"BARNSTAPLE, the principal port, market-town, and borough in North Devon . . . is pleasantly seated on the north-east side of the navigable river Taw, where it receives the small river Yeo, and is crossed by a handsome bridge of sixteen arches. . . It is a very ancient borough, and respectable town, and is distant 40 miles N.W. of Exeter, 9 miles N.E. of Bideford, 11 miles W.N.W. of South Molton, and 192 miles W. by S. of London. The parish of Barnstaple comprises about 1096 acres of land, in the broad and fertile vale of the river Taw, which is to be traversed by a railway from Exeter. . . The parish had only 3748 inhabitants in 1801, but in 1821 they had increased to 5079, in 1831 to 6840, and in 1841 to 7902. . . . Barnstaple was a naval port in the reign of Edward III. . . The staple trade of the town, from a very early period till the latter part of the last century, was the manufacture of woolen goods. . . . Since 1822, when bonded warehouses were established here, the port has had an increasing foreign trade [importing] goods from the Baltic, France, Spain, Portugal, North America, etc." [From White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of Devon (1850)]
St Mary Magdalen (1846), Holy Trinity (1847) and St Paul, Sticklepath are modern parishes.