In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described North Molton like this:
MOLTON (NORTH), a village and a parish in South Molton district, Devon. The village stands partly on a hill slope, partly in a valley on the river Mole, 3¼ miles NNE of South Molton, and 11 NNE of South MoltonRoad r. station; takes its name from the Mole, by corruption of Mole-Town; consists of close-built thatched houses and white-washed cottages, with a few respectable dwellings; was once a market-town; and has a post office under South Molton, North Devon, and cattle fairs on the Wednesday after 12 May and the last Wednesday of Oct. ...
The parish contains also the hamlets of Heasley, Ben-Twitchen, Flitton, Higher Fyldon, Lower Fyldon, Upcott, and Walscott. Acres, 14,351. Real property, £12,619. Pop. in 1851,1,982; in 1861,1,842. Houses, 378. The decrease of pop. was caused partly by the removal of wool-combers, consequent on the closing of a factory. Court House, an old ivied mansion, belonged formerly to the Earl of Morley, belongs now to Lord Poltimore, and is the residence of Mr. Stranger. Court Hall, also an old ivied mansion, is an occasional residence of Lord Poltimore. Brinsworthy House has been the residence of the Merson family for upwards of two centuries, and contains ancient carved furniture. The scenery throughout the parish, and around it, up to the skirts of Exmoor, is picturesque. A copper mine is on the Court Hall estate. The parish is a meet for the North Devon hounds. A remarkably joyous demonstration was made at the village in July 1856, on occasion of the celebration of peace. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of Twitchen. in the diocese of Exeter. Value, &110.* Patron, Lord Poltimore. The church is ancient; consists of nave, aisles, and chancel, with a tower nearly 100 feet high; was restored in 1849; and contains a finely carved oak pulpit, an octagonal font, a richly decorated screen, and monuments of the Bampfyldes and the Parkers. There are chapels for Independents and Wesleyans, a national school, an alms house with £5 a year, and charities £41.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing North Molton has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of North Devon. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering North Molton and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of North Molton in North Devon | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 16th September 2014
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