Ottery St Mary


"OTTERY St. MARY is an ancient and irregularly built market town, of about 3500 inhabitants, picturesquely seated on the east side of the river Otter, sheltered on the east and west by boldly swelling hills, and distant 11½ miles E. by N. of Exeter, . . . Its Parish had only 2415 inhabitants in 1801, but in 1831 they had increased to 3849, and in 1841 to 4194 souls, residing in the town, and in the seven tithings of Alphington, Cadhay, Fluxton, Gosford, Rill, Tipton, and Wiggaton, which extend from one to three miles on all sides of the town, . . . The parish includes also the hamlets Taleford, Combelake, and Metcombe, and many scattered farm houses, &c. . . . The woolen manufacture which formerly flourished here is extinct, but there is in the town a large silk factory, employing about 400 hands. . . . Sir John Kennaway, Bart., of Escot House, is lord of the manor, but a great part of the parish belongs to Sir Thomas Hare, Bart., Sir F.H. Bathurst, the Coleridge family, the Rev. Dr. Cornish, R.J. Marker, and many other freeholders. . . . The Church [of St. Mary] is one of the largest and handsomest parochial churches in the county. . . The discharged vicarage . . . is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. S.W. Cornish, D.D., who is also head master of the Grammar School. . . . " [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

In Ottery Hundred, Archdeaconry of Exeter. According to Peskett, several modern parishes have been formed by subdivision of this parish: Escot (1840, including also a part of Talaton): Tipton St John (1840); Westhill (1863 but register starts in 1843); Alfrington (church built in 1849 as a chapel of ease, later a modern parish with registers from 1883).



Adams, Maxwell. Rt. Hon. Sir John Henry Kennaway, Bart., M.A., P.C. [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 52, (1920), pp. 41-43. [Transcript]

Brooking-Rowe, John (Ed.). William Rennell Coleridge, [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXVII, (1905), pp. 33-34. [Transcript]

Brooking-Rowe, John (Ed.). Frederick Binley Dickinson, [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXVI, (1904), pp. 35-36. [Transcript]

Exeter Diocedan Architectural Society. The late Reverend F.B Dickinson. M.A. Exeter Diocesan Architectural Soc. Trans. 3 ser, v. 2, (1907) pp.130 - 131; plate.

Russell, Ann. One of Devon's illustrious sons - Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Devon Life vol. 4 no. 29, (1968) pp.28-29; ill. [Writer, 1772-1834]

Stiling, Marjorie. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Devon Life vol. 9 no. 73 (1972) pp.22-24; ill. [Writer, 1772-1834]



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

Cornish, S. [Church MIs]. In Short Notes on the History and Parish of Ottery St Mary, pp.20-23, (n.d.).



Transcript by Ros Haywood of a census of inhabitants of Ottery St. Mary, c.1700, listing householders and household numbers, held at the Devon Record Office (DRO 3327 A-1/PZ 4).


Church History

Ottery St Mary - from J. Stabb. Some Old Devon Churches (London: 1908-16).

St Mary's Church (archived copy) - photograph and brief history.

Alfington Church and its links to Sir John Coleridge, provided by Angela Harlow.

Chanter, Rev. J F. Eighth Report of the Committee on Church Plate - Deaneries of Ottery and Honiton. Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and the Arts. Vol. 49, 3rd Series, Plymouth: W Brendan & Son (1917). Paper read at Barnstaple July 19th, illus. pp. 109-158. [Deaneries of Ottery and Honiton] [Index]

Coleridge, F.G. An Account of the Church of Ottery St Mary. Exeter Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society. [Printed by I. Shrimpton, Oxford 1842] 107pp. [Raymond: Includes list of vicars, MIs and some PR extracts.] [Index]

Coleridge, John Duke. On the restoration of the church of S. Mary the Virgin at Ottery S. Mary. Exeter Diocesan Architectural Soc. Trans. 1 ser, v. 4, (1853) pp 189-217. [Index]

Cornish, Sidney W[illiam]. Short Notes on the Church and Parish of Ottery St. Mary, Devon, W. Pollard (1869) 64 pp. [Full text] [Index]

Dickinson, F.B. A lecture on the history of the church of St. Mary of Ottery delivered at the Church Institute on 4th March, 1897. - 6th ed. Ottery: The Church Corporation (1953) 43p: ill, folded plan. [Westcountry Studies Library p726.5/OTT/DIC]

Hayward, John. A Heraldic Tour at Ottery St Mary: Coats of Arms to Colour, Ottery St Mary Church.

