The Westcountry Studies Library is now located in the Devon Heritage Centre, Great Moor House, Bittern Road, Sowton, Exeter EX2 7NL (tel: 01392-384253, email email@example.com), about 3 miles east of the city centre, having moved from Exeter Central Library, where the buildings have now been sold and converted into the Library Lofts, luxury student accommodation. The custody of the collections, which have have a rich coverage not only of Devon but of the entire south west peninsula, have been transferred from Devon County Council to the South West Heritage Trust. A guide to the content of the Devon Heritage Centre is available on the Devon County Council website with a guide to using the search room. This guide to the local studies collections is basically an update of sections of In pursuit of Devon's history : a guide for local historians in Devon, published by Devon Books in 1997, and is being revised to take account of the changes over the following twenty years, including the addition of more on-line resources. It is presented as an introduction to the published sources for Devon local studies in the following sections:
|00. CATALOGUES and INDEXES|
21. County histories
22. Town histories
23. Parish histories
24. Subject guide
31. Trade directories
32. Telephone directories
42. Cuttings files
44. Monograph series
50. OFFICIAL PUBLICATIONS
52. Statutory Instruments
53. Parliamentary papers
54. Parliamentary proceedings
55. Departmental publications
56. Local government
60. GREY LITERATURE
70. DIGITAL SOURCES|
91. Early maps
92. Ordnance survey
93. Town plans
94. Thematic maps
95. Aerial photographs
X1. National archives
X2. County records
X3. Municipal records
X4. Other local records
X5. Parish records
X6. Ecclesiatical records
X7. Estate and family records
X8. Business records
00. LOCAL STUDIES CATALOGUE
The on-line catalogue is the key to unlocking local studies resources in the Devon Heritage Centre. Click here for the Local Studies Catalogue Search Page.
It is possible to limit the search to particular types of resource:
B: Books and pamphlets. Also includes much ephemeral material and periodical articles held as offprints. A useful option for a first search.
A: Periodical articles. Also includes papers in Festschrift and other collected volumes.
P: Periodical titles.
N: Newspaper titles.
I, E: Illustrations. Includes drawings, prints and photographs.
E: Topographical prints. Items covered by the Etched on Devon's Memory project.
W: Web pages. This is in early stages of development but includes many pages on the Devon local studies website.
It is possible to limit the search to individual collections but for completeness it is best to search for all collections. While the majority of items listed are in the Westcountry Studies Library, items in the following collections are included:
WSL: Westcountry Studies Library. Formerly in Exeter Central Library, now in Devon Heritage Centre.
DHC: Devon Heritage Centre. Location for items since Devon Record Office and Westcountry Studies Library merged.
DRO: Devon Record Office. Location for items catalogued before DRO moved to Devon Heritage Centre
NDA: North Devon Athenaeum, in Barnstaple
PLY: Plymouth. Items catalogued before Plymouth became a separate library authority.
TOR: Torquay. Items catalogued before Torbay became a separate library authority.
BID: Bideford. Chiefly material in the Pearse Chope Collection.
TIV: Tiverton. Includes material in the Tiverton War Memorial Collection, much of it now transferred from Tiverton Library to Tiverton Museum.
Searching the catalogue
Searches can be made by keyboarding terms into the following boxes:
Creator: the author's surname or words from the name of organisations. E.g. Hoskins, Devon County Council.
Title words: words from the title or sub-title can be truncated. E. g. wool, railway*.
Publisher: words from the publisher or main place of publication. E. g. Totnes, Rivington*
Publication date: some date ranging is possible by truncation: e. g. 164* for items published between 1640 and 1649.
Series: can be used to search for titles in series such as the Devon and Cornwall Record Society.
Control no: Includes ISBN, BNB numbers and references to the DUL (Devon Union List) and ESTC (English Short Title Catalogue).
Keywords: the place to put one or more subject keywords, truncated where required.
For more information on searching see the search help screen.
The results of searches are displayed in author order. Click on individual items to obtain fuller details. The main sequences of local studies resources in the Devon Heritage Centre with the prefixes that can be found in the shelf-marks are given below.
Printed books small format. Subjects: Dewey 000-999, Places: Westcountry (WES, A/A-Z), Devon (DEV, B/A-Z), Cornwall (COR, C/A-Z), Dorset (DOR, D/A-Z), Somerset (SOM, E/A-Z).
Printed books large format (prefix: x).
Periodicals small format (prefix: PER).
Periodicals large format (prefix: xPER).
Devon and Cornwall Record Society. Special listing: Devon and Cornwall Record Society : a shelf-list of the collections.
