Widecombe in the Moor


"WIDECOMBE-IN-THE-MOOR, sometimes spelt Widdecombe, or Withecombe-in-the-moors, is a scattered village, picturesquely seated in a valley on the eastern side of Dartmoor Forest, 6 miles N.W. by N. of Ashburton. Its parish is a detached member of Haytor Hundred, and contains 1106 inhabitants, and 10,614 acres of land, including the hamlets, &c., of Cator, Ponsworthy, Poundsgate, Linchaford, Fernhill, Dunstone, Blackslade, Lower-Tor, &c., and about 4700 acres of open commons, called Newbridge, Blackdown, Natsworthy, Jourdan, &c. The parish rises in bold hills from the river Dart and several of its tributary streams, and great improvements have been made of late years in the Forest farms. . . . The Church (St. Pancras,) is a large ancient structure with a lofty tower and six bells. On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 21st, 1638, it was much damaged by lightning, which killed four and injured 62 of the congregation then assembled in divine worship. .. . . The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £25. 13s. 9d., and in 1831 at £332, is in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, and incumbency of the Rev. Jas. H. Mason, M.A., who has 86A. 1R. 6P of glebe, and a good residence. . . ." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Haytor Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Totnes and the Diocese of Exeter. Regarded as part of the Dartmoor area. The modern parish of Leusdon was formed here (1864).


Archives & Libraries

The Widecombe Digital Archive,  a project of the Widecombe History Group, "the home of the digital version of Widecombe's community, heritage & cultural assets".



Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.), Frederic Hand Firth, [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXVI, (1904), p. 36. [Transcript]

Harpley, Rev. W., M.A. Robert Dymond, F.S.A. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1889, Vol XXI, pp.65-69. [Transcript]




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

Brown, Mike. Leusdon (Pre-1950 Survey). In Dartmoor Region Monumental Inscriptions Indexes, Vol. 19. Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL.

Brown, Mike. Widecombe (Pre-1950 Survey). In Dartmoor Region Monumental Inscriptions Indexes, Vol. 19. Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL.

Brown, Mike. Guide Notes to Monuments in Devon Churches & Graveyards: Widecombe, Buckland. The Dartmoor Press. 16pp. [Elford, Hamlyn, Radcliffe, Woodleigh]

Wood, I.M. Inscriptions on the Headstones in the Churchyard of the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Leusdon. (1972)


Church History

Widecombe in the Moor - from J. Stabb. Some Old Devon Churches (London: 1908-16).

Pickering, John Thomas. An account of St. Pancras' church, Wydecombe, Taunton, Lyceum Press (1924) 40p, 2 pls pp. [Westcountry Studies Library 726.5/WID/PIC]

Wood, Elliott Colpoys. A guide to the parish church at Widecombe in the Moor, [Widecombe?], [The Church?] (1945) 14p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library s726.5/WID/WOO]

Wykes and Rothwell.A true relation of those strange and lamentable accidents happening in the Parish Church of Wydecombe in Devonshire on Sunday the 21 of October, 1638. Rev. Edn.. SoG Library [Devon Tracts Box] [Full text]

Guide to the parish & church of St Pancras at Widecombe-in-the-Moor (Rev. ed.), Glossop, Derbyshire, Interlit (1990) 16p: ill. [Plymouth Library 726.5WID] [Index]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1560 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1560 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 c1801-36 - see Ashburton Circuit (PRO RG 4/1763, 840)
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Dunstone: Registers for c1820-36 - see Ashburton Circuit (PRO RG 4/840)
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Venton: Registers for c1820-36 - see Ashburton Circuit (PRO RG 4/840)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1560-1837, and Marriages 1573-1837.

Brown, Mike. 1754-1812 Burial Indexes: Widecombe. RT47, Dartmoor Press (2000).

Woods, Iris. Memoranda from the parish officers' accounts Widecombe-in-the-Moor 1711-1840. Devon Historian 14, (1977) pp.17-20.

The register of marriages, baptisms & burials of the parish of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon. Exeter: Devon and Cornwall Record Society, (1976 1938), xxiii, 316 pp. ill.

The Parish Register Transcripts of Widecombe in the Moor. Ancestor: Quarterly Journal of the Genealogical Society of Victoria 20, 5 (1991) p.14.