Markland, J.H. Some remarks on the numerous small apertures in the ceiling of the church of S. Mary, Ottery. Exeter Diocesan Architectural Soc. Trans. 1 ser, v. 4, (1853) pp.60- 68. [Index]

Tucker, G.M. Ottery Saint Mary Congregational Church: a short history. Exeter: William Chudley (1962) 31p. [Westcountry Studies Library - 285.8/OTT/TUC]

Whitham, John A. The Church of St Mary of Ottery, [The Church] (n.d.) 24 pp. [Index]

Whitley, H M. Inventories of the collegiate churches of the Holy Cross, Crediton, and Our Blessed Lady of Ottery. Trans. Dev. Assoc. vol. 34 (1902), pp. 551-585. [Index]

List of vicars of Ottery St Mary, from Lora Besler.


Church Records

Ottery St Mary Parish Registers going back to 1601, and Tipton St John's back to 1834, are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1601, and of the Bishops' Transcripts going back to 1636, 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.

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

  • Presbyterian/Independent/Congregational Chapel, Jesu Street, later Batt's Lane: Registers for 1746-1837 (CB) in PRO RG 4/2029, 2100; 1746-1938 (C), 1839-1947 (M), 1746-1955 (B), unfit for production; 1906-47 (M) at DRO
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Mill Street: Registers for c1809-37 - see Axminster, Barnstaple, Exeter (PRO RG 4/512, 954, 1207, 1208)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): christenings 1601-1837, and marriages 1601-1837.

Dickinson, F.B. Our Parish Registers. Exeter Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society Transactions 3rd series, 2 (1901) 6-19.

Dickinson, F.B. On an Old Register in the Parish Chest of Ottery St Mary. Exeter Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society Transactions 3rd series, 1 (1892) 157-164.

Ottery St Mary. Parish. The Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials of the Parish of Ottery St Mary, Devon,1601-1837. 1908-29 [Exeter Univ. Lib.]

Tapley-Soper, H. Parish Register Inaccuracies. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. IX, (January 1916 to January 1917), pp. 5-6. [Transcript]

The Deanery of Aylesbeare: An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of Aylesbeare, Bicton, Branscombe, Broadclyst, Clyst Honiton, Clyst St.George, Clyst St.Mary, Colaton Raleigh, East Budleigh, Farringdon, Harpford, Huxham, Littleham, Lympstone, Otterton, Ottery St. Mary, Pinhoe, Poltimore, Rockbeare, Salcombe Regis, Sidbury, Sidmouth, Sowton, Stoke Canon, Topsham, Venn Ottery, Whimple, Withycombe Raleigh and Woodbury. With photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850 and Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of England 1844, CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2012). [Aylesbeare Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Bicton Bapt: 1813-1843, Mar: 1755-1835, Bur: 1813-1852, Bur: 1725-1845 (BTs); Branscombe Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1545-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Broadclyst Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Clyst Honiton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Clyst St. George Bapt: 1813-1837, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Clyst St. Mary Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1756-1840, Bur: 1813-1837; Colaton Raleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; East Budleigh Bapt: 1813-1841, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; East Budleigh Salem Chapel, Bur: 1832-1837; Farringdon Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1852; Glenorchy Independent Exmouth, Bur: 1784-1818; Harpford Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1809-1837; Huxham Bapt: 1813-1852, Mar: 1758-1836, Bur: 1813-1864; Littleham (near Exmouth) Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Lympstone Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Otterton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Ottery St. Mary Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Pinhoe Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1844, Bur: 1813-1838; Poltimore Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Rockbeare Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Salcombe Regis Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Sidbury Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1830, Bur: 1813-1837; Sidmouth Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Sowton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Stoke Canon Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Topsham Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Venn Ottery Bapt: 1813-1841, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Whimple Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Withycombe Raleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Woodbury Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837.]


Description & Travel

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

Tipton St John Village Design Statement and West Hill Village Design Statement, from East Devon District Council.

West Hill Village website - very extensive.

Harris, Rendel. Up the Otter River, University of London Press, Ltd. (1934) 43 pp.

Ottery St. Mary town guide. Ottery St. Mary Town Council (1987) 28p: col.ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/OTT 7/1987/OTT]

You can see pictures of Ottery St Mary which are provided by:



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



Ottery Tar Barrel Ceremony - from Devon24 (archived copy).

