"BIDEFORD (ST. MARY), a sea-port, incorporated market-town, and parish, having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally in the hundred of SHEBBEAR, Great Torrington and N. divisions of DEVON, 39 miles (N. W. by W.) from Exeter, and 201 (W. by S.) from London; containing 5211 inhabitants, of whom 4830 are in the town. This place, called also Bytheford, of which its modern appellation is a variation, derives its name from being situated near an ancient ford on the river Torridge . . . after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, in 1685, many French Protestants settled in the town, and established the manufacture of silk and cotton; a great quantity of wool was imported from Spain, and, in 1699, its trade with Newfoundland was inferior only to that of London and Exeter . . . Ship-building is extensively carried on: during the late war, several frigates were launched at this port, and there are eight or ten dockyards, in which smaller vessels are built. The principal articles of manufacture are cordage, sails, and common earthenware; there are also several tan-yards, and a small lace manufactory. . . The free grammar school, of remote foundation, was rebuilt in 1657 . . . A charity school is supported by the trustees of the Bridge Estate, and by subscription; a building has likewise been erected for a national school." [From Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of England (1844)]

A parish in Shebbear Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and the Diocese of Exeter. St Peter, East-the-Water, is a chapel of ease here.


Archives & Libraries

Information about the Burton Art Gallery & Museum, Bideford, can be found at the Devon Museums web-site.

Bideford and District Community Archive - "a charitable organisation run by volunteers" that holds indexes to census returns, trade directories, BMD announcements in the Bideford Gazette, and more.

Bideford Archive on Twitter.



Article in the North Devon Gazette about Sir Richard Grenville: Surprise discovery is 'proof' famous sea captain was born in Bideford (archived copy)

Grenville Research (PDF) - a very detailed report on research that  proves beyond reasonable doubt that the celebrated explorer Sir Richard Grenville was born in Bideford on 15th June 1542, and on the location of the Manor House of the Grenvilles, the present nos. 1 to 3 Bridge Street.

Adams, Maxwell (Ed.) Rev Roger Granville [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  XLIII, (1911), pp.39-40. [Transcript]

Ansell, Sir Michael. Soldier on: an autobiography, Peter Davies (1973) 180 pp. [Author lives at Pillhead House, Bideford] [Westcountry Studies Library: s920/ANS U]

Baldwin, Stanley Everett. Charles Kingsley, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, (1934), pp. vii, 207. [Index]

Bartlett, John. James Anthony Froude in Bideford, 1855-60, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 35, no. 9, (1986) pp.344-347. [Historian]

Blatchford, Timothy. Lost Images, Devon Family Historian, vol. 182, (2022) p.41. [Blatchford]

Brooking-Rowe, J. Edward Trapnell, J.P. [Obituary], Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1880, Vol XXXV, (1903), p. 41. [Transcript]

Brooking-Rowe, Edward John Tattersill [Obituary], Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1880, Vol XXXVII, (1905), pp. 39-40. [Transcript]

Brooking-Rowe, William Henry Turner [Obituary], Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1880, Vol XXXVII, (1905), p. 41. [Transcript]

Capern, Edward (the Rural Postman of Bideford). Ballads and songs, London, W. Kent & Co. (Late D. Bogue), 86 Fleet Street. Printed, J. Unwin, Gresham Steam Press, Bucklesbury, London (1859) 210pp. [Contents]

Chitty, Susan. The beast and the monk: a life of Charles Kingsley, London, Hodder & Stoughton (1974) 317p, plates: ill. [ISBN: 0340163852]

Christie, P. Bideford's first policeman, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 118, (1986) pp.123-140. [Palmer, Elias. 1835-1846]

Collinge, C.J. Charles Kingsley in Bideford [1854-1855], Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 108, (1976) pp.13-29.

Colloms, Brenda. Charles Kingsley: the lion of Eversley, London, Constable (1975) 400p, 8 of pls. [ISBN: 0094600201] [Westcountry Studies Library: s828/KIN]

Downes, H. and Editors. Pike [ -1722], of Bideford, botanist, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 12, no. 1, (1922) pp.6-7.

Durant, Sylvia. Ellen Hamlyn - A wronged child who overcame adversity, Family Tree Magazine, vol. 18, no. 12, (2002) pp.58-60.

Edgley, C.R. He named "Westward Ho!". Devon Life vol. 9 no. 75 (1972) pp.34-35; ill. [Charles Kingsley, 1819-1864] (1890) 103 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: s828/KIN U]

Ellis, Rev. James J. Charles Kingsley, London, (1890) 103 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: s828/KIN U] [Index]

Jacob, George. Looking back with George Jacob on Parkham and Bideford of years ago. Printed by the Bideford Gazette Ltd, 5 Grenville St, Bideford (undated) 49 pp. [Index]

Gamble, H.R. Charles Kingsley, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 51, (1919) pp.47-58. [Index]

Granville, Roger. The life of George Granville, Lord Lansdowne of Bideford, poet, Manuscript (1900?) 3 vols. [Westcountry Studies Library: ms920/GRA/2]

Harpley, W. John Roberts Chanter [1816-1895] [Obituary], Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 27, (1895) pp.34-35. [Index]

Harpley, W. John How, J.P. [Obituary], Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1880, Vol XII, pp. 57-58. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. William Shepherd Rooker [Obituary], Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1890, Vol XXII, pp. 40-41. [Transcript]

Hersey, Doreen. Free as a bird: a Bideford childhood, Bideford?, D. Hersey (1987?) ix, 66 pp. [Childhood reminiscences, 1920-1940] [Westcountry Studies Library: p920/HER]

Kaufmann, M. Charles Kingsley: Christian socialist and social reformer, London, Methuen & Co. (1892) 251 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: s828/KIN]

Kingsley, Charles. Charles Kingsley: his letters and memories (ed. by his wife), London, Kegan Paul, Trench (1883) 2 vols. [Westcountry Studies Library: s828/KIN]

Maddock, Marian Frye Colwill. Diary of Fanny Colwill Calvert: Portrait of an artist 1846-1936, Ontario, M.F.C. Maddock (1981) 102p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: sx920/CAL]

Maitland, Alexander. Speke and the discovery of the source of the Nile, London, Constable (1971) 245: ill. [Explorers. Uganda. 1854-1864]

Martin, Robert Bernard. The dust of combat: a life of Charles Kingsley, London, Faber & Faber (1959) 308p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: 828/KIN]

Pengelly, W. (ed.). Centenarian? In Second Report of the Committee on Scientific Memoranda: Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1877, Vol IX, pp.74-75. [transcript]

Paul, C. Kegan. Charles Kingsley. In Biographical sketches, pp.115-139, London, Kegan Paul Trench & Co., (1883).

Pope-Hennessy, Una. Canon Charles Kingsley: a portrait, London, Chatto & Windus (1948) 294p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: 828/KIN]

Ravenhill, W.L.D. Benjamin Donn, 1729-98: mapmaker and master of mechanics, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 97, (1965) pp.179-193.

Rowse, A.L. Sir Richard Grenville of the "Revenge", Jonathan Cape Ltd (1963) 368 pp.

Russel, Ann. One of Devon's illustrious sons - Charles Kingsley. Devon Life vol. 2 no. 21, (1966) pp.24-25; ill.

Sibborn, Maureen R. Two Old Citizens from Bideford Remembered, Devon Family Historian, vol. 154, (2015) p.12. [John Underwood and Mary Sexton, 1788]

Spender, Dale, (Ed.). The diary of Elizabeth Pepys, London, Grafton (1991) 267 pp. [ISBN: 0586067353] [Wife of Samuel Pepys, born at Bideford]

Thomas, Gail. Dorothy English Paty, Devon Family Historian, vol. 171, (2019) pp.14-15. [The botanical artist, née Burnard, bap. Bideford 1805, m. John Paty 1830, emigrated to Australia 1831.]

Thorp, Margaret Farrand. Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875, New York, Octagon (1969) 212p: port. [Westcountry Studies Library: s828/KIN]

Treby, John. Arthur McTaggart Short, Devon Family Historian, vol. 155, (2015) pp.38. [Details of his scrapbooks now in Glamorgan Archives]

Press cuttings re. Revd. Roger Granville, Rector of Bideford, Manuscript (1900?). [Westcountry Studies Library: ms920/GRA/15]


Business & Commerce Records

Grant, Alison. North Devon Pottery: The 17th Century, University of Exeter (1983) [ISBN 0 85989 129 1] - Chapter 1 is on Bideford.

Phillips, R.H. The Bideford pottery industry, Part 1 [1659-1760], Devon Historian, vol. 2, (1971) pp.11-14.

Phillips, R.H. The Bideford pottery industry, Part 2 [1823-1916], Devon Historian, vol. 3, (1971) pp.3-6.

Bideford Black: The history of a unique local industry, Sound Archives, North Devon (1994).

Strong's Industries Of North Devon 1889, David & Charles reprint 1971 - especially pages 74-85 on Messrs Vincent & Duncan's Collar Factory.



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

Bray, C. and Gilby, A. Old Town Country Walk. Bideford Community Archive. [Extracts of Nonconformist Burial Ground MIs. SoG Library DE/M17]

Bideford cemetery register index 1841-1911, Typescript (19--) 100 pp. [North Devon Athenaeum: D929.3/BID]

Bideford Bowden Green Cemetery 1889 - 1899. [Devon]: Devon Family History Society (2013).

Bideford Bowden Green Cemetery 1900 - 1907. [Devon]: Devon Family History Society (2013).

Bideford Public Cemetery Sexton's Register 1841 - 1857. [Devon]: Devon Family History Society (2013).



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]

Transcription of the 1851 Census entries for the Bideford Union Workhouse by Elizabeth Howard.

Transcription of the 1871 Census entries for the Bideford Union Workhouse, and for two small Bideford schools, by Betsy Rubel.


Church History

Bideford - from J. Stabb. Some Old Devon Churches (London: 1908-16).

The Diocese of Exeter in 1821 - Bideford Visitation Queries, provided by David Carter.

Ascott, W. An easy guide to Bideford parish church, Bideford, The Author (1950) 12p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: p726.5/BID/ASC]

Ascott, W. Notes for a Walk Around the Church of St Mary, Bideford (3rd. ed.), (1976). [SoG Library DE tracts box]

Cooper, R. St Mary's Parish Church Bideford, Bideford, R.D. & J.V.Cooper (1988), [ISBN 0 9514237 0 3]

Cresswell, Beatrix F. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Bideford, Plymouth, Mitchell & Co. (1910) 33p, ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: s726.5/BID/CRE]

Gill, John E. Lavington panorama, Barnstaple Library, Taw Vale Studio (196-) 24 pp. [Congregational church history] [North Devon Athenaeum: DP900/BID]

Granville, Roger. An account of Sir Thomas Grenvile's tomb in Bideford church, and also of the Long bridge of Bideford, Exeter Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society Trans. (3rd ser.), vol. 1, (1899) pp.11-16; plate.

Granville, Roger. Notes towards a history of St. Mary's Church, Bideford, Manuscript (1887). [Westcountry Studies Library: msx726.5/BID/GRA]

Granville, R. A History of the Church at Bideford and Some of Its Rectors, Trans. Devon Assoc. 34 (1902), pp.201-222. [Index]

Rogers, Inkerman. The Bloody Assizes in Somerset, Dorset and Devon 1685; A List of the Hugenots Who settled in Bideford 1685-1686, Barnstaple, Journal Printing Works (1940) 12 pp.

Wickham, Miss. Early nonconformity in Bideford. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 34 (1902) pp. 410-417. [Index]

The Great Meeting (now Lavington Congregational Church) Bideford 1648-1948: the church and its history, (1948) 25 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: 285.8/BID/GRE]

Bideford church review: centenary edition, 1881-1981, Bideford, Parochial Church Cl. (1981) 27p: ill. [Barnstaple Library: 283 /BT:BID/BID]

Parish of the Sacred Heart 1882-1982, London, Assocd. Cath. Newsp. (1983) 40p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: p282/BID/PAR]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1561 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1561 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library.

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

Bideford burials 1800-1812 and burials 1813-1837 transcribed by Elizabeth Howard.

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.)

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

  • Great Meeting, Bridgeland Street (Independent/Congregational): Registers for 1753-1837 (C) in PRO RG 4/515, Registers for 1695-1944 (C), 1854-70, 1899-1985 (M), 1854-70, 1897-1926 (B) at North Devon R.O.
  • Wesleyan Circuit: Registers for 1819-1923 (C) at North Devon R.O.
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Chapel Street: Registers for 1819-37 (ZC) in PRO RG 4/955, and in Barnstaple Circuit (PRO RG 4/964)
  • Barnstaple and Bideford Circuit (Primitive Methodist): Registers for 1836-48 at North Devon R.O.

The baptisms and marriages from the Bideford Parish Registers (1561-1812) have been transcribed into the IGI, as have the baptisms from the Bideford Great Meeting Independent Chapel (1753-1837), and the Wesleyan Chapel (1819-1837).

Hingeston-Randolph, Francis Charles. The rectors and patrons of Bideford in the Deanery of Hartland, Exeter, William Pollard & Co. (1895) 16 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: 283/COR/DAV]

Wickes, Michael. Bideford Independent Church: Births register, 1690-1785. (typescript) Wickes, Michael. (1990) 27p.[Westcountry Studies Library]

Wickes, Michael. Bideford Anglican registers: baptisms (1813-1826) (typescript). (1986) 30p.[Westcountry Studies Library]

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.]

Bethel Chapel Bideford Baptisms 1885 - 1898. [Devon]: Devon Family History Society (2013).

Bideford Methodist Baptisms 1836 - 1848. [Devon]: Devon Family History Society (2013).


Correctional Institutions

Bideford Prison Register 1838-1852. [Devon]: Devon Family History Society (2013).


Description & Travel

Bideford Town Council website.

Bideford, from Wikipedia.

Extract from Murray's "Handbook for Travellers in Devonshire" (1879), covering Bideford, and also Weare Giffard and Horwood.

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

Cresswell, Beatrix F. Bideford with its surroundings a handbook for visitors and residents, London, Homeland Association (1910?) 66p, plates: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library: sB/BID/1910/CRE]

Christie, Peter. Exploring Bideford, Thematic Trails (1989) [ISBN 0 948444 16 9].

Christie, Peter. Illustrations of Old Bideford, Edward Gaskell Publishers (multiple vols.)

Emneth, Elmand. Round about the Kingsley country: Bideford, Northam, Westward Ho! and Appledore, London, (1927?) 24, xxxvp: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library: pB/BID/1927/EMN]

George, Eric A. Bideford, a complete holiday centre. Devon Life vol. 9 no. 70 (1972) pp.28-33; ill.

Grant, Alison and Christie, Peter, The Book of Bideford, Barracuda Books (Buckingham) (1987) [ISBN 0 86023 284 0].

Lauder, Rosemary Anne. Bideford, Appledore, Instow & Westward Hol!: a guide, Bideford, North Devon Books (1996) 48p: ill. [ISBN: 0952864509]

Lee, Frederick. Mate's illustrated Bideford, official guide ...., Bournemouth, W. Mate & Sons (1904) 60p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: pB/BID/1904/LEE]

Pearson, Cyril Arthur. Pearson's Gossipy Guide to Ilfracombe, Clovelly, Lynton, and Lynmouth, Combmartin, Barnstaple, Westward Ho!, Bideford and the North Devon coast, London, C.A. Pearson & Co. Ltd (c1901) 159 pp. [BM 10358.cc.59]

Bideford and neighbourhood, Frith's (1880) 16p of photographs. [Westcountry Studies Library: sB/BID/0002/BID]

Tedrake's illustrated guide to Bideford and North Devon, Bideford, Western Express (1895) 132, 22 pl. [Westcountry Studies Library: B/BID/1895/TED]

Pictorial and descriptive guide to Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Bideford, Clovelly, and North-West Devon (9th ed rev.), London, Ward, Lock & Co. Ltd. (1919). [Westcountry Studies Library: sB/BAR/1919/PIC]

Pictorial and descriptive guide to Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Bideford, Woolacombe, and North-West Devon (10th ed rev.), London, Ward, Lock & Co. Ltd. (1920), xxiii, 40, 24, 40 pp. [Index to Part 1: Pages iii to clxxxvi] [Index to Part 2: Pages 1 to 81]

You can see pictures of Bideford which are provided by:



Transcription of the description and name listing for Bideford, from Pigot's London and Provincial New Commercial Directory of 1830.

Transcript of the entry in Pigot's Devonshire Directory of 1844.

Transcription from an 1857 trades directory, for Bideford and Area, by John Bishop.

Transcription, by Jonathan Frayne of the Private Residents section for Bideford in Kelly's Directory of Devon (1893).

Wilson's Almanack & Directory of Bideford, Northam & Westward Ho, Bideford, Wilson Bros (1900) 106 pp. [Available on CD from JiGrah Resources, 85 Heythrop Drive, Acklam, Middlesborough, TS5 8QX]

North Devon directory and year book, Bideford, Bideford Gazette (1937) iv, 164, [32]p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: s380.1025/DEV/1937]


Emigration & Immigration

Emigrants (to Ireland and Scotland) listed as having embarked from the Port of Bideford in 1775 and 1776, transcribed from the Treasury's Weekly Emigrants Returns.

Davey, F.A., Watts, S.G. Westward Look: Devon Pioneers and Pilgrims in the New World. Town & Country Press Ltd., 42 Rectory Lane, Bracknell, Berks. (1970) 56p. ["John Shurte - Friend of the Indians" [of Bideford] - pp.38-30, "Roger Garde of Bideford" - pp.51-52]



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



This parish is one of the growing number of places for which the Devon Heritage website provides census or parish register transcriptions, articles, and/or illustrations, etc.

The Grenville Family - a comprehensive report: Grenville Research.

Bond, Sue. Research Corner [William Pitman, Ann Paddon], Devon Family Historian, vol. 175, no. 23, (2020) pp.22-24.

Bradley, Sue. Where is Sarah?, Devon Family Historian, vol. 184, (2022) p.43. [Sarah Wood, b. Bideford, 10 Aug 1781]

Chanter, J.F. Christmas family of Bideford, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 6, no. 7, (1911) pp.209-210.

Granville, Roger. An account of Sir Thomas Grenvile's tomb in Bideford church, and also of the Long Bridge of Bideford, Exeter Diocesan Architect. and Archaeol. Soc. Trans. 3rd series 1, 1892, pp. 11-16. 1513.

Granville, Roger. The history of the Granville family: Traced back to Rollo, first duke of Normandy. W. Pollard & co., (1895) 489pp. [Full Text]

Hopkins, H. Hanford. Captain John Hopkins, mariner, of Philadelphia and Bideford in Devon, and his alleged forebears and descendants: A narrative. Baltimore: the author, 1977.

Prior, W.R. Christmas Family of Bideford. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), p. 175. [Transcript]

Risdon, Peter. Mounce family bible, Devon Family Historian 78, 1996, pp. 4-5. [Of Bideford and Newport, Monmouthshire, 19th c.]

Whitaker, Mike. Request for help in Pittsburgh, Devon Family Historian, vol. 170, (2019) p.37. [Re Ralph Whitaker, b. Bideford 1862]

Worthy, Charles. Notes, genealogical and historical, being a second essay towards history of Bideford, Trans. Dev. Assoc. 16, 1884, pp. 670-702. [Grenville family.] [Index]



History and description of Bideford from White's Devonshire Directory of 1850.

The Way of the Wharves - "Discover the historical and cultural impact East-the-Water's estuary wharves, ships, businesses, people and events had on Bideford." - an excellent website, providing a large amount of information - maps, documents, oral histories, photographs, and much more.

Historical Notes relating to Bideford's East-the-Water Shore: Volume 1 (Prehistory to 18th C.)Volume 2 (19th C.), and  Volume 3 (20th C. to present) provided on The Way of the Wharves website.

Bideford's rich history (archived copy) - provided by John Lerwill.

The Charters of Bideford of c.1204 and c.1272 provided by David Carter.

The Charter of Bideford (1573) provided by David Carter.

Arnold, Ian. The Bideford Fire Brigade, Bideford, Lazarus press (1995) viii, 48p, [40]p plts; ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: s363.37/BID/ARN]

Ascott, Major W.Random Notes On Old Bideford And District, Bideford (1953).

Chope, R. Pearse. The Bideford witches, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 7, no. 1, (1912) [Trials, 1670-1712] [Transcript]

Chope, R. Pearse. Old Bideford bridge, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 13, no. 2, (1922) pp.61-65, plates: ill(2).

Chope, R. Pearse. Mock mayors in Devon. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 13:6, (1925) pp.266-268. [See query vol.13, pp.201. Extract from N. Devon Journal (1874).]

Christie, Peter. Secret Bideford, Amberley Publishing (2015) 96 pp. [ISBN-13: 978-1445644844]

Christie, Peter. A short history of the theatre in Bideford [1600-1998], Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 127, (1995) pp.15-28: ill.

Christie, Peter and Grant, Alison. The Book of Bideford, Halsgrove, Tiverton (2005) 160 pp. [ISBN 1 84114 405 3] [Index]

Christie, Peter and Hobbs, Graham. Bideford Through Time, Amberley Publishing (2012) 96 pp. [ISBN-13: 978-1445609102]

Christie, Peter and Hobbs, Graham. Bideford History Tour, Amberley Publishing (2016) 96 pp. [ISBN-13: 978-1445656991]

Clement, H.C. No Justice for the Poor: Four Tales of Death and Mystery of West Country Pauper Children, H.C. Clement (1996) 186 pp. [ISBN 09525924 1 X, CAM 1999.8.5652] [Includes story of Mary Ann Parsons, b 1835, taken on as a servant from Bideford Union in 1850, and tortured to death by her employer]

Duncan, Alexander G. The long bridge of Bideford, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 34, (1902) pp.223-264. [Index]

Duncan, Alexander G. Bideford under the restored monarchy; with some extracts from a "sessions of the peace book" for the borough of Bideford 1659-88, Trans. Devon. Assoc., no. 47, (1915) pp.306-333. [Index]

Few, Janet. Sins as Red as Scarlet: The true story of a Devon town in turmoil, Blue Poppy Publishing (2020) pp. [ISBN-13 : 978-1911438731] [A fictionalsed account of the Bideford Witches]

Fielder, Duncan. History Of Bideford, Phillimore (Chichester) 1985, [ISBN 0 85033 574 4] [Index]

