"DUNKESWELL, which gives name to a deanery, is a small village, in a narrow picturesque valley, near the source of a rivulet, 6 miles N.N.W. of Honiton. Its parish is boldly diversified with hill and dale, and comprises 536 souls, and about 4000 acres of land, including an open turf moor of about 100 acres, and many scattered houses. Mrs. E.P. Simcoe owns a great part of the soil, and is lady of the manor. She has a pleasant seat at the south end of the parish, called Wolford Lodge, 4 miles N.N.W. of Honiton. This mansion was the seat of the late General Simcoe, and near it there was anciently a church called Wolfer Church, which was granted by King John to DUNKESWELL ABBEY, which was founded at the north end of the parish, by Wm. Lord Brewer, in 1201, for Cistercian monks . . . . There are still some slight vestiges of the abbey, and on its site a handsome District Church has lately been erected by Mrs. Simcoe, . . . The Parish Church (St. Nicholas,) is in the centre of the parish, about two miles south of the new Abbey Church. It was rebuilt in 1817, and is a small cruciform structure, with a tower and three bells. . . .." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Hemyock Hundred, the Archdeaconry and the Diocese of Exeter.



Roberton, J. Ross. The Diary of Mrs John Graves Simcoe, Wife of the First Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Upper-Canada 1792-6, Toronto, Cassell & Company Limited (1911). [facsimile edition published 1973, Coles Publishing Company, Toronto]



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


Church History

Wolford Chapel - on the estate of John Graves Simcoe, the First Lieutenant-Governor of Canada, and donated to the People of Ontario in 1966.

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

Rowe, J. Brooking. The Cistercian House of Devon. IV. Newenham and V. Dunkeswell, Reprinted from the Transactions of the Devonshire Association (1877-1878).

Rowe, J. Brooking. The Cistercian House of Devon. V. Dunkeswell,, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 9, (1877), pp. 380-391. [Index]

Sparks, J.A. In the shadow of the Blackdowns: life at the Cistercian Abbey of Dunkeswell and on its manors and estates, 1201-1539. Bradford-on-Avon: Moonraker (1976) viii, 133p, pl: ill, maps. [ISBN 0239001788]

A Short History of Dunkeswell Abbey. Dunkeswell Abbey Preservation Fund. (196-) [Westcountry Studies Library, Torquay Library]

Four Fascinating Devon Fonts, Devon Family Historian, no. 180 (2021) pp.12-14. [Photos and detailed descriptions of fonts at Luppitt, Exeter St Pancras, Dunkeswell, and Dolton.]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1539 are held in the Devon Record Office.

The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering (as of June 2004): Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1800-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

Nothing entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993).

The Deanery of Dunkeswell, CD012, Devon Family History Society, Exeter (2007). [Contains indexes: Awliscombe - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Churchstanton - Baptisms 1813-1837, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1839; Clayhidon - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Combe Raleigh - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Dunkeswell - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1800-1837; Hemyock - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1635-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Luppitt - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1838, Burials 1813-1837; Sheldon - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1836, Burials 1770-1837; Upottery - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Yarcombe - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837.]


Description & Travel

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

Taylor, Anthony. Culm Valley Album, Bradninch, A. Taylor (1987) 191 pp. [Illustrations: 1880-1987] [Westcountry Studies Library xB/CUL 1/1880/TAY]

You can see pictures of Dunkeswell which are provided by:



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



Broad, Richard. Dunkeswell parish and people. Dunkeswell: Richard Broad,1994, 172 pp. ill., maps. ISBN: 0952382903 (pbk)

Hambly, Marion. Three Happy Ladies, Devon Family Historian, vol. 168, (2018) p.46.

Thorne, Robert Linham. The history of the Culme valley and its villages: Hemyock, Culmstock, Clayhidon, Dunkeswell, Churchstanton, Uffculme, Wellington, R.L. Thorne (1951) 26 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library DEV/0001/THO]


Land & Property

Spreadsheet transcription of the Tithe Apportionments.



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference ST141078 (Lat/Lon: 50.863303, -3.221946), Dunkeswell which are provided by: