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The Nosworthy Family of Manaton


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About The Nosworthy Family of Manaton
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Manaton is a Dartmoor parish approximately 24km (15m) west south west of Exeter in 
Devon, England and it is where my early ancestors lived. It has been the home of 
Nosworthys down the ages and the epicenter of my forbearers. Manaton is a delight to 
 explore because it is adjacent to so many Dartmoor features. Grimspond lies within 
its parish boundary, Bowman's Nose, Becky Falls and most of all Kitty Jay's grave. 
Here indeed is a land of plenty and yet it is called a wilderness, but all round its 
uplands there are villages of antiquity and beauty.
  Many ancient homesteads sheltered the Nosworthy family of Manaton down through the 
ages, a number of these are, Neadon, Leighon, Canna, Torhill, Cripdon, Ford, Greator, 
Holwell, Heathercombe, Easdon, Vogewell, Horsham, Beckhams, Foxworthy, Little Silver 
and more. A sprinkling of Nosworthys were to be found in adjoining parishes and 
beyond, such as, North Bovey, Moretonhampstead, Lustleigh, Ilsington, Bovey Tracey, 
Buckland-in-the-Moor, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, and further afield in Exeter. 
  Because the lives of our 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th, century family revolved mainly 
around the Church it should be mentioned the one with which they were most concerned. 
Manaton is described as being a village so scattered that it seems a long way from 
its granite church. The parish extends far into the Moor. The church, St. Winifred's 
is an old stone building in the early English Style (15th century). It has four 
bells, three older than the present church - cast circa 1440, and a Norman font. A 
noticeable feature is its early sixteenth - century rood screen; its eleven bays 
extending across nave and aisles contains such interesting detail. Surely our people 
must have sat, Sunday after Sunday down the centuries, and admired it. Fresher than 
it is today, but it did suffer at the hands of Cromwell's man during the Civil War. 
When his army defeated the royalists at Exeter in 1646, small bands wandered around 
cleaning up opposition and in so doing vandalised the carved saints of the screen 
doorway by hacking off their heads and causing some damage to the painted screen 
panels.  Sadly, the church itself was severely damaged by lightning in 
1779. A terrible thunderstorm and lightening fell on the church (see details in 
Stories). The Yew tree on the right of the lych-gate is 300 years old, and just 
think how many Nosworthys must have passed under the lych-gate on their way into 
church, and on a sadder note, to their graves, for the church yard is full of their head
stones and monuments. None perhaps of any particular merit, but they join the names of
Pethybridge, Harvey, Heyward, Ellis, French and more.
  The continual occupation of four farms stand out among all others, namely Leighon 
1603-1855, Torhill 1600-1870, Neadon 1606-1890, Foxworthy 1616-1870 all owned by 
Nosworthys down the years. Probably there would have been as many as ten Nosworthy 
familys residing in Manaton in the 1700s and early 1800s at the one time. With the 
advent of railway and fast transport they have dispersed far and wide, to U.S.A., 
Canada and Australia and so you would be hard pressed to find a single Nosworthy in 
the parish today. 

I am very happy and willing to discuss, share and provide information on a reciprocal basis to 
anyone, but only if you have a Nosworthy connection or a positive interest in the Nosworthy name 
and as long as it is understood that there could be some errors. Even though I have done 
everything possible to check my sources and verify the data contained therein, I cannot guarantee 
that it 
is completely free from error. If in my information you see something that needs to be corrected 
or if you would like to add any information, please contact me. Information is constantly being 
added and updated.
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