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Help and advice for Moretonhampstead

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"MORETONHAMPSTEAD is a small market town, near the eastern confines of Dartmoor Forest, seated on a fertile and highly salubrious eminence, encompassed by lofty hills, and distant 12 miles W.S.W. of Exeter, 12 miles N.N.E. of Newton-Abbot, 12 miles N. of Ashburton, and 185 miles W.S.W. of London. Its parish had 1768 inhabitants in 1801, and 2037 in 1841, and comprises 7656A. of land, including the small hamlets of Daccombe, Sloncombe, and Houghton, many scattered farm houses &c., about 400 acres of wood, and several commons. . . It had foremerly a share of the woolen manufacture, which declined many years ago. The Earl of Devon is lord of the manor of Moreton; but there are three smaller manors in the parish, viz., High Hayne, belonging to J.N. Stevenson, Esq.; North Moor, belonging to G. Bray, Esq.; and Daccombe, or Dockham, held under the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, by the trustees of the late Rev. George Gregory. Wray Barton, a handsome Tudor mansion, is the seat of John Courtier, Esq., owner of the Wray estate, which has passed by heiresses and bequests, to the Chilverstone, Abbot, Wray, Laford, Corslet, and Southmead families. Part of the parish belongs to many small freeholders, but Daccombe is mostly copyhold. In 1335, Hugh de Courtenay obtained a charter for a market and two fairs here. The Market is still held on Saturday, and a new Market House and Shambles were built by the lord of the manor, in 1827. . . The Church (St. Andrew,) is a large ancient fabric, in the transition style, with a lofty tower, containing six bells, a clock and chimes. . . Here are chapels belonging to the Independents, Wesleyans, Baptists, and Unitarians. The old Presbyterian Chapel, which has long been held by Unitarians, was built in 1692, and enlarged in 1802. [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

Moretonhampstead is a parish in Teignbridge Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Totnes and Diocese of Exeter. Regarded as part of the Dartmoor area.



George Parker Bidder, from the Moretonhampstead History Society web-site.

Brushfield, T.N. George Parker Bidder. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 2:1, (1902) pp.1-2, plates: port. [Mathematician, 1806-1878]
Clack, J.R. Some Notes on the Life of a Devonshire Artist: Richard Augustus Clack, Portrait Painter, 1801-1880, Devon Family Historian, vol. 159, (2016) pp.15-21.
Clark, E.F. George Parker Bidder: the calculating boy, Bedford, KSL Publications (1983) xxvi,518p : ill,ports. [ISBN 0950854301] [Westcountry Studies Library 620.00924/DEV/CLA]
Harpley, W. Obituary notices: John Hill. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 25, (1893) pp.159. [Justice of the Peace, 1807-1892]
Hill, R.H. Ernest. Richard Hill, of Moreton, Alderman of London. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 4:2, (1906) pp.49-51. [Commissioner under Cromwell. See also Gentleman's Mag. May (1904). 1600-1660]
Hill, R.H. Ernest. Richard Hill of Moreton. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 4:5, (1907) pp.145-148. - vol.4, pp.49-52. Based on B.M.Add.MS 5488. [Merchant, 1600-1660]
Laithwaite, Susan. A Dutch Officer in Moretonhampstead, c. 1807. In Devon Documents, ed. T. Gray, pp.116-119, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, (1996). [Louis Alexandre]
Lambert, Richard S. The Innocence of Edmund Galley, (c1935) 209 pp. [Deported to Australia, for the murder of Jonathan May in 1835 at Moretonhampstead]
Morgan, Wendy. A Well-Respected Inhabitant, Devon Family Historian, vol. 163, (2017) pp.9-10. [William Morgan (1872-1946)]
Paynter, Jack. Looking for Charlie Laycock. Dartmoor Country Mag. no. 1, (1998) pp.55-56: ill. [Historiasn, 1909-1934]
Simkins, M.A. and R.J.J. Lord Hambleden and Moretonhampstead. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 123, (1991) pp.167-188. [Landowner, 1891-1928]
Wills, Peter. Arthur Walter Wills (1868-1948): Leaves of my Life, Devon Family Historian, vol. 113, (Feb 2005) pp.38-42.
A Short History of George Parker Bidder, 1806-1878, Moretonhampstead, Moretonhampstead Local History Society (1995). [Index]


Moretonhampstead History Society's web-site provides transcriptions of the memorial inscriptions in St Andrews church and churchyard, and at the Unitarian Chapel graveyard.

