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The village of Calverleigh

This village was - and still is - very small. St Mary's church was built in the reign of Edward III though it has been added to and repaired since.

Calverleigh Church There are memorials in the church to members of the Nagle family. David Nagle of Ballygriffin in Ireland, the uncle of Charles Chichester's wife Honoria, died on 4 Jun 1800 aged 81. A large and colourful memorial tablet to him and his family is placed prominently on a wall in the church. The estate of Ballygriffin then passed to Honoria and subsequently to the Chichester family. (The house at Ballygriffin was recorded many years later as having burnt to the ground.)

Many members of the Chichester family are buried in the graveyard next to the church including Joseph Chichester Nagle, Charles' son, and Lady Henrietta Caroline his wife of Calverleigh Court. (See below and also the Chichesters for more details of their families). This is in a Catholic corner of the graveyard. A typical inscription as on this grave, is frequently "Have mercy on me, O God, According to they great mercy". Catholic graves can often be identified by the letters IHS or RIP

One grave has an interesting inscription. Mary Anne (or Marianne) Lady Constable, daughter of the Charles Joseph Chichester and Honoria (ffrench) above, had a monument erected in 1850 to one of them, Anne, 'wife of the late Thomas Lane'. Anne had died on 8 Dec 1850. It reads:

Lady Clifford Constable erected the monument to her memory
as a tribute of affection and respect to her in her infancy
and took a faithful interest in her subsequent career.'

There are two other graves giving a clue to the identity of this Anne Lane for a Thomas Lane died on 4 Mar 1814 and John Lane his son on 7 Mar 1825 aged 19. It seems reasonable to conclude that this was Lady Marianne's nurse from her childhood. Even though now married and living at Burton Constable in Yorkshire, Lady Constable, as she now was, had never forgotten the old lady.

Below is the present parish centre which is partly converted from the stables belonging to the original Calverleigh Court. The main house then stood where the car-park can just be seen on the left of the photo.

The manor of Calverleigh was sold to the Southcott (Southcote) family who held it for some three generations and by the 18th century it was held by the Fanes. The 'Historical Notes' available in the church state that it was bought by Joseph Nagle in 1749 after the death of Charles, Viscount Fane. After his Joseph Nagle died it passed to his niece (or great-niece?) Honoria (née ffrench), of Rahasane, Co.Galway, who had married Charles Joseph Chichester Esq. in 1791. One 'authority' says it passed to the Chichesters in 1795, another that Joseph Nagle died in 1813. The actual sequence of events awaits clarification but it had a resident chaplain who was an emigré from the French Revolution, the Abbé Moutier, and there would have been a chapel within the house. The Abbé spent some time at a new Catholic Mission in Bristol before going to Calverleigh. Parish Centre, Calverleigh
Calverleigh Court The original house stood on what is now the church car park and the parish centre (above) is adapted from the old stables.The 'Historical Notes' claim that the old house was pulled down in 1884 and the new one built higher up the hill. The notes were prepared with the help of Ald. W.P. Authers, Hon.Curator of Tiverton Mueum but it has also been suggested that the 'new' house - seen here - was built in 1844. By this time there was no need for a chapel as the Abbé Moutier had established a church at Tiverton, though there could still have been a private one. The house was eventually sold to Derick? Heathcoat Amory, later Viscount Amory of Tiverton.

There is a school listed as existing from 1905 to 1939.

Many of the family names of Templeton recur in this village and properties for both villages appear in the Tithe Commutation Act documents, dated 1 Nov 1836, the properties in Calverleigh being mostly indicated by a "Calv" in brackets.  Familiar names from Templeton are easy to recognise but there are a few others which are not legible.

The names which are mostly illegible are listed below. The question marks indicate guesses only and could be quite wrong. If you think one might be 'yours' please do try to identify them. At least the money involved is quite clear and the table could then be completed!

  • xxx Calverley (?) L..Mills
  • William ?R?ice or Price (Calverleigh), New Farm (this is guesswork)
  • John Dorney or ?Downey, Beer Down (Calverleigh)
  • John Snelll - or Smale or Smile or Swile?, (Templeton)
  • Alex? Galsworthy (Templeton)
  • William ?Bone, Clogg Moor (Templeton)

The rest of the names on this document obtained from the Record Office at Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire (DDCC 114/12) are easily identifiable and have been included on the appropriate lists on other pages.

