Bovey Tracey


"BOVEY TRACEY, or South Bovey, is a small ancient town, picturesquely seated in the valley of the West Teign or Bovey river, 6 miles S.E. by S. of Moreton-Hampstead, 5 miles N.N.E. of Newton-Abbot, and 4 miles W. by S. of Chudleigh. Its parish has 1823 souls in 1841, but has now more than 2000; and contains 7962a. 2R. 14P. of land, including parts of the heath and rocky moorland hills on the eastern side of the Dartmoor Forest . . . . The parish includes many scattered houses; the small hamlets of Little Bovey and Lower Brimley, and upwards of 500A. of low, flat, peaty lands, called Bovey Heathfield, under which it got the Bovey Coal . . . This coal is used by the poor, and also at the extensive Pottery, which was established here in 1772, and is now carried on here by a Company, who manufacture coarse as well as the finer sorts of earthenware, equal in quality and design to the best Staffordshire wares. . . . The Earl of Devon owns a great part of the parish, and is lord of the manor and borough of Bovey Tracey, formerly held by the Tracey family . . . The Parish Church (St. Thomas-a-Becket,) is a large ancient structure, in the perpendicular style, with a tower and six bells. . . ." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Teignbridge Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Totnes and the Diocese of Exeter. According to Peskett, inhabitants of Wreyland in this parish were often registered at Lustleigh.


Archives & Libraries

Bovey Tracey Heritage Centre - contact details.



Extract (a poem containing details of the Bovey Tracey and District Liberal leadership of the day) from the 1881 diary of Edwin Steer, transcribed by Michael Steer.

Dr John G Croker, Surgeon, Bovey Tracey - an article and transcript, provided by Michael Steer.

Rev. Hon. Charles Leslie Courtenay (31 March 1816 – 29 October 1894) - an article by Michael Steer.

Harpley, Rev. W. John Divett. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1886, Vol XVIII, pp. 60-61. [Transcript]

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. Hunt Family in Devonshire, Devon and Cornwall Notes & Queries. Vol. IX, (January 1916 to October 1917). p. 19-25. [Transcript]

Wright, Dorothy. William Boycott, cartographer, in Devon, Devon Historian, vol. 12, (1976) pp.10-13.

Obituary of Edwin Steer, Water Bailiff of Bovey Tracey, Devonr. Mid-Devon Advertiser (19 Feb 1927) [Transcript].

Southcote, John (by 1504-56), of Bovey Tracey, Devon. The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982.

Southcote, Thomas (by 1528-1600), of Shillingford George and Bovey Tracey, Devon. The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982.

Fireman's Fumeral at Bovey: The Late Mr. E. Steer. Mid-Devon Advertiser (26 Feb 1927) [Transcript].



MIs for this parish are included in the Incledon index - see under Cemeteries on the main Devon page.

Vere-Stead, W.B. Tomb at Bovey Tracey, Devon Notes & Queries, vol. 4, no. 2, (1906) p.49, plates: ill. [Maria, wife of James Forbes, chaplain to Charles I, vicar of Bovey Tracey, 1655] [Transcript]


Church History

Bovey Tracey entry in J. Stabb's Some Old Devon Churches. London: Simpkin et al (1908-16), provided by Michael Steer.

Bovey Tracey entry in Oliver & Jones's Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Devon. Exeter: E. Woolmer (1828), provided by Michael Steer.

Bovey Tracey entry in Oliver & Jones's Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Devon. Exeter: W C Featherstone, New London Inn Square (1840), provided by Michael Steer.

Bovey Tracey's Ancient Stone Crosses - extracted from William Crossing. The ancient stone crosses of Dartmoor and its borderland. (Rev.Ed.), Exeter, James G. Commin, (1902) xiv, 184 pp., provided by Michael Steer.

Parish Church - its connection with Thomas Becket and Lady Margaret Beaufort - by Francis Billinge.

Duxbury, G.O.C. The Story of Bovey Tracey Parish Church. (1956) [Westcountry Studies Library, Torquay Central Library] [Vicars] [Index]

Hyde, H.B. Notes on the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, and St Thomas of Canterbury, Bovey Tracey. (n.d.) [Westcountry Studies Library, Torquay Central Library]

Pengelly, W. Notes on a Devonshire funeral sermon in the seventeenth century, Trans. Devon. Assoc., 14, (1882), pp. 493-515. [of Mrs Mary Forbes, wife of Rev James Forbes, the Vicar] [Index]

Vere-Stead, W.B. Bovey Tracey Church Plate, Devon Notes & Queries, vol. 2 (1902-3) p.253 [Transcript]

Williams, H. Fulford. The Vicars of Bovey Tracey, Devon. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 29, 9 (1964) pp.253-256.

Bovey Tracey parish church, Devon: Diocese of Exeter. Gloucester: British Publishing Co., 1973, 24 pp. ill. ; 19 cm. ISBN: 0714011029.

Bovey Tracey parish church, Devon: Diocese of Exeter. Torquay: Bellamy (Printers), 1986, 12pp. [Index].

Bovey Tracey Parish Church, Devon: Diocese of Exeter. Newton Abbot: Carthew Printers, (c. 2006), illus. 12pp. [Index].


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1538 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1538 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.

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

  • Baptist Chapel, Hen or Hind Street: Registers for 1778-1833 (Z). 1784-1833 (B) in PRO RG 4/956
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Hen Street: Registers for c1813-44 (C) at DRO; c1801-36 (C) see also Ashburton Circuit (PRO RG 4/840, 1763)

The Devon FHS publishes indexes of the Baptist Chapel records covering (as of June 2004): Burials 1784-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1538-1837, Marriages 1539-1837, Hen Street Baptist Chapel Births 1778-1837.

Granville, Roger & Mugford, W.E. (eds.) Bovey Tracey, 1613-1639. 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]

Hyde, H.B., Schopp, J.W. and Tapley-Soper, H. Bovey Tracey Church Rate, 1596. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 10 (1918-19) pp.329-336. [Transcription]

Section III, Mrs Mary Forbes, pp.497-8 in Pengelley, W. Notes on a Devonshire funeral sermon in the seventeenth century. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 14, (1882), pp. 493-515. [Transcription]

Torr, Cecil. Bovey Tracey Church-Rates and Poor-Rates, 1596-1729. (1928) 23p. [Westcountry Studies Library: 336.22/BOV/TOR]

An index of baptisms (1813-1839), marriages (1754-1837) and burials (1813-1837) in the parishes of Ashburton, Bickington, Bovey Tracey, Buckland in the Moor, Hennock, Highweek, Ideford, Ilsington, Kingsteignton, Lustleigh, Manaton, Moretonhampstead, North Bovey, Teigngrace and Widecombe in the Moor. Photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850., CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2011). [Ashburton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Ashburton Independent Chapel Bapt: 1817-1839; Bickington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1771-1837; Bovey Tracey Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Bovey Tracey Baptist Chapel, Bur: 1784-1837; Buckland in the Moor Bapt: 1813-1851, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1737-1840; Hennock Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Highweek Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1838, Bur: 1813-1837; Ideford Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; llsington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1838; Kingsteignton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Lustleigh Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1785-1837; Manaton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1843; Moretonhampstead Bapt: 1813 1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; North Bovey Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Teigngrace Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Widecombe in the Moor Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837]


Description & Travel

Bovey Tracey in 1854, extracted from The handbook for Torquay and its neighbourhood by Michael Steer.

Bovey Tracey - from A Topographical Dictionary of England (Lewis, 1848)

Conservation Area Appraisal for Bovey Tracey - an interesting account of the area, with numerous photographs and maps.

Bovey Tracey. Parish Council. Bovey Tracey, Devon: official guide (1919). [Westcountry Studies Library: pB/BOV/1919/BOV U]

Bovey Tracey. Parish Council. Bovey Tracey, Devon: official guide (1927). [Exeter Univ. Lib.]

Welcome Bovey Tracey: official guide, Newton Abbot, Mid Devon Newspapers (1963) 36p: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library: pB/BOV/1963/WEL]

Bovey Tracey Chamber of Commerce Official Guide, The Gateway to Dartmoor, Teignmouth, ARC Print, (c. 1986) 48p: ill, map. [Index]

Bovey Tracey Town Guide 2003: Your Guide to What's On & Where to Stay, Produced by Anna Klinkenberg for Bovey Tracey Information Centre Trust, (2003). Totnes: Kingfisher Print & Design, 64pp. [Index]

You can see pictures of Bovey Tracey which are provided by:



Copy provided by Val Henderson of the entry (description and names) in Morris and Co's Commercial Directory and Gazetteer of Devonshire 1870.

Transcript by Michael Steer of the Bovey Tracey entry (description and names) in Kelly's 1902 Directory of Devon.

Transcript by Mike Steer of the entry (description and names) in William White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Devon. (1878-1879).

Kelly's Directory of Newton Abbot and neighbourhood, including Bovey Tracey and Kingsteignton. Kelly's Directories (1935 et seq).



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

Lysons, Rev Daniel , AM, FRS, FALS, & Samuel Lysons Esq, FRS, FAS. Magna Britannia: Being a concise topographical account of the several counties of Great Britain. Vol VI, Devonshire. London: Thomas Cadell (1822) [Bovey Tracey section].

Lewis, Samuel. A Topographical Dictionary of England; Comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate and market towns, parishes, chapelries and townships, and the islands of Guernsey, Jersey and Man. With historical and statistical descriptions. In 4 Volumes, Vol. 1, London: S Lewis & Co. (1831) maps, plans, xii, 572 pp. [Bovey Tracey section]



A History of the Steer Family of Bovey Tracey, by Michael Steer.

Colby, F.T. Voysey Family Pedigree. In Frederick Thomas Colby (Ed). The Visitation of the County of Devon in the Year 1620. (1872). London: Harleian Society, p.353. [Index]

Colby, F.T. Southcote family pedigree. In Frederick Thomas Colby (Ed). The Visitation of the County of Devon in the Year 1620. (1872). London: Harleian Society, pp.266-269. [Index]

Drake, W. R., Sir. Note as to the parentage of Blanche Audley, the wife of Robert Hatch of Wolley, Co. Devon, Genealogist 4, 1880, pp. 69-73. [Raymond: Includes pedigree of Audley, 14th c.]

Hainsworth, Dick. The Aunt Who Would Be Found, Family Tree Magazine, vol. 19, no. 4, (2003) pp.59-60. [Treen Family]

Halfyard, Robert R. The Halfyard family reglster: the ancestors and descendants of Richard Halfyard (1744-1815) and Elizabeth Churchill (1752-1828). St. Catherines, Ontario: Halfyard Heritage, 1994. [Raymond: Originally of Farrington, Devon, but primarily concerned with the United States [actually Canada]. Includes wills of Stephen Puddicombe of Bovey Tracey, 1716, James Puddicombe, 1678 and Richard Halfyard of Bovey Tracey, 1798.]

Hele, Elize. Hele Family Pedigree. In Frederick Thomas Colby (Ed). The Visitation of the County of Devon in the Year 1620. (1872). London: Harleian Society, p.147. [Index]

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. The Freemans of Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Bovey Tracey etc. Trans Devonshire Assoc; v.45 (1913) pp450-454. [Index]

Lethbridge, Katharine (comp.) Letters from east and west. Braunton: Merlin Books (1990) 173p, plates: ill. [ISBN 0863034837] [Maynard Family]

Wills, Mike. The DNA of the Bovey Tracey and Lustleigh Wills family, Devon Family Historian, vol. 134, (2010) pp.29-30.



Bovey Tracey Town Council website - historical information.

Aspects of the History of Bovey Tracey - a blog by local historian Frances Billinge, containing a number of published papers.

Bovey Tracey sections of the Devonshire Domesday Book, provided by Michael Steer.

Bovey Tracey entry in R.N.Worth's A History of Devonshire. London: Elliot Stock (1893), provided by Michael Steer.

Roman Coins found at Bovey Tracey, provided by Michael Steer.

Atkinson, Michael and Schmitz, Christopher. Kelly iron mine, near Bovey Tracey [1797-1955], Devon Historian, (1975) pp.27-34.

Baring-Gould, S. Devon, London: Methuen & Co. (1907), xii, 315pp. [Bovey Tracey section]

Billinge, Frances. The Meaning and History of Indio in Bovey Tracey, and the Legend of its Nunnery Devon Historian, vol. 85 (2016).

Green, Christina. Society's Fallen Sisters: The Devon House of Mercy, Family Tree Magazine, vol. 23, no. 7, (2007) pp.39-41. [Founded "for the reception and reformation of females who have sinned against the Divine law of chastity".]

Halle, Dr. Fraser. Letters Historical and Botanical: Relating chiefly to places in the Vale of the Teign. London: Houlston and Stoneman (1851). [Transcription of Bovey Tracey entry]

Hargreaves, Armitage. Bovey Tracey: history and legend compiled from the work of Wyatt, Hyde and other sources. Newton Abbot: Mid Devon News (1968) 94p: ill,map. [Index]

Hole, M.A. Bovey Tracey and District. Oxford: Basil Blackwell (1930) 92p: ill. [Printed for the Author (For private circulation only)] [Westcountry Studies Library - B/BOV/0001/HOL] [Index]

Hunt, W. The History of Teetotalism in Devonshire, Devonport & London, (1841). [Bovey Tracey Section]

Hyde, H.B. Notes on the history (and legends) of the parish of Bovey Tracey alias South Bovey, Devon, Manuscript (1928) 972 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: Devonshire Association files]

Kennedy, Veronica (comp.) The Bovey Book: The story of a Devonshire town in words and pictures. Bovey Tracey: Cottage Publishing (2004) 255pp. illus, maps [ISBN 1-897785-11-9] [Index]

Kennedy, V. (2005). The Bovey Cookbook. Bovey Tracey: Bovey Tracey Heritage Trust. pp. 104. Illus. [Contains old photographs of the town, and information (much of it historical in focus) about the recipe contributors and their families.] [Index]

Parish, C.W. The creation of an industry [Lignite mines], Plaistow, Curwen Press (1947) 24p, 4p of plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: 622.332/BOV/PAR]

Parkinson, James. Bovey Coal of England. Organic remains of another world, London: C Whittingham (1804) pp. 104-129. [Index]

Pengelly, William. Archaeological discoveries at Bovey Tracey. In: First Report of the Committee on Scientific Memoranda. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1876, Vol. VIII, pp. 437-438. [Transcript]

Pengelly, William. Discoveries in the more recent deposits of the Bovey Basin, Devon. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1883, Vol XV, pp.368-395. Tables. [Index].

Pengelly, William and Heer, Oswald. On the lignite formation of Bovey Tracey, Devonshire, London: Philosophical Transactions, Part II (1862) 106pp. [Index]

Pole, William. Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, London, J. Nicholls (1791) 568 pp. [Extracts related to Bovey Tracey]

Shears, J. Bovey and the Coronation of Queen Victoria, Devon Notes & Queries, 9:1, (1916) p.2. [Transcript]

Thornton, W.H. Notes on some traditions concerning the visit of Cromwell and Fairfax to Bovey Tracey, 1646, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 39, (1907) pp.337-348. [Index]

Torr, Cecil. Miscellaneous Papers, Maps, and Illustrations Relating to Wreyland and Lustleigh. (1910-) 2 vols : il,maps.

Tregoning, Lance. Bovey Tracey in Bygone Days. Exeter: Devon Books (1989) 96p: chiefly ill. [ISBN: 0861148444] [Index]

Tregoning, Lance. Bovey Tracey: an ancient town: its story and legend. Bovey Tracey: Cottage Pub., 1993, 96 pp. ill., maps (New ed. ). [Index]

Westwood, Elizabeth. Bovey Tracey Rediscovered. Coombe Meadow Publishing (July 2012) 104pp. [ISBN-10: 0957303904]

Williams, H. Fulford. Notes on Bovey Tracey, 1826: based on G.P. Jones: Notes on the Hundred of Teignbridge. Typescript (1962) 24 leaves. [Westcountry Studies Library]

Bovey Tracey Cricket Club. 150th Year Souvenir Brochure. Manaton: Moor Print (2000), 43 pp. [Index]


Land & Property

Deeds of sale relating to Robert Sture (1541), collier, and to John Sture (1562) provided by Michael Steer.



Elliot, John. Bradley Manor [1250-1928], Devon Life, vol. 6, no. 9, (1970) pp.26-27; ill.

Reichel, Oswald J. Wreyland Documents by Cecil Torr, Note 181. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 189-190. [Transcript]

Reichel, Oswald J. &  Cecil Torr. Wreyland Documents Notes 191 & 192. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 202-207. [Transcript]

Reichel, Oswald J. Wreyland Documents Notes 215. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 228-230. [Transcript]

Rendell, Paul. Life of the peasants at Wreyland Manor. Dartmoor Magazine no. 14, (1989) pp.27; ill.

Torr Cecil. Wreyland Documents, Note 182. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 190-191. [Transcript]

Torr Cecil. Wreyland Documents, Note 10. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol.VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 34-37. [Transcript]



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX820786 (Lat/Lon: 50.595163, -3.668531), Bovey Tracey which are provided by:


Military History

Hesketh, Robert. The Battle of Bovey Heath, 1646, Dartmoor Magazine, vol. 41, (1995) pp.10-11.

A true relation of the fight at Bovey Tracey (Facsimile of 1645 edition), St. Peter Port, Toucan (1977) 7 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: p355.48/BOV/TRU]

Smitten Down Yet Not Destroyed: A record of the War Dead of Bovey Tracey, its War Memorials, and Those who Served, Bovey Tracey Heritage Trust, The Old Railway Station, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 9GP, (2016) 80pp. [Review]


Names, Personal

Torr, Cecil. Index to the Names of the Male Inhabitants over 18 Years of Age in the Parishes of Moretonhampstead, Hennock, Lustleigh, South Bovey otherwise Bovey Tracey, North Bovey, Manaton, Ilsington, and Widecombe in the Moor, in the Years 1641, 1642. (1913) [Westcountry Studies Library] [Name index to Bovey Tracey section]



Apprenticeship Indentures for the Steer family, provided by Michael Steer

Adams, Brian. Bovey Tracey Potteries 1750-1836, B & T Thorn Publisher: 2, High Street, Budeligh Salterton EX9 6LQ (1993).

Adams, Brian and Thomas, Anthony. A potwork in Devonshire: the history and products of the Bovey Tracey potteries 1750-1836, Bovey Tracey, Sayce Publishing (1996) 96p: ill.maps, port. [ISBN: 0952739208] [Westcountry Studies Library: sx738.3/BOV/ADA] [Index]

Adams, Brian. Bovey Tracey Potteries: Guide and Marks, Bovey Tracey, House of Marbles (2005) 96p: ill.maps, port. [ISBN: 0-9549744-0-9] [Index]

Brisco, Virginia. Devon Tors: a family pottery, St Albans, V. Briscoe (1998) 52p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library: s738.3/BOV/BRI]

Hesketh, Robert. Bovey Tracey's industrial pottery, Dartmoor Magazine, vol. 52, (1998) pp.13-14: ill.

Stretton, Norman. The Indio pottery at Bovey Tracey, Trans. English Ceramic Circle, vol. 8, no. 2, (1972) pp.124-136.

Tucker, Jabez Edward. The pocket book of Jabez Edward Tucker, wheelwright, of Bovey Tracy, Devon, 1901-1905, (1905) 31 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: 688.6/BOV/TUC]


Poor Houses, Poor Law

The Report of the Commissioners Concerning Charities: Containing that Part which Relates to the County of Devon, Exeter, T. Besley (1826-30). [Bovey Tracey extract]


Probate Records

Will of Joseph Steer (1799), transcribed by Michael Steer.

Will of Grace Steer (1845), transcribed by Jack Steer.

Wills of Joseph Steer (1852) and Thomas Steer (1854), transcribed by Philip Steer.