"MODBURY is a small ancient market town, consisting chiefly of four streets, diverging to the cardinal points, and pleasantly situated at the foot and on the sides of three acclivities, in the heart of a fertile district, 12 miles E. by S. of Plymouth, . . . Its parish contains 5977 acres of land, extending westward to the navigable river Erme, and including 143A. of woodland, 181A. of orchards, 144A. of waste, and 85A. of common. Its population amounted in 1801 to 1813 souls, and in 1831 to 2116, but in 1841 they had decreased to 2048. . . . The woollen manufacture was formerly carried on here extensively, but here is now only one small serge factory. The town consists chiefly of small old houses, but is highly salubrious, . . . The parish has many scattered farm-houses and five corn mills; and the small hamlets of Caton, Leigh, Brownston, Penquit, and part of Ludbrook. . . . Modbury Church (St. George,) is a spacious and handsome structure, with a tower, containing six bells, and crowned by a spire, rising to a height of about 134 feet. . . . The vicarage . . . is in the patronage of the Masters and Fellows of Eton College, and incumbency of the Rev. N. Oxenham, M.A. . . . " [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A market town and parish in Ermington Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Totnes, and the Diocese of Exeter. Regarded as part of the South Hams area.



Exon, T.D. Savery's Steam Engine. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 160. [Transcript]

Green, G, C. Collections of Natural History and Sport in the Life of a Country Vicar, (1886) pp.221. [Vicar of Modbury]

Harpley, W. Obituary notices: Richard Andrews. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 26, (1894) pp.41. [Lawyer, 1830-1893] [Transcript]

Harris, S.G. Samuel Hieron: a Devonshire vicar in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 24, (1892) pp.77-85. [1599-1617] [Index]

Mills, Sheila. William O. Langworthy, Devon Family Historian, vol. 130, (2009) pp.12-13. [m. Charlotte Oldrey, Modbury, 1852, emigrated to Nebraska]



Whitmore, J.B. Devonshire Monumental Inscriptions, MS at Society of Genealogists (1951). [Extracts]

The Inscriptions on the Headstones and Memorials of St George's Church, Modbury. Modbury History Society (2009) 378pp.



Name index to the 1841 census, from the Parishes of the South Hams website.


Church History

St George's Church, Modbury, by Graham Naylor.


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1553 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1553 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library.

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

Transcripts of Modbury Baptisms 1665-1699, 1700-1753, 1754-1812, 1813-1837, 1838-1885; Marriages 1665-1699, 1700-1753, 1754-1812, 1813-1837, 1838-1906; and Burials 1665-1699, 1700-1753, 1754-1812, 1813-1837, 1838-1885, provided by Paul Sherriff, on the Parishes of the South Hams website.

The members' area of the Devon FHS website makes available online images, not at present (Jan 2016) available elsewhere, of the Parish Registers covering Modbury Baptisms, Marriages and Burials: 1553-1665, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials: 1665-1741, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials: 1741-1792, Baptisms and Burials: 1793-1812, Baptisms: 1813-1839, Baptisms: 1839-1875, Marriages: 1754-1776, Marriages: 1776-1797, Marriages: 1797-1812, Marriages: 1813-1837, Marriages: 1838-1906, Burials: 1813-1857, Burials: 1857-1885, Burials: 1885-1915, Baptisms: 1876-1905, Baptisms: 1905-1914, Marriages: 1906-1915, Banns: 1855-1915.

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

  • Wesleyan Chapel: Registers for c1801-36 - see Ashburton Circuit (PRO RG 4/1763, 840)
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Little Modbury: Registers for c1820-36 - see Ashburton Circuit (PRO RG 4/840)
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Ludbrook: Registers for c1801-36 - see Ashburton Circuit (PRO RG 4/1763, 840)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1590-1837 and Marriages 1553-1565, 1601-1837.

Rowe, J. Brooking. A Modbury Churchwardens' Account, Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries, vol. 4, (1906/7) pp. 60-61. [Transcription]

An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the Deanery of Plympton. with photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850 and The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868), CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2007). [Brixton: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1837), Cornwood: Bapt (1813-1840), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1838), Ermington: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1838), Bur (1813-1837 ), Harford: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1755-1837), Bur (1813-1838), Holbeton: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1837), Ivybridge: Bapt (1835-1840), Mar (1835-1840), Bur (1836-1840), Kingston: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1836), Bur (1813-1837), Modbury: Bapt (1813-1840), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1837), Newton Ferrers: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1836), Bur (1813-1837)), North Huish: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1837), Plympton St. Mary: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1837), Plympton St. Maurice: Bapt (1813-1840), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1837), Plymstock: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1837), Revelstoke: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1837), Shaugh Prior: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1835), Ugborough: Bapt (1813-1840), Mar (1754-1841), Bur (1813-1837), Wembury: Bapt (1813-1839), Mar (1612-1837), Bur (1813-1840), Yealmpton: Bapt (1813-1840), Mar (1754-1837), Bur (1813-1837)]


Description & Travel

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

Conservation Area Appraisal for Modbury - an interesting account of the area, with numerous photographs and maps.

