"LIDFORD, or Lydford, is a small ancient village, on the banks of the small river Lyd, and on the western side of Dartmoor, 7½ miles N. by E. of Tavistock. Its parish contains 280 souls, and 3064 acres of land, exclusive of DARTMOOR FOREST QUARTER, which has a scattered population of 933 souls, and extends over about 53,900 acres of wild moorland hills and dales, including the hamlets of Prince Town, Hexworthy, Huckaby, Dinnabridge, Two Bridges, and the extensive but now unoccupied Prison of War. . . . The Prince of Wales is lord of the manor, which forms, with the forest, part of his Duchy of Cornwall. Lidford, though now only an indifferent village, was anciently a borough, and had a grant for a market in 1267. It is said to have had the honour of entertaining Julius Caesar and his army on his second expedition to Britain. . . . Lidford Castle, which has been long reduced to a mere shell, is the place where the stannary courts were held till the latter part of the last century, . . . Lidford Bridge crosses, by a single arch of only a few feet span, over a dark and apparently interminable chasm, under which the river Lyd is heard falling 50 or 60 feet beneath. . . . Lidford Church (St. Petrock,) is an ancient structure, with a tower and five bells, and is in the lancet style of the 13th century. The rectory . . . is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. John Rooke Fletcher, D.D., of Quethiock, Cornwall. . . . " [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Lifton Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Totnes and the Diocese of Exeter. Princetown Prison had a chapel from 1807. The parish included all of Dartmoor Forest, but its Southern and Eastern borders were confused, so see also Widecombe in the Moor and other neighbouring parishes. Information is provided separately about Dartmoor in general, but items which explictly relate just to Lydford, Dartmoor Forest, and other places within Lydford are listed here.


Archives & Libraries



Ball, Baden P.H. Prison was my parish. London: William Heinemann (1956) 252p.

Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.). Alfred Bolt [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  XXXIX, (1907), p. 40. [Transcript]

Clayton, Gerald Fancourt. The wall is strong: the life of a prison govenor. London: Long (1958) 188p, 8p of plates.

Cooke, Jenny. The cross behind bars. Eastbourne: Kingsway (1984) 256p. [ISBN 0860652203] [Biog. of Noel Proctor, chaplain at Dartmoor]

Harpley, W. James Hatchard Bennett, M.A. [Obituary] Trans. Devon Assoc., 1891, Vol XXIII, p.102. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. Daniel Radford [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXII, (1900), pp. 43-44. [Transcript]

James, Trevor. Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt: a brief appraisal. Dartmoor Magazine no. 54, (1998) pp.8-10: ill. [Philanthropist, 1762-1833]

Livingstone, Mary. Pote, Richard, Lydford, Devon Family Historian, vol. 106, (2003) pp.19-20. [Revd. Richard Pote's story, taken from An attempt towards Recovering an Account of the Numbers and Sufferings of the Clergy of the Church of England . . by John Walker (1714)]

Rowe, J. Brooking. Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt and Princetown. Plymouth: W. Brendon & Son (1905) 23p. ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - p920/TYR]

Scriven, A. The Dartmoor Shepherd: 50 Years in Prison. Printed for the Author, Frome & London (c1935) 212pp. [The life of David Davies (1849-1929)].

Stanbrook, Elizabeth. A Dartmoor Legend: Two French Generals at the Ockery, Princetown, Devon Historian, vol. 42, no. 3-8, (1991) [General Rochambeau]

Stephens, Michael. A Tale of Two Harriets, Devon Family Historian, vol. 137, (2011) pp.21-26. [Harriet Hawke (1842-1914), Harriet Hannaford (d. 1941)]

Thomson, William Hamilton. Five years' penal servitude: by one who has endured it. London: Richard Bentley & Son (1879) 391p.

Treeby, Tim. Devon Olympian, Devon Family Historian, vol. 144, (2012) pp.16-17. [T.J. Williams, 1908 bronze medallist]

Jonas Coaker - Dartmoor poet and inn keeper. Devon Life vol. 3 no. 28, (1967) pp.59-59. [1791-1890]



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

A transcription of the Memorial Inscriptions for the Church of St Petrock is held in the Society of Genealogist's Library, in Vol. 8 of Devon Memorial inscriptions (DE/M23).

The Dartmoor Prison American Cemetery Restoration Project has an extensive web-site, which includes listings of American POWs buried in the Cemetery.

Brown, Mike. Princetown (Pre-1950 Survey, Convict MIs Not Listed). In Dartmoor Region Monumental Inscriptions Indexes, Vol. 7. Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL.

Brown, Mike. Postbridge Chapel (Full). In Dartmoor Region Monumental Inscriptions Indexes, Vol. 7. Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL.

Brown, Mike. Lydford (Full Survey). In Dartmoor Region Monumental Inscriptions Indexes, Vol. 8. Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL.

Brown, Mike. Providence Place Chapel (Full Survey). In Dartmoor Region Monumental Inscriptions Indexes, Vol. 23. Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL.



Nick Mayne has prepared an index to the 1891 census, and is prepared to check for particular names in it on request.


Church History

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

St Michael & All Angels - "A historic Dartmoor church built by prisoners of war "  - brief description and history, from Visit Dartmoor.

A., J.S. & H., W.S.B. The Chapel at Tor Royal. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. IX, (January 1916 to January 1917), pp. 182-3. [Transcript]

Radford, G.H. A history of the church at Lydford with some account of its rectors. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.21 (1989), pp. 171-200. [Index]

Thorpe, G.S. St Petrock's Church, Lydford, Dartmoor, Devon: The People's Heritage, Its History and its Treasures, Exeter, (1933) Ill. 324 pp.


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1716 are held in the Devon Record Office.

At Society of Genealogists Library: Parish Church Christenings 1716-1839, Marriages 1719-1839 and Burials 1716-1839.

At West Devon Record Office: Princeton Prison Chapel Christenings 1807-1913, and Burials 1815-1927.

The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering (as of June 2004): Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1779-1841, together with Princetown Baptisms 1813-1839, Burials 1815-1853 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

Transcriptions of Lydford Baptisms (1716-1822), Baptisms (1823-1850), Baptisms (1851-1920), Marriages (1719-1753), Marriages (1754-1812), Marriages (1813-1837) and Marriages (1837-1909) are provided by Heather Cooper.

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

  • St Michael and All Angels, Princetown: Registers for 1807-1970 (C) 1866-1992 (M), 1815-1933 (B) at DRO
  • East Dartmoor Baptists: Registers for 1778-1837 (Z) at DRO
  • Wesleyan Chapel: Registers for c1820-36 - see Ashburton Circuit (PRO RG 4/840)

The note Historical Synopsis of Lydford and Forest of Dartmoor, by the REV G S Thorpe, provided by Tony Pitt, contains a short extract from the baptism register for 1807 to 1810 as well as some interesting history of the parish.

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

Brown, Mike. Lydford 1754-1812 Burials Index. Dartmoor Press, P.O. Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL (1999)

The registers of Lydford (Devon). Typescript [1950] [1], 99p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sx929.3/LYD/1716]

The Deanery of Tavistock, CD008, Devon Family History Society, Exeter (2007). [Contains indexes: Bradstone - Baptisms 1813-1840, Marriages 1755-1838, Burials 1813-1837; Brentor - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1834, Burials 1801-1845; Bridestowe - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Broadwoodwidger - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1836, Burials 1813-1837; Coryton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1837, Burials 1806-1860; Dunterton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1836, Burials 1752-1837; Kelly - Baptisms 1813-1842, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1838; Lamerton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1844, Burials 1812-1838; Lewtrenchard - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1840; Lifton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1650-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Lydford - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1780-1841; Maryystow - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1837, Burials 1792-1837; Milton Abbot - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1838; Princetown - Baptisms 1813-1839, Burials 1815-1853; Sourton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1723-1837, Burials 1814-1838; Stowford - Baptisms 1811-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Sydenham Damerel - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1837, Burials 1750-1837; Tavistock - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Thrushelton - Baptisms 1813-1840, Marriages 1755-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Virginstow - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1836, Burials 1813-1839.]

