The Village of Knowstone (continued)




Opposite Knowstone Church is a 15th century Inn called “ The Masons Arms ” which was built to accommodate the Stone Masons who were building St Peter’s Church.

Knowstone is situated 8 miles from the Devon Market Town of South Molton, and is only a few miles from the Exmoor National Park.  The North Devon Coast is a 20 minute drive away.

In the sleepy, rural village of Knowstone, life is quiet and peaceful.  The local people call Knowstone the “Town” and East Knowstone the “Village”

The population of Knowstone has declined over the years and is now about 200 people.

There is a row of pretty, ancient cottages in the village, with thatched roofs and white-washed walls.

A Description of the village of Knowstone (taken from “White's Devonshire Directory of 1850”)

KNOWSTONE, a pleasant village, on a bold eminence, encompassed by lofty hills, 9 miles E. by S. of South Molton, has in its parish 578 souls, and 4994 acres of land, including 1219A. of common, 219A. of moorland; the village of East Knowstone, about a mile from the church; the hamlet of Rochill; and many scattered houses, some of them among the high moorlands near the sources of the river Yeo.

Sir Robert Geo. Throckmorton, Bart., is lord of the manor, and owner of the manor-house, called Knowstone Beaple, which was so called from its ancient owners, and was long a seat of the Pollards. J. Handford, Esq., Mr. Joseph Hill, and many smaller owners, have estates in the parish.

The manor of Wadham belonged to Ulf at Domesday Survey, and his descendants took the name of Wadham. Shapcote was long held by a family of its own name, and they sold it about 1770 to the Handfords.

Sir John Berry, an eminent naval officer in the reign of Charles II., was born here at the Vicarage. The Church (St. Peter,) is a small ancient structure, with a tower and three bells, and was repaired four years ago.

The rectory was appropriated to Hartland Abbey, but the great tithes have been mostly sold to the landowners. The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £26. 10s. 10d., with that of Molland annexed to it, is in the patronage of Sir R.G. Throckmorton, Bart., and incumbency of the Rev. John Froude, M.A., of East Anstey. The Rev. R. Pole, of Templeton, is the curate. The glebe (54A.) and the thatched Vicarage House, are let to a farmer. The vicarial tithes of this parish were commuted in 1842, for £301, and those of Molland for £339 per annum. The poor have £3. 8s. a year out of Edgerley and Bowden estates, left by H. Brooke and others, and the interest of £40 given by various donors.

Bucknell Jacob, maltster and vict., Fox and Hounds

Cutcliffe Chas. Newell, surgeon

Follett Wm. vict. William IV.

Hodge Philip and James, carpenters

Moore Misses M. and E. Estacott

Snow John, corn miller

Snow Thomas, vict. Mason's Arms


Elston Benj., Elston Wm., Hill Michael


Boundy James , Hill Wm., Snow James


Bray James, Bray Thos. - East Kidland, Bray Wm. - Ford, Buckingham Jno. - Oulaborough, Bucknell John - Beaple Barton, Bucknell Robert, Bucknell Wm., Courtenay Geo. & Rd. - Wadham,   Fisher James,  Cole James, Fisher Samuel, Fisher Wm. - Hill, Follet William - Brownsford, Follett W. - Indylk, Hill Jph., gent. 0 Moortown, Hill Ths. - Hapson, Lovern Thomas, Luxton Henry, Mildon Edward, Mogford John - Shapcote, Shapland John, Stone Rt. - Weston, Stone Thomas, Tarr Eliz. - Whitemoor, Tarr James, Thorne Rd. - Kents, Tidball Gregory, Webber James,

Woodbury Wm. - West Kidland


Davie Wm., Snow Thomas, Steer Wm.


Cockram Har., Fisher Eliz., Hernaman Ann, Partridge Mary


Hill Wm., Snow Thomas


Fewin James, Shapcott Wm.


Battens John, Cole James


to South Molton, Mon. W. Fri. & Sat., Jas. Snow

A Description of the village of Knowstone 1857 Billings Directory of Devon


Knowstone is about 8½ mls. E. by S. of S. Molton and 13 W. by N. of Tiverton, comprising 4,992A. 2R 24p. of land inch about 400 acres of common moorland.  The population in 1851 was 517 being a decrease in 10 years of 61, which is ascribed to the emigration of several families.  The number of voters in 1857 was 18.

The village is small and irregularly built, but pleasantly situated on an eminence, surrounded by hills.  Sir Robert Throckmorton is Lord of the manor; the largest landowners are the Earl of Ilchester, J.F. Bellew and J. Handford Esqs.  Rev. J. Matthews and M.J. Loosemore have estates in the parish.  Shapcott Barton is a very ancient place, about a mile and a half from the village, is the property of John Hanford Esq. Of Willington, Somerset, and is occupied by Mr. J. Mogford.  Wadham was formerley the seat of the Courtenays, but is now occupied by William Collard.

East Knowstone is about a mile from the church and Roachill is about a mile and a quarter from the village.

The church of St Peter is an ancient stone structure with a tower and 3 bells.  It has a nave, chancel and n. aisle, and has recently undergone repairs, having 2 stained glass windows inserted.  The monuments consist of two memorials to the Culme and Shapcott families.

The Living and Vicarage is now in the patronage of Sir R. Throckmorton, and incumbancy of the Rev. J. Matthews, who has a good residence and upwards of 54 acres of glebe.  Mr. T. Snow, Clerk.

There is a mixed school, erected 1854.  No. of children 30.  Selina Callaway – Mistress.

Charities – the charities are but few and amount to about £100, the interest of which is annually distributed to the poor of the parish.

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