Microfilms: newspapers, census etc.
Microfiches: census, directories etc.
Printed books (sequences: small, prefix: s ; medium, prefix: sx ; large, prefix: sf)
Pamphlets (sequences: small, prefix: p ; medium, prefix: px)
Periodicals (sequences: small, prefix: sPER ; large, prefix: sxPER). Special listing: Local studies periodicals : list of titles
Bookplates. Special listing: Brooking Rowe bookplate collection : handlist.
Brass rubbings. Special listing: Westcountry Studies Library index of brass rubbings.
Drawings (sequences: small, prefix: SD ; medium, prefix: MD ; large, prefix: LD ; oversize, prefix: OD)
Ephemera (sequences: small, prefix: SE ; medium, prefix: ME ; large, prefix: LE ; oversize, prefix: OE)
Fisher Collection. Special listing: Fisher Collection on Exeter City Football Club.
Langham Collection on Lundy. Catalogue records.
Maps (sequences: small, prefix: SM ; medium, prefix: MM ; large, prefix: LM ; oversize, prefix: OM ; folded, prefix FM ; Map cabinets)
Newspapers. Special listing: Newspapers: Westcountry Studies Library holdings.
Non-Somers Cocks prints (sequences: small, prefix: SPr ; medium, prefix: MPr ; large, prefix: LPr ; oversize, prefix: OPr)
Photographs (sequences: small, prefix: SPh ; medium, prefix: MPh ; large, prefix: LPh ; oversize, prefix: OPh)
Playbills. Special listing: Handlist of playbills in the Westcountry Studies Library.
Postcards (Prefix: Postcards) Satirical prints.
Stothard's Monumental effigies of Great Britain
Somers Cocks prints (sequences: small, prefix: S SC ; medium, prefix: M SC ; large, prefix: L SC ; oversize, prefix: O SC)
Theatre programmes (prefix: TP)
List of special collections. These may not all be accessible as their locations have changed. They also include some collections that were lost in the blitz, otherwise mislaid or merged in more general collections or have not been transferred to the Devon Heritage centre. Disruption during the move may mean that some material cannot at present be retrieved.
The following special collections, some of which were once stored with the Westcountry Studies Library are now located in Exeter Central Library or at Newton Abbot:
Devon collection of children's books : catalogue 1692-1849
Devon collection of children's books : short title listing
Pre-1801 non-local imprints in Exeter Central Library
Catalogue of the Pocknell Collection of shorthand books
Heber Mardon Collection of Napoleonic prints
Boney : Napoleon through English eyes (exhibition catalogue).
Railway Studies Collection, Newton Abbot
Railway Studies Collection : list of periodicals
There are various general guides to sources for English local history, printed copies held in the Westcountry Studies Library and sources on the internet:
Edwards, P. Rural life: a guide to local records (1993).
Campbell-Kease, J. A companion to local history research. (1989).
Hall, A.T. http://www.devon.gov.uk/localstudies/35526/1.html">Local history handlist. 5th ed. Historical Association, 1982 (Helps for students of history; 69).
Hey, D. (ed). The Oxford companion to local and family history. (1996)
Hoskins, W.G. Local history in Engand. 3rd ed. (2014).
O’Hea, Seamus. ‘Some readily available sources for local historians in Devon’ Devon Historian, 26 (April 1983), 11-17.
Richardson, J. The local historian’s encyclopedia. 2nd ed. (1986).
Riden, P. Local history: a handbook for beginners. (1988).
Tiller, K. English local history: an introduction. Revised edition. (2002)
Published sources for local studies are usually to be found in libraries while unpublished, archival sources are located in record offices. This does not necessarily mean that all published sources are secondary sources and only archives are primary sources. Sources such as newspapers and trade directories contain much information which can be found in no other source. Generally secondary sources and indexes should be consulted before the primary sources are tackled. It is a great advantage to have both archival and non-archival resources under one roof in the Devon Heritage Centre.
Bibliographies and catalogues of collections are the point of departure for local research in Devon. They detail work previously undertaken and can avoid unnecessary duplication of research. Most titles listed here are available in the main libraries in the county and record offices and museums often hold reference copies. There is a fuller account of the development of bibliography in the county on the Devon bibliography website.
Davidson, James. Bibliotheca Devoniensis: a catalogue of the printed books relating to the county of Devon (1852). Supplement (1861). The earliest bibliography of the county and still the best for the early period as it lists many items which were lost in the air raids during World War 2. Arranged in broad subject groupings with an author index, it gives some locations but WSL has Davidson’s own annotated copy with fuller references. Most of Davidson’s own collection, the Secktor Library, passed after his son’s death to the Plymouth Athenaeum where it was destroyed in the blitz in 1942.
Plymouth Athenaeum. Catalogue of the Davidson collection of pamphlets (1894). Lists many items not included in Bibliotheca Devoniensis which have now been lost.
Brockett, Allan. The Devon Union List (D.U.L.): a collection of written material relating to the county of Devon (1977). This is still one of the first places to check for most local studies searches. It lists some 8300 books and pamphlets published to 1975 and is arranged alphabetically by author giving locations in six major collections in Exeter, Plymouth and Torquay. There is an alphabetical index in one sequence of places, subjects and persons. The compiler relied on records from contributing libraries, which were not always accurate, so the work should be treated with some caution. An annotated copy is kept in WSL.
The Devon bibliography, published by The Devon History Society 1980-1984 and by Devon Library Services 1985 to 2004, aimed to continue the Devon Union List but, while the detail of entries is fuller, it does not give locations. However most titles can be found in WSL, whose accessions form the basis of the list. To 1985 the arrangement was alphabetically by author, since 1986 it has been arranged by place subdivided by subject with author indexes. The period 1976-1979 is still to be covered.
Hoskins, W.G. Devon (1954) has an invaluable survey of the main sources consulted for this important work in the ‘Bibliography’ on p554-571. This has been updated in the commemorative edition of 1992 which also contains a list of Hoskins’s own writings.
The Devon bibliography website gives information on a project to extend and update the bibliography of the county in the digital age.
Maxted, Ian. Books with Devon imprints: a handlist to 1800 (1989, an updated version is on the internet). Lists about 1200 books, pamphlets and single sheet items. Includes items now lost and hence not in the English short title catalogue as well as incorporating works listed in Ingle Dredge A few sheaves of Devon bibliography (1889).
11. Local bibliographies
Only a selection for the major regions and towns are given here. A useful bibliography of parish and town histories, based on the holdings of WSL is: Abbots Bickington to Zeal Monachorum (Devon Libraries, 1994).
Hamilton-Leggett, Peter. The Dartmoor bibliography (1992). Seven thousand entries in two main sequences, each arranged alphabetically by author, one for books and the other for periodical articles. Locations are not given. The subject index is to broad subjects and places, making items on specific topics difficult to locate. About ten times the size of J. V. Somers Cocks The Dartmoor bibliography: non-fiction (1970-79).
Miles, Roger. The Exmoor bibliography: revised up to 31 December 1989 (1990). Replaces earlier editions of 1959 and 1965.
Adams, Maxwell. ‘An index to the printed literature relating to the antiquities, history and topography of the city of Exeter’ Trans. Dev. Assoc. 33 (1901) p.270-308.
Worth, R.N. The three towns bibliotheca (1872-80). The three towns are Plymouth, Devonport and East Stonehouse.
Pike, John R. Torquay, Torbay: a bibliographical guide (1994), also his Paignton, Torbay: a bibliographical guide (1993) and Brixham, Torbay: a bibliographical guide (1993).
12. Subject bibliographies
These have been compiled on a wide range of topics or form part of works on specific subjects. Two examples for genealogical sources must suffice:
Raymond, S.A. Devon : a genealogical bibliography (2nd ed., 1994). Vol. 1: Sources; vol. 2: Family history. Includes much background information of general interest to local historians.
Peskett, Hugh. Guide to the parish and non-parochial registers of Devon and Cornwall 1538-1837 (1977). An extremely full listing covering originals, transcripts and published versions, although many of the locations are out of date since the implementation of the Parochial Records Measure, and the DRO’s List of Devon parish, non-parochial and civil registers should also be referred to.
13. Library catalogues and indexes
Some early catalogues have been published and may list items which have since disappeared from local collections, although they may still be available nationally in such locations as the British Library. Examples include:
Devon and Exeter Institution. A catalogue of the library (1863)
Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter. Catalogue of the reference library (1901)
North Devon Athenaeum, Barnstaple. Catalogue of the circulating and reference departments (1898)
Plymouth Free Public Library. Index catalogue of the reference department (1892)
The current general catalogues of Devon Library Services and the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth accessible on-line. The University of Exeter library catalogue includes works in the Devon and Exeter Institution and Cathedral libraries although there are plans to produce separate catalogues of these two collections.
Large sections of Devon's local studies collections are now available on-line, but some categories of material are only accessible through special listings or card indexes.
Most libraries have special information indexes. For example the index in Plymouth Library covers a wide range of newspapers and periodicals. The most extensive card index in the Devon Heritage Centre is the work of one man, the Recorder in Bibliography of the Devonshire Association: the Burnet Morris Index was compiled between 1915 and 1940 and contains over one million cards with detailed references to Devon persons, places and subjects. The arrangement is complex and a recent guide to the index is produced by Devon Library Services: The Burnet Morris index 1940-1990 : a guide prepared to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the completion of the index, (1990).
Histories can be located in catalogues under the author’s name, if this has been ascertained from such sources as the bibliographies listed in section 10 above. The arrangement in catalogues and on the open shelves varies from library to library. The standard Dewey number for Devon histories is 942.35 and its subdivisions although relevant material can also be found under 914.235. In WSL local histories are shelved alphabetically by the place covered within each county using the false date 0001 to place them before the guidebooks which are arranged by date. Thus a history of Devon can be found at DEV/0001/ and for Tiverton at B/TIV/0001/.
21. County histories
The earliest of the county histories are essentially topographical surveys. These were compiled from the early 17th century onward. An account of major histories and details of surviving manuscripts and printed editions can be found in Topographical writers in south-west England edited by Mark Brayshay (1996). A useful survey of ten county histories is provided by A.A. Brockett ‘The historians of Devon: a bibliographical appreciation’ (1949), typescript, but available in Exeter and Plymouth. Devon by W.G. Hoskins (1954) also gives a summary in his bibliographical supplement.
There is no multi-volume history of Devon to compare with such authorities as Hasted for Kent or Collinson for Somerset. Only the first volume of the Victoria county history of Devon has appeared (1905) and is confined largely to natural history and prehistory although it also has an edition of the Domesday Book. The notes collected for the completion of the VCH for Devon have been passed to the Westcountry Studies Library.
Tristram Risdon, The chorographical description or survey of the county of Devon (1811, reprinted 1970). Begun in 1605 and finished in 1630, it circulated widely in manuscript, several versions being held in WSL. A mangled version was published by Curll (2 vol, 1714, reissued 1723, 1725, 1733). Before it was published in extenso in 1811 William Chapple began A review of Risdon’s survey of Devon (1785, repr 1970) but only the first part was published before the author’s death. Chapple’s working copy is deposited in the DRO. The 1811 edition is available as an e-book. It is confined largely to accounts of descents of estates. Apart from its own index, see: A.B.Prowse ‘Index to Risdon’s survey of Devonshire: personal names: edition of 1811’ Trans. Dev. Assoc. 26 (1894), 419-50.
Thomas Westcote, A view of Devonshire in MDCXXX, edited by George Oliver and Pitman Jones (1845). Like Risdon it is confined largely to accounts of descents of estates but is attractively written and is arranged according to the river valleys. The text is available as an e-book. Indexed in: A.B.Prowse ‘Index to personal names in Westcote’s view of Devonshire in 1630’ Trans. Dev. Assoc. (1895), 443-85.
William Pole, Collections towards a description of the county of Devon (1791). Pole died in 1635 and most of his papers were destroyed in the Civil War. While incomplete, this publication is valuable as it is based on papers which have otherwise disappeared, but its interest is almost exclusively genealogical. The text is available as an e-book.
John Hooker, ‘Synopsis chorographical of Devonshire’ (1599). The earliest topographical account of Devon, this survives as British Library Ms. 5827 of which a microfilm is available in WSL. There is also a version held in DRO. Extracts are printed in Trans. Dev. Assoc. 47 (1915) p.334-48.It was used extensively by Westcote and Risdon.
Richard Polwhele, The history of Devonshire (3 vol 1797-1806, repr 1977). The most ambitious history attempted to date but incomplete and ramshackle. The general historical sections are of little value for the earliest period. The parochial descriptions are most useful for the south of the county but tail off badly.
Samuel and Daniel Lysons, Magna Britannia. Vol 6: Devonshire (2 vol, 1822). The best of the early county histories. Volume 1 contains a general introduction with useful accounts of industry and volume 2 parish histories. A major source for most later writers. It was based on extensive questionnaires held in manuscript in the British Library of which a microfilm is available in WSL. The re-keyed text is available on the British History online website.
Thomas Moore, History of Devonshire (3 vol, 1829-36). Incomplete as none of the intended parochial history appeared. A workmanlike text though inaccurate for the earliest periods. The second volume is made up of biographies, drawing extensively on John Prince’s Danmonii orientales illustres (the second edition had appeared in 1811) and there are numerous good quality engraved plates.
Among early unpublished collections are those of Jeremiah Milles, Dean of Exeter from 1762 to 1784 in preparation for a book on Devon history. Milles circulated a questionnaire (see Trans. Dev. Assoc. 23, 154- 57). The original returns are in the Bodleian Library but a microfilm copy of the completed questionnaires and a second series of ‘parochial collections’ is in WSL. See: B.F.Cresswell ‘Milles’ parochial collections for Devon’ DCNQ 11 (1921), 320-4. In the Devon and Exeter Institution is to be found the Stockdale Collection of material gathered in preparation for a history of Devon which never appeared. The fullest index is provided by cards in the Burnet Morris Index in WSL. The collection is discussed by Ian Stoyle in ‘F.W.Stockdale: begetter of the Stockdale Collection’ (Devon historian, 46, 1993, p.3-8).
Charles Worthy, Devonshire parishes: or, the antiquities, heraldry and family history of twenty-eight parishes in the Archdeaconry of Totnes (2 vol, 1887-89) is an example of a partial historical survey.
R.N. Worth, A history of Devonshire (1886). A readable and useful one- volume account, but ‘not what we should call a history today’ (Hoskins).
Hoskins, Devon (1954). The best modern history of Devon, thematic rather than chronological, with a full gazetteer and valuable bibliography. The second edition (1972) was not updated; a commemorative edition with an appreciation and a supplementary bibliography appeared in 1992. Other works by Hoskins include Old Devon (1966) and Devon and its people (1959). Hoskins did not cover Exeter in his general county history, Devon, for this see his Two thousand years in Exeter (1960, new edition with revisions by Hazel Harvey 2004). The gazetteer at the end of the Devon volume is supplemented and updated by A handbook of Devon parishes: a complete guide for local and family historians by Helen Harris (2004).
R. Stanes, A history of Devon (1985). A good recent concise chronological introduction.
Historical atlas of south-west England, edited by Roger Kain and William Ravenhill (1999). Sixty-five historical studies by specialist researchers on all aspects of Devon and Cornwall with cartography by Helen Jones.
Copies of the major county histories are to be found in the Westcountry Studies Library and larger libraries in Devon. Loan copies of some titles are available. Extracts from Polwhele and Lysons are frequently included in the parish packs which are available in many branch libraries and schools outside the major conurbations.
Curries, C. R. J. (ed). A guide to English county histories. (1997).
22. Town histories
The earliest published histories appear in the 17th and 18th centuries. Examples are R. Izacke Memorials of the city of Exeter (1676) and Martin Dunsford Historical memoirs of the town and parish of Tiverton (1790). Most early compilations have little on social history but reprint lists of office holders or texts of early charters and other documents or else they are annalistic in nature. Recent town histories are frequently little more than collections of illustrations. Even with publishers which specialise in local histories, individual volumes vary in the quality of historical research and interpretation and in the level of documentation provided. Some towns, such as Cullompton and Crediton still have no large-scale published history, although the latter has a typescript compilation by T. W. Venn which is quite widely available. To locate town histories held in WSL key the place-name and "histories" into the keywords box on the catalogue search page. Local studies libraries have good collections of town histories and branch libraries in the area covered by the histories normally have reference and frequently also lending copies.
23. Parish histories
The Parochial History Section of the Devonshire Association drew up guidelines for the compilation of parish histories, and a number were published from 1930 to the 1960s, e.g.
1. Okehampton, compiled by E. H. Young (1931)
2. Holsworthy, by W.l. Leeson Day (1934)
These are all arranged under a series of up to 38 main headings (e.g. manorial history, population, markets and fairs, education), many with subdivisions. H.F. Fulford Williams completed several dozen parish histories in typescript using the format drawn up by the Devonshire Association, and these are held in WSL. To locate parish histories held in WSL key the place-name and "histories" into the keywords box on the catalogue search page. Also in WSL are folders of parish information compiled by the Devonshire Association in preparation for the publication of further histories, but most of these contain little material and they have not been added to for many years.
Local history groups and adult education classes sometimes produce parish histories. A good example is: Out of the world and into Combe Martin (1989), a collection of essays by the Combe Martin Local History Group.
Many parishes still lack a printed history although much historical information can be found in such sources as the local church guide. A listing of town and parish histories held in WSL is available: Abbots Bickington to Zeal Monachorum: a handlist of Devon parish histories (Devon Library Services, 1994).
Parish histories are usually to be found in the main local studies collections in the area where the parish is located and a copy is frequently to be found in the nearest branch. Many such histories are produced for limited circulation and it is not always possible to find lending copies.
24. Subject guide.
The Westcoutry Studies collection does not merely cover local and family history but includes works on all aspects of the south west, past and present. The following searches are intended to give broad indications of the resources available in a range of subject areas. They are limited to books and pamphlets, so do not include periodical articles or illustrations. Because some searches cover several thousand items they may take a little time to load.
The region's natural environment is well covered with many items on plants and animals as well as much information on its geology and fossils. There is detail of the local government of the region with many planning documents recorded. All aspects of society are covered including health and the medical services such as hospitals and the work of medical practitioners in tackling diseases and epidemics. Social problems are also represented with works on welfare services and poverty relief. Crime is a major social problem and there are accounts of prisons as well as the work of the police. Works on education includes policy statements on the curriculum and other matters as well as accounts of schools, colleges and universities in the region. Folklore reflects the traditional ideas of the people of the region including beliefs in ghosts and witchcraft as well as many local customs. The region's economy features in the collections with works on agriculture, including items dealing with livestock and also soil surveys. The extractive industries of mining and quarrying are well represented as well as traditional industries such as the wool industry with discussion of topics such as employment and unemployment. Various aspects of trade and commerce are also covered, with some items on banks and the co-operative movement. Communications are well represented with works on roads, railways and canals. As a maritime county there is inevitable a wealth of material on shipping, with coverage of navigation, shipwrecks, lighthouses, lifeboat services and many other topics. The collections also have good coverage of arts and literature. The performing arts represented by works on music, including the region's wealth of folksongs, and theatre. Visual arts include painting and sculpture, as well as ceramics and a wide range of other crafts. Literature by Devonians or works of literature inspired by or set in the region are so numerous that it is difficult to give even indicative searches. Those interested should search under the name of the author, perhaps limited by genre (fiction, poetry etc) for example the poems of Coleridge. And finally there are works for the family historian. Many of these are covered in the following sections, but there is a good collection of histories of individual families and transcripts of inhabitant lists, registers and other genealogical sources.
Local guides can be located by limiting the search to B:Books and keyboarding the Place-name and "Guides" into the keywords box on the catalogue search page, e. g. for Ashburton. They are valuable for giving a picture of the locality at a particular point in time, often providing detailed information on local institutions and businesses as well as details of the major historical sites. Guidebooks were not published regularly in Devon until the early 19th century, partly the result of the French wars which closed the continent to those undertaking the Grand Tour and partly due to the cult of the picturesque which led people to seek out beautiful landcapes in England. Early guidebooks furnish details of facilities such as hotels, assembly rooms and circulating libraries which were established in the coastal resorts. The arrival of the railways in the mid 19th century gave a boost to the publication of county guidebooks in such national series as Murray’s or Ward Lock’s. Local publishers include Besley of Exeter, Banfield of Ilfracombe and Croydon of Teignmouth. Many places, large and small have issued official guidebooks for tourists in recent years. These are often undated and clues have to be sought in the advertisements which, in many cases, are among the most useful part of the contents for the social historian. Guidebooks are widely held but the main libraries have often missed the more obscure local guides which can sometimes be found in museums or larger branch libraries.
Travel writing. Prior to the 19th century not many people ventured far from home for pleasure. The journals of a dozen travellers from Leland in the mid-sixteenth century to Southey in the early nineteenth have been gathered together in Early tours in Devon and Cornwall, edited by R. Pearse Chope (1918, repr 1967). They often include vivid eye-witness accounts of towns and of the discomforts of travel. This is supplemented by the Travellers' tales series, edited by Todd Gray, which appeared in 2000. For later accounts of travel in the region, key the region, county or place into the keywords box on the catalogue search page followed by the terms "description" and "travel" and perhaps also a truncated date in the publication date box, e.g. Devon description travel 18* for descriptions of Devon in the 19th century.
31. TRADE DIRECTORIES
Directories are printed lists of local traders compiled for general sale by commercial publishers. They also frequently list private individuals and contain extensive information on the history, public institutions and major features of each community. The earliest directories cover London and were regularly published from the 1730s. Larger provincial towns begin to have their own directories from the later 18th century. Directories with national coverage begin to include Devon localities in Bailey’s directory of 1783, and from 1822 for Devon they begin to be arranged within counties in Pigot’s series of regional directories. Only larger towns were covered until Kelly’s provincial directories began in the 1840s. The first directory in Devon to cover every parish is White’s of 1850. Until the appearance of the final edition of Kelly’s directory in 1939 county directories were published approximately every five years, providing a useful basis for tracing the development of communities. Kelly’s directories were discontinued after 1939, a victim of the war and the growth of telephone directories, followed by most of their town directories in the 1970s, although local trade directories continue to be published, sometimes now having free distribution.