Brown, Mike. Moretonhampstead (Part Survey). In Dartmoor Region Monumental Inscriptions Indexes, Vol. 22. Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL.
Brown, Mike. Cross Street Chapel (Full Survey). In Dartmoor Region Monumental Inscriptions Indexes, Vol. 22. Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL.
Brown, Mike. Guide Notes to Monuments in Devon Churches & Graveyards: Dunsford, Moretonhampstead. The Dartmoor Press. 16pp. [Fulford, Whiddon, Fynes (Clinton)]
Collier, P and G. Cox Moretonhampstead Register of Gravestones. Compiled from the gravestones in the Parish Churchyard of St Andrew's, Moretonhampstead, and in the cemetery of the Cross Street Unitarian Chapel. Moretonhampstead Local History Society (1997) [Copies in Devon Record Office, West Country Studies Library and Moretonhampstead Information Office].



Moretonhampstead History Society's web-site provides a searchable database providing basic data from the Census for the years 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901.


Church History

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

Neck, J.Stevens. A list of the rectors of Moretonhampstead. Trans. Devonshire Ass. vol. 28 (1896) pp.351- 353. [1259-1866] [Index]

Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1603 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1603 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 book list.

Moretonhampstead History Society has a search facility covering Baptisms, Marriages and Burrials for Moretonhampstead 1603-1920 and North Bovey 1710-1920.

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

  • Wesleyan Chapel, Okehampton or Moretonhampstead Circuit: Registers for 1815-37 (C) in PRO RG 4/1089
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Cross Street: Registers for 1839-1878 (C), 1921-42 (M) at DRO; for c1801-37 see Ashburton Circuit, Okehampton (PRO RG 4/1763, 840, 1089)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1603-1709, 1711-1849, and Marriages 1603-1709, 1711-1850, Cross Meeting or New Meeting Presbyterian Christenings 1672-1743, 1765-1836.

Sellman, R.R. Examples of family reconstitution from the registers of Moretonhampstead, Devon: marriages 1604- 1810. Typescript (1979) 65p. [Westcountry Studies Library - x929.3/MOR/1604]
Sellman, R.R. Moretonhampstead, Devon: family reconstitutions from the registers, 1603-1837. Typescript (1979) 187 leaves: map. [Westcountry Studies Library sx929.3/MOR/1603]
An index of baptisms (1813-1839), marriages (1754-1837) and burials (1813-1837) in the parishes of Ashburton, Bickington, Bovey Tracey, Buckland in the Moor, Hennock, Highweek, Ideford, Ilsington, Kingsteignton, Lustleigh, Manaton, Moretonhampstead, North Bovey, Teigngrace and Widecombe in the Moor. Photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850., CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2011). [Ashburton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Ashburton Independent Chapel Bapt: 1817-1839; Bickington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1771-1837; Bovey Tracey Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Bovey Tracey Baptist Chapel, Bur: 1784-1837; Buckland in the Moor Bapt: 1813-1851, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1737-1840; Hennock Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Highweek Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1838, Bur: 1813-1837; Ideford Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; llsington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1838; Kingsteignton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Lustleigh Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1785-1837; Manaton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1843; Moretonhampstead Bapt: 1813 1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; North Bovey Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Teigngrace Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Widecombe in the Moor Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837]

Description and Travel

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

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

Tourist Information, History, Ghosts & Legends, etc., from Moretonhampstead Development Trust.

Bowen, David. Chagford and Mortenhampstead. Devon Life vol. 6 no. 45 (1970) pp.32-35; ill.
Moretonhampstead: a walkabout, (1979). [SoG Library - DE tracts]

You can see pictures of Moretonhampstead which are provided by:



Moretonhampstead History Society's web-site provides a searchable database for persons named in various directories from 1793 to 1898.

Brown, Mike. Trade Directory for Chagford & Moretonhampstead 1850, 1870, 1878, Dartmoor Press (2001).


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

Lysons, Rev Daniel , AM, FRS, FALS, & Samuel Lysons Esq, FRS, FAS. Magna Britannia: Being a concise topographical account of the several counties of Great Britain. Vol VI, Devonshire. London: Thomas Cadell (1822) [Moretonhampstead section].

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Moretonhampstead to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.



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

Hill, R.H. Ernest. Hill and Norsworthy. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 4:2, (1906) pp.51-52. [Pedigree extracted from Chancery suit, 1696.]
Jackson, Sue and Adams, Rod. The Tallamys of Devon, Devon Family Historian, vol. 128, (2008) pp.11-12. [Of various North Devon parishes, particularly Moretonhampstead, and also Frithelstock and Buckland Brewer.]
Larpent, F. de H. The Devonshire family of Walter. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 240-241. [Transcript]
Larpent, F. de H. The Devonshire family of Walter. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 7:5, (1912) pp.175-176. [Transcript]
Southmayd, Jeffrey Duke. Southmead versus Lowman, Devon Family Historian, vol. 156, (2015) pp.12-13.
Wilcocks, Paul. James Carrall Wilcocks, Devon Family Historian, vol. 135, (2010) p.8. [Re James Carrall Wilcocks, father & son, of Exeter, and Anne Sess, of Moretonhampstead]
The Bowrings of Moreton. Moretonhampstead Local History Society (n.d.).

