"RACKENFORD, an ancient village on the high road, 8 miles W.N.W. of Tiverton, and 18 miles E.S.E. of South Molton, is described as a borough in some old records,. . . The parish had 562 inhabitants, on July 1st, 1841, but 59 of them were visitors at the annual feast. It contains 3933A. 2R. 37P. of land, rising in bold hills near the sources of the Little Dart river, and comprising many scattered houses. Chas. Devon, Esq., is lord of the manor, for which a court leet and baron is held yearly by Mark Kennaway, Esq., the steward. The former resides at the old manor house, called Cruwyshaye, formerly a seat of the Sydenham and Cruwys families. J.G. Pearse and Wm. Hole, Esqrs., and Messrs. Thos. Ayre, M. Thomas, W. Cockram, Robert Tanner, and several smaller freeholders have estates in the parish. There is a common of about 30 acres, in which is a never failing spring of pure water. The Church (Holy Trinity,) is a small antique fabric, with a tower and five bells, and a finely sculptured font. The rectory, valued in K.B. at £19. 17s. 1½d., and in 1831 at £335, is in the patronage of Thomas Comyns, Esq., and incumbency of the Rev. Wm. Comyns, M.A., who has a good residence and 54A. 31P. of glebe. . . ." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

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



Jansen, Graham. A Rackenford Soldier, Devon Family Historian, vol. 174, (2020) p.42. [Lance Corporal William Smythe Brown (1902-1944)]

Langdon, Mrs. Luke Eugene West, Devon Family Historian, vol. 139, (2011) pp.4-7. [b. 1879, served in the Boer War and in India



Snetzler, M.F. North Devon Surname Index to the Census. Microfiche: M.F. Snetzler. [Covers 1841, 1861, 1871 and 1881 census records for this parish]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1561 are held in the Devon Record Office.

The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering (as of June 2004): Baptisms 1813-1840, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1800-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

Nothing entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993).

The Deanery of South Molton: An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of Bishop's Nympton, Cheldon, Creacombe, Cruwys Morchard, East Anstey, East Woolfardisworthy, East Worlington, George Nympton, King's Nympton, Knowstone, Mariansleigh, Meshaw, Molland, North Molton, Oakford, Puddington, Rackenford, Romansleigh, Rose Ash, Satterleigh, South Molton, Stoodleigh, Templeton, Thelbridge, Twitchen, Warkleigh, Washford Pyne, West Anstey, West Worlington and Witheridge. With photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Directory (1850) and Kelly's Directory of Devonshire (1902). CD-ROM 062, Exeter, Devon FHS (2015). [Bishop's Nympton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Cheldon Bapt: 1813-1843, Mar: 1755-1835, Bur: 1813-1841; Creacombe Bapt: 1814-1902, Mar: 1759-1835, Bur: 1813-1850; Cruwys Morchard Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; East Anstey Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1688-1839; East Woolfardisworthy Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1840, Bur: 1813-1837; East Worlington Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; George Nympton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1790-1837; King's Nympton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Knowstone Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1740-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Mariansleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1757-1837, Bur: 1813-1838; Meshaw Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1756-1836, Bur: 1813-1838; Molland Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1838; North Molton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Oakford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1840; Puddington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1759-1836, Bur: 1740-1837; Rackenford Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Romansleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1730-1837; Rose Ash Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1850; Satterleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1755-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; South Molton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Stoodleigh Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Templeton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Thelbridge Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1853; Twitchen Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1755-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Warkleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1851; Washford Pyne Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1756-1836, Bur: 1813-1840; West Anstey Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1745-1838; West Worlington Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1846, Bur: 1813-1851; Witheridge Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1835]


Court Records

Child, Sarah. Rackenford Goes to Chancery; an Outbreak of Litigation in an Elizabethan Rural Parish. Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, 131 (December 1999,) pp.123-138. [The plaintiffs and defendants in these cases are: Alice Bickmore/Bradford; Ralph Bickmore, husbandman; Philip Bowden of Witheridge, yeoman; Richard Carpenter, husbandman; John Clapp of Templeton; Christian Crooke, widow; John Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard, esquire; Hugh Culme of Molland gentleman; William Gover, yeoman; John Hayne of Eggesford, husbandman; Richard Kelland, gentleman; William Maunder, husbandman; George Mogford, yeoman; Richard Parker of Witheridge; Thomas Parker; Henry Surredge, smith; Joan Taylor, widow.]


Description & Travel

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

Rackenford Village Home Page extensive general and historical information.

You can see pictures of Rackenford which are provided by:



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 Sarah Child, who invites queries and lookup requests. (Resources: PRs, social records.)



Sue Davey's Rackenford pages provide historical information, and parish register extracts.

Rackenford Oath-Takers, 1723 by Sarah Child, provided by the Friends of Devon Archives.

Rackenford - A short history, by Sarah Child - an extensive well-illustrated history of the parish (2nd edition).

Herniman, Derek. Rackenford Evacuee - in the pictures, Devon Family Historian, vol. 177, (2021) p.17. [Identifies individuals in photographs in Jansen 2020.]

Jansen, Graham. Rackenford Evacuee, Devon Family Historian, vol. 176, (2020) pp.30-31. [Wartime memories of Valerie Janette House, concerning Rackenford's Kingdom, Herniman, and Webber families.]


Land & Property

Transcription of Rackenford-Related Deeds, from John Tingey's Calendar of Deeds Enrolled Within the County of Devon 1536 - 1673, provided by Debbie Kennett.

Elliot, John. Homes and gardens - Heathcroft, Rackenford. Devon Life vol. 10 no. 80 (1973) pp.14-16; ill.



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SS850181 (Lat/Lon: 50.950825, -3.638527), Rackenford which are provided by:


Names, Personal

Child, Sarah. Rackenford names: christenings in a North Devon village 1597-1992. Rackenford: S.Child (1993) 14p. [Westcountry Studies Library - p929.4/RAC/CHI]

Ryall, David. Lest We Forget, War memorials around South Molton. South Molton Archive, 68pp. [ISBN 0 951236 1 4] [Provides an indexed list of names]


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Child, Sarah. Parish Apprentices in Rackenford 1728-1844. Trans. Devon Assoc., 136 (2004) pp. 135-148.



South Molton and District Archive Local History Society web-site (archived copy) - provides details of archive holdings for the twenty-eight parishes in what used to be the South Molton Rural District, lists of publications, etc.