Gent, Frank. Trial Of The Bideford Witches, Bideford (1982) [ISBN 0 9508437 0 9]

Gent, Frank G. The Trial of the Bideford Witches, Bideford, Lazarus Press (Edward Gaskell Publishers) (2002) 140 pp. [ISBN: 189854656-8]

Goaman, M. Old Bideford and District, Bristol, E. M. & A. G. Cox, 1968, 96 pp. (Contains chapters on: Prehistoric Times and Early History; Bideford Long Bridge; The Church; Sea Dogs; Bideford Quay; The Seventeenth Century; Industry; The Victorians and After; and Old Bideford, Northam and Appledore. Well-illustrated with old photographs.)

Goaman, Muriel. Bideford In Old Picture Postcards, The European Library (Netherlands) (1982) ISBN 90 288 2100 7

Grant, Alison and Christie, Peter. The book of Bideford. Buckingham: Barracuda (1987) 116 pp. ill., maps, facsims., plans, ports. ISBN: 0860232840. [Index]

Granville, Roger. The History of Bideford, Compiled from Various Sources. Bideford: W.Crosbie Cole (1883) 110p: ill, map, plates.

Granville, Roger. Bideford and the civil wars. Bideford: Gazette Office (1895) 22p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/BID/1642/GRA]

Granville, Roger. A history of Bideford. Manuscript [1900?] 3 vol. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/BID/0001/GRA]

Granville, Roger. The River Torridge from the source to the sea (2 vols.), Manuscript (1910). [Westcountry Studies Library sB/TOR 9/0001/GRA]

Hold, Chris. 100 years of Bideford Amateur Rowing Club, Yelland, C. Hold (1982) 104p: ill. [ISBN: 0722316127] [Westcountry Studies Library: 797.12306/BID/HOL]

Holland, Clive. The story of the long bridge, Bideford from the fourteenth century, Bideford, Coles & Lee (1925) 36p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: s624.2/BID/HOL]

Jacob, George. Looking back on Parkham and Bideford of years ago. Bideford: Bideford Gazette (1970) 46p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/PAR 3/1900/JAC]

Jenkins, Stanley C. Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway. Headington: Oakwood Press (1993) 144p: ill, maps, plans. [ISBN 0853614520]

Johnston, G.D. The Torridge, Typescript (1924) 1 vol: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library s574.526323/DEV/JOH]

Johnston, G.D. The Torridge tributaries, Typescript (1925) 1 vol: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library s574.526323/DEV/JOH]

Lauder, R.A. Market Towns of North Devon, Bideford, Badger (1983) 60 pp.

Lethbridge, Sir R. The Bideford and Okehampton railway of 1831. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 34 (1902). [Index]

Norman, Neville. The 1847 Tragic Accident at Bideford: The Friendship-Norman Connection, Devon Family Historian, vol. 128, (2008) pp.37-38. [Concerning Charles Friendship, many of whose family were killed in the 1847 horse taxi accident, who deserted his wife Sarah Chambers and eloped to Australia with Elizabeth Norman, as Charles Norman in 1879.]

Parry, J.A. Brief Sketch of the Early History of Bideford. (1891) [Torquay Central Library]

Pye, Andrew. Bideford town quay, Proc. Devon Archaeol. Soc., vol. 50, (1992) pp.117-124: ill, plate.

Pike, S. Dreadful Occurrence at Bideford Quay - Eight Person Drowned, Devon Family Historian, vol. 126, (2008) pp.29-30. [Transcription of an article in Exeter Flying Post, 25 Feb 1847. Those drowned: Fanny Friendship, Elizabeth Friendship, Mary Ann Friendship, Ann Norman, Ann Page, John Chappell, John Passmore, Elizabeth Griffey]

Rogers, Inkerman. A concise history of Bideford. Bideford: Gazette Office (1938) 40p: ill.

Rogers, William Henry. Notes on Bideford, Manuscript (1940?) 3 vol: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: sxB/BID/0001/ROG]

Shakespeare, Liz. The Turning of the Tide, Letterbox Books, The Old Post Office, Littleham, Bideford, Devon EX39 5HW (2010) 352 pp. [ISBN 9780951687925] [A novel set in nineteenth century Clovelly and Bideford and based on true events and real people. It incorporates C19 photographs, letters, newspaper articles, census returns and certificates, and tells the story of Selina Burman, confined in Bideford Workhouse, and Dr Ackland, friend of Charles Kingsley.]

Slade, Pat. Britain in Photographs: Bideford. Littlehampton Book Services.

