B.A., £400. The tithes of 1155A. in other parts of this extensive parish are commuted for £66, which is divided yearly among the four rectors. King's College, Cambridge, has the patronage of Prior's Portion, and the other three are in the alternate patronage of the Earl of Harrowby, Sir W.P. Carew, and the heirs of the late Sir R. Vyvyan and the late Rev. W. Spurway. Four houses with gardens and a close of 1A. been vested from an early period for the reparation. of the church. ST. GEORGE'S CHURCH at the west end of Fore street, is a plain structure with a bell turret. It was commenced in 1714, but not finished till 1730, nor consecrated tilt 1733. It has several neat monuments, one of which is in memory of Henry Blagdon, Esq., who died in 1716, and gave £150 towards the erection. The four rectors and their curates perform duty here alternately, and also at the three following chapels of ease in other parts of the parish. Cove Chapel, in Pitt quarter, is an old dilapidated building, but it is in contemplation to rebuild it. Withleigh Chapel, in Clare quarter, 3 miles W. of the town, is a neat building, erected in 1846 by subscription; and a school was built near it in 1849. Chevithorne Chapel, in Tidcombe quarter, about 2 miles N.E. of the town, is a handsome fabric, erected in 1843, at the cost of about £2000, of which £1500 was given by the Rev. Wm. Rayer, rector of this portion of the parish. There were formerly several ancient chapels in the town, and in other quarters of the parish, but few traces of them are now extant. On the western side of the town is a small Roman Catholic Chapel, built in 1838. The Baptist Chapel, in Newport street, was built in 1730, on the site of one built about 1687. The Independent Chapel, in Peter street, is a large stone building, erected in 1831-2, at the cost of £4683, including the cost of the land, and the school and minister's house. There is another Independent Chapel, in Elmore street, built in 1843, at the cost of £750. The Wesleyan Chapel, in Peter street, was built in 1814; and in Andrew street is a small Bible Christian Chapel, erected in 1843. These chapels have been mostly erected in lieu of old ones. There was a Presbyterian Chapel here as early as 1672, and the ancient chapel of St Peter was occupied by Independent, in 1687. John Wesley himself opened a chapel here in 1750. Sunday Schools, Religious Societies, &c., are liberally supported here by the congregations of the churches and chapels, and the parish has several endowed schools and many valuable charities.
In 1803, Mary Marshall left £200 five per cent. Bank Annuities, in trust that one-half of the yearly dividends should be applied in clothing poor children attending the Sunday school; and that the other half should be divided among the two sextons and four rodmen, of the parish church, except what was necessary for keeping her tomb in repair.
To provide a fund for repairing St. George's Church and her tomb in the church-yard, MARY PEARD in 1769 gave a farm of 65A. at Awliscombe, and the sum of £1000. The latter, with savings of income, has been invested in the purchase of £1600 three per cent. consols; and the farm is let for about £80 a year.
The Independent Chapel, in Peter street, called Steps Meeting-house, has an endowment for the support of the minister, amounting to £50. 18s. per annum, arising from land, house, and stock, left by Thomas and Joan Keene, Thos. Enchmarsh, John Tristram, Eliza Lichigaray, and Mrs. F. Warren. The Baptist Chapel has an endowment of 20s. a year for the poor of the congregation, and about £55 a year for the use of the minister, arising from property left by Thos. Glass, M.D., Richd. Hooper, and other donors. The minister's house and garden were given in 1810 by Faith Chorlock, together with two cottages.
