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There is yet no evidence as to how Witheridge became a Borough, but it would appear to be through the action of the Duchy of Lancaster. The first evidence is negative. Nomina villarume of 1316 states that there is no Borough in the Hundreds of Witheridge. Five of the Duchy Rolls make mention of the Borough, namely 696 of 2 and 3, Phil and Mary 1555. 699 of 3 and 4 Eliz. 1561. 700 of 44 and 45, Eliz. 1602-3, 701 of 21 Jas.I 1623, 702 of 6 Chas.I.1632. In two of these rolls there are charges of selling cider within the Borough, and in one of them, 700, the name is given of the bailiff of the Borough, Henry Ford.

1499: I.P.M. of Sir William Huddesfield which cites a deed of 1490, putting his Manor, Borough and Hundred of Witheridge into trust.

1540: Deed No. 107 of Tingey's index of Deeds enrolled at Exeter as of the sale of John Southcott of Bovytracy to Thomas Hacche of Aller of a moiety or half - yndale of the Manor, Borough and Hundred of Wetherug alias Wytherugge.

1631: Deed No. 1818. of the same series is the sale of Thomas Hatch of Aller to Edw, Chichester, Kt, Baron of Belfast, and Lord Viscount Chichester of Carrickfergus in Ireland and of the Manor of WITHERIDGE als Witherudge with the members and with the Borough and Hundred.

1585: One of the tenements listed when John Stucley sold to Thomas Melhuish and Barbara his wife the sheef and manor (sic) of Witheridge is described as being in the Borough. (Properly the Manor of Witheridge Cannington)

1755: I know of no particular customs, Tenures and Privileges peculiar to the Manors but the Borough in general enjoys the common privileges of the Duchy of Lancaster. Viz exemptions from Toll and Customs at Markets and Fairs etc. but Risdon says they enjoy this by ancient demesne. Be it as it will a Duchy Court is kept up here besides the Manor Court and Hundred Court above mentioned, and the Steward, if I mistake not, has his authority from the King or his minister as Duke of Lancaster (Chapple, Milles Mss Bodl) LEE) Chapple sounds sure of himself but shy of writing anything contrary to Risdons published opinion. Witheridge was not of ancient demesne though it was held in Saxon times by Countess Githa, widow of Earl, Godwin.

1755: The first Manor and Borough of Witheridge (Chapple, as above), the present Lord thereof is Coulson Fellowes of Eggesford, Esq in whose Court Leet there the Portreeve and other officers of the Borough are appointed and sworn. He is also lord of the Hundred of Witheridge and the Court Leet is a Hundred Court.

1850: White's Devonshire and 1919, Baring-Gould's Little Guide to Devon in the same words speak of Witheridge as anciently a borough governed by a portreeve, with a weekly market disused before 1774

We shall know more if ever the Court Rolls of the Manor Court are found. Borough acres were three quarters a statue acres. The bounds of the Borough, not parish were anciently beaten. I do not know when either custom went out of use. The Borough bounds are shown on the annexed map.

Map made for the purpose of illustrating the boundaries of the ANCIENT BOROUGH OF WITHERIDGE.

Made from the 6" ordnance map on information given in 1937 by Mr. H. H. Churchill.

Starting from the two houses on the main Tiverton Road called PROVIDENCE PLACE, along the north side of the orchard until a hedge is reached which continues the line of FULFORD WATER, down FULFORD WATER and HOLE LAKE to the river. Then down the river to a point where a continuous line of hedge begins which runs south-east-wards to the starting point at PROVIDENCE.

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Last Edited 03/07/2006    Copyright © 2000-2006 Witheridge

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