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MARKET TOWNS OF DEVON (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Moreton Hampstead in 1836

Moreton Hampstead is in Teignbridge hundred, near the eastern border of Dartmoor Forest, and near the Wadley brook, which flows into the Bovey river, and so into the Teign, twelve miles west by south of Exeter, on one of the roads from that place to Tavistock and Plymouth.

The area of the parish is 7,370 acres, and it contained in 1831, 383 inhabited houses, and a population of 1,864. The town is romantically situated on a gentle eminence bounded on almost every side by high hills. The principal street runs for about half a mile along the Exeter and Plymouth road. There are meeting-houses for Unitarians, Independents, Baptists, and Methodists.

Of the adult male population above half are engaged in agriculture : there are no manufactures carried on : that of woollen yarn and serge has become extinct.

The market is on Saturday for corn and provisions ; the market next before Whitsuntide is a great cattle market : there are two cattle fairs in the year. The town is governed by a portreeve, and other officers chosen annually at the court of the lord of the manor. The townspeople are distinguished by singularity of dialect and manners, owing probably to their secluded situation on the border of Dartmoor. The living is a rectory in the gift of the earl of Devon : annual value £401, with a glebe-house.

There were in the parish in 1833, eight infant schools, with 70 scholars ; one day-school, with 33 boys and 6 girls, partly supported by an endowment and an allowance from the parish ; six other day-schools, with 69 boys and 42 girls ; and three Sunday-schools, with 82 children ; one of the Sunday-schools has a lending-library attached to it.