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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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DODBROOKE is a parish and old market town, adjoining the parish of Kingsbridge, from which it is divided by only a brook, and with which it forms one continuous and commingled town. Dodbrooke parish lhad 1245 inhabitants (607 males, 638 females) in 1871, living in 263 houses, on 464 acres (inclusive of 105 acres of water, and is in Kingsbridge union, and county court district, Stanborough and Coleridge petty sessional division, Coleridge hundred, Totnes archdeaconry, and Woodleigh rural deanery. Dodbrooke forms the eastern part of the town, and the brook which divides the two parishes runs to the estuary under the southern part of the town, where there is a quay, at which coasting vessels of 150 to 200 tons burden receive and deliver cargoes of coals, corn, timber, and general merchandise.

Dodbrooke is famous for a beverage called White Ale, which is said to have been introduced by a German regimental surgeon some centuries ago : it is chargeable with tithe. It was the birthplace of the celebrated lyric and satirical poet, Peter Pindar. The town was in a somewhat decayed state some years ago ; but has been much improved of late, and is capable of great improvement, as tbe sea water of Salcombe estuary comes up to the quay, and flows round the parish on the south, south-west and south-east. There is a commodious ship-building yard, two tanneries, two breweries, and also agricultural implement works. At the Domesday Survey, the manor belonged to the widow of Edward the Confessor, under whom the manor and parish were held by the De Dodbrooke family. The manor passed successively to the Fitz Roald, Fitzalan, Champernowne, Worthleigh, Coxe, Southcote, and Hodges families. John Fronde Bellew, Esq., is lord of the manor, and he and J. K. Gillard, Esq. are the chief owners. Dodbrooke Market, formerly held every Wednesday, became obsolete about the close of last century, after the establishment of a great cattle market in 1773, which is still held on the third Wednesday of every month, as well as a fair on the Wednesday before Palm Sunday.

Barracks for 600 men were built at Dodbrooke, in 1804, but were taken down after the war*, except the hospital and gun room. The town is liighted with gas by the Kingsbridge Gas Light Co. Water Works were construct'ed about two years ago, at the cost of about £1000, The water is obtained from springs at Croft Farm, about a mile from the town, and at such an elevation, that in case of fire, water can be thrown over the highest building.

*The Napoleonic War.


The church of St Thomas a Becket, Dodbrooke in 2003

The church of St Thomas á Becket in 2003

© Richard J. Brine


The Church (St. Thomas á Becket) was once very beautiful, and consisted of two aisles, a nave separated from the chancel and the chapels by a richly carved screen. The north aisle was taken down many years ago, and the spire was removed from the tower in 1785. There is a light but a very sweet ring of six bells, the parishioners having recently added a tenor to the original five bells. The church was probably built soon after Thomas á Becket was canonised, but was very likely on an older foundation. An organ was built in 1874, at a cost of £210, defrayed by subscription, &c. A window in the aisle is filled wilh stained glass, representing the Adoration of the Magi, in memory of two members of the Pearse family; the north-west window is in memory of the Harris and Phillipps families. The living is a rectory, valued in K.B. at, £8 lis. 4d., and now at £200 (net), in the patronage of the Rev. James Gillman, and now held by the Rev. John Power, M. A. The rectory house, with gable roof and bay windows, is situated in very pleasant grounds (of about 7acres), at the east end of the church -, the grounds are adorned with some very fine acacia, chestnut, beech, walnut, and elm trees, and notably a very large tulip tree. The glebe is 30 acres, and the tithes are commuted at £104 18s. 4.d, The Bible Christians have a place of worship here. The Kingsbridge and Dodbrooke National and British Schools are situated here ; the former was built in 1847, and the latter at an expense of £720, in 1842. The poor have 265. a year from Sir J. Acland's charity, and 20s. left by John Peter, out of the tithes of Cornworthy. The parish lands, &c., vested in 1640, for the reparation of the church, &c., comprise twelve tenements.

Post, via Totnes ; but Kingsbridge is the nearest Money Order Office.



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