"WOLBOROUGH, or Woolborough Parish, comprises only about 970 acres of land, and had 2609 inhabitants in 1841, of whom 1192 were returned as being in Newton Abbot, but the whole parish is in the town and suburbs of that improving place. . . . NEWTON ABBOT . . . is an ancient market town, picturesquely seated on the north side of the small river Lemon, near its confluence with the navigable river Teign, . . . 15 miles S. by W. of Exeter, . . . It has now about 3000 inhabitants, exclusive of its suburb of NEWTON BUSHEL, . . . The town has many good houses and shops, especially in the new streets laid out during the last ten years. . . . Woolborough Parish Church (St. James,) stands on an eminence more than half a mile south of the town, and is a large cemented structure, with a tower and four bells. . . . The living is a donative, valued at £235, with the curacy of Newton Abbot attached to it, in the patronage of the Earl of Devon, and incumbency of the Rev. Wm. C. Clark. . . . The town has a Literary Society, with a good library; a Mechanic's Institution, established in 1836; a well-supplied News Room; and an Agricultural and Labourers' Friend Society. . . . " [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Haytor Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Totnes and the Diocese of Exeter.  (The Parish Church is dedicated to St. Mary, not - as stated by White (1850) - to St. James.)

Peskett: "What is now known as Newton Abbot comprises two adjoining 'twin' boroughs which are for ecclesiastical purposes in separate parishes and for civil purposes in separate hundreds, viz: Newton Abbot in Wolborough parish and Haytor hundred. . . . and Newton Bushel in Highweek parish and Teignbridge hundred."


Archives & Libraries

Newton Abbot Town and GMR Museum - summary details.

Newton's Place Museum Design Brief - a now-completed Lottery-funded project to convert "a disused, Grade II listed, Victorian church near the centre of Newton Abbot (St Leonard’s Church in Wolborough Street)" to rehouse the Newton Abbot Town and GWR Museum

The Newton Abbot Railway Studies Collection - 60,000 historic photographs, plus books, timetables, etc.



Adams, Maxwell (Ed.) Trelawney William Saunders [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  XLIII, (1911), pp. 42-43. [Transcript]

Adams, Maxwell (Ed.) Mrs Flora Jordan [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  51, (1917), pp. 42-43. [Transcript]

Amery, John S. John Lethbridge and his Diving Machine. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 12, (1880), pp. 490-496. [Index]

Brander, Michael. The perfect Victorian hero: Samuel White Baker, Edinburgh, Mainstream (1982) 184p: ill, map. [ISBN 0906391245] [Torbay Library D929/BAK]

Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.). The Rev. Harry Tudor [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  XXXIX, (1907), p. 42. [Transcript]

Brushfield, T.N. Sub-marine vessels - John Lethbridge and others. Devon Notes & Queries 2:1, (1902) pp.25-28. [Index]

Cornish Fox, Hubert, (Ed.). The Cornish-Bowdens of Newton Abbot: Family Letters, Illusts., Bridgwater, (1965) 121 p.

Editors. In memoriam: Maxwell Adams. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 11:6, (1921) pp.193, plates: port. [Local historian, 1848-1920] [Transcript]

Harpley, W. Edward Fisher [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 27, (1895) pp.35. [Archaeologist, 1828-1895] [Transcript]

Harpley, W. Surgeon-General John Wilson [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 1885, Vol XVII, pp.65-66.[Transcript]

Harpley, W. Robert Francis. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 1887, Vol XIX, p.43.[Transcript]

Harpley, W. Samuel Foster [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1887, Vol XIX, pp.43-44. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. John Carroll Hele. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 1887, Vol XIX, p.44.[Transcript]

Heathcote, Bernard V. and Heathcote, Pauline F. Richard Beard: an ingenious and enterprising patentee, Hist. Photography, vol. 3, no. 3, (1979) pp.313-330. [Westcountry Studies Library px770/DEV/HEA]

Huxtable, John. As it seemed to me, London, United Reformed Church (1990) 90p: ill. [ISBN 0853461147] [Westcountry Studies Library s920/HUX] [Autobiography of Pastor of the United Reform Church at Newton Abbot]

Keys, Roger. Ruby Keys n&eacutee Westaway 1910-2011, Devon Family Historian, vol. 139, (2011) p.33.

