Wolborough and Newton Abbot


A Topographical Dictionary of England


 Samuel Lewis (1831)

Transcript copyright Mel Lockie (Sep 2016)

WOOLBOROUGH, or WOLBOROUGH, a parish in the hundred of HAYTOR, county of DEVON, 1 mile (S.). from Newton-Abbots, containing, with the town of Newton-Abbots, 1859 inhabitants. The living is a donative, in the patronage of Viscount Courtenay. The church, dedicated to St. James, has some fine screenwork across the nave and aisles. Ninety children are, educated for about £90 a year, arising from certain property, bequeathed in 1788, by Hannah Maria Bearne, for charitable uses. There are almshouses for four clergymen's widows, founded by Lady Lucy Reynell.

NEWTON-ABBOTS, a market-town and chapelry, in the parish of WOOLBOROUGH, hundred of HAYTOR, county of DEVON, 14 miles (S. S. W.) from Exeter, and 187 (S. W. by W.) from London. The population is returned with the parish. It is probable that Newton-Abbots and Newton-Bushell were formerly included under the name of Nuietone, and retained this common appellation till their separate manors became the property of different possessors. Newton-Abbots was so denominated from its being held by the abbot of Tor, to whom it was given by William, Lord Brewer, founder of that monastery. The town appears to have possessed a market and a fair in the time of Edward I. In 1625, Charles I. and his suite, when on their way to and from Plymouth, were entertained at Ford House, near this town, on which occasion the king attended divine service in the parish church. In 1688, the same mansion was occupied by William, Prince of Orange, after his landing at Torbay; and from the pedestal of the market cross, on which is an inscription commemorative of the fact, his declaration to the people of England was first read. The town is situated on the river Teign, on the high road between Exeter and Plymouth and consists of two large, and several minor, streets, which are roughly paved: the inhabitants are supplied with water from pumps and adjacent springs. Here was formerly an extensive woollen manufactory, but the principal business now is that connected with the tan-yards: small quantities of shoes are exported to Newfoundland, with which island the inhabitants formerly carried on a very extensive trade, which having declined during the war in the beginning of the present century, has not since been revived. The river Teign is navigable to its junction with the Teigngrace canal, about three quarters of a mile from the town; lighters and boats come up by the Stover canal from Teignmouth with coal, and return with granite and potters' clay. The markets are on Wednesday and Saturday, and on the last Wednesday in February is a great annual market for cattle the market-place is new, spacious, and commodiously arranged. Fairs are held on June 24th, September llth, and November 6th, unless these fall on Wednesday, in which case the fairs take place on that day week. A portreeve, reeve, and inferior officers, are annually elected by a jury, at the borough court; the office of portreeve being always filled by the reeve for the preceding year. A court leet is held annually, and a petty session monthly. The chapel, dedicated to St. Leonard, is used only for baptisms and occasional service. There are places of worship for Baptists and Independents; the latter, with a free school, was founded and liberally endowed, pursuant to the will of Mr. Bearne, in 1787. A National school for children of both sexes is supported by subscription. The Widows' hospital, founded by Lucy, Lady Reynell, in 1638, and situated beyond the precincts of the town, was originally intended for four, but is now occupied by two, clergymen's widows, who receive £10 per annum, and have a pew allotted to them in the parish church; there are likewise some smaller almshouses. At Milberdown, near this place, are the vestiges of an ancient elliptical encampment, with a triple intrenchment, where the Prince of Orange stationed his artillery, when on his way from Brixham to Exeter. Hacknield ford, in this neighbourhood, is supposed to have derived its name from its situation on the line of the ancient Roman road, called the Iknield-way.