BLUNDELL'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL, &c. - Peter Blundell, by his will in 1599, directed his executors to lay out £2400 in the purchase of land, and the erection thereon of a school-house and offices for the accommodation of a master, usher, and about 150 scholars; the latter to be boys not above 18, nor under six years of age, born or for the most part brought up in the parish of Tiverton. For the maintenance of the said Free Grammar School, he devised all his lands and tenements in Devonshire to 27 trustees, and directed them to pay yearly salaries of £50 to the master and 20 marks to the usher, on condition that they should teach the scholars without any charge to their parents or friends. He also directed £20 a year to be applied in apprenticing four poor boys in husbandry; and he ordered his executors to bestow £2000 in establishing six scholarships for students of divinity from this school at Oxford or Cambridge. Mr. Blundell, the liberal founder of this school, raised himself by his own industry from the rank of a poor clothier to that of a rich merchant, and often said that, though he was no scholar himself, he would be the means of making many. In 1678, Jno. Ham gave £200 towards the maintenance of a scholar from this school at Oxford or Cambridge. In 1783, Benj. Gilberd left £2000 three per cent. stock to be applied for the benefit of this school at the discretion of the trustees. In 1800, Richd. Down transferred £700 three per cent. consols to the mayor and corporation, in trust to pay the dividends towards the support of a scholar from this school at one of the Universities. in 1715, certain lands were left by John Newte to Baliol College, Oxford, for the support of a scholar there, to be chosen out of Blundell's school by the four rectors of Tiverton. The property now belonging to the school produces an annual income of about £650, of which more than £210 arises from the dividends of stock. Out of this income, the following yearly salaries are paid, viz.: - £60 to the master, £20 to the usher, and £14 to the treasurer. The school buildings are well adapted for a large establishment. The master, who has the care of the upper school, has a house capable of accommodating about 100 boarders, with a garden and meadow. The usher, who instructs the lower school, has a garden and a house capable of containing 40 boarders. This school. was formerly in high repute, and had often from 50 to 100 boarders, but no boarders have been admitted since 1847, and there are now only about 60 free scholars. The sum of £2750, derived from Peter Blundell's will, was laid out in estates, vested with Baliol College, Oxford, and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, for the maintenance of four fellows and four scholars. In addition to their emoluments derived from the colleges, the four scholars receive an allowance of £30 each per ann. from the funds of this charity; as also does another scholar and two exhibitioners under Gilberd's gift. The exhibitioner under Ham's gift receives £23 a year. The trustees expend large sums in repairing the school buildings, &c., and about £26 a year in apprenticing 4 poor boys.
CHILCOTT'S FREE SCHOOL, &c. - Robt. Comyn, alias Chilcott, by will in 1609, directed his executors to build a school-house at the cost of £400, and vest it with thirteen trustees, to whom he left a yearly rent-charge of £90, to be applied as follows, viz. :- £20 to the schoolmaster for teaching the poor boys of Tiverton; £2 for repairing the school; £3 to the clerk for keeping the accounts of his charity; £16. 10s. for 15 poor people of Tiverton; £15 for 15 poor artificers; £19. 10s. to provide weekly, 6d. each in bread and money for 15 poor parishioners; £10 towards repairing the church; and £1 towards repairing the highway to Butterleigh mill. This rent-charge, after deducting £12 for land tax, is paid by the Duke of Leeds out of lands in Yorkshire. In 1790, Benj. Gilberd left £300 for the augmentation of the schoolmaster's salary, and it was laid out in the purchase of 7s. 11d. three per cent. consols. In 1802, Richd. Davis left £50 to be applied in buying books for six or the most deserving scholars. With this sum £75 three per cent. consols were purchased. There is also belonging to the charity £100 of the same stock, purchased with savings of income in 1802. The school is in Peter street, where there is a house and garden for the master, who teaches reading, and writing to 100 boys on the National system. He has a yearly salary of £20, and is allowed 2s. 6d. per quarter for each of the boys for pens, ink, and paper. All the boys pay 6d. entrance money, and those who learn arithmetic 1s. 6d. per quarter. Two almswomen, in Birchen lane, have 3s. a week from Chilcott's Charity.
