"SHEBBEAR, the village which gives name to this hundred is on the northern acclivity of the Torridge valley, 7½ miles W.N.W. of Hatherleigh, and has in its parish 1160 souls, and 5826 acres of land, including many scattered farms, and the hamlet of Cott. Lord Clinton is lord of the manor, but most of the soil belongs to the Rev. T.H. Kingdon, and the Hearn, Hayset, Reed, Walter, Stevens, Coham, and other families. The Church (St Lawrence,) is a small structure, with a tower and five bells, and was appropriated to Tor Abbey. ... The Baptists, Wesleyans, and Bible Christians have chapels here, and there is a National School in the parish." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

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



Bourne, Frederick William. The centenary life of James Thorne of Shebbear. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co. (1895) 179p: ill, ports. [Available on CD from Devon FHS

Dymond, G.P. Thomas Ruddle of Shebbear: a North Devon Arnold. London: Henry Hooks (1913)

Guthrig, Sylvia C. Women in history, Devon Family Historian, vol. 150, (2014) pp.19-22. [Includes accounts of Matilda Claper of Shebbear and Margaret Squire of Plymouth]

Ruddle, Thomas. Samuel Thomas Thorne minister of the gospel...and missionary to Yun-Nan in Southwestern China. London: Bible Christian Mission. (1893) [12], 131p: ill.

Shorney, David. James Thorne and the Bible Christians, Devon Family Historian, no. 100, (Nov 2001) pp.12-16. [Reprinted in DFH no. 156, 2015]

Thorne, J. James Thorne of Shebbear: a memoir compiled...by his son. London: Bible Christians Book (1873) 312p: ill. [Index]

Thorne, J. James Thorne of Shebbear: a memoir compiled...by his son. Appledore: Michael Wickes [1989] 7p.: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - px920/THO]

James Thorne, 21 Septemer 1795 - 28 January 1872, Devon Family Historian, vol. 99, (2001) pp.21-23. [A detailed chronology of the life of the prominent Bible Christian preacher]

Wickes, Michael. Man of Shebbear. Typescript (1988) 125p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sx920/THO] [James Thorne]



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

Listing of surnames on gravestones (archived copy) in St. Michael and All Angel's churchyard.

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



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]

Transcription of the 1871 Census entries for Shebbear Christian School, by Betsy Rubel.


Church History

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

The Bible Christian Project is collecting information on the founders of this movement and their descendants.

The Bible Christians of Shebbear in North Devonshire by John Ritchings. (Includes a detailed listing of Bible Christian Chapels in Devon, and a Burial Register Lake Chapel, Shebbear, for 1821-1890.)


Church Records

Note: The details given in White's 1850 Dictionary about the Parish Church, quoted above, would seem to be incorrect - the church is quite large and, according to Hoskins' Devon (David and Charles, 1954) is dedicated to St. Michael.

Parish Registers going back to 1576 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1576, and of the Bishop's Transcripts going back to 1597, 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):

  • Wesleyan Chapel: Registers for c1817-27 - see Holsworthy (PRO RG 4/1210)
  • Ebenezer Bible Christian/Methodist Chapel, Lake: Registers for 1817-37 (ZC) in PRO RG 4/339; later registers Minister

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1576-1837 and Marriages 1576-1837 (entries in part from Bishops' Transcripts); Bible Christian Chapel Christenings 1818-1837.

Transcription of Shebbear Bible Christian Baptisms 1818-37 by Elizabeth Howard.

