Зображення сторінки

both sides of the river Torridge, which is here crossed by an ancient stone Bridge of 24 arches, nearly 700 feet in length. A noble Quay extends through the midst of the town, and, at high water, may be approached by vessels of 500 tons burthen: near this Quay is the Custom House. The trade of Bideford is very cousiderable, and the superior convenience of its harbour has drawn hither a large share of that formerly possessed by Barnstaple. Many ships are fitted out for the Newfoundland fishery, and great quantities of oak bark are sent to Scotland and Ireland. Carpeting, woollen cloth, and earthenware, are manufactured here, and the latter article is largely exported to Wales, in exchange for provisions, &c. Ship-building is also carried on to a considerable extent; the town is in a thriving condition, and has been much improved of late years, by the removal of many of the ancient and meanly-built houses, and the erection of neater and more uniform edifices, The population, in 1821, was 4052 persons.

From its name, Bideford (By-the-ford) would seem to be of Saxon origin; but it is not mentioned until after the Conquest, when William bestowed it on Richard Grenville, one of his followers, in the possession of whose family it continued more than

In the time of Edward I it possessed the privilege of returning Members to Parliament, which was afterwards discontinued, on account of the expense* Queen Elizabeth granted a Charter to the inhabitants, which was confirmed and enlarged by her successor, by whom the government was vested in a Mayor, seven Aldermen, a Recorder, ten Burgesses, and other officers. At the commencement of the Civil War, Bideford declared for the Parliament, and some fortifications were thrown up for its defence. A party of the Parliamentarians marched from hence in September, 1643, to attack Prince Maurice, who was at that time besieging Exeter; they were, however, encountered near Torrington by a small body of Royalists under Colonel Digby, and totally defeated; in consequence of which, this town, with Barnstaple, and a fort at

500 years.

* See an explanation of this matter in p. 167 of this volume.

Appledore, surrendered on the following day to the Royal army. In 1616, Bideford was ravaged by a plague; and in 1682 it was disgraced by the execution of three wretched old women, who were convicted, on the most absurd evidence, of witchcraft.

The Church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a plain edi. fice, erected in the fourteenth century, but much altered and enlarged at various periods, to accommodate the increasing population of the town: it has a good organ, and contains several monuments, among which is one to the memory of Mr. John Strange, a merchant, who fell a victim to his benevolent exertions during the plague in 1646, when, the Mayor having left the town, he assumed that office, aud exercised the arduous duties he had imposed on himself, with a fortitude and philanthropy very rarely equalled. He was, in other respects, a man of the greatest charity and beneficence, and his monument is said to have been erected by the Captain of a vessel, whom he had succoured after shipwreck. Such a memorial is, indeed, honourable to both parties. The Dissenters have several Meeting-houses in this town; the Free Grammar School was founded and endowed early in the seventeenth century; and Charity and Sunday Schools are also established. Some small donations for the poor have been bequeathed at various periods; and a House of Industry was erected about 30 years ago. Here is a large and convenient Town Hall, built in 1698, beneath which are two places of confinement, for felons and debtors; and a spacious Market-place; the Market is held on every Tuesday; and in the course of the year three Fairs, principally for cattle.

Dr. John Shebbeare, a political writer of some eminence, was boru at Bideford, in 1709, and adopted the medical profession. He does not appear to have acquired much celebrity until 1754, when, in a novel called the Marriage Act*, he attacked the government with so much severity, that he was imprisoned for some time. On obtaining his liberty, he distinguished himself by an absurd attachment to the House of Stuart, and his " Letters to the People of England” procured him a second prosecution, when he was sentenced to be pilloried, and imprisoned two years. Whether this infliction cooled' his zeal, or whether, like some more exalted Jacobites, he revered the principles of the Stuarts in the person of the new monarch of the House of Brunswick, it is certain that, soon after the accession of George III, he employed himself in the vindication and praise of the Government he had before attacked; and his honest exertions were rewarded by a pension of £200 per annum, which, of course, confirmed his loyalty. He died in 1788, at an advanced age.

* He is said to have written.“ Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea,” a political novel of great merit; but this is incorrect, that work being the production of Charles Johnson, an Irish gentleman of considerable talents, who died at Calcutta about 1800.

