The West Town Market in Crediton : A Brief History

Six centuries of Crediton's High Street market.


There was a market in the West Town from 1231, when the Bishop of Exeter – then the Lord of the Manor – obtained a charter from the Crown to hold a weekly market there every Saturday.

In 1524 the Bishop of granted a 99-year lease to a body of nine local ‘burgesses’. In 1595 - while that lease was still running - Elizabeth I granted the Lordship of the Manor to one of her courtiers. He claimed all the rights to income from the market, but the local burgesses won the case and continued to run it, keeping the tolls and dues, for the remaining years of their lease.

In 1630 – soon after the Lord of the Manor had regained control of the market, new permanent buildings were set up along the High St, running for about 200 metres, from a point just west of North St to a point just east of the junction with Searle St. Those buildings were still in place when the 1743 map was made : but they were destroyed in the Great Fire of Crediton in August of that year.

After the Great Fire, the market was rebuilt in much the same position as before. In 1746 the Lord of the Manor insured the Weighing House; the Prison or Darkhouse; the Cornmarket; the Fish Market and the Sheep Pen.

The market continued to be held in the same place until it was relocated to the Market Square when the High St was transformed to become the main road through the town in the 1840s.