Slade, Pat. Bideford in Old Photographs. Sutton Publishing Limited (1996). [ISBN 0-7509-1155-7] [Index]

Stuckey, Douglas. The Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway 1901-1917 ( 2nd ed.), Bracknell, West Country Publs (1965) 19p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: s385/DEV/STU] [DFHS LOC 320]

Watkins, J. An Essay Towards a History of Bideford in the County of Devon. Exeter: Printed by E. Grigg (1792) xii + 276p. [Westcountry Studies Library, Devon & Exeter Inst., Exeter University Library, Plymouth Central Library, Torquay Central Library] [List of subscribers] [Surname Index]

Watkins, John. Notes genealogical and historical: being a second essayy towards a history of Bideford. Bideford: Lazarus Publishing (1993) 52p. [ISBN 1898546002]

Whiting, F.E. Bideford Bridge, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 80, (1948) pp.127-136, 7p of plates.

Whiting, Frank. The Long Bridge Of Bideford 1945, reprinted with additions by Peter Christie, Bideford Bridge Trust (1987)

Worthy, C. Notes Genealogical and Historical, Being a Second Essay Towards a History of Bideford. (1884) [Westcountry Studies Library] [Index]

A true and impartial relation of the informations against three witches, viz. Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles and Susanna Edwards, London, (1682) [4], 40p. [Westcountry Studies Library: s345.0288/BID/TRU]

Bideford: Quater-Centenary 1573-1973, Bideford, The Council (1973) [18]p: ill. [Barnstaple Library: BT:BID/1573/BID]


Land & Property

The Grenville Documents - a collection of the documents related to a series of properties in Bridge Street, Bideford, provided by David Carter

Snow, David. Request for Help: Heywood Family Documents, Devon Family Historian, vol. 168, (2018) p.46.



Map of the area from OldeMaps (circa 1950).

OS 1:500 1886 Town Plan of Bideford, provided by the National Library of Scotland. (The plan consists of 9 sheets - to examine an individual sheet select the appropriate extent in the little grid covering Bideford and click on "Zoom to selected map extent.)"

Bond, Sue. House Hunt, Devon Family Historian, vol. 169, (2019) pp.32-33. [The hunt for "Lakemba", Abbotsham Road.]

Rose, Louise. Stucley's map of Bideford, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 36, no. 7, (1990) pp.259-260. [1725]

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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SS453263 (Lat/Lon: 51.015213, -4.206803), Bideford which are provided by:


Merchant Marine

Listing of sailings between Bideford and Prince Edward Island, provided by Arthur Dark.

Petition by Merchants of Bideford and Barnstaple 1706 requesting Navy support in their Newfoundland fisheries.

Petition by Merchants of Bideford and Barnstaple 1707 requesting fortification at Ferriland, for the Newfoundland fisheries.

Petition by Merchants of Bideford and Barnstaple 1726 related to Newfoundland fisheries and the activities of Governor Samuel Gledhill of Placentia.

Petition by Merchants of Bideford 1758 related to the impressment of seamn involved in the Newfoundland fisheries.

The Great Storm of 1821 - by Peter Christie.

Barnstaple and Bideford's Dispute over the Status of Appledore (1722), transcribed by David Carter.

Port Books for 1570, 1575-1576, 1577-78, 1578-79, 1579-80, 1580, 1581-82, 1582-83, 1584, 1588-89, 1590-91, 1595-1596, 1606, 1611, 1616, 1617, 1628, 1640, 1647, 1661, 1672, 1680 , 1705 and 1745, provided by David Carter.

Appointment of Appledore as being part of the Port of Bideford (1814), transcribed by David Carter.

Dunstan, G.J.O. The seaborne trade of Barnstaple, Bideford and Ilfracombe 1660-1700, Thesis, Cambridge University (1972) 61p: ill, maps. [Westcountry Studies Library: sx380.1/DEV/DUN]

Nix, M. A Maritime History of the Ports of Bideford and Barnstaple. Ph.D. Thesis, Univesity of Leicester (1991), 527p. [WCSL 387/BID/NIX]

Rogers, I. A Record of Wooden Sailing Ships and Warships built in the Port of Bideford from the year 1568 to 1938: with a brief account of the Shipbuilding Industry in the Town, Bideford, Gazette Printing Service (1947) 48 pp.