Heather Cooper offers lookups of Princetown Prison of War Chapel Registers (Baptisms 1807-1860 and Burials 1815-1860).


Description & Travel

Lydford-information - a general web-site, but with extensive historical information, and bibliographies, about the area and the parish church.

Lydford Parish Council website - informative.

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

Conservation Area Appraisals for Lydford and Princetown - interesting accounts of the areas, with numerous photographs and maps.

Breton, H. Hugh. The Forest of Dartmoor. Part 1: South-East. Plymouth: Hoyten & Cole (1931) 104p: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/DAR 5/1931/BRE]

Breton, H. Hugh. The Forest of Dartmoor. Part 2: South-West. Plymouth: Hoyten & Cole (1932) 82p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/DAR 5/1932/BRE]

Walker, J Gordon. Princetown. Devon Life vol. 5 no. 40, (1969) pp.16-17; ill.

Lydford and Princetown, London, Vickery, Kyrle (1924) 20p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library sB/LYD/1924/LYD]

You can see pictures of Lydford which are provided by:



Transcription by Neil Stanton of the entry for Lydford in White's Devonshire Directory of 1850.

Copy provided by Val Henderson of the entry (description and names) in Morris and Co's Commercial Directory and Gazetteer of Devonshire 1870 for Princetown.



Brown, Theo. Tales of a Dartmoor village: some preliminary notes on the folklore of Postbridge. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 93, (1961) pp.194-227, plates: ill.

Davenant, Francis, (1866). Legends of the Westcountry: Lydford Law. In The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine: An illustrated magazine combining practical information, instruction and amusement. Vol. 1, London: S.O Beeton, 248 Strand, W1, illus. pp. 233-237. [Index]



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



The Online Parish Clerk scheme's representative for this parish is Heather Cooper, who invites queries and lookup requests. (Resources include: Lydford Bap 1716-1920; Bur 1716-1955; Marr 1719-1909; Princetown Bap 1807-1971; Bur 1815-1944.)

This parish is one of the growing number of places for which the Devon Heritage website provides census or parish register transcriptions, articles, and/or illustrations, etc.

Dartmoor Press Online Magazine's page for this parish (archived copy), with articles, transcriptions, publication details, etc. - highly recommended.

Moseley, Brian. Who Do You Think This Is?, Devon Family Historian, vol. 154, (2015) pp.21-22. [Herbert Russel Lord]

Moseley, Brian. More About Mr Lord, Devon Family Historian, vol. 155, (2015) pp.38.

Price, Mavis. The story of Charles and Charlotte Ann Easterbrook. Dartmoor Magazine no. 42, (1995) pp.6-8: ill. [Easterbrook Family, 1834-1974]

Rowe, J. Brooking. Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt and Princetown, Trans. Devon. Assoc. 37, 1905, pp. 465-81. [Index]

Worthy, C. Devonshire Parishes: or the antiquities, heraldry and family history of twenty-eight parishes in the archdeaconry of Totnes (2 vols), Exeter, W. Pollard (1887). [Chap. XI: Lidford] [Index]



Lydford History, from the Lydford Parish Council.

Barber, Chips. Princetown of yesteryear. Part 1. Exeter: Obelisk Publications (1995) 32p. [ISBN 1899073205]

Barber, Chips. Princetown of yesteryear. Part 2. Exeter: Obelisk Publications (1995) 32p: chiefly ill. [ISBN 1899073213]

Bateman, Martyn. Lydford lives: a short history of Lydford. (1991) 48p: ill, maps. [Westcountry Studies Library - pB/LYD/0001/BAT]

Bellamy, R. Postbridge: The Heart of Dartmoor, Halsgrove Press (1999) [ISBN: 1855226456] [Index]

Birkett, Percival. A short history of the rights of common upon the forest and the commons of Devon, Dartmoor Preservation Soc. (1890) 181 pp. [Plymouth Library 966.9]

Brown, T. Tales of a Dartmoor village [Postbridge], Torquay, Devonshire Press (1961) 34 [Reprint from Trans. Dev. Assoc, v.93 (1961)]

Crossing, William. Princetown: its rise and progress. Brixham, Devon: Quay,1989, 64 pp. ill., 1 port. [ISBN: 187008330X (pbk)] [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/PRI/1785/CRO].

