Exeter: St Sidwell


"St. Sidwell's Church stands without the Walls, in the north-eastern part of the city. . . . The original church was an ancient fabric, dedicated to St. Stativola, or Sidwell, a virgin, who is said to have been beheaded with a scythe, about the year 740, and to have been buried here. It was rebuilt in 1812 and '13, at the cost of more than £2200, except the tower, which was repaired and surmounted by a handsome octagonal spire, in 1823, at the cost of about £500. It is now a beautiful edifice in the pointed style, and in its lofty tower are eight musical bells, hung in 1768. . . . St Sidwell's parish was anciently parcel of the parish of Heavitree, though it has always formed part of the county of the city of Exeter. It includes Hill's Court, which was for many generations the seat of the Hill family, but is now a street with many neat houses. It also comprises all the handsome suburbs extending eastward from St. Sidwell street to the Workhouse, Polesloe Park, etc. In the church register are records of great ravages of the plague, in 1625, and an entry of the burial of Richard Wilkins, who was executed for witchcraft in 1610. . . . The benefice is a perpetual curacy, valued in 1831 at 252 pounds. It is in the patronage of the Vicar of Heavitree, and incumbency of the Rev. Fras. Courtenay, M.A." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

St James (1842) and St Matthew (1883) are modern parishes, St Anne a modern chapel of ease.



Humphries, Tony. A Fishy Business: Mary Anne Gregory (c1824-1872), Devon Family Historian, vol. 123, (2007) pp.32-34. [An account of her numerous brushes with the law]

Humphreys, Tony. Five Golden Rings: Emmanuel Gregory (c1811-1875), Devon Family Historian, vol. 124, (2007) pp.26-30.



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

A book entitled "Exeter Churches" by B. Creswell (1908) in the Westcountry Studies Library (Exeter) contains several pages on St Sidwell's including transcriptions of memorial tablets and brasses inside the pre-war church.

Map, list of interments, and set of headstone photographs of St Sidwell's Churchyard, from Find A Grave.

Bond, Sue. Tree House: Baptist Burial Ground, Devon Family Historian, vol. 185, (2023) pp.34-36. [The lost Baptist burial ground in Paris Street, Parish of St Sidwell]


Church History

The Parish Church, provided by James Brannan.

Chanter, J.R.. Cluniac Houses in Devon - A Visitation of the Province in 1279. Trans. Devon. Assoc. Vol XX, (1888), pp. 383-390. [St. James at Exeter and St Mary Magdalene at Barnstaple] [Index]

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. The Pre-Reformation of St Katherine's Priory, Polsloe. Trans. Devon Assoc. 66 (1934) pp.181-189; 67 (1935) pp.349-359; 69 (1937) pp.447-470; 70 (1938) pp.423-432.

Pile, W. Saint Sidwell's church: an historic parish. (1912).

Sidwell Steet Methodist Church 1905 2005. [DFHS Library p287.53]


Church Records

The Devon Record Office holds the following registers for St Sidwell's: Christenings 1569-1933, Marriages 1569-1968 and Burials 1569-1876, with separate registers for St James from 1842 and the christening register for the Wesleyan Chapel in Sidwell Street 1841-1865.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1569 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.

The members' area of the Devon FHS website makes available online images, not at present (Jan 2016) available elsewhere, of the Parish Registers covering Exeter St. Sidwell Baptisms, Marriages and Burials: 1569-1733, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials: 1733-1779, Baptisms and Burials: 1772-1804, Baptisms and Burials: 1805-1813, Baptisms: 1813-1842, Baptisms: 1843-1881, Baptisms: 1881-1915, Marriages and Banns: 1754-1756, Marriages and Banns: 1756-1791, Marriages and Banns: 1789-1807, Marriages and Banns: 1802-1808, Marriages and Banns: 1808-1818, Marriages: 1813-1837, Marriages: 1837-1846, Marriages: 1846-1857, Marriages: 1857-1869, Marriages: 1869-1884, Marriages: 1884-1906, Marriages: 1906-1915, Banns: 1842-1849, Banns: 1849-1858, Banns: 1858-1870, Banns: 1871-1879, Banns: 1879-1887, Banns: 1888-1896, Banns: 1913-1915, Burials: 1813-1845, Burials: 1845-1876, Burials: 1877-1915, and Exeter St. Matthew Marriages: 1883-1915, Banns: 1912-1915, Baptisms: 1897-1915, Burials: 1883-1915.

