Weare Giffard


"WEAR GIFFORD, a pleasant village and parish, on the eastern side of the river Torridge, 3 mies N.W. of Great Torrington, contains 576 inhabitants, and 1587 acres of land, including the hamlet of Clifft, and a number of scattered farms. The river is navigable to this village for small craft, and by means of a canal, barges, &c., go up as high as Torrington. A large earthenware manufactory has recently been established here; and in the parish is a small woolen factory. The manor of Weare was held by the Giffords at an early period, and afterwards passed to the Fortescues, who were seated here for several generations, . . . Earl Fortescue is now lord of the manor, but part of the parish belongs to the trustees of the late Lord Rolle, and a few smaller owners. The Church (Holy Trinity,) is a plain structure, containing monuments to the Fortescue, Rolle, and other families. The rectory, valued in K.B. at £13. 5s., and in 1831 at £180, is in the patronage of Earl Fortescue, and incumbency of the Rev. Wm. Fortescue, of George Nympton, The parsonage is a small building, and the glebe is 17 acres. The Wesleyans have a small chapel here. . . " [From White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of Devon (1850)]

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



Bowden, John. John Heal, Devon Family Historian, vol. 145, (2013) pp.5-8. [1780-1862]


Business & Commerce Records

Listings of Licensed Victuallers for this parish are to be found here.



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

Messenger, A.W.B. Heraldry at Weare Giffard Hall. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 20 (1938-39) pp.273-276.



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 History

Hingeston-Randolph, F.C. The Rectors of Weare Giffard. (1894) [Westcountry Studies Library]

Dredge, J.I. The Rectors of Wear Gifford, Devon. Notes and Gleanings - Devon and Cornwall 3 (1890) pp.152-154.

A Guide to Holy Trinity, Weare Giffard. [Weare Gifford]: [The Church] [1970?] 12pp. [Index]

The church of the Holy Trinity, Weare Giffard: notes on points of interest to visitors. [Weare Gifford]: [The Church] [1980?] 4pp. [Westcountry Studies Library - p726.5/WEA/CHU]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1583 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1583 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library.

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

Bideford Methodist Circuit baptisms (1819 -1870) transcribed by David Carter. (Contains entries from the following parishes: Abbotsham, Allington, Alverdiscott, Alwington, Appledore, Arlington, Barnstaple, Bideford, Buckland Brewer, Bucks Mills, Burrington, Chulmleigh, Clovelly, Fremington, Frithelstock, Great Torrington, Hatherleigh, Huntshaw, Ilfracombe, Instow, Landcross, Little Torrington, Littleham, Loxhore, Marystowe, Monkleigh, Newton Tracey, Northam, Parkham, South Molton, St Giles in the Wood, Wear Giffard, Westleigh, Woolfardisworthy.)

Christenings (1583-1812) and marriages (1584-7, 1615-1812) have been entered into the IGI.

An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of Abbotsham, Alverdiscott, Alwington, Bideford, Buckland Brewer, Bulkworthy, Clovelly, East Putford, Frithelstock, Hartland, Landcross, Littleham, Monkleigh, Northam, Parkham, Wear Gifford, Welcombe and West Woolfardisworthy. 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 (2009). [Abbotsham Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Alverdiscott Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1775-1837; Alwington Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Bideford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Buckland Brewer Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Bulkworthy Bapt: 1813-1841, Mar: 1814-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Clovelly Bapt: 1813-1838, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; East Putford Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1797-1837, Bur: 1813-1839; Frithelstock Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Hartland Bapt: 1838-1839, Mar: 1558-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Landcross Bapt: 1814-1839, Mar: 1761-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Littleham Bapt: 1813-1841, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1851; Monkleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Northam Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Parkham Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1537-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Wear Gifford Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Welcombe Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1757-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; West Woolfardisworthy Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837.]


Description & Travel

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

Extract from Murray's "Handbook for Travellers in Devonshire" (1879), covering Bideford, and also Weare Giffard and Horwood.

Weare Giffard Community website (archived copy) - includes page on the history, and a listing, with photographs of churchyard MIs.

You can see pictures of Weare Giffard which are provided by:



Transcript of an extract from an 1857 Directory with a description of the parish, and a list of clergy, gentry, professions, trades, etc.

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.



Hall, Linda. The Matthews Family - Carpenters of Weare Giffard, Devon Family Historian, vol. 186, (2023) pp.28-30. [Descendants of Richard Matthews, bap. Weare Giffard 1676.]

Peskett, H.M. The inheritance of Giffard of Weare. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 32 (9), 1973, pp. 266-71. [Medieval.]



Weare Giffard and its History (archived copy) from the Weare Giffard community website.



Ashworth, Edward. The ancient manor house of Wear Gifford; (a paper read at College Hall, Jan. 14th 1858). [s.l.]: [s.n.] (1858) 7p. [Westcountry Studies - sx728.83/WEA/ASH]



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SS466221 (Lat/Lon: 50.977822, -4.186509), Weare Giffard which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

A note on the names Gifford and Giffard, by Chris Burgoyne.


Names, Personal

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



Weare Gifford Apprentice Register 1802-1804. [Devon]: Devon Family History Society (2013). [Foreword]


Probate Records

Transcript of the will of Hugh Fortescue (1600) by Kathleen Noye.



Coad, Peter. Wear Gifford: A history of education, Bideford, Lazarus Press (Edward Gaskell Publishers) (1998) 224 pp. [ISBN: 1-898546-22-3]