The chaplains

The last priest, the Rev. Henry Innes left Arlington in 1795, presumably at the same time that Charles Chichester moved to CalverleighCourt. There were very few Catholic centres in Devon at this time, St Nicholas's Priory, Exeter (from 1745) being one and Ugbrooke Park, Chudleigh, seat of the Clifford family (from 1671) another in that area. Cliffords were also relatives, probably in every generation. There were priests at Ugbrooke from 1701 and the chapel had its own cemetery. Some records exist from these times though none for Calverleigh, unless the later entries for Arlington refer to the chapel at Calverleigh Court. (A complete list of those accessible can be found in Catholic Missions and Registers 1700-1880 Vol 3 Wales and the West of England, compiled by Michael Gandy)

The following priests served as chaplains at Calverleigh, and then at Tiverton after the founding of the church there by the Abbé Moutier in 1836. (Source - Historical Notes on English Catholic Missions, reprinted by Michael Gandy from the 1907 edition)

1802 Abbé H.Marquant 1808 Abbé Renoult 1811 Rev Paul Fournier 1819 Abbé Jean Moutier
1831 Rev.Barnaby Yraizoz 1835 Rev.James Lyons 1837 Rev.Thomas Costello 1842 Rev.Thomas Danson
1842 Rev.Thomas Rooker 1846 Rev.Herbert Woolett 1846 Rev.Thomas Shattock 1846 Rev.William Sheehy
1848 Rev.Henry Reily 1848 Rev.Henry Keary 1848 Rev.John Fanning 1850 Rev.John Ryan
1850 Rev.Michael Carroll 1863 Rev.Thomas Fenn 1867 Rev.Joseph Bunn 1874 Rev.David Coleman
1877 Rev.Francis Gallini 1879 Rev.David Coleman 1885 Rev.Bernard Wade 1888 Rev.William Walsh
1904 Rev.E.Damen

The French priests listed will all have been emigrés escaping from certain death in the time of the French Revolution The Chichester and Clifford-Constable families had many French connections, Sir Thomas Constable senior, who was knighted at the request of Louis XVIII (not yet a king and in exile in England) had spent many years in Paris and had written among other books one on 'The Devout Life' in French. Many friendships had begun among both boys and girls who had been sent abroad for their education at a time when Catholic schools in England were forbidden by law. With the problems of large numbers of French priests and aristocracy suddenly arriving in England around the turn of the century these laws soon fell into disuse.

The Abbé Moutier

This was Père Jean Marc Romain Moutier, a French emigré who had settled in Bristol as a teacher of the French language in 1797, and remained till his appointment as chaplain to the Chichester family at Calverleigh in August 1823 (listed in a Catholic Directory of 1830, not quite agreeing with the date given above, but much is uncertain in the history of these missions - the priests were more concerned with survival and the care of souls than keeping records!)

The Catholic Directory simply names him as 'Moutier', Calverleigh, Tiverton. The Abbé in fact moved from Calverleigh to Tiverton, founding the first Catholic church there, St John's on Leat St, in 1839. He left £8000 - a very large sum of money then - which became a matter of some controversy later. Archbishop Ullathorne refers to Moutier in his autobiography, From Cabin-boy to Archbishop. Ullathorne had been become Bishop of the Western District in 1846 and took up residence in Bristol. He was immediately involved in problems of finance. He wrote of one project, “Nearly £8000 has been taken possession of what had been left to Tiverton by a French priest, the result of his labour, self-denial and management of his life, and in return for this scarcely enough money could be got to keep up the mission. And this put the trustees of that property in a very discontented state.”

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Note on Catholic graves:

RIP stands for 'Rest in Peace'.

IHS is In Hoc Signo, 'in this sign', but is usually taken to stand for 'Jesus' which is written Iesus in the Greek. Other explanations are 'Jesus (Iesus) Hominum Salvator' - Jesus Saviour of People - not 'men' as often translated, or 'In Hac (cruce) Salus' - in this (cross) is salvation'.

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