The celebrated George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, was born either at Landcross, a small village near Bideford, or at Potheridge, nearer Torrington; he was baptized at the former place. He was born in December, 1608, and embraced a military life at an early age. In 1611, he was sent to Ireland to assist in quelling the Rebellion, and was made Governor of Dublin. Returning to England at the commencement of the Civil War, he led the regiment which he commanded to the assistance of the King, who rewarded him with the rank of Major-General. He was taken prisoner at the siege of Nantwich, and confined, during three years, in the Tower of London, where he wrote “ Observations on Military and Political Affairs,” which were not published until after his death. He at length accepted a commission from the Parliament, on condition of being employed only against the Irish rebels, in which service he greatly distinguished himself. He was afterwards engaged with Cromwell in Scotland, and on the departure of that General, was entrusted with the chief command. We next find him engaged in the naval service, and, in conjunction with Blake and Dean, defeating the Dutch in two battles. On the return of peace, he was again employed in Scotland, where he remained until the resignation of the Protectorate by Richard Cromwell; soon after which event, the Restoration was brought about, principally by his management. He was rewarded with the title of Duke of Albemarle, and several other distinctions, and, in 1666, again defeated the Dutch fleet, under his former antagonist Van Tromp. He

died in 1670, and was interred in Westminster Abbey. His Duchess is said to have been the daughter of his laundress, and, by her violent temper, maiutained such an asceudancy over him, that, as it has been observed," he dreaded her tongue more than a cannon-ball."

Bow, a small market-town, near the centre of the county, and 197 miles from London, does not possess any thing to require particular notice: its population is about 700 persons.

BRACTON, a little village about eight miles from Oakhampton, was the birth-place of Henry de Bracton, one of the earliest writers on English jurisprudence, who was made a judge by Henry III, about 1244. The time of his death is unknown; his principal work, “On the Laws and Customs of England," was first published in 1569, and has been repeatedly reprinted.

BRIXham; there are two villages of this name, distinguished as Church Town, and the Quay, situated on the southern coast, not far from Dartmouth. They derived considerable benefit from the fleets lying in Torbay during the late war, and their joint population, in 1821, was 4503. The parish Church is in the first-named place, near which is a remarkable spring, called Laywell, which frequently ebbs and flows eleven times in an hour.

CHAGFORD is pleasantly situated at the foot of some lofty eminences, near the Teign, and a short distance from Moreton Hampstead. It had formerly a Market, and two annual Fairs; the Market is now disused, but it has four Fairs. It is one of the Stannary towns, and much mining business is transacted there. The population, in 1821, was 1503.

CHUDLEIGH, a neat market town, with 2053 inhabitants, is beautifully situated near the river Teign, 182 miles from London. It principally consists of one street, at the extremity of which is the Church, a small white-washed building, dedicated to St. Martin. A weekly Market and two annual Fairs are held here, the grants for which were procured by some of the Bishops of Exeter, who had a magnificent palace about a quarter of a mile from the town, some remains of which still exist. This neighbourhood is famous for its orchards, one of which, about three acres in extent, is stated to have furnished apples sufficient to make 80 hogsheads of cider in one year. About half a mile from the town is Chudleigh Rock, one of the most remarkable inland rocks in the kingdom, presenting, on its western side, a bold perpendicular front, appearing like a solid mass of marble. On the south-east is a cleft, through which rushes an impetuous stream, forming a romantic water-fall in its passage. This vast rock is ornamented with a variety of mountain plants; in several places widelyspreading trees are interspersed, and the views from the summit are richly varied. Near the centre of the cliff is a cavern, traditionally reported to be inhabited by a species of fairies called Piries, whom Mr. Coleridge has celebrated in some of his poems. Several limestone quarries have been opened here, in which a considerable number of men are now employed.

About a mile from Chudleigh is Ugbrooke, the seat of Lord Clifford, one of the most beautiful residences in the county. The Mansion is of a quadrangular form, and of Gothic architecture: it contains several valuable paintings; and the Chapel is decorated with peculiar elegance. The Park is extensive, abounding with deer, and beautifully wooded; the prospects from every part are charmingly diversified, and a fine stream, forming in one place a foaming water-fall, in another gently gliding through a fertile vale, and afterwards expanding into a spacious lake, adds much to the beauties of the scenery.

CHUMLEIGH, a small town, 194 miles from London, on the banks of the river Dart, has about 1500 inhabitants, but does not possess any object of interest except its Church, which is a spacious edifice, formerly collegiate, and still having four prebendaries attached to it: it was much injured by a thunder storm in 1797, when a stone, weighing more than 200lbs., was thrown from one of the pinnacles to the ground, without touching the tower over which it

« НазадПродовжити »