You can see pictures of Modbury which are provided by:



Transcript of entry in White's Devonshire Directory of 1850.

Transcription of the complete entry for Modbury in Pigot & Co's Devon (1830), and of the directory for Modbury in White's Devonshire Directory (1850) by Terry Partridge.

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

Transcription of Modbury entry in the 1923, 1930, and 1935 editions of Kelly's Directory for Devonshire, provided by Sheila Jones.



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



Hooper, H.J. Hooper of Modbury. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 21 (7) 1941, pp. 326-29.

Hooppell, J.L.E. Old Traine in Modbury: the house and its owners, Trans. Devon. Assoc. 59, 1927, pp. 265-70. [17-18th c.]

Palliser, G.C. The Will as Window. In GRINZ Year Book 1995. Genealogy Research Inst. of New Zealand, Lower Hutt, N.Z. (1995) pp.1-16. ISSN 0113-2431 [Legassicke Family].

Peters, C.D. A Rouse Family in Devon [from c1100 in modbury & 1617 in Hatherleigh], (1995). [Devon FHS Library p929.2/ROU]

Walker, Graham. The Amazing Power of DNA, Devon Family Historian, vol. 167, (2018) pp.7-8. [Peek, Stone, McFarland]

Walker, Graham. The Amazing Power of DNA, Devon Family Historian, vol. 177, (2021) p.34. [Stone]



Modbury and District Information Centre website - general information, including some on history and genealogy.

The History of Modbury - provides "a comprehensive database of historical records and facts" and much else.

Cawse, G.A. Modbury. London: The Author (1860) 32p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/MOD/0001/CAW]

Hooppell, J.L.E. Old Traine in Modbury: the house and its early owners. Trans. Devonshire Assoc (1927) pp265-270.

Peachey, Stuart. The battle of Modbury 1643. Bristol: The Author (1993) 40p: maps. [ISBN 1858040205]

A history of Modbury in the County of Devon.Ivybridge, Modbury Local History Society,1971, [1], 33 pp. illus., map, plan. 22 cm. ISBN: 0950226203. [Index]

Modbury: a study. Exeter: Planning Dept., Devon County Council (1954) 10p, 4 leaves. [Westcountry Studies Library - px711.4/MOD/DEV]

Modbury: our inheritance, compiled by Modbury Local History Society. Modbury: The Society (1982) [32]p: chiefly ill, maps. [Westcountry Studies Library - pxB/MOD/0001/MOD] [Reprinted by Underhill Plymouth (1992).] [Index]

Remarkable Passages Newly Received of the Great Overthrow of Sir Ralph Hopton and his Forces at Modburie, 12 miles from Plimouth. London: Pr. for Henry Overton (1642) [2],6p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sDEV/1642/REM Tr 3]

Transcriptions of documents from various sources relating to Modbury. Manuscript, some typescript (19--) 1 box. [Westcountry Studies Library - msxB/MOD/0001/MOD]

A History of Modbury in the County of Devon, Modbury Local History Society (1971). [SoG Library]


Land & Property

Extracts from Return of Owners of Land (1873), provided by Sheila Jones.



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX655515 (Lat/Lon: 50.348013, -3.891775), Modbury which are provided by:


Military History

Sullock, J.D.C. Militia of the South Hams - Part Two: Ashprington, Portlemouth, Chivelstone, Thurlestone, Ugborough, Modbury, Aveton Giffard, Harford, Kingston, Holbeton, Ermington, Ringmore and Bigbury.(1569AD). J.D.C. Sullock, Stockton, Cleveland (n.d.) 9p


Names, Personal

Names from an 1822-23 edition of Pigot's Directory.

Listing of subscribers to the relief of Turkish captives (1680) , from the Churchwardens Account Book. 



Edgecombe, Gerald. Modbury Parish Apprentices. Devon Family Historian 28 (Oct. 1983) pp. 13-15. [Raymond: Includes list of children placed as apprentices, 1690s.]

Willson, Deborah. An examination of the woollen industry in Modbury, S.W.England, 1695-1851. Thesis (B.Ed) - Worcester Coll (1984) 98p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - sx677.31/MOD/WIL]

Modbury Apprentices Register - 1833-1839, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF A301). [Foreword]


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Modbury - index to settlement certificates 1660-1790 & Settlement Examinations. Typescript. [SoG Library]


Probate Records

Transcript of the will of Dorothy Windeatt (1841) by Pam Jackson, provided by Sandra Windeatt.

Will of Thomas Wreyford (1594) provided by John Moore.

Extract of the will of Adrian Swete (1733), provided by Nancy Savery.

Transcripts of the wills of John Boon (1827), William Shepheard (1615), Roger Efford (1683), Isaac Dawson (1855), John Cuming (1811), and Richard Bishop (1771) provided by Nancy Savery.

Transcript of the will of John Castell (1655), provided by Bev Edmonds.



Waterhouse, G. (ed.) Modbury Schools Looking Back, Including the History of Bigbury, Brownston, Kingston and Ringmore Scools, 1881-1981. [Modbury]: {Devon County Council?] (1891). [Raymond: Includes various lists of names, and many personal remiinscences.]



The Modbury History Society has an informative website (archived copy)