"COLYTON is a small market town, built chiefly of flint, on the western side of the small river Coly, about 3 miles north of the English Channel, 5 miles S.W. of Axminster, and 22 miles E. by N. of Exeter. Its parish increased its population from 1641 in 1801, to 2451 souls in 1841; and comprises about 8000 acres of fertile land, including the hamlets of Purlbridge, and Colyford, and many scattered houses. It has a paper mill, a tannery, a brewery, a small foundry, and three corn mills, and formerly had a share of the woollen manufacture. . . . Colyford was made a borough by the lord of the manor, before the reign of Edward I., and was the birthplace of Sir Thomas Gates, governor of Virginia, and discoverer of Bermuda, . . . Sir J.G.R. De La Pole, Bart., of Shute House, owns a great part of the parish, and is lord of the manor of Colyton. . . . The Church (St. Andrew,) is a fine ancient structure, in the perpendicular style, 120 feet long, with a tower in the centre, 95 feet high, containing a musical peal of six bells, and a good clock. In the chancel are several handsome monuments to the Pole and other families. . . . There was anciently a free chapel at Colcombe; a chapel of St. Edmund, at Colyford; and a chapel at Whitford; the two former endowed by an Earl of Devon, and the latter by a Marquis of Exeter. . . ." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Colyton Hundred, under the Peculiar jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. Colyford is a private chapel of ease, built 1889.

This parish has been the subject of extensive research, involving attempted total "reconstitution" of the families recorded in the parish registers and other records.



Editors. Joshua Dixon. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 12:8, (1923) pp.356-357. [From T.D.A., vol.18, p.61.] [Merchant, 1810-1885]

Board, Jim. The River Runs By: A Childhood Remembered With This and That. Pub: J.D. Board, Colyvale, Colyton EX24 6PZ (1999). [Index]

Board, Jim. Did I Really Do All That. Pub: J.D. Board, Colyvale, Colyton EX24 6PZ.

Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.) Arthur Lionel de la Pole. [Obituary] . vol. XXXVI, (1904), p. 38. [Transcript]

Davies, Will. Colyton Newtons meet King Henry VIII, Devon Family Historian, no. 188, (2023) p.33. [On John Newton's involvement in the granting of a Charter to Colyton a and the establishment of a Chamber of Feoffees, in 1547.]

Evans, George Eyre. In memoriam William Henry Hamilton Rogers, F.S.A. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 8:1, (1914) pp.1-2, plates: port. [Local historian, 1828-1913]

Fletcher, David. Scoundrel in the Family, Devon Family Historian, vol. 174, (2020) pp.29-30. [Lawrence Hill (1835-1905)]

Jones, Andrew T.H. My war-time diary 1942-45: a sapper's worm's eye view, Barnstaple, Aycliffe Press (1992?) 63 p. [Westcountry Studies Library p940.5481/GEN/JON]

Roberts, George, (Ed.). Diary of Walter Yonge Esq., Justice of the Peace and M.P. for Honiton: Written at Colyton and Axminster, Co. Devon, From 1604 to 1628, Camden Society, Printed by J.B. Nichols and Son (1848) 124 pp. [Index]

Rogers, W.H.H. Howberhayne, Colyton: reminiscences of, ancient and modern. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 2:6, (1903) pp.174-176. [Index]

Skinner, A.J.P. Anstis and Colyton. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 4:1, (1906) pp.13-15. [Refers to vol.3, p.238. See also vol.4, p.191. [Index]

Skinner, A.J.P. George Rhodes, Vicar of Colyton, 1782-1798. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 5:1, (1908) pp.11-12. [Refers to Cresswell, B.F., Exeter Churches, D.C.N.Q., (1908), p.39.] [Clergy, 1744-1798]

Skinner, A.J.P. Thomas Brerewode, vicar of Colyton. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 6:5, (1911) pp.129-130, plates: ill(2). [Clergy, 1524-1544] [Transcript]

Skinner, A.J.P. Doctor Ellis Veryard of Colyton. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 10:6, (1919) pp.219-220. [Wills cited. See also vol.10, pp.269-270; T.D.A. vol.24, p.468.] [Physician, 1694-1746]

Usher, H.Y. Lieut.-Colonel John Piper, C.B., 4th foot, 1783-1821. Jour. Soc. for Army Historical Research, vol.37 (1959) pp172-183,2p of plates.