Porter, J.H. J.C. Hele: Newton naturalist. Devon Historian 27, (1983) pp.7-9: ill. [1832-1887]

Sells, Rosemary. From seedtime to harvest: the life of Frank Horne, 1904-1975, Cambridge, Hobsons Press (1978) 196p: ill. [ISBN 0860212777] [Westcountry Studies Library 920/HOR]

Walker, Brian Mercer, (Ed.). Frank Matcham theatre architect, Belfast, Blackstaff Press (1980) 178p: ill. [ISBN 0856402311] [Westcountry Studies Library 920/MAT] [Frank Matcham was born in Newton Abbot]



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

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


Church History

Website of Newton Abbot Benefice - made up of "St Paul's Devon Square, St Mary's Wolborough, All Saints Highweek, St Bartholomew's East Ogwell and St Lukes Milber".

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

The Decommissioning Report on the ancient Chapel of St Leonards (Wolborough Road) has information on its history, extensive details about the building, and a large-scale location map.

Ashworth, Edward. On Wolborough church, Devon. Exeter Diocesan Architectural Soc. Trans. 1 ser, v. 5, (1856) pp.40-47. [Index]

Cornelius, C Fryer. Medieval Effigies and other Sepulchral Memorials in the Parish Churches within a Ten-mile Radius of Newton Abbot. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 83 (1951) pp.217-34.

Harbord, Audrey. Keble Martin's dream church, Milber. Devon Life vol. 10 no. 90 (1973) pp.26-27; ill.

Lamb, Trixie M. The ancient tower of St. Leonard's, Newton Abbot, Newton Abbot, Abbot Litho Pr (1973) 34p, ill. [Westcountry Studies Library 726.597/NEW/LAM]

Schofield, John. St. Mary's Chapel, Newton Abbot, Devon. Appendix 3: historical development, Bristol, Architecton (1987) 21p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library px726.4/NEW/SCH]

Windeatt, Edward. Early nonconformity in Newton and its neighbourhood. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 16, (1884) pp. 489-497. [Index]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1558 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1558 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 1754-1839, Burials 1813-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

The BTs (1813-1840) are available at LDS Family Search (under Woolborough).

Other churches and chapels (with pre-1840 records):

  • Baptist Chapel, East Street: Church Books for 1819-71, 1874-1919 at Strict Baptist Historical Library, Dunstable Baptist Chapel, Bedfordshire
  • Salem Congregational Chapel, Wolborough Street: Registers for 1726-1837 (C) in PRO RG 4/445; 1865-1901, 1908 (C), 1865-67, 1891-1984 (M), 1865-66, 1881-1901 (B) at DRO
  • Providence Independent/Congregational Chapel: Registers for 1817-37 (C) in PRO RG 4/1225
  • Newton Abbot Wesleyan Circuit: Registers for 1838-1943 (C) at DRO
  • Wolborough Wesleyan Chapel: Registers for c1811-37 - see Ashburton Circuit, Brixham, Teignmouth (PRO RG 4/840, 842, 1220)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1558-1805, Marriages 1558-1805, Wolborough Street Salem Independent Chapel Christenings 1726-1837, Providence Independent Chapel 1817-1837.

Wolborough burials 1558-1812Wolborough christenings 1653-1812,and Wolborough marriages 1653-1753 - SoG Data Online DE/REG (SoG Members only).

Deanery of Ipplepen: Photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850. CD - Devon FHS (2012). [An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of: Abbotskerswell Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1756-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Berry Pomeroy Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Brixham All Saints Baptisms (1826-1839), Marriages (1826-1837), Burials (1831-1832); Brixham St Mary Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Broadhempston Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1681-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Churston Ferrers Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1835), Burials (1800-1837); Cockington Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1780-1834); Coffinswell Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1857); Denbury Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1800-1837); Ipplepen Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1843), Burials (1813-1837); Kingskerswell Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Kingswear Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1755-1837), Burials (1780-1837); Littlehempston Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1731-1837), Burials (1813-1840); Marldon Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Paignton Baptisms (1813-1841), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Paignton Independent Burials (1826-1836); Staverton Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Stoke Gabriel Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Torbryan Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1838), Burials (1813-1854); Tormohun Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Torquay St Marychurch Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Wolborough Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1839), Burials (1813-1837); Woodland Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1755-1835), Burials (1813-1838).]


Court Records

 Newton Abbot Bastardy Order Book - 1844-1860, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D005). [Foreword]


Description & Travel

Newton Abbot Town Council Website - photographs, history, etc.

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

Conservation Area Appraisals for Newton Abbot Wolborough Hill, Newton Abbot Town Centre and Newton Abbot Forde Park - interesting accounts of the areas, with numerous photographs and maps.Newton Abbot, from Wikipedia.

Chard, Judy. Along the Lemon: the life story of a Devon river from Haytor to Newton Abbot, Chudleigh, Orchard Publns (1993) 79p: ill. [ISBN 0951902741] [Westcountry Studies Library sB/LEM/1979/CHA]

Hallworth, Rodney. Newton Abbot. Devon Life vol. 2 no. 14, (1966) pp.15-21; ill.

Harvey, Dr. Mate's illustrated Newton Abbot: a pictorial and descriptive souvenir, Bournemouth, W. Mate & Sons (1903) [72]pp: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library sB/NEW 1/1903/HAR]

Jones, Roger. A Book of Newton Abbott. (3rd ed.) Bradford-on-Avon: Ex Libris (1986) 147pp: ill. [ISBN 0948578068]

Newton Abbot Town Council. Newton Abbot official guide. Gloucester: British Publish. (1993) 112pp: ill, map. [Torquay Library - D974]

Newton Abbot Town Council. Newton Abbot official guide (4th ed.). Gloucester: British Publish. (1994) 40pp: ill, map. [Index]

Tozer, Fred. Fred Tozer's Newton Abbot album. Exeter: Obelisk Publications (1993) 48pp: chiefly ill. [ISBN 0946651736]

Tozer, Fred. Fred Tozer's Newton Abbot album - 2. Exeter: Obelisk Publications (1995) 48p: chiefly ill. [ISBN 1899073116]

Newton Abbot. Devon Life vol. 10 no. 90 (1973) pp.24-24; ill.

Official Guide to Newton Abbott, (1978). [SoG Library DE tracts box]

You can see pictures of Wolborough which are provided by:



Transcript of the description given in White's Devonshire Directory of 1850.

Where to buy at Newton Abbot. An illustrated local trades' review. By the Editor of the "Agents' Guide" ... with illustrations of the West of England., Brighton, Robinson, Son & Pike (1890) 35. xxiv pp. [Directory giving brief histories of companies and shops, with illustrations of shopfronts] [BM 10368.k.31.]

Kelly's Directory of Newton Abbot and neighbourhood, including Bovey Tracey and Kingsteignton. Kelly' Directories (1935 et seq).



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



Newton Abbot is one of the growing number of places for which the Devon Heritage website provides census or parish register transcriptions, articles, and/or illustrations, etc.

Browning, John J. My Grandfather James Browning, Devon Family Historian, no. 185, (2023) pp.37-38. [b. 1894, injured at Passchendale 1917, and his family.]

Fox, H.C., (Ed.). Cornish-Bowdens of Newton Abbot: family letters, Pearson & Lloyd Publishing (1995) 130 pp. [ISBN 189955016x]

Isaak, James. My Devon Family From Away, Devon Family Historian, vol. 166, (2018) pp.30-34. [Horton, Smerdon and Weeks families]

Newman, Lesley. Selina Tarr of Newton Abbot, Devon Family Historian, vol. 155, (2015) pp.21-22.

Webber, Reginald. The Webbers of Newton Abbot, Devon Family Historian, vol. 159, (2016) pp.26-28.

Worthy, C. Devonshire Parishes: or the antiquities, heraldry and family history of twenty-eight parishes in the archdeaconry of Totnes (2 vols), Exeter, W. Pollard (1887). [Chap. XVII: Wolborough - Descent of the manor; Lord William BRIWERE; GAVEROCKE; Sir Richard REYNELL and REYNELL of Ogwell; Ford House; Sir William WALLER; COURTENAY of Powderham; Earls of Devon; BALCULL; curates of Wolborough] [Index]



Newton Abbot Past and Present, from the Newton Abbot Town Council Official Guide.

Beavis, Derek. Newton Abbot: the story of the town's past. Buckingham: Barracuda,1985, 120 pp. ill., 1 coat of arms, facsims., maps, ports.; 27 cm. ISBN:0860232360.