Thomas, Stanley. The Nightingale scandal, Bideford, Gazette (1959) 75p: ill. [Career, trial and subsequent exile of Thomas Benson of Bideford] [Westcountry Studies Library: s364.163/DEV/THO]

Bideford Port Book - ship arrivals and departures, June 1805 to June 1813. CD 072, Devon FHS (2013). [Includes captain's names, ship name & cargo]


Military History

Arber, Edward, (Ed.). The Last Fight of the Revenge at Sea: Under the Command of Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Grenville, Described by Sir Walter Raleigh, Gervase Markham and Jan Hoygen van Linschoten, English Reprints, No 29, Southgate, London, N. (1871) 104pp pp. [Contents & Bibliography]

Arnold, Ian and Morris, Richard. The First World War Memorial book of Bideford. Bideford Antiques (2013). [Based upon the names listed on the marble tablet in Saint Mary's Church] [DFHS Library 929.3/BUR-BID]


Names, Geographical

Buck, Gill. "Lakemba", Devon Family Historian, vol. 170, (2019) pp.45-46.


Names, Personal

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

Names from an 1822-23 edition of Pigot's Directory.

Burgesses Of Bideford - 1849. [Devon]: Devon Family History Society (2013). [Foreword]



Bideford Buzz - "Newspages for the Bideford and district community".

The Bideford Community Archive is compiling an "index of Bideford Gazette newspapers from 1856 to the present day".



Boyle, Vernon C. Arts and crafts of an old seaport, Trans. Devon. Assoc., (1948) pp.137-145.


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Bideford Poor Law Union, from the Workhouse website.

Duncan, Alexander G. Bideford poor and poorhouses 1830-1840. Trans. of the Devonshire Assoc. (1918) pp. 533-560.

Charity Commissioners. Parish of Bideford: inquiry, 6th March 1907, (1907) 59 pp. [Containing 1823 report, 1865-7 digest, & report up to 1907] [Barnstaple Library: 361.763/BID/CHA]


Probate Records

Will of Mary Mill (1810), transcribed by Janet Few.

Will of Grace Grenvile (1647), transcribed by David Carter.

Will (in the form of an indenture) of Sir Richard Grenville (1542-1591), transcribed by David Carter.

Will and Inventory of Dame Mary Grenville (1623), transcribed by David Carter.

Wills of Sir Thomas Graynfield (1514), Richard Greynfelde (1549), Sir Bevill Grenville (1639), and Charles Carter (1862) transcribed by David Carter.

Will of Narcissus Hatherley (1762) and Catherine Stafford (1791), transcribed by David Carter.

Wills of William Nicholls (1746), William Kenney (1768), Thomas Kenney (1772), Simon Carder (1781), Isaac Byers (1801), Edward Shrapnell (1806), William Pyke (1827), Ann Byers (1829), Susannah Burgess (1830) and Elizabeth Edwards (1833), transcribed by Ros Dunning.

IPMs of Roger Greenville (1525), Richard Greynfeldt (1550), Sir Richard Grenvile (1592), transcribed by David Carter.

Will of Anthonie or Antony Wills (1659/60), transcribed by Peter Harris.


Public Records

Rogers, William Henry. Report on Documents Belonging to the Feoffees of the Long Bridge, Bideford. Bideford?: Bideford Library? (1933). [16th-19th c.]


Religion & Religious Life

Hurrell, J.S. Proclamation of liberty of conscience, 1687: addresses to James II from Devonshire nonconformists, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 4, no. 7, (1907) pp.255-256.

Rogers, Inkerman. Bideford Huguenots 1685-1686, Bideford, The author (1940) [2]p. [Included with "The Bloody Assizes"] [North Devon Athenaeum: D284BID/ROG]

The trial of Jeremiah Hill, Esq. for heresy, before the church of Christ in Biddeford May 2, 1793, (1793) 24 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: s920/HIL]



Abbott, M.E. The jubilee book of West Bank School Bideford 1896-1946, Bideford, West Bank School (1946) 70p: ill. [Barnstaple Library: 373.222/BID/ABB]

Marples, M. A History of Bideford Grammar School. (1937) [Westcountry Studies Library] [Raymond: Includes biographical notes on staff Members, 17-19th c.]

Memoire, A. West Bank School Bideford 1896-1954, Sidmouth 1954-1971, Blagdon Hill, The author (1989) 50p: ill. [North Devon Athenaeum: D373BID/MID]

Pyke, Richard. Edgehill College 1884-1934, London, The Epworth Press (1934). [Westcountry Studies Library: 373.22/BID/PYK] [Devon FHS Library - 942.35/BID]

Pyke, Richard. Edgehill College 1884-1957: A Triumph of Faith, (1957).

Shaw, A. Mary. When you were there: reflections on Edgehill College, 1884-1984. [Bideford?]: [A.M. Shaw?] (1983) 173 pp. ill., facsims., ports. ISBN: 0950915505 (pbk).