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Help and advice for Devon

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

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Devon

"A county of England [map (above) shows location] reaching from the Bristol to the English Channel, and bounded by Cornwall, and Somersetshire, and Dorsetshire. It is 69 miles in length, and 60 in breadth, and is divided into 31 hundreds. It is very hilly, and abounds in huge granite rocks, some of whose peaks are above 1500 feet in height. The highland is covered with wide moors, of which Dartmoor is the most extensive. But in the valleys and lower ground the soil is fertile. Its rivers are the Exe, the Culm, the Dart, the Tamar, the Otter, &c. Some parts of its coasts are composed of lofty cliffs, but at others there is a beautiful sandy shore. The air and climate are so mild and salubrious that invalids often retire to its sea-ports for the winter. Limestone, granite, some building-stone, and a species of wood-coal are found here, as well as some kinds of variegated marble. It produces corn, &c. and fruit trees, especially apples, whence much cider is made. Its fisheries also are of value. Exeter is its chief city. Population, 533,460. It sends 22 members to parliament." (From Barclay's Complete and Universal English Dictionary, 1842.)

NOTE 1: The Online Gazetteer of Devon can be used to identify which town or parish a place is located in. There is also a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file for these Devon pages, and a What's New page listing major recent additions. The DEVON mailing list associated with GENUKI/Devon is co-sponsored by the Devon FHS. For information related to specific families or individuals see Genealogies, and Biographies; to locate transcripts of wills for specific individuals see Wills.

NOTE 2: Volunteers are sought for the Devon Pre-1841 Census and Population Listing Transcription Project, the Devon Book Indexing Project, and the Devon Online Parish Clerks scheme.

Almanacs

A Devon Book of Days - "What happened in Devon on any day in the past? This web page chronicles events great and small across the centuries," (Based mainly on Todd Gray's Devon Almanac.)

Gray, T. The Devon Almanac, Mint Press, Stevensbooks, 76 Longbrook Street, Exeter, EX4 6AP (c1999). [ISBN 19033560]

Archives and Libraries

Bibliography

Biography

  • Devon - Biography - links and information.

Business and Commerce Records

Licensed Victuallers for the north-west area of Devon for 1651-1671, and for the North Shebbear and Hartland hundred for 1728-17491750-17751776-1800 and 1801-1828, together with an overall Index, provided by David Carter.

Sun Life Fire Office Records for Devon. Devon Historian, 33 (Jan 1985) pp.15.

Cemeteries

Census

  • Devon - Census - links and information.

Chronology

A North Devon Chronology - from The Heritage Album: 175 years in North Devon (1824-1999).

Church History

Church Records

Civil Registration

Certificates of birth, death and marriage (post-1837) can be obtained (by post or online) from the General Register Office.

Alternatively, they can be obtained, for all of Devon, other than Plymouth and Torbay from:

Devon Register Office
Castle Street
Exeter
EX4 3PQ
Telephone: 0845 155 1002
Fax: 01392 384232
Email: srexeter@devon.gov.uk

For details of ordering Plymouth and Torbay area certificates see:

Microfiche copies of post-1837 marriage registers can be purchased from the Devon Record Office.

Detailed listing, by Brett Langston, of the places covered by the various Devon Registration districts.

Correctional Institutions

Printed Sources on Prisons in Devon, and on Crime and Punishment, from the Devon Record Office.

Devon Prisons (archived copy) - brief details and staff listings, from the Rossbret Prisons web-site.

Reports in Australian Newspapers (1819-1829) of Escaping Devon Prisoners, provided by Lindsey Withers.

Howard, A.J. (Ed.). Medieval Gaol Delivery Rolls for the County of Devon (1354-1412) (1986). [Devon FHS Library p942.35041]
Scott-Fox, Charles. Devon County Prison 1853-2003: Origins and history of HM Prison & Remand Centre, Exeter. Charles Scott-Fox, Ayshford House, Westleigh, Tiverton, Devon EX16 7HL (2004) viii, 96p: ill, maps, ports [ISBN 0954701305].
Prison Ladies Photographs - 1870s, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D034). [Foreword]

Court Records

Description and Travel

Directories

Emigration and Immigration

Encyclopaedias and Dictionaries

Downes, J. A Dictionary of Devon Dialect, Tabb House, 11 Church St, Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8BG. (1986). [ISBN 0-907018-33-5] [On Devon social history, as well as dialect.] [2nd edition titled A Guide to Devon Dialect (1998)]

Folklore

  • Devon - Folklore - links and information.