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

Matthews, A.W. Ye Old Mortality. vol. 8 (1909) pp. 868-893. [MS, Society of Genealogists]

Pulman, George P.R. The Book of the Axe. Bath: Kingsmead Reprints (1969) pp. 868-893. (Reprint of 3rd edition, 1875.) [Lookups]

Skinner, A.J.P. Memorial inscriptions from the parish church of St. Andrew, Colyton. Manuscript (1904) [Westcountry Studies Library - s929.5/COL/SKI]


Church History

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

St Andrews Church web-site.

Benson, J. The Pole Armorials in Colyton Church. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 25,3 (1952) pp. 74-6.

Evans, G.E., Colytonia: a chapter in the history of Devon. Being some account of the Old and George's Meetings, Colyton, from 1662 to 1898. [With plates], pp. xv. 136. F. & E. Gibbons: Liverpool, 1898. [Raymond: Includes notes on ministers, extracts from the registers, folded pedigrees of Kingdon, 19th c., Powell, 17-19th c., monumental inscriptions, etc.] [Index]

Jewers, Arthur J. The Churches of Colyton and Shute, and the Pole Monuments There, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 33 (1901) pp. 714-741. [Index]

Radford, Mrs G H. The Courtenay monument, in Colyton church. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 39 (1907), illus. pp, 144-155. [Index]

Radford. Lady. Heraldry in relation to the Courtenay tomb in Colyton church. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 53, (1921) pp.216-225.

Skinner, A.J.P. Joseph Chapman's memorial inscription in Colyton church. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 4:6, (1907) pp.198-200. [Will and inventory cited.]

Skinner, A.J.P. Armory on Pole monument in Colyton church. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 9:1, (1916) p.1, plates: ill. [Index] [Transcript]

Skinner, A.J.P. The vicars of Colyton, Shute and Moreton. Manuscript (1935?) 100p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sx283/COL/SKI]


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 1538-1837, Burials 1813-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

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

  • Independent/Congregational Chapel, King Street: Registers for 1815-57 (C) in PRO RG 4/521, 3559
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Colyford: Registers for c1809-37 - see Axminster (PRO RG 4/512)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1538-1837, and Marriages 1538-1837, Independent Chapel Christenings 1815-1857, Old or St Georges Meeting (Unitarian or Presbyterian) Christenings 1773-1862. Shute and Monckton (q.v.) were chapelries of Colyton. Peskett: "the three were often treated together as a single benefice . . it seems unlikely that distinctions between the registers were maintained exactly; inhabitants of the detached outlying parts of Colyton were nearer to Southleigh church".

Noble, A.H. The Register of the Parish of Colyton. Trans. Devon Assoc. 102 (1970) pp.189-201.

Skinner, A.J.P. Colyton marriages in Exeter cathedral. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 5:4, (1908) pp.119-120. [Refers to vol.5, p.89, par.64. See also vol.5, p.296, par.159.]

Skinner, A.J.P. Two entries in the Colyton parish church burial registers. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 5:6, (1909) pp.213-215. [Relates to crimes committed 1632 and 1711.]

Devon and Cornwall Record Society, The Register of Baptisms, Marriages & Burials of the Parish of Colyton, Devon, 1538-1837. Transcribed and edited by A. J. P. Skinner., 2 vol. pp. viii. 823. Exeter, 1928 [1912-28].

