Coney Gut is small river that runs into the tidal zone of the River Taw in the centre of Barnstable. This camera was installed and is maintained by the Environment Agency and can be viewed here
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Barnstaple, an ancient settlement, held a somewhat ambiguous status as a borough during its early history. In 1340, the town's guild claimed that it had been incorporated by King Athelstan in 930 through a charter that had unfortunately been lost. The Domesday Book of 1086 referred to Barnstaple as a borough, and by at least 1210, the town was governed by a guild that appointed a mayor. In 1340, the guild petitioned Edward III for a new charter with expanded powers, but this request faced opposition from the lord of the feudal barony of Barnstaple.After an inquisition ad quod damnum, it was determined that the town held a lower status as a mesne borough, accountable to the lord rather than being a free borough directly responsible to the monarch. As a result, the mayor was not officially recognized by the monarch but rather regarded as a bailiff of the lord. Despite several unsuccessful attempts by the guild to obtain a charter from the king throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including seeking confirmation of rights supposedly granted by charters from Henry II and subsequent monarchs, it was discovered that these charters were forgeries, copied from Exeter's charters.Eventually, Barnstaple obtained a charter of incorporation from Mary I in 1557. In 1828, the council constructed the Guildhall on High Street as its meeting place. The town underwent further reforms and became a municipal borough in 1836, governed by a corporate body officially known as the "mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of the borough of Barnstaple," commonly referred to as the corporation or town council. The borough boundaries, previously aligned with the parish of Barnstaple, were expanded to include a portion of the Pilton parish (including the village itself) and the Newport area from the Bishop's Tawton parish.In 1899, the borough was further enlarged to encompass the Rolle's Quay area from Pilton and an area on the west bank of the River Taw (including Barnstaple Junction railway station), which had previously belonged to the Tawstock parish. The town council relocated its offices to Castle House within the castle grounds in 1927, later replaced by the new Civic Centre on North Walk in 1969. However, under the Local Government Act 1972, the borough of Barnstaple was abolished in 1974. The area merged with Barnstaple Rural District, South Molton Rural District, and the urban districts of Ilfracombe and Lynton to form the new district of North Devon.A successor parish was established, covering the former borough's area, with its council assuming the name Barnstaple Town Council. The Civic Centre came under the ownership of North Devon Council, while the town council initially utilized the Guildhall as its base. In 1993, the town council acquired Barum House on The Square to serve as its offices, but the Guildhall continues to be used for meetings.