Half of the villages were wiped out in the Black Death of 1348 and reduced the manpower available for tilling the soil so landowners concentrated on producing sheep, which was less labour intensive. The reduced number of labourers also meant raised status for the labourer. Wool was an important source of income and sometimes the King called upon the assembly of leading wool merchants to pay a levy for exported wool. The burghers were citizens of a borough or town, especially one belonging to middle class and were sued by the Abbot of Torre in 1411 for the refusal to collect tolls from the market or fairs. Although the Abbot was successful he lost other revenue and authority over the people of Newton Abbot.
Abbots of Torre:
William Norton 1382 to 1412
Mathew Yarde 1412 to 1414
William Mychel 1414 to 1442
William Norton is buried in St Bartholomew’s Church, East Ogwell