Lysons - Atherington


Lyson, Magna Brittanica, 1822

ATHERINGTON, in the hundred of North Tawton and in the deanery of Barnstaple, lies on the road from Torrington to South Molton, about seven miles from the former and about eight from the latter. The small villages of Langridge and Eastacombe are in this parish.

The manor of Umberleigh extends over this and the adjoining parish of High Bickington. Asculph de-Soleny was Lord of Umberleigh, in the reign of Henry II. The heiress of his son Gilbert brought this estate to Jordan deChampernowne, with whose grand-daughter it passed to Sir Ralph Willington, of Gloucestershire. Sir Ralph, whom Risdon calls a worthy warrior, resided at Umberleigh, and his posterity continued there for several descents. After they became extinct in the male line, Umberleigh passed by successive female heirs to the families of Worth, Poulton, Beaumont, and Basset. After a continuance of several generations in the Basset family, this branch became extinct by the death of the late Francis Basset, Esq., in 1802. Umberleigh is now, under his will, the property of his nephew Joseph Davie Basset, Esq., of Watermouth and Umberleigh.

The ancient mansion at Umberleigh has been long ago pulled down. The porch only remains. There was a chantry chapel at Umberleigh, endowed by Joan, wife of Sir Ralph Willington, and heiress of Champernowne, in the reign of Henry III. It was suppressed by the act of 1547, when the lands with which it was endowed were valued at1 6l. 19s. per annum. This chapel, which was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was pulled down about the year 1800, and the old monuments of the Willington family, mentioned by Risdon, have since been removed. The nuns of Caen had an estate at Umberleigh, when the survey of Domesday was taken.

The small manor of Wootton within the manor of Umberleigh, formerly belonging to the Giffards, had in Risdon's time been, for three descents, in the family of Eyre. It was afterwards in the family of Melhuish, and is now vested in their representatives.

Buriate, or Boriatt, in this parish, was the ancient property and residence of the family of Isaac, to whom it was conveyed in the reign of Henry III., by Sir Ralph Willington. It now belongs to Gonville and Caius College, in Cambridge, to which it was given, about 1730, by Mrs. Gertrude Pyncombe.

In the parish church is the monument of Sir Arthur Basset, of Umberleigh, 1586; and memorials of the families of Isaac,2 Chichester,3 and Pollard.4

Mr. Basset is patron of the rectory, to which a manor is attached.

          1 The endowment consisted of "tota terra de Wiara."
          2 Robert Isaac, 1615; Lawrence Issac, 1652.
          3 Philip Chichester, Gent. 1640.
          2 Thomas Pollard, Gent. 1677.