Transcribed from - Morris and Co.'s Commercial Directory and Gazetteer. 1870
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Transcribed by Lyn LAMBLE
Checked by Val HENDERSON
Pages 459 - 461
BOVEY TRACEY (or SOUTH BOVEY) is a parish and small town in Newton Abbot union, containing, by the census of 1861, 2080 inhabitants, and 7262 acres; in the deanery of Moreton, archdeaconry of Totnes, diocese of Exeter, hundred of Teignbridge, East Devonshire; 4 miles south-west from Chudleigh, 6 north-west from Newton Abbot, and 6½ south-east from Moreton Hampstead, on the line of railway between those places, at which it has a station. The manor was formerly the property of the Tracey family, as part of the Barony of Barnstaple from whence its name is derived, and Henry Tracey the then lord of the manor, in 1259, obtained a Charter for a market and fair of three days' duration, but which have long been obsolete. C.A. Bentinck, Esq, is now lord of the manor. During the wars between Charles I. and his Parliament, this town was the head quarters of Lord Wentworth, with a portion of the royal troops, and at six o'clock in the evening of the 9th January, 1646, they were suddenly attacked by a part of the Parliamentary army, under General Fairfax, who took 400 horsemen prisoners, several colours and a Crown with the royal initials upon it; several of the principal officers were playing at cards, and when surprised by the Parliamentary soldiers threw the stakes out of the window amongst them, and escaped by the back door whilst they were scrambling for the money. The town rises in a gradual slope from Bovey Heathfield up the side of an hill, from the higher parts of which some splendid views of the surrounding country can be obtained. An extensive pottery is worked here in a Joint-stock Company, which gives employment to about 300 people; it was originally established in 1772. BOVEY HEATHFIELD is a large tract of land about 500 acres in extent, formerly a boggy morass, but much improved by the cutting of the Stover Canal, which connects the Haytor Rock Granite Quarries with the river Teign; it is supposed that the Sea formerly extended here, and a sort of coal is dug, which appears to be composed of imperfectly carbonised wood, which is believed to be the remains of a submerged forest penetrated with bitumen, and frequently containing pyrites, alum, and vitriol; it is used as fuel at the pottery, also by the poorer classes in the neighbourhood.
The TOWN HALL is a neat edifice, in the centre of the village, which was erected about four years ago, at a cost of £1300, of which £800 is charged upon the rates of the parish, and £500 lent by a gentleman on personal security. The parish vestry and other public meetings are held here, and it is also used for concerts, lectures, balls, &c.
The Vicarage, in the incumbency of the Hon. and Rev. Charles Leslie Courtenay, M.A., Canon of Windsor, is valued at £450 per annum, with residence, and is in the patronage of the Crown. The church, which is in the Perpendicular style, is supposed to have been built in 1170 by Sir William Tracey, as an act of penance, after the murder of Thomas á Becket at Canterbury, and was believed to have been dedicated to St. Thomas, but on its being repaired a few years ago, some wall paintings were discovered which induced the supposition that it was dedicated to St. Michael; it consists of nave, chancel, one south and two north aisles, with tower containing six bells and a clock. St. John's Church at Heathfield, is a neat small Gothic edifice, consisting of nave, chancel, north and south aisles, with turret and two bells; in the east end is a handsome stained glass window representing the crucifixion, and the six windows in the chancel are also of stained-glass representing the Kiss of Judas; the Scourging; Christ bearing the Cross; Christ sinking under the weight of the Cross, with Joseph of Arimathæa assisting him; preparing to nail Our Saviour to the Cross; and after taking him down; it was erected by the present vicar from the designs of Mr. Carpenter, the architect. The Baptists, Christian Brethren, Independents, and Wesleyans have places of worship here. There are National British, and Infant Schools for children of both sexes, and an Endowed School, in which the master teaches 23 boys free, and is allowed to take private pupils. There are also some charitable bequests for the benefit of the poor.
The DEVON HOUSE OF MERCY, for reclaiming fallen women, was established here in 1861, and was formally opened in a temporary residence in 1863; the foundation stone of the present building was laid by the Earl of Devon in 1865; it contains accommodation for 72 inmates, and is supported by voluntary contributions; the members of the Clewsisterhood have the management of it.
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