Index to Marriages in Colyton Parish registers, Colyton PH Society (2005). [DFHS Library 929.2/MAR-Co]

Burials Register, Colyton Parish, 1538-1837, Colyton Parish History Society. [Devon FHS CD]

The Deanery of Honiton: CD-ROM CD041, Exeter, Devon FHS (2013). [Axminster Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Axmouth Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1603-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Chardstock Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Colyton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1538-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Combpyne Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1757-1836, Bur: 1796-1847; Cotleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Dalwood Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Farway Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Gittisham Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1838, Bur: 1800-1837; Hawkchurch Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1838; Honiton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Honiton Ind, Bur: 1774-1837; Kilmington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Membury Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Monkton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1814-1842; Musbury Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Northleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1756-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Offwell Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Seaton & Beer Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1839, Bur: 1813-1837; Shute Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Southleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1756-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Stockland Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1640-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Thorncombe Bapt: 1813-1837, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1841; Uplyme Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1838, Bur: 1813-1837; Wambrook Bapt: 1813-1904, Mar: 1754-1836; Widworthy Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1954, Bur: 1790-1837.]


Court Records

Register of Freeholders - Colyton, Crediton & East Budleigh c1816, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D127). [Foreword]


Description & Travel

Colyton and District Business Association's Colyton web-site - general information, links, etc.

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

Bird, Sheila. Seaton, Axmouth, Colyton, Colyford, Beer and Branscombe companion (2nd rev. ed.), Lyme Regis, Bird of Freedom (1988) 56p: ill, map. [ISBN 0951223623] [Westcountry Studies Library pB/SEA/1986/BIR]

The Rural District Axminster Beer & Colyton. Official Guide. (1969/70). [DFHS LOC 159]

You can see pictures of Colyton which are provided by:



Transcription of Colyton entry in White's Devonshire Directory of 1850, provided by Sheila Jones.


Emigration & Immigration

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. ["Sir Thomas Gates - Governer of Virginia" [of Colyford] - pp.36-37]



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



Family History Service Point at Colyton Heritage Centre has a large collection of books and microfiche, and an email query service.

Cole, Charles F. Fry of Yarty. Fry of Buckerell. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 6:3, (1910) pp.93-94. [From Colyton, Membury and Awliscombe PRs. See vol.6, pp.109, 221.]

Cox, A. Cox of Farway and Colyton, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 20, 1938-9, pp. 172-3. See also pp. 31-2 & 77. [Raymond: Includes 17-19th c. pedigree.]

Fortescue-Foulkes, R. The Marwoods of Honiton and Colyton, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 32, 1971, pp. 48-51, 71-73, & 110-13.

Geare, Ralph Holwell. Holwellls of Membury, Colyton, Axmouth. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 26 (1954-55) pp.52-53.

Hyde, Kenneth Peter. The genealogical history of the families of Hyde of Milborne Port of the Co. Somerset; Hyde of Nether Compton of the Co. Dorset; Hyde of Broadmayne, Upwey, Dorchester & Martinstown, all in the Co. of Dorset; Cross of Axmouth of the Co. of Devon; Dampier of Axmouth Co., Devon, and Wambrook in the County of Dorset; Jefford of Axmouth, Uplyme & Musbury, all in the County of Devon; Seward of Colyton, Musbury & Axmouth, all in the County of Devon; Sampson of Colyford & Axmouth Co., Devon; Love of Hawkchurch & Axmouth Co., Devon; Bush of Radstock County, Somerset; Pratten of Radstock County, Somerset. [East Northport? N.Y.] (1972) 85 l. geneal. tables. [LC CALL NO.: CS439.H951972]

Jewers, Arthur J. The churches of Colyton and Shute and the Pole monument there. Trans.Dev.Assoc (1901) 29p.

Moriarty, G. Andrews. Genealogical research in England: Leachland. New England Hist. & Gen. Reg. 81, 1977, pp. 320-23 & 486-87; 82, 1928, pp. 63-65. [Raymond: Of Taunton & Colyton, etc. 16-17th c., includes wills and parish register extracts, lay subsidies, Chancery proceedings, etc.]

Powell, Brenda. Message on a Postcard, Devon Family Historian, vol. 143, (2012) pp.9-10. [Family of Lily Harris, b. 1880]

Pratt, Chris. Search for a Missing Bride, Devon Family Historian, vol. 172, (2019) p.8. [of Francis Pratt of Horriford Farm, c.1725]

Skinner, A.J.P. "Yonge" coffin plates in Colyton church. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 5:4, (1908) pp.129-132, plates: ill(2), port. [See vol.5, p.177, par.106 for correction to p.132.]

Skinner, A.J. Marwood and the Blackaller Families. Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset 11, 1909, pp. 321-25. [Raymond: Of Colyton; includes monumental inscriptions of Bridgett Marwood, 1622, and will of Thomas Blackaller, 1659.]

Skinner, A.J.P. Yonge of Colyton. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 6:4, (1910) pp.127. [From Axmouth, Pitminster and Colyton registers.]

Skinner, A.J.P. Kirkham of Feniton, Westofer of Yardbury, Colyton, and Drake of Yardbury. [Suppl. to Vivian's Visitns. Also 8, p.30, 9, p.89]. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 7:8, (1913) pp.257-267, plates: port; ill. [Kirkham Family] [Transcript]

S[kinner], A.J. Captain John Stoke, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 10, 1919, pp. 167-68. [Stoke family of Colyton.]

Strawbridge, Nigel and Strawbridge, Ann. Prothesa - An Unusual Name?, Devon Family Historian, no. 100, (Nov 2001) pp.32-34. {Strobridge family]

Strawbridge, Ann & Nigel. The Disappearing Daughters, Devon Family Historian, vol. 114, (2005) pp.7-9. [The family of John Strobridge of Colyton, d. 1515]

Turner, D. An East Devon family, 1570-1646, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 29 (5), 1963, pp. 147-9. [Deane of Colyton.]

Warburton-Cox, A.F. Enquiry into the origin of the family of Coxe alias Coke(s) of the Hundred of Colyton, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 22 (7), 1943, pp. 175-7. [16th c.]

Wright, Phil. Colyton’s Own Forest Gump, Devon Family Historian, vol. 178, (2021) pp.11-16. [Sellers]



Addie, John (ed). Colyton Parish Through the Centuries. Colyton Parish History Society (2001) 38p.

Anstis, John. [Collections relating to Colyton]. Manuscript. [1850?] 121p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/COL 7/0001/ANS]

Barber, Chips. Colyton & Colyford. Obelisk Publications (2004) 32 p. [ISBN-13:978-1903585436]

Barber, Chips and Barber, Sally. Around & about Seaton and Beer - featuring Colyton, Colyford and Branscombe. Pinhoe, Obelisk (1993). ISBN: 0946651779

Burnham, E.J. A Guide to Seaton and District: Including Axmouth, Colyford, Colyton, Beer and Branscombe. (1912) [Westcountry Studies Library, Devon & Exeter Inst., Plymouth Central Library]

Collier, Mary. Colyton and its past. Devon Life vol. 10 no. 80 (1973) pp.30-31.

Cresswell, B.F. Colyton the church and people in past times. Honiton: Dimond & Co (1930) 16p.

Elliott, Geoff. Colyton at War. Colyton Parish History Society. [DVDs]

Gosling, Ted. Colyton and Seaton in old photographs. Stroud: Sutton (1994) 160 pp. ill., ports.

Gosling, Ted and Marshall, Geoff. Seaton, Axmouth & Colyford Through Time, Amberley Publishing (2010) 96 pp. [ISBN-13: 978-1445601274] [Then and now photographs]

Haynes, Colin. The Most Rebellious Town in Devon. Coly Publications, Colyton, EX24 6PG (2003) pp. 147. [ISBN 0-9546432-0-8].

Pulman, George P.R. The Book of the Axe. Bath: Kingsmead Reprints (1969) pp. 783-835. (Reprint of 3rd edition, 1875.) [Lookups]

Reichel, Rev. Oswald. The Hundreds of Colyton and Clyston in Early Times. The Devonshire Association. Extra Volume. Torquay (1934) 53pp.

White, Reginald G.C. The History of the Feoffees of Colyton 1546-1946. Lyme Regis: Lyme Regis Print (1951) 49p, plate: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/COL 7/0001/WHI]

Wilson, Walter George. The church and parish of Colyton, S.E. Devon: a short guide. [New ed.]. Gloucester, British Publishing (1971) 3-19 pp. illus. ISBN: 0714005991. [Exeter Univ. Lib.]

