In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Devon like this:
Devon.-- maritime co. in SW. of England; is bounded N. by the Bristol Channel, E. by Somerset and Dorset, S. by the English Channel, and W. by Cornwall; length, 69 miles; breadth, 65 miles; coast-line, about 143 miles; area, 1,655,208 ac., pop. 603,595. The surface is richly diversified; the prevailing scenery is beautiful; the climate is mild and salubrious. ...
The coast-line is rocky and precipitous. In the S. is the fertile district called South Hams; in the centre is the bleak and rugged tract of Dartmoor, rising to a mean elevation of 1700 ft., and the rich and beautiful Vale of Exeter; in the N. of the co. moorland prevails. The principal rivers are the Taw and the Torridge, flowing into the Bristol Channel, and the Exe, Axe, Teign, Dart, Avon, and Tamar, flowing into the English Channel. The estuaries of all these rivers afford good harbours. The prevailing rocks are -- granite on Dartmoor, Devonian limestone in the N. and S., millstone grit in the centre and W., and new red sandstone, &c., in the E. The minerals are tin, copper, lead, iron, granite, limestone, marble, slate, &c. Potter's clay and pipeclay are also worked. Devon is celebrated for its orchards and dairy farms; butter, cheese, cider, and live stock are largely exported. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) The mfrs. are coarse woollen goods, lace, paper, gloves, and shoes. The fisheries are considerable. The co. comprises 33 hundreds, 481 pars, with 2 parts, the parl. and mun. bors. of Devonport (2 members), Exeter (1 member), and Plymouth (2 members), and the mun. bors. of Barnstaple, Bideford, Dartmouth, Honiton, South Molton, Tiverton, Torrington, and Totnes. It is mostly in the diocese of Exeter. For parl. purposes it is divided into 8 divisions, viz., Eastern or Honiton, North-Eastern or Tiverton, Northern or Crediton, North-Western or Barnstaple, Western or Tavistock, Southern or Totnes, Torquay, and Mid or Ashburton, 1 member for each div.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Devon | Map and description for the county, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 24th April 2017
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