Most county directories are arranged by parish or town, either in one alphabetical sequence or sometimes within administrative areas such as hundreds. After an introduction giving such details as the location of the community, its administrative structure, major buildings, public institutions and statistical information, there are alphabetical or sometimes classified lists of traders and frequently a separate list of the major private residents. County directories usually have a general section on the county as a whole and countywide classified lists of traders similar to today’s yellow pages. Town directories frequently have listings arranged by street starting with Exeter and Plymouth in the 1870s.
Not all inhabitants are listed. Typically there is one entry for every ten inhabitants in smaller settlements and a lower proportion in larger towns. These lists concentrate on employers or self-employed traders. Entries are not always regularly updated and instances of plagiarism are not unknown but, given the immense task of collecting data, directories generally provide a remarkably full picture of the community in the past.
A list of Trade directories in local studies collections has been produced by WSL and most titles are included in the local studies catalogue. Leicester University has digitised 34 Devon directories on Historical directories of England and Wales website. In Devon good sets of directories are to be found in the major local studies collections in Exeter, Plymouth, Torquay and Barnstaple. Record Offices also have collections as do non-public libraries such as the Devon and Exeter Institution. Branch libraries and museums frequently have examples of county or local directories and photocopied extracts from the county directories for the period 1822-1939 are included in the parish packs which can be found in most branch libraries and schools in Devon. In the larger libraries directories are sometimes only available on microfiches because of their fragility. The larger libraries also have back runs of telephone directories which pick up after the trade directories cease publication.
Directories are easily approachable sources for most levels of student and can be used to trace the changing pattern of trades in a community, to check continuity of ownership (e.g. of farms or businesses), the distribution of family names etc. They are of some use for property history where properties are named or numbered. Students could attempt to compile a present-day directory of their area and draw conclusions on such matters as the relative levels of self-sufficiency of the local community.
Norton, Jane E. A guide to the national and provincial directories of England and Wales, excluding London, published before 1856, (Rev. ed. 1984).
Shaw, Gareth and Tipper, Alison. British directories: a bibliography and guide to directories published in England and Wales (1850-1950) and Scotland (1773-1950) (1988)
Shaw, Gareth. British directories as sources in historical geography (1982)
Shaw, Gareth ‘Directories and the local historian: ii. Methods of compilation and the work of large-scale publishers’, Local history magazine, 45 (Ju1y/Aug 1994), 10-14.
Newsbooks, quarto pamphlets, were the precursors of the newspaper. During the English Civil War they provided vital and up-to-date information on the progress of the campaigns, based on letters sent to London by eye-witnesses. The first provincial newspaper in Devon was published in about 1704 although early copies have completely disappeared. Since that date nore than 250 different newspapers have appeared with over 350 different changes of name. Until the 19th century newspapers were regularly published only in Exeter, attempts to found newspapers in Plymouth in 1718, 1759 and 1780 failing after a few years. Early newspapers were distributed by a network of newsmen on horseback. A typical circulation in the 18th century would be around 1000 copies, but each was read by many people. In 1808 two newspapers were established in Plymouth but the spread was relatively slow. Barnstaple received its first newspaper in 1824, Torquay in 1839. From 1847 the spread accelerated and in 1860 the first daily newspaper was established in Plymouth. Until the early 19th century there was relatively little local news and the main value of early newspapers is for advertisements. These can cover patent medicines, auctions and sales, markets, shipping, coaches and carriers. As the 19th century progressed there were frequently full reports of the meetings of local bodies which can supplement the bald accounts in official minutes. One unusual feature of early newspapers in coastal resorts such as Torquay and Ilfracombe was the regular publication during the season of a directory of local residents, services and visitors. Files of local newspapers are held in the main local studies libraries and in several museums in Devon. WSL has local newspaper coverage for every year from 1737 to date. Many major files have been microfilmed and to safeguard the fragile originals microfilm will always be produced where available. Bibliography of British newspapers. Cornwall,
Exeter. Exeter flying post 1800-1900 (also available to registered Devon Library readers at home through Devon on-line reference)
Exeter. Western times 1827-1950
Exeter. Exeter and Pymouth gazette 1827-1950
Exeter. Exeter and Plymouth gazette daily telegram 1869-1885
Exeter. Express and echo 1939-1940
Barnstaple. North Devon Journal 1824-1950
Plymouth. Plymouth and Devonport weekly journal 1832
Plymouth. Royal Devonport telegraph 1832
Plymouth. Western courier 1836-1854
Plymouth. Western morning news 1894-1950
Bideford. Bideford gazette 1856-1870
Tiverton. Tiverton gazette 1860-1900, 1939
Ilfracombe. Bright's intelligencer 1860
Sidmouth. Sidmouth journal and directory May 1860-December 1872
Totnes. Totnes times 1869-1871
Hartland. Hartland Chronicle 1908-1920
Torquay. Herald express 1939-1949
The first Devon newspaper to be indexed was Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, which was indexed from 1763 to 1885 in the late 1970s. The name index ceases at 1835 but, if the field of activity is known, references to individuals can be located for the period 1836-1885. The card index is held in the Devon Heritage Centre. Other local newspapers which have been indexed since then include the North Devon Journal (1850-1900, Barnstaple Library), Bideford Gazette (Bideford Archive) and Totnes Times (Totnes Museum). Plymouth and Torquay Local Studies Libraries selectively indexed newspapers for many years.