Crossing, W. Crockern Tor and the Ancient Stannary Parliament, CD-ROM, Dartmoor Press (2001) [Reprint of articles in the Western Antiquary (1889-1992), with 80 colour photographs].

Gardner-Thorpe, Christopher. The Book of Princetown: Thomas Tyrwhitt's Dartmoor Town. Halsgrove Press, Tiverton (2003) 160p. [ISBN: 1841142395]

Hallett, John. Around Princetown's quarries: the Tyrwhitt Railway Trail from Princetown. Newton Abbot: Orchard Publications,1994, 87 pp. ill., maps.

King, R.J. The Forest of Dartmoor and its Borders: An historical sketch. London: John Russell Smith (1856) xii, 138p [Index]

Lydford Village History Project. The Book of Lydford: An ancient Saxon borough, Halsgrove (2004) 160 p.

Parsons, Hamlyn. Princetown. Plymouth: Hitchings & Mason (1955) 12p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/PRI/0001/PAR]

Radford, G.H. Lydford town. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 37 (1905) 15p. [Index]

Rowe, Samuel. Perambulation of the Ancient & Royal Forest of Dartmoor and the Venville Precincts...., (1896) xvi + 516pp. [Index]

Weeks, Barbara. The Book of Lydford: An Ancient Saxon Borough, Halsgrove (2005) 160 pp. [1 84114 332 4]

Williams, H. Fulford. Notes on the Parish of Lydford, Devon. Typescript (1964) 11 leaves. [Westcountry Studies Library]

Wootton, Minnie. The little book of Lydford: facts and legends. Lydford (Half Acre, Lydford, Devon): M. Wootton,1971, [1], 32 pp. ill., 1 facsim., 1 map. ISBN: 0950203009.

Worth, Richard Nichols. Lydford and its castle. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 11 (1879). pp. 283-302. [Index]

Worthy, Charles. Devonshire Parishes. Exeter: William Pollard (1887) - Vol. 1, pp. 228- 248.

The Archaelogy of Dartmoor From the Air. Exeter: Devon Books (1985) [72]p: ill, map. [ISBN 0861147545]

Three Day Excursion on Dartmoor (extract from Gentlemans Magazine) (1893) [DFHS LOC 41]


Land & Property

Moore, Stuart A. A Short History of the Rights of Common upon the Forest of Dartmoor and the Commons of Devon: report . . . Plymouth: W. Brendon and Son for the Dartmoor Preservations Association (1890). {Raymond: Includes various court rolls, deeds, ec.].



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX508847 (Lat/Lon: 50.642836, -4.111511), Lydford which are provided by:


Military History

Princetown 1914-1918 war memorial in St Michaels Church, Princetown, transcribed by John Williams.

Aslet, Clive. War Memorial: The Story of One Village's Sacrifice from 1914 to 2003. Viking Adult (2012) 368pp. [SBN: 9780670921539] ["traces in vivid detail the lives of the twenty-two men, and one woman, who made the supreme sacrifice fighting for Britain in the two World Wars, the Falklands and Iraq"


Names, Personal

Brown, Mike. Lists of Lydford Traders &c (inc the Forest of Dartmoor & Princetown) from Directories of 1850, 1857, 1866, 1870, 1873, 1878, 1883, 1890, 1897. The Dartmoor Press (c1997) 20p.


Probate Records

Transcript of the will of Sampson Hele (1657) by Kathleen Noye.