The plague reconsidered, a new look at its origins and effects in 16th & 17th century England. Matlock: Local Population Studies (1977) 145p: ill, map.


Land & Property

Elliot, John. Devon homes - Great House, Colyton. Devon Life vol. 10 no. 87 (1973) pp.16-17; ill.

Westcott, Margaret. Surveying the Estates of Henry Courtenay, Earl of Devon, Marquis of Exeter and Traitor, 1543-4. In Devon Documents (ed. T. Gray). Tiverton: Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, Special Issue (1996) [ISBN 0925836203] pp.199-203. [Okehampton, Chulmleigh, Tiverton, Broadclyst, Colyton, Exminster]

Extract from Parliamentary Report, 1820. Hundred of Colyton, Devon: Parish Lands. Colyton: J.B. Kettle (1857). [Raymond: Includes list of tenants of Colyton parish lands.]



Map of the area from OldeMaps (circa 1950).

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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SY246940 (Lat/Lon: 50.740694, -3.06994), Colyton which are provided by:


Names, Personal

Listing of subscribers to the relief of Turkish captives (1670) , from the Churchwardens Account Book. 



Skinner, A.J.P. Silk culture in Devon. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 5:8, (1909) pp.264. [Refers to vol.5, p.145, par.86. Names of weavers from parish reg.]


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Hoare, Norman F. The community of Colyton and its poor 1800-1850. Typescript (1972) vii,113p: ill,maps. [Westcountry Studies Library - sx362.5/COL/HOA]



Clapp, Brian. The place of Colyton in English population history. Devon Historian 24, (1982) pp.4-8: table.

Sharpe, Pamela. Literally spinsters: a new interpretation of local economy and demography in Colyton in the seventeenth & eighteenth centuries. Economic Hist.Rev.; 44:1 (1991) pp46-65.

Sharpe, Pamela. Population and Society in an East Devon Parish: Reproducing Colyton 1540-1840, University of Exeter Press (2002) 400 pp. [ISBN 0-85989-655-2]

Wall, R. "Reconstitution and census: Colytonians in parish register and enumerator's books", in Population and Marketing (ed. W. Minchinton), Exeter Papers in economic history, Univ. of Exeter, 1976.

Wrigley, E.A. "Mortality in pre-industrial England: the example of Colyton, Devon, over three centuries", Daedalus: J. of Amer. Acad. of Arts and Sciences, Spring 1968, pp.82-109.

Wrigley, E.A. "Family Limitation in pre-industrial England", Econ. Hist. Rev. 2nd ser. vol. 19, no. 1, 1966, pp.82-109.

The plague reconsidered, a new look at its origins and effects in 16th & 17th century England. Matlock: Local Population Studies (1977) 145p: ill, map


Probate Records

Will of Nancy Ayshford (1856), transcribed by Christine Stables.

Will of Symon Vye (1650), transcribed by Ros Dunning.

Skinner, A.J. Doctor Ellis Veryard of Colyton. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 10 (1918-19) pp.219-220, 269-270. [Raymond: Includes wills of Ellis, 1743, and of his sister Grace, 1771.]

Smith, Samuel Anderson. Extracts from Wills, proved P. C. C., relating to pshs. of Shute and Colyton, Co. Devon. pp. 39. George Pulman & Sons: London, [1901.] 8o. BL 9906.b.24.(7.) [Listing]

Whitley, H. Michell. An inventory of the goods of John Strowbridge of Hobrayne, 1576. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 2:5, (1903) pp.133-136.



Colyton Grammar School (founded 1546) web-site.

Evans, George Eyre. Colyton: the old parsonage. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 5:8, (1909) pp.288-292. [Classical academy established in parsonage, 1782-late C19.]

Gosling, Gerald. Colyton Grammar School. [Colyton]: Old Colytonians Association (1878). [Raymond: Includes lists of original feoffees, headmasters, 1601-1795, 20th c. staff, head-boys and girls, etc.]



Colyton Parish History Society web-site.



Colyton Hundred - Subsidy Tax 1524, transcribed by Christopher Wicker.