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THE HUNDREDS OF DEVON

Devon used to be divided for administrative purposes into thirty-two "hundreds". Some types of record, in particular Land Tax records, are arranged by hundreds, and many registration districts are named after the old hundreds. This page provides a listing of the hundreds and, for each hundred, a description taken from White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Devonshire, (1850), plus a set of links to the relevant parish pages. (There is some confusion over the status of Winkleigh, which it would appear was anciently a separate hundred, a situation which continued into the 18th Century, as evidenced in various Quarter Sessions records. However, in the nineteenth century it came to be viewed together with North Tawton as the Hundred of North Tawton and Winkleigh - different parts of White's directory are inconsistent regarding this issue.)

Note: Information (e.g. book citations) relating to a hundred as a whole is given in the page corresponding to the parish bearing the name of the hundred, if there is one, otherwise in the page of the first of the parishes listed below as belonging to that hundred.

LISTING OF HUNDREDS

Axminster
Bampton
Black Torrington
Braunton
Cliston
Coleridge
Colyton
Crediton
East Budleigh
Ermington
Exminster
Fremington
Halberton
Hartland
Hayridge
Haytor
Hemyock
Lifton
North Tawton
Ottery
Plympton
Roborough
Shebbear
Shirwell
South Molton
Stanborough
Tavistock
Teignbridge
Tiverton
West Budleigh
Witheridge
Wonford
Winkleigh

Axminster

"Though in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Devon, this hundred forms the north-eastern extremity of the county, bounded on the east by Dorsetshire and Somersetshire, and on the south by about six miles of coast of the English Channel, extending eastward from Axmouth to the vicinity of Lyme-Regis. It includes the towns of Honiton and Axminster, and extends 14 miles northward to the lofty hills, where the three counties join, and where the rivers Otter and Yarty have their sources; the former running to Honiton, Ottery, &c., and the latter to the river Axe, which runs from Axminster to Axmouth. These small rivers receive here many tributary streams, from the bold hills and deep valley which occupy three-fourths of this Hundred. It is in Honiton Polling District, in the Archdeaconry of Exeter, and in Axminster and Honiton Petty Sessional Divisions and County Court Districts, and all in Honiton Deanery, except Combe-Rawleigh, Luppitt, Yarcombe, and Up-Ottery, which are in Dunkeswell Deanery."
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Bampton

"Is a small district of 6990 souls, and about 30,000 acres of land, picturesquely undulated, and having a bold range of hills on its northern boundary, adjoining Somersetshire. It is bounded on the south by Tiverton Hundred and Borough, and has a variable soil, chiefly a heavy clay, with a gravelly subsoil. It is noted for its fine breed of sheep, and for its extensive quarries of limestone, great quantities of which are sent for building and agricultural purposes along the Great Western Canal, which crosses the east end of the Hundred. . . It comprises the seven parishes of Bampton, Clayhanger, Hockworthy, Holcombe-Rogus, Morebath, Uffculme, and part of Burlescombe, in the Northern Division of Devon, and all in Tiverton Polling District, except Uffculme, which is in Collumpton Polling District. It is all in Collumpton Petty Divisional Session, in the Archdeaconry of Exeter, and Deanery of Tiverton. Burlescombe and Holcombe-Rogus are in Wellington Union, which is mostly in Somerset; but the other five parishes are in Tiverton Union."
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Black Torrington

"Is a large and picturesque district, averaging about twenty miles in length, and 15 in breadth. It is bounded on the north by the river Torridge; on the east by the small river Okement; on the south by Dartmoor, and Lifton Hundred; and on the west by Cornwall, from which it is divided by the river Tamar, which rises near the sources of the Torridge, at the north-western extremity of this Hundred, within five miles of the sea. The whole Hundred in in the Northern Parliamentary Division of Devon, and in Holsworthy and Hatherleigh Polling Districts. It is mostly in the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and partly in that of Totnes."
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Braunton

"Is a picturesque and irregularly formed district, bounded on the west and north by the Bristol Channel, and on the south-west by the estuary of the River Taw, from Barnstaple to the Bay. Its coast presents to the sea a bold and circuitous line of cliffs and rocky promontories, extending from Barnstaple or Bideford Bay to Trentishoe, a distance of 24 miles. It includes Ilfracombe, Combe-Martin, &c.; and its northern and western parishes form a hilly district, extending to the borders of Somersetshire and Exmoor Forest. The Borough of Barnstaple is within its limits, but has a separate jurisdiction. The whole Hundred is in the Northern Parliamentary Division of Devon, and in the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and Deaneries of Sherwill and Barnstaple. It is all in Barnstape Petty Sessional Division, except East and West Buckland and Filleigh, which are in South Molton Divison."
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Cliston

"This small Hundred is all in the Southern Division of Devonshire, except Butterleigh parish, which is a detached member of it, in the Northern Division. It is only about six miles in length and in breadth, and extends from 5 to 11 miles N.E. of Exeter. It is a fertile district, watered by the small rivers Culm, and Clist, and traversed by the Bristol and Exeter Railway. It had 3871 inhabitants in 1841, and comprises 19,552 acres of land, celebrated for its excellent cider. . ."
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Coleridge

"Extends southward from Totnes, along the navigable river Dart to Dartmouth, and thence along the coast of Start Bay to Salcombe Haven, which extends northward to Kingsbridge, and has several creeks branching from either side. Its greatest length from Totnes to Start and Prawle Points, is 16 miles, and the breadth varies from 7 to 4 miles. It is encompassed on three sides by tidal waters, and is generally a fertile district, rich in picturesque scenery and splendid marine views. It is in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Devon, and in the Polling Districts of Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, and Totnes; and in the Deaneries of Totnes and Woodleigh, and in the Archdeaconry of Totnes."
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Colyton

"Is an irregularly formed district, averaging about six miles in breadth, and 8 in length, and bounded on the south by the English Channel, on the west by East Budleigh Hundred, Ottery St Mary, and the borough of Honiton, and on the north and east by Axminster Hundred. It is in the Southern Dvision of Devon, in Honiton Polling District, and in the Axminster and Honiton Unions, County Court Districts, and Petty Sessional Divisions. It is in the Archdeacory of Exeter, and all in Honitom Deanery, except Branscombe, which is in Aylesbeare Deanery."
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Crediton

"Is in the Northern Division of Devon; in Crediton Union, County Court District, Polling District, and Petty Sessional Division; and in the Archdeaconry of Exeter, and Deanery of Cadbury. It is in the centre of the county, extending from two to twelve miles north-west of Exeter, and varying from four to six miles in breadth. It is bounded on the east by the small river Creedy, and traversed by the line of the Taw Valley and Crediton and Exeter Railway, which is still unfinished. It had 12,055 inhabitants in 1841, and comprises 36,924 acres of land. . ."
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East Budleigh

"This Hundred is in the Southern Division of Devon, in the Archdeaconry of Exeter, and all in the Deanery of Aylesbeare, and in the Woodbury Petty Sessional Division; except Gittisham parish, which is in the Honiton Deanery and Petty Sessional Division. It is about seven miles in breadth and extends more than ten miles in length along the sea cost [sic] from Exmouth to Salcombe-Regis, but Ottery St Mary, which lies within its limits, is a separate liberty. It is generally a fertile and picturesque district, and includes the bathing places of Exmouth, Sidmouth and Budleigh-Salterton. It is intersected by the rivers Otter and Sid, and bounded on the west by the broad estuary of the Exe."
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Ermington

"Extends 14 miles northward from Bigbury Bay, and averages about six miles in breadth. The northern part of it comprises a portion of the hilly region of Dartmoor Forest, whence the river Erme flows southward to the ocean at Bigbury Bay, where the Aven also empties itself through an estuary which forms the south-east boundary of this Hundred, which is in the Southern Division of Devon, in the Archdeaconry of Totnes; in the Deaneries of Woodleigh and Plympton; in Ermington and Plympton petty sessional division; and mostly in Kingsbridge and Plymouth Polling Districts."
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Exminster

"Is of an irregular oval figure, extending about ten miles southward from the boundary of the County of the City of Exeter, and averaging about seven miles in breadth. It is bounded on the east by the broad estuary of the river Exe, and on the south by the estuary of the Teign and the English Channel. it is a fertile and picturesque district, rising boldly to the west, and comprising the pleasant bathing places of Teignouth and Dawlish; the small market town of Chudleigh; and several handsome seats. Its eastern end, near the Exe, is traversed by the Southern Railway. It is in the Southern Division of Devon; in the Archdeaconry of Exeter; and all in the Kenn Deanery, except Ashton and Doddiscombleigh, which are in Dunsford Deanery."
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Fremington

"Is in the Northern Parliamentary Division of Devon, and extends about eleven miles southward from Barnstaple to Great Torrington and the vale of the river Torridge. It is bounded on the north by the estuary of the Taw, and on the north-west by the estuary of the Torridge; and is mostly in the Petty Sessional Division of Braunton, and partly in that of Torrington. It is in the polling districts of Barnstaple, Bideford, and Torrington; and is in the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, but extends into the Deaneries of Barnstaple, Torrington, and Hartland."
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Halberton

"Is a small district, comprising only the parishes of Halberton, Sampford-Peverell, Willand and part of Uplomwan, in Tiverton Union, and part of Burlescombe, in Wellington Union. It contains only 3021 souls, and about 14,000 acres of land. It is all in the Northern Division of Devon, Archdeaconry of Exeter, Deanery of Tiverton, and Collumpton Petty Sessional Division."
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Hartland

"Is a small district, on the north coast of Devon, about 8 miles in length and 5 in breadth, bounded on the north and west by the Bristol Channel, and on the south by a small part of Cornwall and the river Torridge, which, though it rises within a few miles of the ocean, runs inland in a very winding course of more than 80 miles to the mouth of the Taw. Hartland is the bold headland which stretches out into the sea between Barnstaple or Bideford Bay, and Bude Bay, and includes only the five parishes of Clovelly, Hartland, Wellcombe, Woolfardisworthy, and Yarncombe, which comprise 4966 souls, and about 31,000 acres of land, rising in bold cliffs from the beach, and in lofty hills from the picturesque valleys of several rivulets and the river Torridge. It is in the Northern Parliamentary Division of Devon, in the Great Torrington Petty Sessional Division, in the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and all in Hartland Deanery, except Yarnscombe, which is a widely detached member of this Hundred, and is in Barnstaple Deanery, and Torrington Union. The other four parishes are in Bideford Union."
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Hayridge

"Is of an irregular figure, extending about 16 miles from east to west, and varying form 9 to 6 in breadth. Its soil is various, but generally fertile, and its surface is picturesquely diversified with hill and valley, and wood and water. It includes the market town of Collumpton; and those of Exeter, Tiverton, Honiton, and Ottery St. Mary are within a few miles of its boundaries. It is crossed by the Bristol and Exeter Railway, and the branch to Tiverton; and watered by the rivers Exe and Culm, and several of their tributary streams. It is in the Northern Districts of Devon; mostly in Collumpton and Tiverton Polling Districts; and all in Collumpton Petty Sessional Division, and in the Archdeaconry of Exeter; mostly in Plymtree Deanery, and partly in Cadbury Deanery."
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Haytor

"Includes the towns of Torquay, Brixton, Paignton, and Newton Abbot, and is mostly of an irregular triangular figure, extending south-east from the vicinity of Ashburton to Dartmouth; northward from the latter to Tor Bay, Babbicombe Bay, and Stoke-in-Teignhead; and westward from the latter to Newton and Ashburton; but it has a detached member from four to six miles further to the north-west, comprising the parishes of Widecombe and Buckland, in the mountainous and rugged district of Dartmoor, near the Haytor Rock granite quarries, from which it gets its name. The navigable river Dart bounds it on the south-west, and the sea on the east; and it is crossed by the South Devon Railway, which has a branch to the beautiful watering place of Torquay. Hayton Hundred is in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Devon, and all in Newton Abbot Polling District, except Brixham, Churston-Ferrers, and Kingswear, which are in Dartmouth Polling District; and Berry-Pomeroy, Little Hempston, Marldon, Staverton, and Stoke-Gabriel, which are in Totnes Polling District. It is in the Archdeaconry of Totnes, and all in Ipplepen Deanery, except Berry-Pomeroy and Little Hempston, which are in Totnes Deanery; and Buckland-in-the-Moor, and Marldon, which are in Moreton Deanery. It is all in Teignbridge and Paignton Petty Divisional sessions."
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Hemyock

"Is a small hilly district, of a very irregular form, comprising part of the Black Down Hills, where the river Culm has its sources, on the borders of Somersetshire. It comprises only seven parishes, viz., Awliscombe, Buckerell, and Dunkeswell, in Honiton Union; Clayhidon, Culmstock, and Hemyock, in Wellington Union; and Church-Stanton, in Taunton Union. These Unions form County Court Districts, and the two latter are mostly in Somersetshire. The seven parishes comprise 6089 inhabitants, and 28,000 acres of land. They are in the Northern Division of Devon, and all in Collumpton Polling District, except Hemyock, which is in Tiverton Polling District. They are all in Collumpton Petty Sessional Division, and the Archdeaconry of Exeter; and all in the Deanery of Dunkeswell, except Buckerell and Cumlstock, the former of which is in Plymtree, the latter in Tiverton Deanery."
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Lifton

"On the western side of Devon, extends over about 140,000 acres of land, more than a third of which is in the wild and hilly district of Dartmoor Forest. . . The forest portion extends about 16 miles from north to south, and from 4 to 6 in breadth, extending westward to the river Tamar, on the borders of Cornwall; northward to Okehampton, and southward to the vicinity of Tavistock. It gives rise to many rivers and brooks, and is in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Devon; in Tavistock and Okehampton Polling Districts; in Lifton and Tavistock Petty Sessional Divisions; in the Archdeaconry of Totnes; and mostly in the Deanery of Tavistock, and partly that of Okehampton."
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North Tawton

"Is a fertile and long narrow district, in the Northen Parliamentary Division of Devon, stretching about 18 miles from north to south, and varying from 7 to less than 4 in breadth. The river Taw flows through a picturesque valley on its eastern side, and receives here several tributary streams. The whole Hundred is in the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and in the Deaneries of Barnstaple, Chulmleigh, and Torrington."
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Ottery

"[The parish] comprises a hundred of itself, in the Southern Division of Devon, in Honiton Union and Polling and County Court District; in Woodbury Petty Sessional Division; and in the Archdeaconry of Exeter and Deanery of Aylesbeare."
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Plympton

"Extends more than sixteen miles southward from the hilly region of Dartmoor Forest to the English Channel, between Plymouth Sound and Bigbury Bay, but is only from 6 to 4 miles in breadth. It is bounded on the west by the river Plym, which falls into Plymouth sound; and on its south-eastern side, it has the estuary of the Yealm. It is crossed by the South Devon Railway, and is in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Devon, in Plymouth Polling and County Court District, in the Archdeaconry of Totnes, and the Deanery of Plympton."
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Roborough

"Adjoins the Boroughs of Plymouth and Devonport, and forms the south-western extremity of Devon, bounded on the west by the broad estuary of the river Tamar; but including Mount Edgcumbe and part of Maker parish, on the Cornwall side of the harbour and Plymouth Sound. It extends about 14 miles northward from Plymouth, to the wild and hilly district of Dartmoor Forest, where there are several lead and tin mines. It is skirted on the east by the river Plym, and traversed by the navigable river Tavy, and the railway from Dartmoor granite quarries. It is in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Devonshire, in the Tavistock and Plymouth Polling Districts; in the Archdeaconry of Totness, and in the Deaneries of Tamerton and Plympton. It forms a Petty Sessional Division."
[Note that the parish of Roborough, in North Devon, is part of Fremington Hundred]
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Shebbear

"In the Northern Parliamentary Division of Devon, and in the north-western part of the county, is skirted on three sides by the winding stream of the river Torridge, and bounded on the north-west by Bideford Bay and Hartland Hundred. It averages about 12 miles in length and eight in breadth, and is a picturesque district; having the Borough and Port of Bideford within its northern limits, and the towns of Torrington and Hatherleigh near its borders. It is in the petty sessional divisions of Great Torrington, and Black Torrington and Shebbear; in the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and in the Deaneries of Hartland and Torrington."
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Shirwell

"Is a highly picturesque district of hill and dale at the northern extremity of Devon, adjoining Exmoor, and bounded on the east by Somersetshire, on the north by the Bristol Channel, on the west by Braunton Hundred, and on the south by the latter, and South Molton Hundred. It is in the Northern Parliamentary Division of Devon; in Lynton and Barnstaple Polling Districts, in Braunton Petty Sessional Division, in the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and in Sherwill Deanery. It comprises the twe12lve parishes of Arlington, Brendon, Challacombe, Charles, Countisbury, High Bray, Lynton, Loxhore, Martinhoe, Parracombe, Sherwill, and Stoke Rivers, which contain about 50,000 acres of land, including a large portion of open moors and commons. They had 4643 inhabitants in 1841, and are all in Barnstaple Union, except Charles parish, which is in the South Molton Union."
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South Molton

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Stanborough

"Is a long narrow district, extending more than 22 miles southward from the river Dart in Dartmoor Forest, to the English Channel, between Bolt Head and Tail, and the mouths of Salcombe creek and the river Avon; but averaging only about five miles in breadth. It stretches into the hilly region of Dartmoor on the north west, and is bounded by the river Dart as low as Totnes, where it is crossed by the South Devon Railway. It is traversed southward by the Avon, which receives several smaller streams; and the haven and creeks from Kingsbridge to the sea form its south-western boundary. It is in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Devon, in Stanborough and Coleridge Petty Sessional Division; in the Archdeaconry of Totnes, and in the Deaneries of Woodleigh and Totnes."
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Tavistock