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Moretonhampstead has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



Treleaven's Chronicles of Moretonhampstead - transcript of two notebooks covering much of the period 1799-1830, provided by the Moretonhampstead Local History Society.

Adams, Georgina Dorothy & R.J.J.Simkins. Ye Olde Inns and Taverns of Moreton: A History of the Inns and Taverns of Moretonhampstead. Moretonhampstead Loc.Hist.Soc., School House, Moretonhampstead, Devon TQ13 8NX (1996) 31p: ill. [ISBN 0952723212] [Index]
Friend, George. Memories of Moretonhampstead. (2nd. ed.) Exeter: Devon Books (1994) [128] pp. ill. ISBN: 086114855X.[Index]
Gentry, F.D. Take Care of your Fire and Candle [11 fires in Devon towns]. Devon Books (1985) 138p. [ISBN 0861147596] [Devon FHS Library 929.35]
Heath, R. O. Sparrowhawk: the story of Moretonhampstead: one thousand years from 700AD to 1700AD or thereabouts with a few further episodes of interest. [Newton Abbot] [Greenhill House, Moretonhamptead, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 8LL]: R.O. Heath (1977) 95 pp. ill., 1 plan.
Heath, R.O. Key history of Moretonhampstead from c.700 A.D. to 1700 A.D. or thereabouts with a few further episodes of interest. Typescript (1977) [2], 144p. [Westcountry Studies Library - xB/MOR 5/0001/HEA]
Heath, R.O. Murder of Jonathan May. Moretonhamstead Loc.Hist.Soc. (1995) [ISBN 0952723204] [Index]
Hughes, G.W.G. Moretonhampstead. Devonshire Assoc. Trans. (1954) pp75-88,plates: ill,map.
Johnson, W.H. Dick Turpin, Buckingham Joe and the Moretonhampstead murder. Tavistock: W.H.Johnson [1990] 115p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sx364.1523/MOR/JOH]
Jones, John Pike. Observations on the Scenery and Antiquities in the Neighbourhood of Moreton Hampstead, and on the Forest of Dartmoor, Devon. (1823) [Westcountry Studies Library]
Laithwaite, Susan. A Dutch Officer in Moreton In Devon Documents (ed. T. Gray). Tiverton: Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, Special Issue (1996) [ISBN 0925836203] pp.116-119. Hampstead, c.1807.
Simkins, M.A. and R.J.J. Lord Hambleden and Moretonhampstead. Trans. Devon. Ass. Advmt. Sci., 123 (December 1991) pp.167-188. [Index]
Thornton, W.H. Devonshire Scripts and Stories, Mainly Concerning the Moreton Hampstead Neighbourhood (originally published in 1915). Moretonhampstead Loc.Hist.Soc. (1951) 80p: ill. [Plymouth Library]
Williams, H. Fulford. Notes on the Parish of Morten-hampstead, Devon. Typescript (1962) 10 leaves. [Westcountry Studies Library]

Land and Property

Moretonhampstead History Society's web-site provides a searchable database of old photographs and descriptions of many streets and properties.

Brown, Mike. Moretonhampstead. In "Dartmoor Tithe Apportionments, Vol. 6". The Dartmoor Press (c1997) 16p.
Southmayd, Jeffrey Duke. 17th Century Litigation over the lands of the Charles Family of Devon, Devon Family Historian, vol. 161, (2017) pp.26-29.


Reichel, Oswald J. St Thomas of Canterbury’s Murder. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), p.63. [Transcript]

Military History

Brewer, Dave. Napoleonic prisoners of war at Moretonhampstead, Okehampton and Tavistock. Dartmoor Magazine no. 13, (1988) pp.9; ill.
Laithwaite, Susan. A Dutch officer in Moretonhampstead, c.1807. in Devon Documents (ed. Todd Gray) (1996) pp.116-119

Names, Personal

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

Torr, Cecil. Index to the Names of the Male Inhabitants over 18 Years of Age in the Parishes of Moretonhampstead, Hennock, Lustleigh, South Bovey otherwise Bovey Tracey, North Bovey, Manaton, Ilsington, and Widecombe in the Moor, in the years 1641, 1642. Cambridge University Press, [1913]. pp. 11.

Probate Records

Transcription of the will of Elizabeth Windeat (1825) by Pam Jackson, provided by Sandra Windeatt.

Transcriptions of the wills of William Hamlyn (1719) and James Taverner (1832) by Pam Jackson, provided by Fay Sampson.

Will of Ann Cruse (1586), transcribed by Debbie Kennett.

Will of John Tozer (1659), transcribed by Ros Dunning.



Moretonhampstead Local History Society, c/o School House, Pound Street, Moretonhampstead, Devon TQ13 8NX. The Society's large web-site, built with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, has searchable sets of articles, photographs, and listings covering many topics - major data collections are listed under appropriate topic headings on this page.

Moretonhampstead Freemasons - history of Sanctuary Lodge.