Beavis, Derek. Britain in Old Photographs: Newton Abbot. [SoG Library  DE/L 169]

Berry, Les and Golding, Gerry. Newton Abbot, Bath, Alan Sutton (1994). [ISBN 0752400274]

Berry, Les and Gerald Gosling. Around Newton Abbot in old photographs. Chalford: Chalford Publishing (1994) 160p: chiefly ill.

Carter, Phillip. Newton Abbot, The Mint Press (2004). [ISBN-10: 1903356407]

Cresswell, B.F. Newton Abbot (Devon) and its Neighbouring Villages, including Chudleigh. (1908) [Westcountry Studies Library, Plymouth Central Library, Torquay Central Library]

Davenport, Mary M. Newton Abbot in old picture postcards, Zaltbommel, European Library (1984) [72]p: chiefly ill. [ISBN 9028828877] [Westcountry Studies Library sB/NEW 1/1880/DAV] [Illustrations: 1890-1930]

Dudley, E.R. and Garner, J. A history of the Globe Hotel, Courtenay Street, Newton Abbot, Typescript (1984) [37]leaves: ill, maps. [Westcountry Studies Library sx647.94/NEW/DUD]

Harris, S.G. Notes on the State of Newton and its Neighbourhood Before the Fifteenth Century. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 18, (1886) pp. 215-228. [Index]

Harris, S.G. Notes on the history of Newton Abbot. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 31, (1899) pp.285-297. [Index]

Jones, Roger. A Book of Newton Abbot. Ex Libris Press, I The Shambles, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire [ISBN 0 948578 06 8]

Kingdom, Anthony Richard. The Newton Abbot blitz, Oxford, Oxford Publishing (1979) [32]p: ill. [ISBN 0860930548] [Westcountry Studies Library p940.5442/NEW/KIN]

Kingdon, A.R. The Bombing of Newton Abbot station, Newton Ferrers, Ark Publs (1991) 32p: ill, plans. [ISBN 1873029012] [Westcountry Studies Library p940.5442/NEW/KIN] [Repr of: The Newton Abbot blitz, 1979 (Railway Arkives; no. 1)]

Helmore, Peter M.R. Newton Abbot VAD Hospital, Devon Family Historian, vol. 164, (2017) pp.19-21. [History of the WW1 hospital, and of its founder Dr. Richard Henry Grimbly.]

Murrin-Pyne, Naomi. The History and Development of Newton Abbot Market, Typescript (1977) 23 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library sx381/NEW/MUR]

Pengelly, W. Lethbridge,  John. Inventor of a Diving Apparatus. In  Miscellaneous Devonshire Gleanings, Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1881, Vol XIII., pp. 137-139. [Transcript]

Rhodes, A.J. Newton Abbot: Its history and development, etc. Newton Abbot: Mid Devon Times (c1904) xvi,272p: ill,maps,pors. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/NEW 1/0001/RHO]

Rice, Iain, (Ed.). Newton Abbot: 150 years a railway town, Chagford, Hawkshill Publishing (1997) 48p: ill, plans. [ISBN 0900349086] [Westcountry Studies Library px385/NEW/NEW]

Searley, A.W. Notes on Newton Abbot. A collection of articles from Transactions Devon. Assoc. [1940] 296p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/NEW 1/0001/SEA]

Stirling, D. M. A History of Newton-Abbot and Newton-Bushel, and also illustrations ... of the neighbourhood, including Teignmouth, Torquay and Chudleigh. pp. xi. 179. W. Forord: Newton-Abbot, 1830. 8o. BL 10352.a.37.

Thomas, Brian. Newton Abbot in the news: a decade of change 1970-1979, Exeter, Obelisk Publications (1996) 32p: ill. [ISBN 1899073280] [Westcountry Studies Library pB/NEW 1/1970/THO]

Townsend, Elsie. Memories of Newton Abbot. Exeter: Obelisk Publications (1987) 48p: ill,maps. [ISBN 0946651175]

Tozer, Fred. Fred Tozer's Newton Abbot. (1993) [ISBN 0946651736] [Devon FHS Library p942.35/NEW].

Tozer, Fred. Newton Abbot Album II. Pinhoe, Exeter: Obelisk Publications. [ISBN 1899073116].