"Is a small liberty on the south-western side of Devonshire, containing only the three parishes of Brent-Tor, Milton Abbot, and Tavistock, which comprise 7697 souls, and about 23,000 acres of land, bounded on the south-west by the river Tamar, which separates it from Cornwall, and here receives the small river Tavy, and has a canal to Tavistock, passing through a long tunnel. The Duke of Bedford is lord of the manor and hundred; and the three parishes are in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Devon; in the Archdeacory of Totnes; and in Tavistock Union, Deanery, Polling and County Court District. It has mines of copper, tin, and lead, and is generally a fertile and picturesque district, bounded on the east by the mountainous region of Dartmoor Forest."
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Teignbridge

"Averages about ten miles in length and seven in breadth, and includes the towns of Ashburton and Newton Bushel, on its southern border, and Moreton Hampstead, near its northern boundary. Its western side forms part of the eastern hills of Dartmoor Forest, including the Haytor Granite Rock Quarries, which have a railway and canal to the Teign; but the rest of the hundred is a fertile district of hills and valleys, watered by the East and West Teign, which receive here several tributaries, and unite near Teigngrace, below which the stream becomes navigable. The whole hundred is in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Devon, and it is all in Newton Abbot Polling District, except Moreton Hampstead, which is in Exeter Polling District. It is all in the Archdeaconry of Totnes, and in the Deanery of Moreton. [Its parishes are] all in Newton Abbot Union and County Court District."
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Tiverton

"Comprises only the Borough and Parish of Tiverton, and the four parishes of Calverleigh, Huntsham, Loxbear and most of Uplowman, which contain 10,770 inhabitants, and about 24,00 [sic] acres of land, generally fertile, picturesquely undulated, and traversed by the river Exe, and several of its tributary streams. It is in the Northern Division of Devon, in Tiverton Polling and County Court District, in Tiverton Union, and in the Archdeaconry of Exeter and Deanery of Tiverton. The Borough of Tiverton has separate quarter and petty sessions, and the rest of the Hundred is in Collumpton Petty Sessional Division."
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West Budleigh

"Is in the Northern Division of Devon and in the Archdeaconry of Exeter. It is all in the Cadbury Deanery and in the Crediton Union, Petty Sessional Division, and Polling District; except for Washford, which is a detached member in Tiverton Union, Deanery and Polling District; and in the Cullompton Petty Sessional Division. It lies north and north-east of Crediton, and is only about 8 miles long and four broad. It is watered by the river Creedy and one of its tributaries, and comprises only about 17,366 acres of land, and 3372 inhabitants. . ."
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Winkleigh

"[The parish] forms a Hundred of itself, together with some estates in Lapford, Coleridge, and Zeal Monachorum parishes, now called Loosebeare tithing."
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Witheridge

"Is a fertile district of hill and valley, of an irregular figure, averaging about fifteen miles in length and nine in breadth, in the Northern Division of Devon, Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and Deaneries of South Molton and Chulmleigh, except Templeton parish, which is in the Archdeaconry of Exeter, and Deanery of Tiverton. It extends from 3 to about 18 miles westward from Tiverton, and to the vicinity of South Molton, and to within about four miles of the boundary of Somerset. It is watered by the small rivers Mole, Little Dart, Sturcombe, and Taw, and many tributary streams; and rises into a bold range of hills on the east and north, but has extensive tracts of rich corn lands and pastures in the valleys."
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Wonford

"Is in the Southern Division of Devonshire, and extends about 19 miles westward and 4 miles eastward from Exeter; completely encompassing that city, and adding a considerable population to its suburbs. . . Exclusive of the two distant detached members near Newton Abbot, it is about 23 miles in length from east to west, and varies from eight to four miles in breadth. It is bounded on the north by the Northern Division of the county, on the east by East Budleigh and Cliston Hundreds, on the south by Exminster and Teignbridge Hundreds; and on the west by the extensive mountainous moorland district of Dartmoor Forest; large portions of which, near Chagford, Gidleigh, Throwley, and South Tawton, are within its limits. . . It is generally a fertile and picturesque district, traversed by the Exeter and Okehampton turnpike and other good roads, and extending down the river Exe to Topsham, - the shipping port of Exeter. It comprises 87,516 acres of land, and 31,000 inhabitants. . . "

Last updated 23 Jun 2013 - Brian Randell.

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