The Devon Historian Volume 85, 2016


The Meaning and History of Indio Bovey Tracey, and the Legend of its Nunnery: Frances Billinge

Indio is a grand Victorian house on the outskirts of the ancient borough of Bovey Tracey. The meaning of its name and its history are presented. Before the dissolution of the monasteries the estate was a grange farm of St John’s Hospital Bridgwater. It then became a family seat of the Southcots, and later a pottery was developed on the site. The origin of the legend that there was a medieval nunnery on the site is traced, together with evidence to show that no such religious house existed there or elsewhere in Bovey Tracey.

Orchards in Northern Devon c.1840: An Analysis of the Tithe Survey: John Bradbeer

Orchards are an iconic element of Devon’s agricultural landscape but have declined greatly in the last century and a half. The paper uses the Tithe Survey of the 1840s to examine the distribution of orchards in a sample of parishes in northern Devon. It also examines the mazzard garden a very distinctive feature of some parishes in northern Devon.

George Montagu of Kingsbridge and Lackham: Georgian Soldier, Naturalist, and Libertine: Tony Pratt

This paper considers the life and scientific achievements of George Montagu. He led an active life, being a soldier in the British Army in North America during the Revolution, commanding (and being court-martialled from) the Wiltshire militia, marrying a society lady and then leaving her and their children to live with his mistress and having more children with her. But he is best remembered, as a naturalist and early Fellow of the Linnaean Society, writing several influential books and papers on Natural History. He was involved in the unrest in Devon in 1800-01 and commanded the Devon Guides when invasion by Napoleon was feared.

Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor, and South Molton Parsonage in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Jeremy Sims

For about three hundred years the Dean and Canons of Saint George’s Chapel in Windsor were the owners of the rectory of South Molton with a considerable area of land there. The first years of the Dean and Canons’ ownership of the property, and the problems with which it was beset, were related in an earlier article. This article deals with the later history of the property and the relationship between the Dean and Canons and its lessees, the Hacche family and later South Molton Corporation, during the period from 1700 until the transfer of the lands to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England in 1867, illustrating the fluctuating value of these extensive lands during that period.

Medieval tenurial geography and the open fields in Ottery St Mary: Christopher Wakefield

A case study of the spatial geography of tenure arrangements in a large parish and hundred in East Devon, designed to establish, by working backwards from later medieval records, the social status of those who held the land in the middle to late Saxon period. Then to move that assessment on a stage to offer a functional analysis of the ‘open field’ landscape in that period. A number of related issues are opened up to discussion in support of the general notion of much earlier origins and a greater survival rate in landscape features.

Four neglected pixy-led Sources from Devon: Dr Simon Young

Pixy-leading is the folk belief that pixies could cause someone to lose his or her way. In this article we introduce four early Devon sources for this belief, three from the seventeenth and one from the eighteenth century. These are: a passage from Westcote’s View of Devonshire; a poem by Robert Herrick; and one by Christopher Clobery; and an extract from an eighteenth-century manuscript collection of Devon dialect words. Though some present problems and though some are obscure, all these passages deserve to be considered in future folklore studies.