Unsworth, Harry. A new look at old Newton Abbot. Coffinswell: Mike Bateson (1993) vi,130p: ill,maps. [ISBN0952168901]

Worthy, Charles. Devonshire Parishes. Exeter: William Pollard (1887) - Vol. 2, pp. 85- 143.


Land & Property

Gray, T., (Ed.). Devon household accounts, 1627-59. Part I: Sir Richard and Lady Lucy Reynell of Forde House, 1627-43, John Willoughby of Leyhill, 1644-6 and Sir Edward Wise of Sydenham, 1656-9 (Devon and Cornwall Record Society. New series; vol. 38), Devon and Cornwall Record Soc. (1995) lviii, 285 p.

O'Hagan, M. History of Forde House, Newton Abbot, Teignbridge District Council (1990) 76,[4]p: ill. [Devon FHS Library 942.35/NEW] [Westcountry Studies Library sx728.8/NEW/OHA]

Weddell, Peter J. The Excavation of Medieval and Later Houses at Wolborough Street, Newton Abbot. Devon Archaeological Society Proc. 43 (1985) pp.77-109. [Raymond: Includes a list of property owners, 1596-1841.]



Alexander, J.J. Early owners of Bradley Manor. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 68, (1936) pp.187-195.

Cotton, R.W. Ford and its associations. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 33, (1901) pp.693-713. [Index]

Watkin, Hugh R. The Early History of Bradley Manor, near Newton Abbot. Trans. Devon Assoc. vol. 58 (1926) pp.245-252.



OS 1:500 1861 Town Plan of Newton Abbot, provided by the National Library of Scotland. (The plan consists of 21 sheets - to examine an individual sheet select the appropriate extent in the little grid covering Newton Abbot  and click on "Zoom to selected map extent.)"

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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX854703 (Lat/Lon: 50.52123, -3.617957), Wolborough which are provided by:


Military History

Devon Heritage's Newton Abbot War Memorial site - photographs and annotated name listings.

WW1 War Memorial and WW2 War Memorial name listings, copied with permission from Peter Armstrong's Newton Abbot war memorial web-site.

Article on at Seale Hayne military hospital, near Newton Abbot, where Dr Arthur Hurst treated WW1 shellshock victims.

Ellis, John. Newton Abbot's Great War - Forgotten Times - Forgotten Men, pajellis[at]blueyonder.co[dot]uk (2014?).[Devon FHS Tree House Library


Names, Personal

Names from an 1822-23 edition of Pigot's Directory.

Bradford, John. Songs of Devon and Miscellaneous Poems. London: Simkin Marshall & Co. Crews: Newton Abbot (1843) xii, 156pp. [Surname Index]


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Clarke, Margaret. The Workhouse, Devon Family Historian, vol. 140, (2011) pp.35-38.

Newton Abbot Workhouse Births - 1846-1866, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D002). [Foreword]

Newton Abbot Bastardy Order Book 1844-1866, Exeter, Devon Family History Society (2005). [Foreword]

The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, vol. 112, (2004) pp.32-34. [On Newton Abbot and Barnstaple Workhouses]


Probate Records

Transcripts of the wills of Richard Reynell (1634), Lucy Reynell (1652), William Courtenay (1702) and Anne Courtney or Courtnay (1711), provided by Kathleen Noye.

P., M.A. Abstract of will of John Raleighe of Fforde in the Countie of Devon, Esquier. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 8:6, (1915) pp.181-183.



Website for Ashburton College (Newton Abbot) which stemmed from the Old Ashburton Grammar School, by John Oakford.

Newton Abbot College - from Wikipedia.

Forster, Rowena. Knowles Hill School: a history from 1904 to 1995, [Newton Abbot?], [The School?] (1995) vi, 304p: ill, ports pp. [Westcountry Studies Library s373/NEW/FOR]

Key, Bishop Maurice and Key, Mrs Joan. Stover, the story of a school: Stover School, Newton Abbot 1932 -1982, Haytor, Blaketon-Hall Ltd (1982) 96p, [16]p of pl: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library 376.63/NEW/STO]

Watts, Richard. A History of Wolborough Hill School, 1877-1977. Southampton: Hobbs (1977). [Raymond: Newton Abbot School: many named photographs.]

Newton Abbot College Magazine. No 1, May 1870. Oxford & London: James Parker & Co. 29pp. [Surname Index]



Newton Abbot's Freemasons - history of the "Devon" Lodge.