Colyton, from Kingsdown ([1875])

William Spreat
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Devon West Country Studies sB/AXE/0001/PUL
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CD 7 DVD 1
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Pulman, George P.R. The book of the Axe; containing a piscatorial description of that stream and historical sketches of all the parishes and remarkable places upon its banks, …(etc.). London: Longman and Co.; Crewkerne and Axminster: Pulman's Weekly News and Advertiser, 1875. Chapter XIV. pp. 783, 785 - 786. ALONG the sweet little valley which opens into the more extensive Valley of the Axe, flows the sparkling stream which gives its name to Colyton and is an important tributary to the Axe. The town is delightfully situated five miles south-west from Axminster and three miles from the sea at Seaton and Axmouth, and the stream upon which it stands is formed by the junction of several rivulets which rise at and near Colwell Wood, near Oftwell, and higher up, beyond Applehayne Farm. These, after flowing three or four miles, are augmented by a branch which rises among the hills near Farway and passes down another valley between Northleigh and Southleigh, washing Netherton Hall, the residence of Sir Edmund Prideaux, bart., whose ancestor, the first baronet, so created in 1662, purchased the manor of Sir John Drake "and builded there a fair house.*" A brook from Southleigh connects itself near Bonehayne, at which place the body of water is about equal to that of the Yarty at Beckford Bridge.[…] The name of Coly is undoubtedly from the British. Col is a peak, or a peak-like hill, and may refer to the Waddon Pen, which forms so conspicuous an object between Colyton and Southleigh, or, perhaps, to some other peak-like hill nearer the source. Wy, or y, as a worn shape of wy and as an ending in the name of a river, almost always stands for the Welch [sic] gwy, or wy in composition. So that Coly may be the Col-wy, the Peak or Peak-like-hill-stream. Again, Col means a hazel wood, so that Col-wy may be the Hazel-wood-stream, as supposed by Polwhele, following, I presume, Mr. Baxter.The situation of Colyton, as before observed, is very charm- ing, and the views of itself and its surroundings, beautiful as they are in the valley, become naturally more striking and comprehensive when enjoyed from any of the adjacent valley boundary eminences. The visitor who arrives at Seaton Junction by train and walks the intervening mile and a half, through the characteristic Devonshire lane down to the foliage-enshrouded little town, cannot fail to be struck with the panorama spread before him. His eye sweeps in one direction along a series of gracefully outlined hills, with intervening dells and combs [sic], dotted here and there with homesteads, and, in the spring time, redolent of apple blowth. [sic] In another direction a broader stretch of valley, with much bolder boundary hills, sweeps charmingly away, and there the little Coly, after having modestly accomplished its meanderings, rejoicing like song in June, emerges forth to mingle with the broad and placid Axe which wantons through the Seaton Marshes.* The parishes of Colyton and Southleigh meet at an angle of Farway at which there was, and probably still is, a dwellinghouse belonging to the Marwood family. It therefore stands in the three parishes, and in 1756 a curious dispute arose from this circumstance. A servant in the house became parochially chargeable, and the question was whether Southleigh or Farway was liable. The part standing upon Colyton being only the dairy and offices, that parish was considered exempt, the point being how and where the man slept, and it was agreed that the parish in which the sleeper's head lay should bear the brunt. It was found, however, that the bed itself stood in the two other parishes, the boundary line being through the kitchen. By means of a plumb-line from the roof it was ascertained that the pillow was in Farway, and to Farway therefore was assigned the chargeability.-See Polwhele's "Devon"[Text may be taken from a different source or edition than that listed as the source by Somers Cocks.]
From Kingsdown