The CHARITY SCHOOLS, formerly in the Church yard, now occupy commodious buildings in Frog street, built in 1811. These schools, where 50 boys and 50 girls are educated, and clothed in blue, were established in 1713, and were at first supported by subscriptions and collections at sermons, but they have now an endowment yielding a clear annual income of about £200, arising as follows:- £90 from Great Holwell and Hare Hill farms (115A.,) purchased with £1000, left in 1715 by Henry Blagdon; £71 from 26A. at Collumpton, and other property, left in 1719 by Peter Newte; £30 from 28A. at Ashley, left in 1721 by John Tristram; £93 from £2100 Old South Sea Annuities, and a farm of 59A. called Middleway, derived from the bequest of Mary Peard, in 1777; and £4. 5s. 2d. from £106. 10s. 6d. four per cent. stock, purchased with £100, left by Benj. Gilberd, in 1792. About 30 children of either sex are admitted in consideration of these benefactions, by the respective trustees, and every annual subscriber of £3 has the nomination of two scholars. They are clothed once a year, and the girls make their own clothes and the caps, shirts, and stockings for the boys. The master has about £54, and the mistress £26 per annum; and they have each a dwelling house; and fuel, books, stationery, bibles, prayer books, are provided by the trustees.
The NATIONAL SCHOOL, in St. Andrew is a large and handsome building in the Swiss style, erected in 1844, at the cost of about £2000, and having dwellings for the master and mistress in the centre, and school rooms on either side, attended by about 140 boys and 80 girls. The BRITISH SCHOOL, in Leat street, adjoining the large factory of Messrs. Heathcoat and Co., is a spacious and handsome structure, in the Elizabethan style, built in 1844 by John Heathcoat, Esq., M.P., and solely supported by him. It has three school rooms for boys, girls, and infants, and the Committee of Council of Education have lately appointed 14 pupil teachers to assist the master and two mistresses. It is attended by 180 boys, 150 girls, and 240 infants. There is another large and handsome BRITISH SCHOOL, in Elmore street, built in 1848 by Ambrose Brewin, Esq., and entirely supported by him, for the education of about 100 boys and 50 girls, under a master, mistress, and six pupil teachers. The Infant School, in Bampton street, was also built by A. Brewin, Esq., in 1847, and is supported by him, and attended by 100 children.
Village Schools, &c.:- The rector of Tidcombe pays £3 a year to a schoolmistress at Cove, for teaching 12 children to read. This sum arises from one-eighth of the rent of Buckhays farm, left by the Rev. John Newte, in 1715. About £4 a year is distributed in bibles and prayer books among the poor parishioners, as one half of the rent of Bible Field, given by the same donor. For instructing ten poor children of Chevithorne, and providing them with books, about £5 a year is paid out of Pleshy's and Whitedown farm, (130A.) as one-eighth of the rent of that estate, left by Peter Newte, in 1749. Though the land is poor, a much larger share ought to be paid to the four rectors, as trustees of this charity.
The proceeds of the seven following CHARITIES, amounting to about £100 per annum, are distributed by the Borough Charity Trustees, appointed under the powers of the Municipal Act, for the management of all the charities vested with the Corporation. The ELMORE LANDS, (16A.) were held of the Crown at it nominal rent, from 1806 till 1837, but they were sold in the latter year, and all that now remains of this once valuable charity are the dividends of £250 navy five per cent. stock. It is said that Elmore was given by Madam Elson de Rosse, in 1250, to remain for ever a common for the use of the poor parishioners; and that it formerly comprised 150A. It was afterwards seized by the Crown, and part of it granted on lease for the benefit of the poor, who, in 1837, vainly petitioned for a renewal of the lease. John Berry, in 1618, gave a house and 15A. of land, at West Chevithorne, to the Corporation, in trust to pay yearly 50s. each to two labourers, one weaver and a fuller, and to apply the rest of the income to their own use. This estate now yields a clear annual rent of about £35. In 1623, another John Berry left to the Corporation £60, to be invested in land, for the relief of the poor. The land purchased was sold to the Canal Company, in 1814, for £250, which was laid out in the purchase of £267 navy five per cents. The sum of £100, given by Daniel Cudmore and Geo. Hartnoll, in 1637 and 1662, was laid out in the purchase of 4A. of land, now let for about £13. In 1663, Thomas Leigh left to the Mayor and burgesses all his eighth part of the market tolls of Tiverton, in trust for the relief of the most indigent poor of the borough. This gift yields about £22 per annum. In 1747, the Corporation laid out £115 poor's money in the purchase of 2A. of land, called The Shillands, now let for about £12 per annum. The poor have 1s. worth of bread weekly from Sir John Acland's Charity. (See Exeter.)