Doe, G. (Ed.) Superstition in Ottery St Mary. In Sixth Report of the Committee on Devonshire Folk-lore. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1883, Vol XV, pp.102-104. [Transcript]



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 Ros Haywood, who invites queries and lookup requests.

The Haydon Family Genealogy and History from Devon, England (archived copy) - "as first published in London in 1888 by Jabez Haskell Hayden".

Blackmore, Helen. The Blackmores of Ottery St Mary, Devon Family Historian, vol. 159, (2016) pp.31-32.

Coleridge, Bernard J.S. 2nd Baron. The story of a Devonshire house - 2nd ed. London: T. Fisher Unwin (1906) 331p, plates: ill, ports. [Online text]

Coleridge, Lord. Vaughan of Ottery St Mary, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 11, 1920, pp.40-41.

Evans, William N. Reminiscences of the Evans family, formerly of Ottery St. Mary. Manchester: R.G. Evans & Co (1894) 20p. [Westcountry Studies Library - p920/EVA]

Harris, Edward M. Ottery St Mary origin of Thomas Harris. New England Hist. & Gen. Reg. 27, 1973, pp. 27-8. [17th c.]

Palmer, Geoff. Devon Families moving to London, Devon Family Historian, vol. 165, (2018) pp.34-35. [Family of Richard Palmer and Jane Palmer (née) Watts]

Reeves, Gordon. The Westcountry Malherbes: the Settlement and Integration of an Extended Norman Family During the 12th to 16th Centuries. Trans. Dev. Assoc. vol. 145 (2013) pp. 199-232. [Full Text]

Rogers, W.H.H. Haydon, of Woodbury and Ottery St Mary, etc., Devon. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 1:8, (1900) pp.225-240, plates: ill (2). [Index]

Rogers, William Henry Hamilton. Haydon of Woodbury and Ottery St. Mary. Exeter: James G.Commin (1901) 16p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - px929.2/HAY]

Rogers, W.H.H. The Dorset chapel and Knightstone; Bonville and Sherman; Ottery St. Mary, Notes and Queries for Somerset anmd Dorset 7, 1901, pp. 187-91 & 235-43, See also p. 322. Reprinted in his Archaeological papers relating to the counties of Somerset, Wilts, Hants and Devon. [ ]. The author, 1902.

Skinner, A.J. Mercer of Ottery St Mary. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 9, 1917, pp. 164-72. [Transcript]

Skinner, A.J. Vaughan of Ottery St Mary, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 10, 1918-19, pp. 98-109.

Skinner, A.J.P. Vaughan of Ottery St. Mary. Colyton: The author [1934?] [12]p. [Westcountry Studies Library - 929.2/VAU]

Tapley-Soper, H. The Davy family of Ottery St Mary and Topsham, Devon, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 23 (5), 1948, pp. 139-40.

Toohey, Timothy J. Piety and the professions: Sir John Coleridge and his sons. London: Garland (1987) x, 359p. [ISBN 0824078349]

Turner, Kim. The Underdowne/Underdown family of East Devon, England and Australia, PDF e-book Kimandpaul2[at]bigpond[dot]com (2016) 400pp. [DFHS Tree House Library]

Yarnall, Ellis. Wordsworth and the Coleridges with other memories literary and political. London: Macmillan (1899) ix, 331p. [Coleridge family]

Warburton-Cox, A.F. Coke of Thorne in Ottery St. Mary, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 22 (8), 1943, pp. 191-2



Coleridge, Lord. Vaughan of Ottery St Mary. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 11 (1920-21) pp.44041. [Transcript]



Ottery St Mary - The Great Fire of 1866, compiled by Robynne Lozier.

Coleridge, Lord. The history of the town of Ottery St. Mary. London: Hutchings & Crowsley (1897) 31p: ill, ports. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/OTT 7/0001/COL] [Index]

Coleridge, Lord. "Ottery St. Mary and its memories", in Memorials of old Devonshire (ed. Snell, Frederick John), London: Bemrose and sons, limited, (1904) xi, 305 pp.

