"POWDERHAM is a picturesque parish of scattered houses on the western side of the broad estuary of the Exe, opposite Lympstone, 6 miles S.S.E. of Exeter, and 2 miles N. of Starcross Railway Station. It contains 318 inhabitants, and 1452A. 1R. 26P. of land, belonging to the Earl of Devon, of POWDERHAM CASTLE, which stands in an extensive and well-wooded deer park, which rises in bold swelling hills between and near the confluence of the Exe and the Kenn, . . . The Castle was probably built either before the Norman Conquest, to prevent the Danes from coming up the river to Exeter; or else by William de On, a noble Norman, to whom the conqueror gave Powderham. The Castle was garrisoned for the King in the early part of the struggle between Charles I. and the Parliament, and was long an object of contention between the two parties; changing hands twice or thrice during the war. . . . The CHURCH (St. Clement,) is an ancient structure, with a tower and three bells, and has recently been renovated and beautified, . . . The rectory, valued in K.B. at £27. 3s. 6½d., and in 1831 at £493, is in the patronage of the Earl of Devon, and incumbency of the Rev. Danl. Nantes, M.A., who has 91A. 3R. 28P. of glebe, and a handsome residence with beautiful grounds, overlooking the estuary. . . ." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Exminster Hundred, and the Archdeaconry and Diocese of Exeter.



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

Cresswell, B.F. Notes on the Churches of the Deanery of Kenn, Devon, (1912). [Extracts]


Church History

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

Pim, J.B. Saint Clements Powderham, 1258-1968, in the diocese of Exeter. Dawlish: W.J.Holman (printer) [1968] 6p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - p726.5/POW/PI

A short description of St. Clement's Church, Powderham in the diocese of Exeter, [Powderham ?], [The Church ?] (1964) 7p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library p726.5/POW/SHO]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1717 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1558 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 1785-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

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

  • Wesleyan Chapel: Registers for c1813-37 - see Teignmouth (PRO RG 4/1220)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1575-1847, and Marriages 1559-1597, 1650-1700, 1715-1719, 1734-1835.

An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of Alphington, Ashcombe, Bishopsteignton, Chudleigh, Combeinteignhead, Dawlish, Dunchideock, East Ogwell, East Teignmouth, Exminster, Haccombe, Ide, Kenn, Kenton, Mamhead, Powderham, Shaldon, Shillingford St. George, Starcross, Stokeinteignhead, St. Thomas the Apostle (by Exeter), Trusham, West Ogwell and West Teignmouth. Includes Chudleigh United Reformed Church and East Teignmouth Zion Independent Chapel Burials. With photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Directory (1850) and Kelly's Directory of Devonshire (1902), CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2015). [Alphington Bapt: 1813-1840 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1812-1837; Ashcombe Bapt: 1813-1841 Mar: 1754-1836 Bur: 1783-1837; Bishopsteignton Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; Chudleigh Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; Chudleigh United Reformed Chapel Bur: 1834-1836; Combeinteignhead Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1800-1837; Dawlish Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; Dunchideock Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1756-1836 Bur: 1813-1851; East Ogwell Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1755-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; East Teignmouth Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1755-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; East Teignmouth Zion Independent Chapel Bur: 1809-1836; Exminster Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1754-1836 Bur: 1813-1837; Haccombe Bapt: 1821-1842 Mar: 1773-1801 Bur: 1829-1839; Ide Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; Kenn Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1754-1836 Bur: 1813-1837; Kenton Bapt: 1813-1844 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; Mamhead Bapt: 1813-1840 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; Powderham Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1754-1835 Bur: 1785-1837; Shaldon Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; Shillingford St. George Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1765-1837 Bur: 1680-1842; Starcross Bapt: 1815-1840 Mar: 1828-1837 Bur: 1828-1837; Stokeinteignhead Bapt: 1813-1840 Mar: 1754-1836 Bur: 1800-1837; St.Thomas the Apostle (by Exeter) Bapt: 1813-1840 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1813-1837; Trusham Bapt: 1813-1840 Mar: 1743-1837 Bur: 1750-1837; West Ogwell Bapt: 1813-1839 Mar: 1755-1843 Bur: 1813-1839; West Teignmouth Bapt: 1813-1840 Mar: 1754-1837 Bur: 1813-1837.]


Description & Travel

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

Pepys, Pauline. Powderham Castle: Guide (1975). [Devon FHS Library p942.5/POW]

You can see pictures of Powderham which are provided by:


Emigration & Immigration

Bromell, C.R. Devonians in Ireland, Devon Family Historian, vol. 133, (2010) pp.36. [The role of Sir William Courtney of Powderham Castle in organising emigration to Ireland.]



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



Horwood, Alfred J. The manuscripts of the Right Honourable the Earl of Devon at Powderham Castle, Co. Devon, in Historical Manuscripts Commission Third report. . . C.673. H.M.5.0., 1872, p. 216. [Raymond: Brief list, including genealogical material.]Parr, John Frank. Parr family of Chudleigh, Alphington, Powderham, Shillingford and Exeter, Western Antiquary 3, 1884, pp. 47-48.

Rowland, A.B. (ed.) Courtenay: French line c1126-c1750. Powderham: The Courtenay Society (1996) [vii], 17p: ill. [ISBN 0952715708]

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. XVII: Wolborough - Descent of the manor; Lord William BRIWERE; GAVEROCKE; Sir Richard REYNELL and REYNELL of Ogwell; Ford House; Sir William WALLER; COURTENAY of Powderham; Earls of Devon; BALCULL; curates of Wolborough] [Index]

Wood, B.C. (Ed.). Powderham Castle: The historic home of the Courtenay family. Derby: English Life Publications Ltd. (1978). 32 pp., illus. [Index]



Lega-Weekes, Ethel. Courtenay arms at the Devon and Exeter Institution. Exeter: J.G.Commin (1912) [6]p, pls: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - p929.2/COU [Transcript]

Were, F. Courtenay arms at the Devon and Exeter Institution. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 208-209. [Transcript]



Fotheringham, Chris. Politics, Networks and Estates: The Courtenays of Powderham during the fifteenth century. Dissertation, Swansea University. [Download]

Griffiths, Grace. The book of Dawlish: a history of Dawlish and Dawlish Warren with notes on the surrounding villages of Ashcombe, Cofton, Kenton, Mamhead, Powderham and Starcross. Buckingham: Barracuda (1984) [BL X.800/39475]

Harding, Lt. Col. William. A Paper on Powderham Castle. In Exeter Diocesan Architectural Soc. Trans. Vol 1, (Second Series). Exeter: William Pollard, North Street (1863). Read at the College Hall, Exeter, 12th June. pp. 170-183. [Index]


Land & Property

Bedford, Bruce. Powderham castle. Devon Life vol. 1 no. 2, (1965) pp.22-26; ill.

Hadley, Paulina. Powderham Castle: The historic family home of the Earl of Devon.  [SoG Library: Devon Tracts Box]

Whitley, H.M. Repairs to Powderham Castle. Devon Notes and Queries 2 (1902-03) pp.237-239. [Raymond: Includes the names of many labourers.] [Index]



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX972843 (Lat/Lon: 50.649284, -3.455437), Powderham which are provided by:


Probate Records

Jones. W. Will of Dame Margaret Courtenay of Powderham, with some accounts of the Bonville Family. Notes and Gleanings - Devon and Cornwall 4 (1891) pp.192-196. [1487]