GREE,NWAY'S CHARITY:- In 1529, John Greenway founded an ALMSHOUSE here for five poor men, and endowed it with property then worth only £8. 123s. per annum, but now yielding about £270 a year, including £60 a year, paid in consideration of the old parish Workhouse, and £27. 10s. derived from the seat rents in Greenway's chapel in St. Peter's church The charity property comprises also a farm at Dipford, let for £52. 10s., and seven houses, and various parcels of land in Tiverton. The almshouses, in Gold street, have been several times repaired and enlarged, and the number of almspeople increased, in proportion to the augmented value of the endowment. The principal management of the charity rests with the town churchwarden, the fourteen trustees never interfering, except in the granting of leases. There are at present on the foundation 25 almsmen, who have a yearly supply of coals. They are paid weekly stipends, varying from 5s. to 2s. 7d. each.
WALDRON'S ALMSHOUSES, in Wellbrook street, were built for the reception of eight poor men, by John Waldron, who endowed them, in 1577, with a yearly rent charge of £24, out of the manor of Daccombe. The eight almsmen are appointed by the churchwardens, and each has a weekly stipend of 1s. They have also divided among them £5 a year from Enchurch's Gift.
SLEE'S ALMSHOUSES, in Peter street, were founded in 1610, for six poor widows, or aged maidens, by George Slee, who left £500 for their erection and endowment. The endowment is a yearly rent charge of £20, out of the rectory of Coldridge, and from it each almswoman has 1s. per week. The churchwardens are the trustees, and the almswomen have each a further weekly allowance of 1s. from the dividends of £360 navy five per cent. stock, left by Mary Marshall, in 1803. The residue of these dividends is divided among the most necessitous poor parishioners, according to the donor's will.
JOHN LANE, in 1679, left 10A. of land, at Buckland, in Somersetshire, (now let for about £30,) and a yearly rent charge of £12. 10s. out of an estate called Slade, at Sheldon. Agreeable to the donor's will, the yearly proceeds are applied as follows: - 20s. in bibles for poor boys of Chilcott's school; about £22 in distributions of clothing to six poor people of Tiverton, and two of Collumpton; 3s. per month to each of the said eight poor people; and about £3. 3s. for an annual dinner for them and the trustees. Twenty poor men of Tiverton have 9s, 6d. each yearly, from a rent charge of £9. 10s., left by ROBT. CHATTEY, about 1680, out of a house called Priddice's Tenement. Thirty-two aged poor of the town have divided among them £3. 6s. per annum, arising from six chief rents, purchased with £70 left by WM. HEWITT, in 1689. JOHN ALSTONE, in 1696, left an almshouse and adjoining tenements for six poor shearmen, and £500 to be invested for the use of the general poor of Tiverton. Owing to the mis-management of former trustees, all that now remains of this charity is part of the almshouse occupied by three poor fullers, and a reserved rent of 7s. 6d. per annum. MARY RICE, in 1697, left the residue of her real and personal property, to be vested in trust, and the yearly proceeds to be distributed in sums of 40s. each among her poor relations of the families of Morrish, Lane, and Tanner, or in default of such, among the honest and pious poor parishioners of Tiverton. The property belonging to this charity now yields an annual income of about £180, arising as follows - £120 from Rix farm, (50A.) at Bolham; £31 from the White Bull Inn; £12. 10s. from the Bampton turnpike, and the rest from the interest of money. The clear income is distributed half-yearly among about 80 poor people, appointed by the trustees, who give a preference to the relations of the foundress. In 1785, MARY MARSHALL left for the poor of Tiverton £100, which was laid out in the purchase of £100 navy five per cent. stock. The dividends are distributed in sums of 2s. or 3s. In 1790, BENJAMIN GILBERD *left £1000 to be invested in stock, and the yearly dividends to be distributed at Christmas, among the poor not receiving parochial relief. This charity now consists of £1090 three per cent. consols. In 1808, RICHARD DOWN gave £500 three per cent. consols, in trust that 20s. worth of bread should be distributed fifteen times a year among the poor, after the administration of the Sacrament in St. Peter's church and St. George's chapel.