Gazetteers

An extensive listing of Devon places (nearly 12,000 in number) is provided by the Online Devon Gazetteer. This has been produced mainly from White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Devonshire (1850), whose text is used to to infer (unfortunately not necessarily always accurately) which parish or town the various places (chapels, churches, farms, hamlets, houses, inns, manors, schools, streets, villages, etc.) are located in. (This listing does not provide actual grid references.)

The transcription of the Devonshire section from the National Gazetteer (1868), is provided by Colin Hinson. Links to the transcriptions of the gazetteer's parish descriptions are provides on individual parish pages.

The Historical Gazetteer of England's Place Names - Devon Section.

 

Devon Local Studies Service has a very useful online Historic Gazetteer down to parish level, with summary historical and statistical information, and in most cases an early map, illustration and descriptive text.

Samantha Letters' Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs to 1516 - Devon section.

Devon Section of the Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5, together with a map of the county.

White, W. History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Devonshire (Reprint of the 1850 edition), Newton Abbot: David & Charles (1968) 804p.
"The first county directory of Devon of any real historical value."

Genealogy

  • Devon - Genealogy - links and information.

Heraldry

Index to Devon Entries in Phillimore's Hatchments in Britain, Vol 7: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Somerset, eds. Peter Summers and John E Titterton (1988).

Carew, Sir G. Sir George Carew's Scroll of Arms - With Additions from Joseph Holland's Collection of Arms 1579. Devon Notes & Queries, Vol. vol 1, pt. 2. (Jan. 1900 to October 1901) illus. pp. 152. [Index] [Index to Holland's Collection]
Colby, F T. Mottoes of some Devonshire families. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol 29, (1897) pp. 286-290. [Index]
Jewers, A.J. Heraldic & Genealogical Notes from South Devon Churches, (1885).
Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Devonshire, pp. 53-69. In The noble and gentlemen of England; or, Notes touching the arms and descents of the ancient knightly and gentle houses of England, arranged in their respective counties. (1859). Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols & Sons, illus. vii, 315 pp. [Index]

History

  • Devon - History - links and information.

Jewish History

Friedlander, Evelyn. The Jews of Devon and Cornwall: Essays and exhibition catalogue, Bristol, Hidden Legacy Foundation (2000) 123 pp. : ill. [ISBN 1900178826] [Essays: Judaism and the Jewish people, Synagogues and cemeteries in the South-West, The rabbis and ministers, Nathan Joseph Altmann, Lemon Hart, Solomon Alexander Hart RA, 1806-1881, Ezekiel Abraham Ezekiel of Exeter, The Jews of Barnstaple]
Fry, Helen. Jews in North Devon During the Second World War, Halsgrove (2005) 160 pp. [ISBN: 1841144371] [Index]
Susser, Bernard. The Jews of Devon and Cornwall, from the Middle Ages until the early twentieth century Thesis, University of Exeter (1997) xxi, 421 l. facsims.
Susser, Bernard. The Jews of Devon and Cornwall, Tiverton, Halsgrove Press (2000) 124 pp. [ISBN 1900178826]
Susser, Bernard. The Jews of south-west England: the rise and decline of their medieval and modern communities, Exeter, Devon, University of Exeter Press (1993) xxii, 361 pp. : ill. [Based on the author's PhD thesis] [New York Public Library]

Land and Property

Language and Languages

Devon Voices - BBC pages on the devon dialect.

Devon Alphabet - from the BBC Radio Devon website.