Cornish, Sidney William. Short notes on the church and parish of Ottery St. Mary, Devon (New ed., revised by F.F. Cornish). Exeter, England: Bland Bros.,1928, 70 pp. [Full text]

Edwards, E. Devonshire - Containing Historical, Biographical and Descriptive Notices of Exmouth & its Neighbourhood, including the Exe, Littleham, Withycombe Raleigh, East Budleigh, Otterton and Bicton, Sidmouth and Sidbury, Gittisham, Ottery St. Mary, Lympstone, and Topsham; with Notices of the Pedigree of the Rolle, Raleigh, and Courtney Families, &c. Contains Notices of some Picturesque and Antiquarian Excursions in the neighbourhood of the Exe Estuary, and along the adjacent coast, including Budleigh Salterton, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Torquay, &c., Exeter, S. Drayton & Sons (1867) 362 pp.

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]

Godfrey, Brian. Skinners Ash Farm and Fenny Bridges: a short story of Sknners Ash Farm and the hamlet of Fenny Bridges. Fenny Bridges: Brian Godfrey (1994) 20p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - pB/OTT 7/0001/GOD]

Gosling, Gerald and Harris, Peter. The Book of Ottery St Mary, Halsgrove (2004) 160 pp. [ISBN 1 84114 333 2] [Index]

Grant, W.C. Controversy over a Much Vexed Question. (1894) [Torquay Library]

Harris, J. Ottery St Mary 1866 Devon Family Historian, No. 69, Feb. 1994, pp. 36-39.[Account of a disastrous fire that destroyed a quarter of the town, with many names listed.]

Packer, Roy. Long ago in Ottery. Exmouth: E.R.D.Publications (1983) 168p: ill. [ISBN 0900345373] [Index]

Rose-Troup, Frances. History of Ottery St. Mary. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 214-215. [Transcript]

Sadler, Nigel. Ottery St Mary Through Time, Amberley Publishing (2013) 96 pp. [ISBN-13: 978-1445609751]

Whitham, John A. Ottery St Mary: a Devonshire town. Chichester, Sussex: Phillimore,1984, xiii, 124 pp., [16] p. of plates: ill. [ISBN: 0850335264] [Lookups]

Tipton past and present. [Tipton St. John]: Tipton Times (1978) 32p. [Westcountry Studies Library - pB/OTT/0001/TIP]

The Golden Jubillee Book of Ottery St Mary 1887-2002, Ottery St Mary Heritage Society (2002). [Devon FHS Library 942.35/OTT]


Land & Property

Coleridge, Lord. The Story of a Devonshire House, (1905) pp.329.



Elliot, John. Homes and gardens - Cadhay, Ottery St. Mary. Devon Life vol. 8 no. 61 (1971) pp.14-16; ill. [1550-1971]

Linehan, Catherine Durning. Cadhay and the Whetham Family. Dorchester: The Author (1975) 22p, 8p of pls [Westcountry Studies Library - p728.8/OTT/LIN]

Rose-Troup, F. Mediaeval customs and tenures in the manor of Ottery St.Mary. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 66, (1934) pp.211-233.

Whetham, C.D. & Whetham, M. (eds.) A Manor Book of Ottery St Mary. Longmans Green & Co. (1913) 184p.

Cadhay. Printed by James Townsend & Sons Limited, Exeter. 24p. [Detailed Name Index]



Map of the area from OldeMaps (circa 1950).

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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SY098955 (Lat/Lon: 50.752067, -3.280004), Ottery St Mary which are provided by:


Names, Personal

Names from the 1823, the 1830, and the 1844 editions of Pigot's Trade Directory, provided by Ros Haywood.

Names and Occupations from Robson's Directory of Devon (1839), transcribed by Robynne Lozier.

Names from the White's 1878/79 Trade Directory, provided by Selena Gillian.



Some details and a selected index of the Tipton Times nos. 1-100, 1969-1987, [Tipton St. John], [Tipton Times] (1987) 19 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library p070/TIP/TIP]


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Summary of Charitable Bequests under the Will of Thomas Axe (1635-1691) as set out in the South Porch of Ottery St Mary Church, transcribed by Lora Besler, and made available with the church's permission.


Probate Records

Will of Margaret Cornish (1807), transcribed by Ros Dunning.

Will of John White (1833), transcribed by Art Ames.



Holmes, G.E.J. The King's School: a history. Ottery St. Mary: The School (1963) 96p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library 373/OTT/HOL]



Information about the Ottery St Mary Heritage Society, and back issues of its quarterly journal.