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MARKET TOWNS OF DEVON (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Kingsbridge in 1836

Kingsbridge is in the hundred of Stanborough, in the southern part of the county, a short distance north-west of Start Point, at the head of a considerable estuary into which a number of small streams flow: it is thirty-five miles south-south-west of Exeter.

The town may be considered as composed of Kingsbridge and Dodbroke, or Dodbrook, which Coleridge hundred, and is separated from Kingsbridge only by a rivulet. The area and population of these parishes in 1831, were, Kingsbridge, 150 acres, 1,586 inhabitants ; Dodbroke, 420 acres, 1,038 inhabitants ; total 570 acres. 2,624 inhabitants. The number of inhabited houses in the two parishes was in 1831, 378.

Of the adult male population scarcely more than one-tenth was engaged in agriculture, and scarcely any in manufacture : the manufacture of woollen cloths and serges formerly carried on with considerable activity having become nearly or quite extinct.

Ships of burden can come up to the town at high water. and there are two quays, one in Dodbroke, and the other in the parish of West Alvington, or Allington, adjacent to Kingsbridge. Cider, corn, malt, and slate are exported ; the chief imports are sea-borne coals.

The market is on Wednesday, for corn, butchers’ meat, and provisions : the corn-market is one of the largest in Devonshire. There is one fair in the year. Kingsbridge consists mainly of one street on the Modbury and Plymouth road ; Dodbroke, of one on the Exeter road : these streets unite at the lower end of the town near the haven.

The church of Dodbroke, dedicated to St. Thomas-a-Becket, has an early stone font, and some portions of good screen work. There are meeting-houses for Independents, Baptists, Quakers, and Wesleyan Methodists. The living of Kingsbridge is a vicarage united with that of Churchstow, or Churstow, an adjacent parish to the north-west ; their joint yearly value is £118 ; they are in the gift of the crown. The living of Dodbroke is a rectory of the yearly value of £183, with a glebe-house.

There were in Dodbroke in 1833, 6 day-schools with 130 children, all very young ; and in Kingsbridge, 1 infant school with 14 children, and 7 other day-schools, 6 of them containing 150 children of both sexes; the seventh is a grammar-school endowed for the instruction of at least 15 boys, with exhibitions for three or four scholars to the universities : the number of scholars actually taught is not stated in the return. There were in Kingsbridge also 4 Sunday-schools with 97 scholars.