1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kingsbridge
KINGSBRIDGE, a market town in the Totnes parliamentary division of Devonshire, England, 48 m. S.S.W. of Exeter, on a branch of the Great Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901), 3025. It lies 6 m. from the English Channel, at the head of an inlet or estuary which receives only small streams, on a sharply sloping site. The church of St Edmund is mainly Perpendicular, but there are Transitional Norman and Early English portions. The town-hall contains a natural history museum. A house called Pindar Lodge stands on the site of the birthplace of John Wolcot (“Peter Pindar,” 1738–1819). William Cookworthy (1705–1780), a porcelain manufacturer, the first to exploit the deposits of kaolin in the south-west of England, was also born at Kingsbridge. The township of Dodbrooke, included within the civil parish, adjoins Kingsbridge on the north-east. Some iron-founding and ship-building, with a coasting trade, are carried on.
Kingsbridge (Kyngysbrygge) was formerly included in the manor of Churchstow, the first trace of its separate existence being found in the Hundred Roll of 1276, which records that in the manor of Churchstow there is a new borough, which has a Friday market and a separate assize of bread and ale. The name Kingsbridge however does not appear till half a century later. When Kingsbridge became a separate parish is not certainly known, but it was before 1414 when the church was rebuilt and consecrated to St Edmund. In 1461 the abbot of Buckfastleigh obtained a Saturday market at Kingsbridge and a three-days’ fair at the feast of St Margaret, both of which are still held. The manor remained in possession of the abbot until the Dissolution, when it was granted to Sir William Petre. Kingsbridge was never represented in parliament or incorporated by charter, the government being by a portreeve, and down to the present day the steward of the manor holds a court leet and court baron and appoints a portreeve and constables. In 1798 the town mills were converted into a woollen manufactory, which up to recent times produced large quantities of cloth, and the serge manufacture was introduced early in the 19th century. The town has been famous from remote times for a beverage called “white ale.” Included in Kingsbridge is the little town of Dodbrooke, which at the time of the Domesday Survey had a population of 42, and a flock of 108 sheep and 27 goats; and in 1257 was granted a Wednesday market and a fair at the Feast of St Mary Magdalene.
See “Victoria County History”: Devonshire; Kingsbridge and Sulcombe, with the intermediate Estuary, historically and topographically depicted (Kingsbridge, 1819); S. F. Fox, Kingsbridge Estuary (Kingsbridge, 1864).