Wickes, Michael J.L. (transcr.). Shebbear Bible Christian Circuit: baptisms register 1818-1845, Appledore, M.J.L. Wickes (1991) 66 pp. [Barnstaple Library 929.32875/BT/WIC]

Register Book of the Baptisms in Shebbear Circuit, The Arminian Bible Christians. [RG/4/339] [Covers 29 March 1818 to 10 Sep 1837]

The Deanery of Torrington - An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of Ashreigny, Beaford, Buckland Filleigh, Dolton, Dowland, Great Torrington, Huish, Iddesleigh, Langtree, Little Torrington, Meeth, Merton, Newton St. Petrock, Peters Marland, Petrockstowe, Roborough, Shebbear, Sheepwash, St. Giles in the Wood and Winkleigh. With photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850. CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2010) . [Ashreigny Bapt: 1813-1838, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Beaford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Buckland Filleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Dolton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1838, Bur: 1813-1837; Dowland Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1840, Bur: 1742-1837; Great Torrington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Huish Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Iddesleigh Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Langtree Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Little Torrington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Meeth Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Merton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Newton St. Petrock Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Peters Marland Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Petrockstowe Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Roborough Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1839; Shebbear Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Sheepwash Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1838, Bur: 1813-1837; St Giles in the Wood Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Winkleigh Bapt: 1813-1853, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837.]


Court Records

Register of Freeholders - Shebbear, Sherwill And Southmolton c1816, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D133). [Foreword]


Description & Travel

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

Shebbear and Buckland Filleigh community website.

You can see pictures of Shebbear which are provided by:



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



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



Bowman, Roger. The Larkworthys of Shebbear. [DFHS Library 929.2/LAR]

Low, Stephen. A Claim dismissed Now Justified, Devon Family Historian, vol. 179, (2021) pp.16-17. [Thirza Hawking]

Some notes on Devonshire families allied to Harington of Worden in Shebbear, viz Yeo of Heanton and Shebbear, Gay (probably the poets kindred), Somers of North Tawton, Brent of Newton St. Petrock and Shebbear, Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica N. S., 3, 1880, pp. 364-8. [Raymond: Includes 17-19th c. extracts from PRs.]

Pedigree of Harington, Co. Cornwall, and of Worden in Shebbear, Co. Devon, Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica. N.S, 3, 1880, pp. 333-6. [17-18th c.]

The Haringtons of North Devon, descending from those of Somerset, Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica (New Series), 3, 1880, 333 & 346-8. [Raymond: 16-17th c., includes pedigree, entries from the parish register of Shebbear, monumental inscriptions and parish register extracts relating to the Rous family of Landrake, Cornwall.]



Shebbear History Group - "This project will gather information, stories photographs of the buildings and people of Shebbear and their lives. Information to compliment books already published."

Ackland, Ron. Shebbear 2000: A Millenium Celebration, (2000). [DFHS 942.3 5/SHE]

Oliver, B.W. Some Notes on Shebbear and Durpley Castle. Trans. Dev. Assoc. 80 (1948) pp. 159-166, 3p. of plates, ill, map.

Williams, H. Fulford. Notes on the Parish of Shebbear, Devon. Typescript (1964) 8 leaves. [Westcountry Studies Library]


Land & Property

Reichel, Oswald J. The hundred of Shebbear in early times. Trans. Devonshire Association (1938) pp.533-584.



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SS438092 (Lat/Lon: 50.861155, -4.220835), Shebbear which are provided by:


Names, Personal

Shebbear contributors to a 1678 brief for the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral.


Probate Records

Transcript of the will of Amos Parsons (1850), provided by Sheila Howard.

Transcript of the will of William Hockin (1779), provided by Ros Dunning.

Will of James Paige (1813), transcribed by Roy Drew.



Shebbear College (founded in 1841) - web-site.

Brown, David R. Shebbear Village School 1877-1977: The first one hundred years. Bideford: Poly Press (1977). [Raymond: Includes full lists of staff, pupils and managers, etc.]

Fairchild, Tony (ed.). A School apart: a history of Shebbear College. Shebbear, Devon: Old Shebbearians Association,1987, xv, 219 pp. ill., ports. ; 26 cm. ISBN: 0951193406. [Raymond: Includes various lists of names.]

Hutchinson, Victor W. A Village School Chronicle 1879-1979. Sticklepath: Sticklepath School Fund (1979). [Raymond: Many names, including some biographical notes.]

Pyke, Richard. The story of Shebbear College. Exeter: W.Chudley & Son (1953) 100p, plates: ill, ports.