WALTER TYRRELL, in 1568, left £200 to be invested for the use of the poor, by John Waldron, who, in consideration thereof, granted a yearly rent charge of £10. 13s. out of the manor of Daccombe, to be applied by the churchwardens in weekly sums of 8d. each to six poor people. ROBFRT REED, in 1621, left £100 to provide for a weekly distribution of 3s. worth of bread among twelve poor people. The Mayor and burgesses applied this money for the redemption of the Town House, out of which they pay £7. 10s. yearly, in satisfaction, of this charity. RICHARD HILL, in 1630, left to the Mayor and burgesses an annuity of £12. 2s. 8d., for the weekly distribution of 4d. worth of bread each to fourteen poor parishioners. Out of this rent charge £1. 14s. 8d. is deducted for land tax, and the rest is distributed among twelve poor people. It is paid out of three closes, two of which are called Lowman and Alsabrook meadows. EDW. BLAGDON, in 1653, granted four houses and a garden and orchard, in Barrington street, to four trustees, for the equal benefit of two poor men of Tiverton, and two of Washfield parish. These premises were burnt down in 1832, and rebuilt in 1833-4, and now yield a clear yearly profit of about £17. A house and two acres of land, left by JOHN LOVELL, in 1673, are let for £21 a year, and one-fourth of the rent belongs to the poor of Tiverton, and three-fourths to the poor of Bickleigh. PETER ATKINS, in 1657, granted a yearly rent charge of £10 to the poor of Tiverton, out of an estate called Padcott and Burridge. For many years the overseers improperly applied this annuity in aid of the poor rates. The poor parishioners have also £10, and the trustees 10s. yearly, left by GREGORY SHORLAND, in 1658, out of an estate, called Bengewall. Six poor people of Clare Quarter, and four of Prior's Quarter, have 15s., and the trustees 5s. yearly, left by THOMAS MAUNDER, in the 24th of Charles II., out of land at Querk Hill.
EXE BRIDGE TRUST comprises 32 houses, with gardens, &c., which were let on leases for two or three lives, at rents which amounted, in 1820, to only £18. 5s. 8d., though their real value was then upwards of £300 per annum; but, as the leases expire, the trustees now let the property at rack rent. Part of this property was vested in trust by Walter Tyrrell and Johan, his wife, in 1563, who directed that the yearly proceeds should be applied, as far as necessary, in repairing West Exe Bridge, in Tiverton, and that the surplus, if any, should be distributed among the poor parishioners. Of the houses now in existence, some were rebuilt after the fire in 1785, and the remainder after a similar calamity in 1794. About 30 years ago, upwards of £1500 was expended in repairing and widening the bridge, and, until recently, the poor derived but little benefit from the charity.
MARKET TRUST: - By the gifts of John West in 1628, Wm. Spurway in 1650, and Sir John and Mr. Jonathan Trelawney in 1654, several houses and gardens, and seven-eighths of the market tolls of Tiverton, were vested with trustees for the benefit of the poor parishioners. The market-house was built on the site of a house which was burnt down in 1731, and the site of it and several adjoining houses is held by the trustees on a lease for 1000 years, at the annual rent of £30. The market-house and seven-eigths of the tolls produce about £196 yearly, besides which the trustees derive £29 from the rents of eight houses, let on 99 years' leases. The net income, amounting to about £167 per annum, is dispensed in weekly doles of bread to about 120 poor parishioners.
Brian Randell, 1 Feb 1999