"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.