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Chudleigh community page

Chudleigh is located within Teignbridge local authority area. Historically it formed part of Exminster Hundred. It falls within Moretonhampstead 1 Deanery for ecclesiastical purposes. The Deaneries are used to arrange the typescript Church Notes of B.F.Cresswell which are held in the Westcountry Studies Library. The population was 1786 in 1801 1820 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website. In the valuation of 1334 it was assessed at £01/06/08. The lay subsidy of 1524 valued the community at £14/14/04. In 1641/2 220 adult males signed the Protestation returns. It is recorded as a borough from 1308. The community had a grammar school from 1668. A market is recorded from 14c.-1822.

A parish history file is held in Chudleigh Library. You can look for other material on the community by using the place search on the main local studies database. Further historical information is also available on the Genuki website.

Maps: The image below is of the Chudleigh area on Donn's one inch to the mile survey of 1765.


On the County Series Ordnance Survey mapping the area is to be found on 1:2,500 sheet 101/8,12 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 101NE,SE
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SX868795. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SX87NE, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Explorer 031, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 191. Geological sheet 339 also covers the area.

Illustrations: The image below is of Chudleigh as included in the Library's Etched on Devon's memory website. Other images can be searched for on the local studies catalogue.


A fair is known from: 14c.-1822. [It is intended to include the local section from The glove is up! Devon's historic fairs, by Tricia Gerrish, by kind permission of the author].

Extract from Devon by W.G.Hoskins (1954), included by kind permission of the copyright holder:

CHUDLEIGH is a small market town on the main road from Exeter to Plymouth, to which it owed its rise in the 13th to 14th centuries. In the 11th century it formed part of the vast episcopal manor of Bishop's Teignton, and belonged to the bishops of Exeter until 1550, when Bishop Verser was obliged by the King to alienate it. The bishops of Exeter had a medieval palace here, of which there are slight traces to the SE. of the town.

One of the bishops (probably Stapeldon) founded a borough at Chudleigh. Almost certainly its rise from a purely agricultural village to the rank of market-town and borough was due to the rise of Plymouth, 30 m. away, which brought greatly increased traffic along the road from Exeter. By Lysons's day there was a market and three fairs. As with so many Devonshire towns, Chudleigh reached its greatest size in 1841 and thereafter declined, though not as badly as most old market towns.

The town was largely destroyed by a fire in May 1807, and afterwards rebuilt. The church (St. Martin) is interesting, despite extensive 19th century restorations. It is mostly an early 14th century building, with a 13th century W. tower of an unusual type for Devon. The S. aisle was added in the 15th century and has a good granite arcade. The rood-screen is unusual, probably of late date, and bears the arms of Courtenay. Sir Pierce (or Peter) Courtenay who died 1552 and whose tomb is in the chancel, may have had it made. There are ancient carved bench-ends, and numerous mural monuments, tablets, and floor-slabs to the 16th to 8th century gentry of the parish.

Next to the church is the old grammar school, now a private house, founded by John Pynsent in 1668. Scattered over the large parish are several interesting houses, of which the most notable is Ugbrooke, formerly the seat of Lord Clifford, in a fine deer park of 600 acres. The first mansion was built by the well-known Lord Treasurer Clifford of the Cabal, who died here (1673) before it was completed. This house was rebuilt about 1760 as a hideous "pseudo-Norman pile," but the interior decoration was by the Adam brothers. The Catholic chapel, built by the Lord Treasurer and consecrated by Bishop Sparrow of Exeter in 1671 (Clifford did not become an open Catholic until the year of his death), still remains, somewhat altered and enlarged, and magnificently decorated by the Adams. The Lord Treasurer is buried here.

The park, one of several which are claimed to be "the finest in Devon," contains a grove of beech-trees known as "Dryden's Walk." Dryden was a close friend of the 1st Lord Clifford, and often visited Ugbrooke. There is indeed a tradition that he completed his translation of Virgil here. At the topmost point of the park is an earthwork known as Castle Dyke, which commands a wide expanse of country N. and W. It is probably an Early Iron Age hill-fort. The great limestone mass of Chudleigh Rock was a favourite place of resort for "outings" from Exeter and other towns in days when people were more contented with the simple pleasures of life. The old quarries and lime-kilns are most picturesque. Hams Barton was the seat of the Hunts, and a good deal of their Elizabethan mansion survives. The fine banqueting- room is dated 1621. Upcott was the birthplace of the celebrated geographer Major James Rennell (1742-1830). Whiteway was acquired by the Parkers. The 1st Lord Boringdon began the present house, which was completed by his nephew.

Creator: Devon Library and Information Services
Title: Chudleigh community page
Imprint: Exeter : Devon Library and Information Services
Date: 2004
Format: Web page : HTML
Series: Devon community web pages ; GAZCHU1
Ref. no.: WEB GAZCHU1
Coverage: Devon . Chudleigh . History . Web pages

Last Updated: 15/02/2005

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