Brushfield, T N. Who wrote "The Exmoor scolding and courtship"? Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol 20, (1888) pp. 400-409. [Index]
Downes, John. Dictionary of Devon Dialect, Tabb House, 11 Church St., Padstow, Cornwall (1986) 97 pp. [ISBN: 0907018335]
Gregory, Alfred T., (Ed.). Devonshire Verbal Provincialisms: As Collected by Members of the Devonshire Association for Advancement of Science, Literature, & Art etc. 1877 to 1908, Devonshire Association (1909) viii, 196 p.
[Palmer, Mary] A Dialogue in the Devonshire Dialect, London, Longman & Co. (1837) vi + 85 pp.
[Palmer, M.]. Devonshire Courtship, Devonport and London, (c186-) 74 pp.
Hewett, Sarah. The Peasant Speech of Devon, and other matters connected therewith, (1892) ix + 184 p.
Lamplugh, Lois. Four Centuries of Devon Dialect as Recorded in Print, R.M. Young, 17 Broad Street, South Molton EX36 3AQ (1999) 175 pp.
Marten, Clement. The Devonshire dialect: being a collection of reminiscences, anecdotes, customs and traditions in which the Devonshire dialect is shown to be an important part of the character of the Devonshire people ... (4th ed.), Newton Abbot, Peninsula (1992) 48 pp. [ISBN: 1872640222]
Phillips, K.C. Westcountry Words & Ways, David & Charles: Newton Abbot (1976)
Sherracombe, Will. Devonshire folk: Stories from remote village, farms and hills, London, Heath Cranton Limited (1937) 180 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library 828.99]

Manors

Ian Mortimer has produced a splendid Guide to the Manors of Devon, which provides a detailed listing of Devon's over two thousand manors. Please note: it is requested that anyone citing material from these pages should take care to acknowledge the source of their information.

The Survey of West Country Manors 1525: Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire is available on microfiche from Harry Galloway Publishers and Booksellers, The Cottage, Manor Terrace, Paignton, Devon TQ3 3RQ.

Catalogue of documents relating to a number of Devon manors held by King's College, Cambridge: "Alphington, Crealy Barton, Highampton, Honeychurch, Ipplepen, Sampford Courtenay, St James Priory in Exeter, Tiverton and Walkhampton."

Pearson, J B. Manors in Devon, 1755. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 35 (1903) pp. 654-661. [Index]
Scott, Brad. The rural manor in South-west Devon in the nineteenth century. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 129, (1997) pp.129-143: ill.
Stoate, T.L., (Ed.). A Survey of West Country Manors 1525, Bristol, T.L. Stoate (1979) 193 pp.

Maps

  • Devon - Maps - links and information.

Merchant Marine

Listing of books and papers on Devon Maritime topics.

Shipping Catalogue of the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office.

Bob Sanders provides a lengthy listing of: Bristol Channel Shipping accidents.

Fund for widows and orphans of Clovelly fishermen lost in the 1821 storm - extracts from Trewman's Exeter Flying Post.

Plymouth and Devon Shipwrecks - by Submerged Productions.

Devon Crew Lists available on film from the LDS.

Crew lists of several vessels that sailed from Dartmouth to Newfoundland in 1770.

The Sinking of the "John", May 1855 (archived copy), by Mark Sandford. (The John was en route from Plymouth for Quebec under Captain Edward Rawle - this website reproduces contemporary newspaper and court reports, and provides many details of the crew and passengers.)

Article by Thomas Cole on Clears Cove and Devon Fishermen.

A Maritime Collection - a set of articles, mainly relating to North Devon, provided by John Lerwill.

The Great Storm of 1821 - by Peter Christie.

South Devon-registered Master Mariners & Mates (archived copy), from Lloyd's Captains' Register 1869, by the late Ray Osborn.

The Fishery and Fish Trade, 1500-1800, by Olaf U. Janzen, Professor of History, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

How West communities faced 300 years of terror from Barbary pirates, from This Is Cornwall.

Military History

Names, Geographical

Names, Personal

Newspapers

Occupations

Periodicals

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Population

Friends of Devon's Archives: preliminary report of the Black History Project - a collection of 17th and 18th century documentary references to blacks, currently (Oct 2006) listing just 80.

MacKeith, Lucy. Local Black History - a beginning in Devon. Archives and Museum of Black Heritage, 378 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8LF (2003) [Full text and illustrations]

Probate Records

Schools

Devon schools as listed in the UK Schoolswebdirectory.

