White's Devonshire Directory (1850) says
"SOUTH MOLTON is a municipal borough, and well-built market town, pleasantly situated on the bold western acclivity of the valley of the river Mole, 11 miles E.S.E. of Barnstaple, 18 N.W. by W. of Tiverton, 16 miles W. by S. of Dulverton, 28 miles N.W. by N. of Exeter, and 181 W. by S. of London. It gives name to a deanery, hundred, union, county court district, petty sessional division, and polling district; and is the chief place of election for the parliamentary representatives of the Northern Division of Devon. It is well supplied with pure soft spring water, and has gas works, erected in 1836, at the cost of £2200, raised in £10 shares. The principal streets are spacious and well paved, and contain several good inns and neat public buildings, and many handsome and well stocked shops. Its Parish comprises 6264 acres of land, many scattered farm-houses, the hamlets of Shallowford, High Bray, and Stag's Head; and the estates of Bremridge, Freynstone, Hache, North-Aller, Honiton Barton, &c., extending more than two miles west, north, and south of the town. The soil is generally fertile and well cultivated, and rises in bold undulations from the river Mole on the east, and the Bray on the west. The Mole, from which the town has its name, gives motion to several woollen and corn mills, and is here crossed by a good bridge of one arch, erected after the old one had been destroyed by a flood, in 1841. The parish had 2753 inhabitants in 1801; 2739 in 1811; 3314 in 1821; 3826 in 1831; and 4274 in 1841; but they have since increased to about 4800."