"BOW, or NYMET TRACEY, is a small, decayed market town, on the banks of a rivulet, 7½ miles W. of Crediton. Its parish contains 973 souls and 2962 acres of land. The manor anciently belonged to the Tracey family, and afterwards passed to the Martin, Audley, Fitzwarren, Bourchier, and Lethbridge families. S.C. Hamlyn, Esq., Samuel Wreford, Wm. Hill, and several smaller owners, have estates here. About 80 houses and cottages were destroyed by fire in the parish in 1833 and 1835. . . . The Church (St. Bartholomew,) stands nearly a mile south of the town, and is a fine antique fabric. . . ." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in North Tawton Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and the Diocese of Exeter.



The Lives of the Doctors of Bow and their Families - Peter Selley's extensive website.



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

Partial listing of surnames on gravestones (archived copy) in St. Barthlomew's churchyard.

Dwelly, E. (ed.). Devon M. I. vol. 1., being all the monumental inscriptions in the parishes of Countisbury, Brendon, Martinhoe, etc. pp. v. 226. E. Dwelly: Fleet, (1918). 8o. BL 9918.aaa.1. [SoG Library]

Bow St Bartholomew Memorial Inscriptions. G.M. Project. C.C.C. Community Programme. [SoG Library DE/M17]



Transcript of a 1781 census of Bow, provided by Peter Selley.

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


Church History

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

Aubry, Marion. A Neat and Plain Chapel . . ., Typescript, (2001) 91 pp. [A study of Bow Congregational Church, 1898-1993, taken from the minutes of the church and Zeal Monachorum Chapel minutes] [The author can be contacted c/o Bow Congregational Church, Station Road, Bow, Crediton, Devon]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1604 are held in the Devon Record Office.

The registers include entries for Broad Nymet.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1602 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library.

The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering (as of June 2004): Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

The members' area of the Devon FHS website makes available online images, not at present (Jan 2016) available elsewhere, of the Parish Registers covering Bow alias Nymet Tracey Banns: 1912-1915, Burials: 1864-1914.

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

  • Independent/Congregational Chapel: Registers for 1824-36 (ZC) in PRO RG 4/578

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1598-1836 and Marriages 1602-1836.Independent Chapel Christenings 1825-1836

Granville, Roger & Mugford, W.E. (eds.) Bow, 1598-1638. 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]

Sellman, R.R. Bow (Nymet Tracey), Devon: edited transcript of surviving parish registers to 1836. Typescript (1991) 155p. Westcountry Studies Library - sx929.3/BOW/1603]

Christenings 1607-20, 1624-41, 1659-78, 1683-85, 1689-98, 1703-28, 1731-1871, Marriages 1604-23, 1630-36, 1731-1847, Burials 1604-21, 1624-41, 1653-1708, 1731-1960, Banns 1754-1812, 1825-31, 1912-76., Microfiche (2001). [SoG Library DE/REG/102078]

An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of Bondleigh, Bow, Brushford, Burrington, Chawleigh, Chulmleigh, Clannaborough, Coleridge, Eggesford, Lapford, North Tawton, Nymet Rowland, Wembworthy and Zeal Monachorum. With photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Directory (1850). CD-ROM 063, Exeter, Devon FHS (2014). [Bondleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1838; Bow Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Brushford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1756-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Burrington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Chawleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Chulmleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Clannaborough Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1759-1834, Bur: 1697-1836; Coleridge Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Eggesford Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1750-1838; Lapford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1567-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; North Tawton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Nymet Rowland Bapt: 1813-1841, Mar: 1756-1836, Bur: 1734-1879; Wembworthy Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1733-1837, Bur: 1813-1839; Zeal Monachorum Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837]


Description & Travel

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

You can see pictures of Bow which are provided by:



Transcription provided by Val Henderson of the entry (description and names) in Pigot and Co's Directory of Devonshire 1830-31.



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.

Webber, Greg. The Webbers of Bow and North Tawton c1810, Devon Family Historian, vol. 178, (2021) pp.32-33.



Sue Davey's Bow pages provide historical information, and parish register extracts.

Oaths of Allegiance, Bow 1723 by Rita Balado, Carole Herbert and Trish Rodbourne, provided by the Friends of Devon Archives.

Carbonnell, Barbara M.H. Notes on the History of the Parishes of Nymet Tracy, alias Bow, with Broad Nymet. Devonshire Association Trans., vol. 60 (1928) pp. 299-312.

Carbonnell, Barbara M.H. and Wauton, M. Thirteen Centuries in Bow alias Nymet Tracey with Broadnymet, James townsend (1949) 57p., plates : ill,map. [DFHS Library]

Williams, H.Fulford. Notes on the "lost parish" of Broadnymet, Devon. Typescript (1962) 5p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/BRO 4/0001/WIL]



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SS722015 (Lat/Lon: 50.798928, -3.81485), Bow which are provided by:


Medical Records

The Medical Gentlemen of Bow, by Peter Selley. ("For almost 200 years there had been a doctor resident in Bow. I was the twenty-eighth. This is our story.")


Names, Personal

Protestation Return of 1641/42 from Devon Heritage.

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


Probate Records

Summary of the will of Gilbert Mallett (1846), provided by Mike Mallett.

Summaries of the wills of Roger Wreford (1665) and John Wreyford (1760) provided by John Moore.