Historical Synopsis (Lydford and Forest of Dartmoor)

by the Rev. G.S. Thorpe, Rector of Lydford, 1947 Nov 5

Transcribed by Tony Pitt and provided here by kind permission of the Rev John Davies, Team Vicar responsible for Lydford Parish.

The whole of Dartmoor was in the parish of Lydford from early in 13th century to 12th Oct 1912.

Before 1237 March 17th, Lydford consisted only of the manor and the Old Borough of Lydford and was of British Foundation. All written records have perished but the Church and its burial ground was founded about 641 A.D. and dedicated to St. Petrock.

On 17th March 1237 The King transferred the Dartmoor Forest to the (afterwards) Duchy of Cornwall and annexed the tithe of the heabage of Dartmoor to the Church of St. Petrock and to the Chaplain ministering thereto for his support in July 1237.

1260 Date of "Ordinacio of Lideford" (vide infra).

1808 - 1815 The period of Napoleonic and American Wars and creation of Princetown War Prison. The French and American prisoners had each separate burial grounds. The French prisoners of War built Princetown Church, dedicated to St. Michael and all Angels and the American P.o.W. fitted the interior. Revd. J.H. MASON was Chaplain holding his 1st service on 2nd Jan 1814. The faculty for a burial ground was granted on 1st Nov 1815 and the 1st burial took place on 19th Nov 1815. Last of prisoners left on 10th Feb 1816, the Church was locked up, though burials continued in the churchyard.

1850 Princetown Convict prison opened, the convicts being buried in Princetown St Michael's and all Angels' churchyard and the 1st Convict burial was on 31st May 1851.

In 1860 - 1864. On 23rd April 1860 was constituted the Ecclesiastical Chapel (C.o.E.), Princetown and an attempt made to create a separate Parish but owing to a grievous blunder on the part of the Diocesan Church Authorities re a stipend, the Church and Churchyard of St. Michael and all Angels became a Chapel-of-ease to the Parish Church of Lydford, and its Churchyard an additional Churchyard in that parish.

In 1907. A Cemetary under the Burials' Acts was provided at Postbridge and consecrated in part for C.o.E. burials, which remains to date the burial ground for Postbridge.

On 12th Oct 1912 a separate Ecclesiastical Parish of Prince-town, embracing the whole of the Forest of Dartmoor with isolated portions of surrounding parishes on the West side, was created by separation out of the Parish of Lydford, though still remaining part of the civil parish of Lydford.

1807 Jun 29 KENNARD Tho s of Jn & Sus
Jul 14 GIBBONS Wm s of Wm & Eliz
26 WILLIAMS Benjamin s of Geo & My
Sep 7 SERCOMBE           Eliz d of Wm & My
1808 Mch 6 WALTER Ric s of Jn & Eliz
13 TUCKER Betty d of Rog & An

(Notes on the Dartmoor entries from the Rev. G.S. Thorpe, 1947: Owing to the Napoleonic Wars and the opening of a Prisoner of War barracks at Princetown and ultimately the appointment of the Rev. J.H. MASON in 1813 as Chaplain and Minister on Dartmoor (for war prison extra-parochial) till the 1860's the Baptisms were, during the War Prison years, sent to be entered in this Register and continued for some years after the War Prison had closed.)

Here appears the heading "Dartmoor Baptisms", which apparently refers to the 13 entries next following.

1807 Apr 12 BADCOCK Hen s of Ric & Martha
26 GILES Jn s of Wm & Jenny
Jun 7 LANE Arabella Mgt d of Dan & Mgt
28 PRYCE Wm s of Jn & My
Jul 5 HANNEFORD Sar d of Pet & Martha
Oct 4 ALGER My d of Jn & Sar
4 BOLTON Eliz d of Jn & My
4 TAPSON Eliz d of Jn & My
25 JEFFERY My d of Jn & My
Nov 29 UVEN Jas s of Rob & Gert
Dec 12 HALFYARD Wm s of Jn & An
1808 Feb 7 COLLICOT Rach d of Sus, a base child
21 SALES My An d of Nic & My
Aug 26 NEWTON Eliz d of Tho & An
27 BLACKFORD or BALLA Tho Balla, base child of Eliz BLACKFORD of Lamerton
Sep 7 PILLOW Sus base child of My, recd into Church 1809 Jun
Oct 23 TAVERNER Jane d of Tho & My, privately, recd into Church 1809 Jan 3
1809 Jan 4 KENNARD Ric s of Jn & Sus of Lamerton
May 14 BICKLE or HOOPER My An base child of An HOOPER, Jn BICKLE
14 FRIEND Wm s of Ric & My
Jun 17 WILLIAMS Joanna d of Geo & My, publickly
Sep 12 TRELOAR Eliz d of Jas & Eliz, recd into Church
Dec 3 GREGORY Ric White s of Ric & Eliz, recd into Church
3 GREGORY Wm White s of Ric & Eliz, publickly
1810 Feb 25 LINTERN Betsey d of Jn & Jane , brot from Bridestow and recd into this Church
26 GIBBINGS Ric s of Wm & Eliz
Apl 29 PENGELLEY Tho s of Wm & Grace, brought from Lamerton