The IGI contains christenings and marriages for 1569-1837.

Other records in the DRO include deeds for Episcopal Estates in St Sidwell's 1632-1822.

Tapley-Soper, H. Executions recorded in St. Sidwell's parish register. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries no. 15, 1928-9.

Exeter, St Davids - Deaths 1887-91 [Western District] (2 vols) and St Sidwell Deaths 1871-73, (2007). [SoG Library DE/REG]

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].


Civil Registration

Return of Deaths (3 vols: St Sidwell, Exeter 1870-83, Western Division, Exeter 1887-89, and 1890-91), Exeter, Devon FHS (2007). [Listing forename, surname, date of death, sex, age, where died, relationship/occupation of next of kin, cause of death]


Description & Travel

A description of present-day and post-war St Sidwell.

Harvey, Hazel. Sidwell Street (Discovering Exeter No. 5), (1986) [ISBN 095058732X] [Devon FHS Library p942.35/EXE]

You can see pictures of Exeter: St Sidwell which are provided by:





The Online Parish Clerk scheme's representative f9archived copy)or this parish is Garry Robertson, who invites queries and lookup requests. (See his St Sidwell's Heritage Hub pages)

Brannan genealogy and the St Sidwell connection .

Bond, Sue. Research Corner - St Sidwell, Exeter, Devon Family Historian, vol. 162, (2017) pp.14-15.

Cope, Peter. Which Man is the Grandfather?, Devon Family Historian, no. 185, (2023) pp.54-55. [John Southard, bap. 1772]

Horwill, David. Are Benjamin and Willim Father & Son?, Devon Family Historian, vol. 157, (2016) pp.13-14. [Benjamin (d. 1842) and William Horwill]

Lieb, Andrea. Trying to Find Ancestors, Devon Family Historian, vol. 171, (2019) pp.38. [Henry and Rebecca Rothschild, in Paris St., St Sidwell in 1861.



St Sidwell's Heritage Hub - "Discover the rich history of St Sidwell's"

Pile, W. (ed.) An Historic Parish: Being some account of the Parish and Church of S. Sidwell, in the City of Exeter. Exeter (1912) With 10 plates, 18pp.


Land & Property

Bond, Sue. Maps and Brick Walls, Devon Family Historian, vol. 165, (2018) pp.12-13. [The search for J. Phillips' Brickyard.]

Pickford, Marjorie. The Garden of Thomas Radford: Summerland Gardens, St. Sidwell, Exeter, 24 May 1830, Devon Family Historian, vol. 163, (2017) p.29.



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX924930 (Lat/Lon: 50.726625, -3.525842), Exeter: St Sidwell which are provided by:


Military History

Listing of names on the War Memorial of St Matthews Church, provided by John Williams.


Names, Personal

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

Hoskins, W.G. (ed.) Exeter Militia List 1803. Phillimore 1972, [ISBN 900592 540] [contains a full list of men in the parish between the ages of 17 and 55]

Return of Deaths - St Sidwells Exeter - 1871-1873, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D071). [Foreword]



An account of the Inhabitants of St Sidwell's.


Probate Records

Will of William Arundell (1838), transcribed by Maureen O'Connor.

Will of Henry Platel (1852) transcribed by Nuala Ni'Shiochru.

Abstract of the will of Elizabeth Worth (1734) transcribed by Edna Marlow.

Will of George Bussell (1692) transcribed by Ros Dunning.

Will of Richard Parker (1820) transcribed by Peter Selley.



Harvey, Hazel. St Sidwell's School, Exeter, Woodward Press (2003). [DFHS Library 372/EXE]

Information largely provided by James Brannan