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hundred and fifty acres of land. The ancient chapel,
which had been maintained from time immemorial
for the use of the inhabitants, was conveyed to
John Lord Russell, with the rest of the property,
and remained for some time in the Russell family,
until it was at length purchased by the Trowbridges'
of Trowbridge.

George Trowbridge pulled down the old chapel,
and used the stones to repair a portion of his own
residence (the communion table was long used as a
part of the fiirniture of the village ale-house), and,
it is said, that prosperity deserted his family and
himself from that period, and that " all those con-
cerned in the desecration, especially one, who
appropriated the chapel bell for his trouble, died

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1 68 The Suburbs of Exeter.

Trowbridge House was soon in the market, and
was purchased by Samuel Strode, who sold it,
together with Oldridge, to Giles, son of Gilbert
Yarde, of Bradley.

Mr; Giles Yarde gave the timber for a new chapel,
which was erected at the expense of Mr. James
BuUer, the patron, in 1789. In 1791 the executors
of Mr. Yarde sold the lands in parcels. Oldridge
is still a chapel ry, dependent upon the Vicarage of
St. Thomas.

Eustace Budgell, one of the contributors to the
Spectator y is said to have been born in the parish of
St. Thomas, in 1685, although his name does not
occur in the parochial registers, which commence,
baptisms, 1541, burials, 1554, and marriages, 1576.
Chapel says that "Budgell was bom in Exeter
about 1680."

By indenture, on the twentieth of November,
1564, William Harris and John Jake granted to
William Floyer, and others, a messuage and a
garden in " Co wick Street," lately the property of
Walter Battyn, formerly vicar of the parish, in
trust for the repairs and maintenance of the parish
church. The deed recites that the said property
was the gift of the said deceasied vicar.

These premises were demolished during the Civil
War, but were re-built by the parishioners prior to
the year 1672, in which year it was agreed that the
then vicar. Rev. John Reynolds, should inhabit
this house during his tenure of the Vicarage, sub-
ject to a yearly rent of ten shillings, to be em-
ployed by the churchwardens in accordance with
the intentions of the original donor.

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The Parish of St, Thomas. 169

The succeeding Vicars of St. Thomas continued
to reside in this house until 1781, when the then
Vicar, the Rev. J. B. Coplestone, agitated for a new
dwelling, upon the plea, that the old one " was ex-
posed to floods." It was therefore determined that
the premises should be leased for the largest fine
that could be obtained, subject to an annual rent of
ten shillings, reserved by the lessors.

The tenement was let, on the fourth of December,
1806, for ninety-nine years, determinable on three
lives, at the above-mentioned rent, which does not
seem to have been subsequently enforced, and in
consideration of a fine of £,2^0.

The latter sum, together with ;^i05 raised by a
rate, was paid to Mr. Coplestone in aid of the
expense of building a new vicarage upon a small
piece of glebe-land near the church, and this house
w^as built at an expense of ;^ 1,000.

The poor of the parish participate in the " bread
charities" of Lawrence Seldon and Sir John

Bartholomew Berry, of Barley, gave by deed
on the second of July, 1635, a plot of land "lying
near the pound," out of the profits of which a sum
of twenty shillings per annum was to be paid to the
^* minister" for preaching sermons on Good Friday
and Ascension Day, and the remainder was to be
distributed to the poor " for ever."

William Floyer was one of the original trustees.
Mr. Berry seems really to have given instead of a
specified sum, " all his orchards, houses, and gar-
dens in Cowick Street," and the houses were
demolished in the Civil War. The premises, sub-

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170 The Suburbs of Exeter.

sequently rebuilt, were used as the parish poor-

Two houses adjoining the churchyard represent
the ancient " church house," and it is shown by a
lease, on the thirtieth of April, 1674, from Thomas
Reynell and others, executors of the will of William
Gould, to Sir Thomas Carew, that the " church of
St. Thomas had been burned during the Civil War,"
and that the chest containing the parish deeds and
writings had been then also destroyed, and that
nothing of the house was remaining, at the above
date, but " old ruinous walls."

The present houses were therefore built by the
parishioners, and were long kept in repair out of
the rates, and occupied, rent free, by paupers.
They were demised by Gould's executors to Sir
Thomas Carew and others, parishioners, for two
hundred years, subject to a yearly rental of one
shilling. The lease expired on the thirtieth of
April, 1874.

William Gould, in 1637, gave a rent-charge of
eight pounds per annum, to which his son, William
Gould, added two pounds in 1642, for the purposes
of a parish school. Robert Pate, of Cowick Barton,
gave thirty pounds in 1687, the interest to be em*
ployed for the instruction of the children of poor
people in reading and writing.

