Thomas Bassett, the Lord of the Manor of Colyton obtained a grant from King John for a fair at Colyford in 1207. This was for a 7 day fair at Michaelmas and is commemorated today by the revival of the Goose Fayre which is still held on the Saturday nearest to Michaelmas. Borough status was granted to Colyford in 1230 and a medieval new town was established where the road from Dorchester to Exeter forded the River Coly. Burgage plots were set out either side of the main road and sold to those who could afford to escape from their serfdom. The term borough did not mean a municipal borough as we know it today. In the 13th century it meant any town or village where tenements were held in free burgage - i.e. by payment of money to the Lord of the Manor and thereby releasing them from liability to agricultural service to their Lord, as serfs. In 1341 a Charter was granted to Colyford by the then Lord of the manor, Hugh de Courtenay the younger. The Borough flourished for 300 years, with traders and merchants establishing their businesses in the borough free from all manorial duties. The deep-water estuary allowed sea-going vessels to berth at quays as far up as Colyford.
The Old Wheelwright's. (now a pub)
The importance of the Borough declined due the effects of the plague and to the silting-up of the Axe and, by the end of the 19th century, had ceased to be recognised in law.
The traditions of choosing a Mayor, Clerk, Constable, Treasurer and Mace Bearer were revived in 1931and continue to this day with a mayor-making at the annual meeting of the Burgesses of the Borough in November.
Post Office and Swan Hill Road, early 20th century.
The Borough of Colyford today fulfils a social role and helps to bind the community together by organising social events, e.g. Goose Fayre; Beating of the Bounds; the Mayor's Dinner. The Mayor's Dinner 2014 will be on Saturday 8th March. These events serve the community and the traditions which are followed give a sense of pride of place to the residents of Colyford. Funds that are raised go towards projects which benefit the community.
Mayor's of the Borough of Colyford
1849-54 Jas. Snell
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