"ABBOTSHAM (ST. HELEN), a parish, in the union of BIDEFORD, hundred of SHEBBEAR, Great Torrington and N divisions of DEVON, 2 miles (W ) from Bideford; containing, with the hamlets of Shepperton and Littleham, 414 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the shore of Barnstaple Bay, is distinguished for a memorable victory over the Danes, who besieged the fortress, called Kenwith or Kenwic Castle, towards the close of the ninth century, on which occasion their main western army was routed, and 1200 of them, including their leader, slain, and their consecrated standard captured." [From Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of England (1844)]
A parish in Shebbear Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and the Diocese of Exeter.


Business & Commerce Records

Listings of Licensed Victuallers for this parish are to be found here.



MIs for this parish are included in the Incledon and NDA North Devon indexes - see under Cemeteries on the main Devon page.



Snetzler, M.F. North Devon Surname Index to the Census. Microfiche: M.F. Snetzler. [Covers 1841, 1861, 1871 and 1881 census records for this parish]


Church History

[Guide to] St. Helen's, Abbotsham, (1941) 4 pp. [North Devon Athenaeum: DP900/ABB]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1653 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1653, and of the Bishops' Transcripts going back to 1598, are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library - for details see Parish Registers in the Devon & Cornwall Record Society's Collection (archived copy).

The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering (as of June 2004): Baptisms 1813-1840, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

Other churches and chapels (with pre-1840 records):

  • Wesleyan Chapel: Registers for 1807-37 in PRO RG 4/954 (with Barnstaple circuit) and RG 4/955 (Bideford)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1598-1636 & 1653-1875 (partial), Marriages 1597-1875. (These entries are based in part on Bishops' transcripts.)

Bishops Transcripts - Baptisms (1598-1637), Marriages (1597-1637) and Burials (1598-1637), transcribed by David Carter.

Bideford Methodist Circuit baptisms (1819 -1870) transcribed by David Carter. (Contains entries from the following parishes: Abbotsham, Allington, Alverdiscott, Alwington, Appledore, Arlington, Barnstaple, Bideford, Buckland Brewer, Bucks Mills, Burrington, Chulmleigh, Clovelly, Fremington, Frithelstock, Great Torrington, Hatherleigh, Huntshaw, Ilfracombe, Instow, Landcross, Little Torrington, Littleham, Loxhore, Marystowe, Monkleigh, Newton Tracey, Northam, Parkham, South Molton, St Giles in the Wood, Wear Giffard, Westleigh, Woolfardisworthy.)

Granville, Roger & Mugford, W.E. (eds.) Abbotsham 1597-1602 and 1607-1636. Abstracts of the Existing Transcripts of the Lost Parish-Registers of Devon, 1596-1644, and short notes on the extant pre-reformation registers of all the parishes in the county, from particulars furnished by the several incumbents thereof. Vol. 1 A-Bra. Exeter: W. Pollard (1908) [Full text].

An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of Abbotsham, Alverdiscott, Alwington, Bideford, Buckland Brewer, Bulkworthy, Clovelly, East Putford, Frithelstock, Hartland, Landcross, Littleham, Monkleigh, Northam, Parkham, Wear Gifford, Welcombe and West Woolfardisworthy. With photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850 and Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of England 1844, CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2009). [Abbotsham Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Alverdiscott Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1775-1837; Alwington Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Bideford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Buckland Brewer Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Bulkworthy Bapt: 1813-1841, Mar: 1814-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Clovelly Bapt: 1813-1838, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; East Putford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1797-1837, Bur: 1813-1839; Frithelstock Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Hartland Bapt: 1838-1839, Mar: 1558-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Landcross Bapt: 1814-1839, Mar: 1761-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Littleham Bapt: 1813-1841, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1851; Monkleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Northam Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Parkham Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1537-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Wear Gifford Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Welcombe Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1757-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; West Woolfardisworthy Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837.]


Description & Travel

Section on Abbotsham  from Samuel Lewis: A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831), provided by Mel Lockie.

You can see pictures of Abbotsham which are provided by:



Transcription of complete entry in White's Devonshire Directory of 1850.



The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.



The Online Parish Clerk scheme's representative for this parish is Ethelda Peshko, who invites queries and lookup requests. (Resources: PRs on Fiche.)

Burdick, Peter. Notes on the Devonshire Burdicks: [from Abbotsham, North Devon in the 18thc.]. (1994) [Devon FHS Library p929.2/BUR]



Davy, Mike, (Ed.). Social history of the village of Abbotsham 1860-1978, [Abbotsham?], [C. Babb] (1994). [Vol. of cuttings from the Bideford Gazette] [Westcountry Studies Library: sxB/ABB 5/1860/SOC]

Hoskins, W G. Devon Parish Notes. Abbotsham. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries 26,4 (1954) pp. 1-2.

Lomas, H.A. History of Abbotsham. Bideford. Gazette Office (1956) 64p.

Williams, H. Fulford. Notes on the Parish of Abbotsham, Devon. Typescript (1955) [2], 6 leaves. [Westcountry Studies Library]


Land & Property

Abbotsham Land Tax Assessments for 1780178517901795180018051810181518201825 and 1830, provided by David Carter.

Shebbeare, Claude E. Abbotsham Court in Bygone Days, Devon & Cornwall notes & Queries, vol. 11, no. 8, (1921) pp.289-295, plates: ill. & port. [Index]



View a map of the boundaries of this town/parish.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SS424264 (Lat/Lon: 51.015324, -4.248156), Abbotsham which are provided by:


Names, Personal

Listing of Abbotsham contributors to a 1678 brief for the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral.