South Tawton


"TAWTON (SOUTH) is a compact village, pleasantly situated on the banks of the small river Taw, at the north end of Dartmoor Forest, four miles E. by S. of Okehampton, and 18½ miles W. of Exeter. Its parish contains 1871 inhabitants, and 6097½ acres of land, including 86A. of woods, 79A. of orchards, and 1574A. of open pasture and forest. It comprises the hamlets of Itton, Tawgreen, Whyddon Down, Gooseford Week, Fulford, Ramsley, Dishcombe, and South Zeal, extending from two miles S. to three N. by E. of the church. The parish also comprises many scattered farm-houses, "c., and its surface is picturesquely broken into hill and dale, rising boldly on the south-west to the heights of Dartmoor, where the Taw and other rivulets have their sources. . . . The Parish Church (St. Andrev,) is a large antique structure, with a tower and six bells." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Wonford Hundred, the Archdeaconry and Diocese of Exeter. Its chapel of ease at South Zeal did not have separate registers. Regarded as part of the Dartmoor area.



Adams, Maxwell. (Ed.) William Lethbridge [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  XLII, (1910), p. 47. [Transcript]

Brooking-Rowe, J. William Lethbridge. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXIII, (1901), pp. 34-35. [Transcript]

Adams, Maxwell. (Ed.) Rev. William Wykes-Finch, M.A., J.P. [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  52, (1920), p. 47. [Transcript]

Finch, Greg. A Victorian Obsession: William Wykes-Finch and North Wyke. Devon Family Historian no. 72 (2006) pp. 34-30. [Full text]



A transcription of the Memorial Inscriptions for the Parish Church is held in the Society of Genealogist's Library, in Vol. 8 of Devon Memorial inscriptions (DE/M23).

Brown, Mike. South Tawton (Pre-1900 Survey). In Dartmoor Region Monumental Inscriptions Indexes, Vol. 23. Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL.

Brown, Mike. Guide Notes to Monuments in Devon Churches & Graveyards: South Tawton. 20pp. [Burgoyne, Oxenham, Battishill, Wykes]

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


Church History

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

Burton, Charles Kingsley. Account of the parish church of St. Andrew, South Tawton, Devon, and chapel of St. Mary, South Zeal. (5th ed.). Gloucester, British Pub. (1966) 36 pp. illus., map.


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1541 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1540 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library.

South Tawton Bishop's Transcripts (1607-1813) are viewable online in FamilySearch (log in required.)

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 c1815-37 - see Okehampton (PRO RG 4/1089)
  • Wesleyan Chapel, South Zeal: Registers for c1815-37 - see Ashburton Circuit, Okehampton (PRO RG 4/840, 1089)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1540-1738, and Marriages 1558-1738.

List of Clergy, provided by John Williams.

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. The Churchwardens' Accounts of South Tawton. Trans. Devon Assoc. 38 (1906) pp.497-528, 39 (1907) pp.302-336, 40 (1908) pp.306-312 and 41 (1909) pp.361-367. [Raymond: Discussion, including extracts.]  [Index to part 1] [Index to part 2]

The Deanery of Dunsford: An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of Ashton, Bridford, Chagford, Cheriton Bishop, Christow, Doddiscombsleigh, Drewsteignton, Dunsford, Gidleigh, Hittisleigh, Holcombe Burnell, South Tawton, Spreyton, Tedburn St. Mary, Throwleigh and Whitestone. With photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850. CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2009). [Ashton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1740-1837; Bridford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Chagford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Cheriton Bishop Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1841, Bur: 1813-1837; Christow Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1757-1844, Bur: 1813-1837; Doddiscombsleigh Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1836, Bur: 1780-1837; Drewsteignton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Dunsford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Gidleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1748-1812 (BT's), Mar: 1814-1837, Bur: 1813-1884; Hittisleigh Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1839; Holcombe Burnell Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1753-1837; South Tawton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Spreyton Bapt: 1803-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Tedburn St. Mary Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Throwleigh Bapt: 1813-1841, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Whitestone Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837.]


Court Records

Chancery Proceedings - James Mallett of Spreyton (12 Dec 1710), concerning Tawton Mills, transcribed by Mike Mallett.


Description & Travel

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

South Tawton, from Wikipedia.

Conservation Area Appraisal for South Tawton and South Zeal - interesting accounts of the areas, with numerous photographs and maps.

You can see pictures of South Tawton which are provided by:



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

Brown, Mike. Trade Directory for Belstone, Drewsteignton, South Tawton, Throwleigh 1850, 1870, 1878, Dartmoor Press (2001).



Cotton, Richard W. The Oxenham Omen. Trans. Devon Assoc. vol. 14 (1882), pp. 221-246. [Index]

Amery, PFS, Amery, John S & Rowe, J Brooking (Eds.). Oxenham Tombstone. Devon Notes & Queries, Vol. 1 (1900) pp.194-195.[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 Denise Bray. (Resources: Bapt 1540-1837; Mar 1558-1837; Bur 1558-1837. Warning: some registers are illegible.)

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

Caroline Tilbury's South Tawton pages contain a number of genealogy-related transcripts from various directories, newspapers, reports and books, etc., including on  John Orchard jnr. ( hanged for forgery) and on a Dispute over William Reynell's Will.

Mallett, Richard. From Devon to Dublin, Devon Family Historian, vol. 135, (2010) pp.13-14. [About the Mallet family, originating in South Tawton in the early 1700s, through to Robert Mallett of Dublin, ("one of Ireland's most important scientists and engineers").]

Moore, Joe. Of Green Men and Other Things, Devon Family Historian, vol. 113, (Feb 2005) pp.12-13. [Descendants of William Moore, m. Elizabeth Knapman, South Zeal 1845]

Morecombe, David. What Happened to Richard Morcombe, Devon Family Historian, vol. 186, (2023) pp.52-54. [b. South Tawton, 1791, emigrated to Canada in 1831]

Thornton, W.H. Some reminiscences of the Wykes of South Tawton, and a few remarks upon their residences. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 29, (1897) pp.175-181. [Index]

Wykes-Finch, Rev. W. The Ancient Family of Wyke Of North Wyke, Co. Devon. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 35 (1903) pp.360-425. [An excellent transcription of this article is provided by Harry Wykes]

Worthy, Charles. Wykes of Northwyke, Weekes of Honeychurch and Cheverston of Cheverston, Wray, East Ayshe and Ilton. In Devonshire Wills, London: Bemrose (1896) 516 pp. [Transcription by Harry Wykes]



The History of North Wyke - from the World Wykes Web.

Lega-Weeks, Ethel. Neighbours of North Wyke. Trans. Devon Assoc. vols. 33-37 (1901-05) in five parts. [Index to pt 1, Index to pt 2, Index to pt 3, Index to pt 4, Index to pt 5]

Lega-Weeks, Ethel. Printers of the Statutes in the Sixteenth Century, South Tawton, Devon. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), p 110. [Transcript]

Radford, Roy and Ursula. The Book of South Tawton and South Zeal (with Sticklepath), Tiverton, Halsgrove Community History Series (2000) 160 pp., over 200 photographs. [ISBN: 1-84114-056-2] [Index]

Reichel, O J. Hundred of South Tawton in early times. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 44 (1912) pp. 343-352 [Index].

Searley, A.W. (comp.) North Wyke Scrapbook [1930?] 529p: ill, maps. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/SOU 7/0001/SEA] (Collection of articles from Trans. Devon. Assoc., photographs, etc.)

Williams, H. Fulford. Notes on the parish of South Tawton with South Zeal, Devon. Typescript (1962) 11p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/SOU 7/0001/WIL]


Land & Property

Heritage Lottery-funded web-site about Church House (archived copy).

Brown, Mike. South Tawton. In "Dartmoor Tithe Apportionments, Vol. 7". The Dartmoor Press (c1997) 16p.

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. The old mansion of North Wyke. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 32, (1900) pp.195-205: ill. [Index]

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. Cocktree. Devon Notes & Queries, vol. I, (January 1900 to January 1901), p. 103. [Transcript]

North Wyke: the history and heraldry of North Wyke. Typescript [1985?] 13p. [Westcountry Studies Library - px728.8/SOU/NOR]

See also the web page History and Heraldry of North Wyke, which provides a well-illustrated account of the house, and its owners (in particular the Wyke family during the 13th-18th century).



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX652944 (Lat/Lon: 50.733529, -3.911519), South Tawton which are provided by:


Names, Personal

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


Probate Records

Will of James Lang (1828), transcribed by Teresa Lang.

Will of Charles Roe (1817). transcribed by Ros Dunning.

Wills of George Burgoyn (1558) and William Burgoyn (1624), transcribed by Pat Garnett-Frizelle.



Lega-Weekes, E. Neighbours of North Wyke, Pt V. North and South Tawton in the Pipe Rolls. Trans Devon Assoc. Vol. XXXVI, (1904), pp. 415-444. [Index]