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MARKET TOWNS OF DEVON (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Ottery St. Mary in 1836

Ottery St. Mary is in the hundred of Ottery, and on the east or left bank of the river Otter, about eleven miles from Exeter. The hundred of Ottery contains only this parish, which has an area of 9,470 acres; the population in 1831 was 3,849 : of the adult males above half were engaged in agriculture, and only one person in manufacture. The town is irregularly laid out, but in a pleasant situation.

The church, formerly collegiate, is large and in the form of a cross : it resembles Exeter cathedral in having two towers for transepts. The architecture is chiefly in the early English style, of a character rather different from what is common, and with various alterations of a later date : the northern tower is crowned by a low spire. There is a Lady chapel. There are several monuments in the church of some antiquity, especially an altar tomb with the effigy of an armed knight and a rich monumental arch over it. There were formerly chapels at Ottery dedicated to St. Saviour and St. Budeaux, and also chapels of which there are some remains at Holcome and Knighteston, in the parish. There is a place of worship for Independents.

The remains of an ancient mansion, once inhabited by Sir Walter Raleigh, are said to be yet existing ; and there are some ancient collegiate houses just outside the churchyard. The serge manufacture, formerly flourishing, has declined. The market is on Tuesday for butchers’ meat and provisions, and there three fairs in the year.

The living of Ottery is a vicarage in the gift of the lord chancellor, of the yearly value of £112 with a glebe house. There were, in 1833, one infant-school with 40 children, principally supported by private charity : nine day or boarding and day-schools with 421 children ; two day and Sunday-schools, with about 60 children, supported by private charity ; and three Sunday-schools, with 257 children. Of the day or boarding and day-schools one is an endowed grammar-school, with hardly any boys on the foundation.