An index of baptisms (1813-1839), marriages (1754-1837) and burials (1813-1837) in the parishes of Ashburton, Bickington, Bovey Tracey, Buckland in the Moor, Hennock, Highweek, Ideford, Ilsington, Kingsteignton, Lustleigh, Manaton, Moretonhampstead, North Bovey, Teigngrace and Widecombe in the Moor. Photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850., CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2011). [Ashburton Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Ashburton Independent Chapel Bapt: 1817-1839; Bickington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1771-1837; Bovey Tracey Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Bovey Tracey Baptist Chapel, Bur: 1784-1837; Buckland in the Moor Bapt: 1813-1851, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1737-1840; Hennock Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Highweek Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1838, Bur: 1813-1837; Ideford Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; llsington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1838; Kingsteignton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Lustleigh Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1785-1837; Manaton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1843; Moretonhampstead Bapt: 1813 1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; North Bovey Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Teigngrace Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1755-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Widecombe in the Moor Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837]


Description & Travel

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

Widecombe in the Moor Web-site: "promotes all aspects of Widecombe and Dartmoor life, past, present and future, for the use of local people, visitors, and all who are interested".

Conservation Area Appraisal for Widecombe-in-the-Moor - an interesting account of the area, with numerous photographs and maps.

Barber, Chips. Widecombe in the Moor: a visitor's guide. Pinhoe: Obelisk (1996) 32 pp. ill., facsims., maps, ports. ; 21 cm. ISBN: 189907340X (pbk).

Chard, Judy. About Widecombe. St. Teath: Bossiney (1979) 72p: ill. [ISBN 0906456274]

Tresillian, Michael. Widecombe fair. Devon Life vol. 1 no. 12, (1966) pp.16-17; ill.

Williams, Michael. Widecombe. St. Teath: Bossiney Books (1988) 64p: ill. [ISBN 0948158409]

Woods, Iris M. Guide to the parish of Widecombe in the Moor, Widecombe Parish Council (1980) 16p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library pB/WID 3/1980/WOO]

You can see pictures of Widecombe in the Moor which are provided by:



Copy provided by Val Henderson of the entry (description and names) in Morris and Co's Commercial Directory and Gazetteer of Devonshire 1870.

Brown, Mike. Trade Directory for Buckland in the Moor, Ilsington, Lustleigh, Manaton, North Bovey, Widecombe 1850, 1870, 1878, Dartmoor Press (2001).



Jan Reynolds and the Devil, in Legendary Dartmoor .

Wykes and Rothwell. A true relation of those strange & lamentable accidents, happening in the Parish Church of Wydecombe, in Devonshire on Sunday the 21 of October. Rev. ed. [SoG Library: Devon Tracts Box]



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



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

The Widecombe History Group's Widecombe Archive contains a growing collection of digitised documents, including indentures & examinations, tithe apportionments, church headstones, overseers' accounts, and churchwardens' accounts.

Hern, Thomas. Four Hern Brothers in the American Civil War, Devon Family Historian, vol. 157, (2016) pp.14-15. [Sons of William Hern and Elizabeth Hannaford, who emigrated in 1853.]

Hutchfield, David. The Answer to a Researcher's Prayer?, Family Tree Magazine, vol. 19, no. 9, (July 2003) [Norrish family, of Dartmeet, Widecombe in the Moor - and then Ontario, Canada]

Somers Cocks, J.V. A Widecombe-in-the-Moor land boundary. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 30, 1956-7, pp. 180-3. [Raymond: Transcript of 14th c. deed, Thomas de Spicwyk to Gilbert de Kadetrew, with 15th c. pedigree of Cadetrew family (not transcribed).]

Thomas, Neil. Searching for a Hamlyn-Langworthy marriage - 1682, Devon Family Historian, vol. 172, (2019) p.23.

Thomas, Neil. Hamlyn Families of the South Hams - and a Widecombe Connection, Devon Family Historian, vol. 176, (2020) pp.16-19.

Wilkinson, Freda. The Caunters of Ponsworthy. Devon Historian 42, (1991) pp.28-29. [Includes details of exhibition on Caunter family.]

Wood, Iris M. What's in a name?. Devon Historian 31, (1985) pp.14-15. [Larpent family, 1851-1900]

Woods, Stephen. Dartmoor Farm, Tiverton, Halsgrove (2003) 280 pp. [Based largely on the diaries of the Hannaford Family of Southcombe Farm, 1896-1968]



Brown, Mike. Guide to the Heraldry in St Pancras Church, Widecombe, Widecombe, St Pancras Church (2000).