Bovett, Robert (comp.). Dates of School Buildings in Devon: a list of dates of the present buildings of schools maintained by the Devon Local education Authority & some notes about the buildings still in use dating from the 18th century and earlier, (1965). [SoG Library DE/G 105]
Bovett, Robert. Historical Notes on Devon Schools, Devon County Council (1989) 438 pp. [ISBN 0-86114-995-5]
Griffin, Richard. Devon connections from Harrow School. The author. [DFHS Library p378.4231]
Orme, Nicholas. Education in the West of England 1066-1548. University of Exeter Press (1976) 254 pp. [ISBN: 978085989707].
Bovett, Robert. Historical Notes on Devon Schools (1889). [SoG Library, DE/G 103]
Porter, Jeffrey, (Ed.). Education and Labour in the South West, Exeter Papers in Economic History, No. 10 (1975). [ISBN 0859890759] [Devon FHS Library p942.3]
Sellman, R.R.S. Devon village schools in the nineteenth century. David & Charles: Newton Abbot (1967) pp. 171. pl. XII.
Devon And Exeter Boys' Industrial School - 1873-1888, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D008). [Foreword]
The Education Service in Devon: a report & a plan, Devon County Education Committee (1945). [SoG Library Devon Tracts Box]
Education in Devon: a review of the past 20 years, (n.d.). [SoG Library DE/G104]
Schools Inquiry Commission: Vol XIV - South-Western Division. Her Majesty's Stationery Office (1868) 568pp. [The Devon section has detailed reviews of 23 boys schools and 2 girls schools, and tabulated data for many more.]

Societies

The Devon Family History Society publishes a quarterly journal, "The Devon Family Historian", and provides several index search services and a library for the use of members. About 1500 of its members are listed in the "Members Interests" booklet published by the Society. There is a DFHS Facebook page.

The Devonshire Association was "founded in 1862 with objectives to further the study of science, literature and the arts in relation to the county of Devon", and publishes its Transactions annually. Abstracts of articles in Vol 131 (1999) onwards are available online, and there is a searchable index covering the period 1862-2010. Many copies of the Transactions are now available online in the Internet Archive - see listing.

Index to the Report of the First Meeting of the Devonshire Association (Exeter 1862), provided by Michael Steer.

The Devon & Cornwall Record Society publishes local records and promotes local historical studies and genealogical research.

The Devon History Society - the web site provides details of the Society's publications, including an index to all the issues of its journal Devon Historian.

The Friends of Devon's Archives is a society that supports the preservation of historical records in Devon. It provides financial support for the acquisition of Devon documents, arranges a programme of lectures, visits and volunteer projects and liaises closely with the local record offices in Devon.

South West Maritime History Society - web site (archived copy).

The Stover Canal Society web-site. (This provides details of the history, and photographs, of the Stover Canal, which ran from Ventiford to Teignmouth.) Local History Magazine's list of Local Hisory Societies in Devon.

Ball Clay Heritage Society - which aims to "further understanding of the history and heritage of clay production, transport and use, particularly in Devon and Dorset."

Listing of Devonshire Masonic Lodges, with links to each lodge's web pages.

Belerby, Rachel. Spotlight on .  . . Devon Family History Society. Family Tree, vol. 32, no. 9 (2016( pp. 28-29.
Christie, Peter. Clubs and Societies in Nineteenth Century North Devon, Devon Family Historian, vol. 117, (Feb 2006) pp.11-17.
Lane, Stanley H.N. Jordan Lodge No. 1402, Torquay, 1872 to 1922: A Record of the first Fifty Years of the Lodge, together with a complete List of members and other Statistical Information, Torquay, (1923) 124 + 4 pp.
Quinn, Gerald F. The Devon and Cornwall Record Society - The Devon Family History Society, Devon Family Historian, vol. 139, (2011) pp.7-8.
Shawyer, John W. Sociamur amore Devoniæ. The London Devonian Year Book. London: The London Devonian Association (1910) illus. pp. 20-25. [Index]

Taxation

  • Devon - Taxation - links and information.

Voting Registers

According to Gibson and Rogers: Poll Books 1696-1872 (FFHS, 1989), voting registers for the county of Devon are held by the Devon Record Office for the years 1712 (also published in Trans. Devon. Assoc. : 106 (1974)), 1790, 1816, 1818, 1820, 1826 and 1830.

Thomas, R.G. An Unknown Devon County Poll-Book. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 106 (1974) pp. 231-258.