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In 1846 the Vestry was the chief governing body in the parish. It consisted of ratepayers, who were summoned by a notice pinned on the church door. As the years went by the number of ratepayers increased, and, by 1860, the church vestry was unable to contain the numbers. After that date it was usual for them to meet at the vestry itself, but to then immediately adjourn to the schoolroom for their meeting. Their responsibilities included the appointment of churchwardens, the overseers of the poor, and the waywardens. The latter cared for all the roads in the parish that were not owned by the Turnpike Trusts. The Vestry also checked the accounts of these bodies and fixed the rates.

Selection of Vestry Minutes

8th August 1846: Thomas Comins, Clerk, and James Vickery, Surveyor of the Highway, summoned a meeting to discuss rebuilding Witheridge Mill Bridge.

21st August 1846: The Vestry authorise Messrs Baker, White, James Partridge, Thorne, Adams and Bragg, to replace the bridge at less than £50.

28th January 1847: It was resolved that the beam of the old bridge at Witheridge now lying in the orchard of William Bodley be given to him in compensation for the damage done him by the public path passing through his orchard whilst the new bridge was building, and that the Waywardens be authorised to sell the other beam of the same to Mr Wm Thorne on the valuation of John Brawn.

24th April 1848: The Minister nominated Mr White of Coombe Farm and the parishioners unanimously elected Mr William Thorne to be Churchwardens for the ensuing year.

1st July 1848: It was resolved that the sum of four pounds be granted to the Assistant Waywarden for the purpose of putting the southern half of Drayford Bridge in thorough repair.

9th September 1848: It was resolved that Messrs Adams, John Cole and John Baker be constituted a committee for the purpose of enquiring the probable expense of the appointment of a policeman, and also whether any (and if any) of the adjacent parishes will be disposed to assist.

7th October 1848: The Vestry resolved to render the highway passable over Monkey Moor and Newhouse Moor.

24th February 1849: The Vestry resolved that Messrs Henry Davey, John Dinner and Joseph Dinner be recommended to the Justices to be appointed by them Constables of this parish for the ensuing year.

16th March 1849: Overseers of the Poor, Wm Smale, Henry Brailey, John Cole, Wm Bater, Abel Blake, George Phillips. Waywardens Samuel Tucker, Wm Burgess, Wm Cruwys, Wm Putt. Assessors of Land and Assessed Tax, John Moore, Wm Anstey.

20th June 1852: Resolved that William Commins be requested to take an opinion of a Barrister at Law on the doubtful points of law involved in the removal of Mary Groves, a pauper, from St Sidwells in Exeter to this parish.

3rd December 1853: The South Molton Board of Guardians require a parish appointment of a local Board of Health.

29th December 1853: The Vestry appoints the Churchwardens, the Overseers, and Messrs Carter and Haley to constitute a Board of Health. (Editors note; Mr Haley was the village surgeon).

12th June 1863: The High Constables of the Hundred of Witheridge having received notice that the inhabitants of the Hundred were indicted at the last Quarter Sessions for not repairing Cove Bridge in Stoodleigh, you are requested to meet the said High Constables at Witheridge on the 15th of June 1863 at 12 O'clock to determine what steps shall be taken in the matter.

13th June 1863: The Vestry resolve to pay £11 3s 3d and a farthing into The National Provincial Bank for the purposes of Cove Bridge.

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

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