Robert Pate, sen., in 1677 gave an annuity of
twenty shillings out of Cowick; John Peter, in
1570, twenty shillings per annum out of the sheaf
of Cornworthy ; Nicholas Evans, twenty shillings
a year for ever, in 1618 ; and Elizabeth Painter, in
181 2, the interest of one hundred pounds; — all

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The Parish of St, Thomas, 1 7 1

these gifts to be devoted to the relief of the poor
of the parish*

Finally, William Gould, sen., by will, on the
twentieth of May, 1632, gave four pounds yearly,
to issue out of Hayes, at least twenty days before
Christmas, and to be spent by the vicar, church-
wardens, and overseers "in grey frieze, or watchet
blue cloth, to make jerkins and hose, for men and
boys, and gowns for women and maids," to be
given to those in " most need."

He also left £20^ "to be lent out gratis, on bond,
to such men as would set the wandering poor on
work, and that for a year or more " ; and by codicil
he gave an additional eight pounds, "yearly for
ever," "to be disposed of at the discretion of his
heirs and the minister of the parish for the time
being, to the use of the poor."

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A LPHINGTON, in the Deanery of Kenne, is
'^^^ about two miles distant from Exeter, on the
road to Plymouth.

This village takes its name from the little stream-
let called the Alphin, anciently the "Alfrain,"
which flows through the village. The short account
of this parish given by the Lysons' "Magna
Britannia," Vol. 2, pp. 8-9, is very incorrect and

These authors appear to have confounded the
manor with that of East AUington, and the Matford
property, partially, with the estate of the same
name, situated in the Parish of Heavitree.

Alphington formed a portion of the great Barony
of Okehampton, and belonged to Baldwin de Brion,
Sheriff of Devon. Almar held it under the name
of " Alfreincombe," in the reign of Edward the
Confessor. It paid tax for one hide, which could
be worked by nine ploughs.

At the period of the Survey, "Robert" held it
under Baldwin, and had in demesne one virgate,
and two ploughs. There were then upon the manor
twelve villeins, twelve bordarii, or cottagers, five
serfs, one pack horse, five head of cattle, fifteen

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The Parish of Alphington, 175

swine, one hundred and thirty-three sheep, five
acres of meadow, and a hundred acres of pasture,,
and it was worth yearly ;^4, and had not increased
in value since Saxon times.

This " Robert," the sub-tenant under Baldwin,
was probably one of the two younger sons of the
latter, and, presumably, died without issue ; he was
for some time Governor of Brion, in Normandy,
of which town his grandfather, Gilbert, had been

Robert had a brother, William of Avenel, usually
stated to have been the husband of his own sister
Emma, as already noticed in the account of Cowick
Priory, and this William, or his son, Ralph, would
appear to have succeeded ultimately to the Alph-
ington property, since by deed, executed, as shown
by internal evidence, after 1142, and before March,.
1 155, William Avenel, son of Ralph, son of William,
brother to "Adeliza," Baroness of Okehampton,.
and therefore to the other children of Baldwin
de Brion, viz.y Richard and Emma, gave to the
Monks of Plympton, " The Chapel of Exeter
Castle, and the four Prebends, the Churches of St.
Michael, Alphington, and St. Andrew of Kenne
(Chen), which Ranulphus, my father, and Adeliza,
his aunt, on the father's side (^ ejus amtta' ) 'gave
them' originally."

It will be seen by reference to my notice of
William of Avenel, in connection with Cowick, what
very valuable evidence this document affords, the
original of which is preserved in the College of

Possibly by gift on the part of William of Avenel,.

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174 The Suburbs of Exeter,

the younger, or of his father, Ralph, the next
owner of the Manor of Alphington was Anianus,
alias Eneon, Archdeacon of Anglesey, and Bishop
of Bangor, from 1267 to 1306, and after him it was
owned by Sir John de Neville.

The Priory of Plympton do not seem to have
long retained the patronage of the Church, since
Bishop Bronescombe collated Hugh de Staneway,
Dean of Exeter, to the Rectory, in July, 1263, and,
his successor, " John of Excester," afterwards Trea-
surer of the Cathedral, was presented by Sir John
de Neville on the twenty-ninth of June, 1278.

The Nevilles seem to have obtained the manor in
exchange with the diocese of Bangor. It was their
property until 1349, when Sir Hugh de Neville
presented. Soon after it became the property of
Hugh de Segrave, probably by purchase.

Sir John de Neville was a Church benefactor,
and founded a religious establishment at Stoke-
Courcy, in Somerset ; but I have found no evidence
of any marriage with the Segraves, which would
account for the descent of the Alphington property.
However, James de Cobham exchanged Alphington
Rectory for Sampford Courtenay, with the consent
of his patron, Hugh de Segrave, in 136 1-2, and
shortly after the year 1382, Hugh de Segrave ex-
changed the Manor of Alphington for that of
Newenham Courcy, in Oxfordshire, with Sir Philip
Courtenay, of Powderham. The advowson of the
Rectory soon after, however, became the property
of the Earl of Devon.

The Manors of Nuneham Iweme, Co. Dorset, and
Nuneham Courcy, in Oxfordshire, were Redvers

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The Parish of Alphtngton. 175

property, and seem to have passed in marriage
with Mary de Redvers to Robert Courtenay, who
was at one time Sheriff of Oxfordshire, and died
whilst staying at his Manor House at Nuneham
Iwerne, then written " Ywren," in 1242.

Nuneham Courcy, afterwards known as Nune-
ham Courtenay, had been, immediately after the
Conquest, the property of Richard, son of Robert
de Courcy, who was the brother of Richard de
Neville, ancestor of that noble family, and this
recollection may have had something to do with the
exchange of the Manor of Alphington for that of
Nuneham, although, as I have already remarked, I
have not found any evidence that the Nevilles and
Segraves were in any way related to each other.

The first Patron of Alphington after the
Courtenays became the owners, was Sir Peter
Courtenay, who presented his nephew, Richard,
eldest son of Sir Philip Courtenay, by his wife, Ann
Wake, to the Rectory, on the sixth of April, 1403.
This Rector became Bishop of Norwich on Sep-
tember the twenty-seventh, 14 13, but died two
years subsequently.

The Bishop only held Alphington a few months,
since Sir Peter presented his successor, John
Plaistowe, on the twenty-eighth of December, 1403.

In 14 19, Sir Peter, who had died unmarried, in
1405, was succeeded in the patronage of this living
by his nephew, and heir, Edward Courtenay, Earl
of Devon.

The Courtenay Earls continued to present to
Alphington until the division of the property
amongst the co-heirs of Edward, Earl of Devon,

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176 The Suburbs of Exeter,

who died at Padua, in 1556. The last Courtenay
who exercised the right of patronage was the said
Earl Edward's father, Henry, Marquess of Exeter,
Earl of Devon, and Lord of Okehampton, who
was beheaded by Henry VIII., in 1539.

William Oldreve "occurs as Rector" in 1536.
He was the incumbent of the living at the time of
the Ecclesiastical Survey in that year, when his
benefice was valued at £1^ 6s. 8d. per annum. By
his will, dated August the eleventh, 1558, he desires
a requiem mass for the repose of his soul. He
gives forty shillings for the repair of the fabric.

Four poor women were to attend the " requiem "
with tapers in their hands, and to have five pence
each for their trouble ; twenty of the poorest
inhabitants were to receive twenty pence each.
The will was proved at the Principal Registry,
Exeter, on the tenth of June, 1559.

Upon the death of Edward Courtenay, at Padua,
in 1556, the estates belonging to the Earldom were
divided amongst the representatives of his great
g^eat aunts, the four daughters of the second
Sir Hugh Courtenay, of Bocconoc and Haccombe.

The " Inquisition," taken after the death of the
Earl (who in consequence of his father s attainder,
had been so created by Queen Mary, in 1553, with
remainder to his heirs male, for ever), proved that
the descendants of these ladies were Reginald
Mohun, Alexander Arundell, John Vivian, the
younger, Margaret, wife of Richard Buller, and
John Trelawny. The Manor of Alphington, had
always descended in the Powderham branch of
the Courtenays, and with them it has since

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The Parish of Alphington, 177

remained, and the then owner was Sir William
Courtenay, of Powderham, who, de jurCy succeeded
to the earldom, although he died without claiming
it, soon after the decease of his kinsman. He met
his death at the siege of St. Quentin, on the twenty-
sixth of September, 1557.

But a great deal of the property belonging to the
elder branch of the Courtenays, was dispersed by
the co-heirs, for the purposes of division, and the
advowson of the Rectory of Alphington, became
the property of John Bourchier, Earl of Bath.

William, third Earl of Bath, sold several pre-
sentations, and Bartholomew Parr, Rector of Clist
St. Mary, presented on the tenth of February,
1637-38, the right having been assigned to him by
the then late Rector of Alphington, John Doughty,
who had acquired it from Lord Bath.

