Exeter: St Mary Major


"St. Mary Major's Church, in the Cathedral yard, is a very ancient fabric, especially the tower, which is of Saxon origin. Over the north entrance is a small tablet, representing St. Lawrence in a state of Martyrdom, on a gridiron. The nave is separated from the chancel by a handsomely carved rood screen; and the front of the gallery is ornamented with round-headed arches, and a row of figures angels, &c. The church was re-seated in 1816, and contains numerous monumental inscriptions, both ancient and modern. The rectory, valued in K.B. at £15. 14s. 9 ½d., and in 1831 at £150, is in the gift of the Dean and Chapter, and incumbency of the Rev. J.F. Turner." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A large parish in the old walled City of Exeter, between the West Gate and the Cathedral Close, its population in 1801 was 2,135.



An 1801 census enumeration for this parish is held by the Devon Record Office. Lookups are offered by Margaret Montgomery.


Church History

Exeter St Mary Major - from J. Stabb. Some Old Devon Churches (London: 1908-16).

Nesbitt, F. Rectors of Exeter Churches: St Mary Major. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries 16 (1930-31), pp. 321-329 and 362-363.


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1561 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1561 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.

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1561-1837, Marriages 1561-1837.

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. Early churchwardens' account, St Mary Major. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 9:7, (1917) pp.220-223. [See correction/query, 9, p.239.] [transcript]

The Deanery of Christianity [The City Of Exeter] CD018, Devon Family History Society (2008). [Allhallows Goldsmith Street: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1561-1837), Burials (1813-1904); Allhallows on the Walls: Baptisms (1824-1839), Marriages (1805-1811 and 1836), Burials (1824-1837); Bedford Precinct: Baptisms (1833-1839), Marriages (1833-1839); Exeter Cathedral: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1755-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Holy Trinity: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. David: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Edmund: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. George: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. John: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Kerrian: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1810-1837), Burials (1813-1838); St. Lawrence: Baptisms (1813-1837), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Leonard: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1755-1837), Burials (1780-1837); St. Martin: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1836), Burials (1813-1837); St. Mary Arches: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Mary Major: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Mary Steps: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Olave: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1816-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Pancras: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1800-1837); St. Paul: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1562-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Petrock: Baptisms (1813-1842), Marriages (1754-1836), Burials (1770-1837); St. Sidwell: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Stephen: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Heavitree: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Exeter Non-conformist chapels - Bow Meeting House: Burials (1748-1824); Castle Street Independent Chapel: Burials (1800-1836); George Meeting House Presbyterian: Burials (1818-1822 and 1837); Mint Meeting House Presbyterian: Burials (1709 and 1773-1810); Mint Methodist Chapel: Burials (1818-1829); South Street Baptist Church: Burials (1783-1837); Photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850].


Description & Travel

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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX920924 (Lat/Lon: 50.721157, -3.531332), Exeter: St Mary Major which are provided by:


Names, Personal

Exeter: St Mary Major contributors to a 1678 brief for the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral.

Militia List (1803) for St Davids, transcribed by Iris Sutton.

Rowe, M.M. & Falla, T.J. The Queens Lottery, 1568. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 33, no. 7 (1975) pp. 240-243.