In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Moretonhampstead like this:
MORETON-HAMPSTEAD, a small town, a parish, and a sub-district, in Newton-Abbot district, Devon. The town stands on a gentle eminence, on the E verge of Dartmoor, at the terminus of the Moreton-Hampstead and South Devon railway, 2¼ miles S of the river Teign, and 12 WSW of Exeter; was entered by Sir Thomas Fairfax, with his army, in Jan. 1646; is surrounded on all sides, except the W, by lofty hills; enjoys a remarkably salubrious climate, insomuch that its inhabitants present a singularly healthful and robust appearance; has environs strewn with huge fragments of rocks, and presenting a bold contrast of cultivated land on the foreground to the barren heights of Dartmoor in the background; consists of one principal street and two or three smaller ones, with houses chiefly old, mean, thatched, and irregularly built; contains an old cross and an arcaded poor-house of the 17th century; is governed by a portreeve and other officers; and has a post office‡ under Exeter, a railway station, two chief inns, a market-house and shambles, a church, four dissenting chapels, a national school, an endowed school with £10 a year, and charities, £31. ...
The market-house and shambles were built in 1827, at the expense of Lord Courtenay; but they are little used. The church is ancient; comprises nave, aisles, transeptal porch, and chancel; and contains a carved wooden screen. An elm-tree is at the entrance of the churchyard; and the branches of it are said to have been trained to support a stage for dancing. The dissenting chapels are for Calvinists, Baptists, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs, on the Saturday before Whit-Sunday, the third Thursday of July, the first Tuesday of Oct., and the last Thursday of Nov. The woollen trade was formerly carried on to a considerable extent, but began to decline about 1810, and is now defunct. George Bidder, the famous mental calculator, was a native.The parish comprises 7,656 acres. Real property, £7,947. Pop. in 1851,1,858; in 1861,1,468. Houses, 330. The decrease of pop. arose from the junction of small farms, and from the introduction of agricultural machinery. The manor belongs to the Earl of Devon. Cranbrook Castle, overlooking the Teign valley, is an ancient entrenchment, with a double fosse on the N side. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £401.* Patron, the Earl of Devon.The sub-district contains also three other parishes. Acres, 22,642. Pop., 2,718. Houses, 562.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Moretonhampstead has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Teignbridge. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Moretonhampstead and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Moretonhampstead, in Teignbridge and Devon | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 22nd May 2013
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