Rachel, Countess of Bath, presented to Alph-
ington, as late as 1677. She was the widow of Sir
Henry Bourchier, who had succeeded his nephew
as fifth Earl of Bath, in 1636.

With the death of the fifth Earl, the title of Bath,
in the Bourchier family, became extinct, and the
advowson of Alphington was again sold, and the
purchasers were the Pitman family. The first of
them is described as "John Pitman, of Kenton,

Three of the Pitmans held this Rectory between
the years 17 12 and 1768, with an interval of a year
or two, between September, 1739, and March, 1742,
and the presentation remained with their family
for several years subsequently, until it passed into
the hands of the EUicombes. The patronage is


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178 The Suburbs of Exeter.

now with the Rector, the Rev. E. J. G. Dupuis.

After an abeyance of two hundred and seventy-
five years, the lord of the Manor of Alphington, the
third Viscount Courtenay of Powderham, estab-
lished his claim to the Earldom of Devon on the
fifteenth of March, 1831, and then succeeded as
the ninth earl of the creation of 1553. He died
unmarried, on the twenty-sixth of May, 1835, when
the baronetcy, and the earldom, with its property,
including the Manor of Alphington, passed to his
second cousin, William Courtenay (son of Dr. H. R
Courtenay, Lord Bishop of Exeter), father of the
present earl.

Sir William Courtenay, of Powderham, bom 1553,
and who should have been third Earl of Devon, of
Queen Mary's creation, was, as previously stated,
one of the undertakers for the Settlement of Ireland,
and " laid the foundation of that vast property in
Limerick, which has since been enjoyed by his

The following copy of a letter written by his
grandson. Sir William Courtenay, during a sojourn
in Ireland, and addressed to Mr. Gilbert Yarde, of
Bradley, is still preserved at Powderham. Sir
William died on the twenty-eighth of July, 1702.
The copy is undated.

"Sir, — I have so reall and entire affection for
yrselfe and family, yj neither distance of place,
seas, rockes, mountains, nor boggis, could hinder
me fi'om sending you my faithfuU service, and wish
both you and yrs all happinisse imaginable. 85
since my landing in this kingdom, I have traveled
some hundreds of miles, but a richer soyle (for the

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The Parish of Alphington. 179

g-enerallity), never eyes beheld, and I find nothing
so ill heere as ye natives, wch are y« worst genera-
tion of people y« world affords. I shall onle
instance one thing as to ye excellence of ye land,
because ye messenger's haste will permit me no
longer time. I have here about my old castle,
some 5 or 6 and thirty thousand acres of land,
most of wch are as good as any land in my mannor
of Alphtngtofiy and better naturally, yet I am forct
to sett ym for lesse at twelve pence an acre, wch
goes to ye heart of mee, yet it cannot be helped.
If ever God Almighty punish Ireland again, 'twill
be for their excesse in eating and' drinking, which
far exceeds England, though I thought in those
vertues we could not be outdone, till I had ex-
perimented it here. Pardon this hasty incoherent
scribble, and a better and perfecte account of this
kingdome shall be given you in my next, by. Sir,
Your faithful Servant,

William Courtenay."

Alphington Church is dedicated in memory of
St. Michael, and comprehends chancel, nave, north
and south aisles, a western tower, and a south
porch. The church is about ninety feet long, in-
clusive of the tower, which is over seventy feet high.
The breadth of the nave and aisles, which latter
open into the nave under an arcade of five bays, is
over forty feet.

There is an aspersorium, or holy water stoup,
in the porch, and the font is of Norman date and
peculiarly rich in style. It is of circular form,
and round the top is a representation of the combat
of St. Michael with the Great Dragon, who is

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i8o The Suburbs of Exeter.

thrusting his lance into the monster's mouth ;
behind the Saint is the figure of his dog. The
sculpture is in bold relief, so also is the ornamenta-
tion of the lower part, which consists of a Norman
arcading, the points of the arches intersecting one
another, a style which is considered to have
heralded the introduction of the pointed arch,
which commenced to supersede the circular towards
the end of the twelfth century.

One of the piers which support the arcading-
between the nave and aisles, had a double capital,
^ a rather unusual feature ; the lower one, however,
was cut away in 1827, as noted by Dr. Oliver.
The remains of piscinae at the east ends of the aisles
denote the site of chantry altars.

The church generally is of perpendicular, or
third pointed date, and was probably extensively
altered and added to in the fourteenth century, in
common with most of our Devonshire churches.
It is certain, as shown by inequalities in the
masonry, that the original structure was, at some
time, considerably lengthened.

The church was extensively restored in 1878 at
an expense of about ;£3,ooo, and the ancient rood
screen was then repaired at the cost of the Earl of
Devon, brother of the present Earl.

The Prior and Convent of St. Nicholas, at Exeter,
had an annual pension from the church of two
shillings, and proved their right to it in 1330. On
one or two occasions the Prior presented to the
rectory, in 13 10, and again in 1390, probably by
concession of the true patrons.

The tower and church suffered from a severe

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The Parish of Alphington. i8i

thunderstorm in 1826. On this occasion four of
the ringers were struck by lightning, and the
sexton's son, George Coles, was killed. There are
eight bells in the tower.

The rectory was valued at ;^8 per annum in 1291.

Judging from the font, it is probable that this
church was built by Ralph Avenel, with the con-
sent of his aunt Adeliza, Lady of Okehampton,
and that they immediately handed it over to Plymp-
ton Priory. This must have been previously to
1 142, as Adeliza died in that year.

Richard succeeded his father, Baldwin, in the
Barony of Okehampton, and died in 1137, when
he was followed by his sister, Adeliza, these two
being the children of Baldwin de Brion, by
Albreda, niece of William the Conqueror. Robert
de Brion, William Fitz-Baldwin de Avenel, and, it
has also been believed, Emma, were children of
Baldwin de Brion by a second marriage, and
therefore the barony was inherited by Adeliza
instead of by her two half-brothers.

But from the ultimate judicial exclusion of the
Avenels from the succession to the barony, in
favour of the descendants of " Emma," it would
appear almost certain that this lady, the wife of
William de Abrincis, must have been the issue of
Baldwin de Brion' s first marriage, and whole,
instead of half-sister to Adeliza.

It will give some idea, as to the difference in the
relative value of money, to remark that Alphington
Rectory, which was worth £^ per annum in 1291,
had increased in value to the amount of ;^34 6^. 8rf.
in 1536. The tithe rent charge is now ;^794 per

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1 82 The Suburbs of Exeter.

annum, and there are twenty-six acres of glebe.

The parish registers commence alike in 1663 : the
earlier ones have been lost.

The ancient cross may be seen on the high road,
near the entrance to the village.

There were fairs at Alphington on the first
Wednesday after the twentieth of June, and in the
week after Michaelmas, but they have been dis-
continued since 1870. It is unlikely that they were
of any great age, as they are not mentioned in the
Hundred Rolls. The entry in these of a market and
fair for Alphington, at Michaelmas, evidently refers
to West Alvington, as noted by Lysons.

Risdon tells us of a man who died at Alphington
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, aged 120; he was
called Stone, and held ofiice in the Chapel Royal.

Westcote, by the way, furnishes a touching story
about a lady, of the parish of St. Thomas, who had
a dog which was so much affected by its mistress's
death, that it afterwards declined food, escaped to
the churchyard, and died on the good lady's

The father of the late Charles Dickens resided
for some time at Alphington, but the great novelist
was born at Portsmouth, in 181 2.

Matford, in this parish, was an ancient seat of
the Dinham family, and was thence known as
Matford Dinham. It was subsequently the pro-
perty of a younger branch of the Northleigh family,
who ultimately acquired Peamore by marriage with
the heiress of Tothill.

Robert Northleigh, of Matford Dinham, was
bijfied at Alphington, in 1639.

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The Parish of Alphington, 183

The last of the Northleighs, Stephen, married a
co-heiress of Davey, and died in 1713.

His heiress married Hippisley Coxe, and Henry
H. Coxe sold Matford to Sir Laurence Vaughan
Palk, Baronet, the ancestor of Lord Haldon.

Almost immediately opposite to this estate, but
on the other side of the river, is another property
also called Matford, but situated in the parish of
Heavitree, to which I have referred previously.

Lysons has confused the two Matfords, as I
have already noticed, and has seated " Sir George
Smith " in Alphington instead of Heavitree. Be-
tween the two estates, however, there is a ford
across the river which forms the continuation of a
road between Alphington and Heavitree; it crosses
the water just below " Salmon Pool.''

This road must have afforded a very short cut
between the London road at Heavitree, and the
Plymouth road at Alphington, and the two Mat-
fords doubtless took name from the ford, which
was probably artificial, and therefore known as
" Maad-ford," i,e,. Made-ford, or " Mad-ford."

It has been suggested recently that the names
bear reference to the ford, but that they are
derived from "Mate or Maetan Ford, that is, the

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