Chanter, J.F. Uncle Tom Cobley. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 11:1, (1920) pp.7-9. [Index]

Courtney, W.P. Widecombe storm, 1638. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 3:8, (1905) pp.233-235.

Dymond, Robert (ed.). " Things old and new" concerning the parish of Widecombe-in-the-Moor and its neighbourhood. Torquay: Torquay Directory Co. (1876) 119p. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/WID/0001/DYM]

Gray, Todd. Uncle Tom Cobley and All, Mint Press (2019) 220 pp. [ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1903356739]

Hicks, Peter. Uncle Tom Cobley: Widecombe in the Moor. Newton Abbot: Orchard Publs (1996) 32p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - pB/WID 3/0001/HIC]

Newling, Bruce. The Calamitous Widecombe Thunderstorm of 1638, McWhirtle & Milsom, Publishers, 47 Huntingdon Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (2002) 8 p, ill. [Full transcription of Richard Hill's poem (about the storm which in 1638 badly damaged the church and caused four deaths), now on wooden tablets in the church, accompanied by the author's modern adaptation of this poem.] [Author's address: 47 Huntington Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA]

Rowe, J. Brooking. The two Widecombe tracts, 1638, giving a contemporary account of the great storm, reprinted with an introduction. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 3:Appx, (1905). [Item 2, 1-37.] [Index]

Sanderson, Robert. The story of Widecombe in the Moor. Printed for the author by Penwell Limited, Parkwood, Callington, Cornwall (1979) 16 pp. ill.

Williams, Michael. Widecombe, St Teath, Bodmin, Cornwall, Bossiney Books (1992) 64 pp. [ISBN: 0 948158 40 9] [Index]

Woods, Iris. Memoranda from the Parish Officers Accounts. Widecombe-in-the-Moor, 1711-1840. Devon Historian 14 (1977) pp.17-20.

Woods, Stephen H. Widecombe-in-the-Moor: a pictorial history of the Dartmoor village. Halsgrove Press, Halsgrove House, Lower Moor Way, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6SS (1998) 160p: ill, maps, ports. [ISBN 0861149084] [Index]

Woods, Stephen.Uncle Tom Cobley and All: The Book of Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Halsgrove Press, Halsgrove House, Lower Moor Way, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6SS (1999) 160p. ISBN [ISBN 1841140465] [Index]

The two Widecombe tracts, 1638: giving a contemporary account of the great storm, reprinted with an introduction. Exeter: James G.Commin (1905) vi, 37p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - s551.563/WID/TWO]


Land & Property

Brown, Mike. Widecombe. In "Dartmoor Tithe Apportionments, Vol. 5". The Dartmoor Press (c1997) 16p.



Dewdon Manor, by Dave Dingley.

Jordan, Mary Hall. Manor of Deandon. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 6:2, (1910) pp.47-48. [Transcript]

Linehan, C.D. A forgotten manor in Widecombe-in-the-Moor With notes on its archaeology and mining by H.French. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 94, (1962) pp.463-492, plates: maps. [Dewdon]



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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX718767 (Lat/Lon: 50.575932, -3.811913), Widecombe in the Moor which are provided by:


Names, Personal

Toor, Cecil. Index to the Names of the Male Inhabitants over 18 Years of Age in the Parishes of Moretonhampstead, Hennock, Lustleigh, South Bovey otherwise Bovey Tracey, North Bovey, Manaton, Ilsington, and Widecombe in the Moor, in the years 1641, 1642. Cambridge University Press, [1913]. pp. 11. 22 cm.

Worth, R.N. Some Devonian Items. Trans. Devon Assoc., vol. XXVIII, (1896), pp. 323- 337. [Index]



Woods, Iris. Parish Apprentices in Widecombe-in-the-Moor in the 18th and 18th centuries. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 35, 4 (1983) pp.143-150. [Raymond: Includes some names, especially Leaman.]


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Widecombe-in-the-Moor Poor on the Moor - talks and resources.

Claxton, Roger. Welfare in Widecombe 1700-1900. Widecombe History Group. (2020) 182pp. [ISBN (print) 978-1-9162849-0-6] 

Woods, Iris M. Parish apprentices in Widecombe -in-the-Moor in the 18th and 19th centuries. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 35:4, (1983) pp.143-150. [Poverty relief, 1735-1839]


Probate Records

Will of Quinton Crosman (1658), provided by John Moore



Stanbrook, Mary. The Old School at Leusdon. Dartmoor Magazine no. 21, (1990) pp.20-22; ill.