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The Reverend John Swete (1752-1821)

The Reverend John Swete (1752-1821), born John Tripe

John Swete is best remembered for his illustrated journals, and other writings and drawings, which vividly describe and delineate Devon as he knew it.

John Swete was born John Tripe on 1 July 1752 at Ashburton in Devon, the son of Nicholas Tripe, a surgeon. He was educated at Ashburton Free School and then at Eton College (1767-70, through the assistance of Sir Robert Palk). He then went up to University College, Oxford (BA 1774, MA 1777).

Having taken holy orders, he became curate at Highweek, Newton Abbot, in 1775. A year later, he moved to the parish of Kenn, Exeter, at Sir Robert Palk’s request, and settled at Oxton House, Kenton, the former home of the Martyns, his paternal grandmother’s family. In 1780, he changed his name by act of parliament (from Tripe to Swete) to become eligible for an inheritance from the mother of his godfather, Adrian John Swete.

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