Murphy, M. Newspapers and local history. (1991).
42. CUTTINGS FILES
Details of these are included here as they are frequently made up largely from newspapers, but many collections contain material from a wide range of other sources including ephemera, manuscript notes, extracts from periodicals, illustrations, postcards etc. Collections can be arranged in a number of ways. In WSL to 1942 cuttings were mounded on sheets stored in boxes arranged in parish files with broad subject divisions for the smaller parishes and frequently several boxes for larger localities. The files for Exeter have a much more detailed subject subdivision. There are also separate sequences for biographical cuttings and family information. For cuttings referring to Devon more generally there is a sequence of subjects. After 1945 cuttings were stored loose in envelopes but many files, particularly for parishes have been merged with the pre-1942 files. The parish cuttings files in WSL have been copied for inclusion in the parish files which have been placed in branch libraries and schools throughout the county. Newspaper cutting ceased in 2011 and there has been no indexing of digital news sources.
WSL's main cuttings collections are arranged as follows:
Places: pre-and post-War sequences mounted and merged except for Dartmoor, Plymouth and some other files.
Exeter: subdivided by subjects . Some pre-and postwar files have been merged.
Subjects: cuttings covering a wider area or the region as a whole. Most files are not merged.
Families: Cuttings and typescript and manuscript notes on Devon families, largely compiled before 1942. Pre- and post-war files are not merged.
A manuscript list of file headings has been compiled and there is a separate manuscript list of family files.
Harry Hems Collection, 20 vol. Large volumes of cuttings compiled by Harry Hems, the Exeter architect and sculptor (1842-1916). The library holds the following volumes: 2 (1875-79), 3 (1880-83), 4 (1883-85), 5 (1885-86), 6 (1886-88), 7 (1888-89), 8 (1889-91), 9 (1891-94), 10 (1894-95) 11 (1895-96), 12 (1896-97), 13 (1897-99), 14 (1899-1901), 15 (1902-03), 16 (1903-04), 17 (1904-06), 20 (1909-12), 22 (1913-19), anonymous pieces 1885-1905, photographs vol. 4. There is also a large number of architectural details from his collection in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. Literature: Olding, Simon "The indefatigable Mr Hems of Exeter" Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 33:8 (1977), 290-94. Available on microfiche. Listings: in progress. The indexes to original volumes are not easily legible on the microfiches DHC: Store ; microfiches in Reading Room.
Other collections, for the most part unsorted include:
Devon County Council Press Office Collection, cuttings files produced in connection with the Press Monitor by the Local Government Library, in subject folders but with no listings.
Exeter City Council Press Cuttings Collection, acquired 1990. Cuttings files for period 1969-73?
Devon Area Health Authority
Deacon Collection, acquired 1983: 37 scrapbooks on Devon and other general topics.
Other libraries maintain their cuttings collections in different ways. In Plymouth there is a classified subject sequence and Torquay place great reliance on an arrangement based on the national grid. There are special collections of cuttings in many libraries, for example the Sabina Lamb Collection, which is held in the Devon and Exeter Institution. This is much smaller than the collections in WSL but is strong on the 1950s and 1960s, a period when the WSL collection is somewhat weak.
A wealth of detailed information can be found in periodicals but the information is not always easy to access (see section 3.112 for periodical indexes). Among the earliest periodicals are those for learned societies such as the Transactions of the Devonshire Association (established 1862). Beside articles on the history of the county there are series of regular reports by sections or recorders which build up to provide detailed surveys on such topics as folklore, dialect, church plate, bar- rows or climate.
Question and answer periodicals began in the late nineteenth century and one of these survives today: Devon and Cornwall notes and queries which contains articles and reviews as well as answers to queries. County magazines appear mainly after World War II. The most familiar of these is Devon life. These can be useful for descriptions of houses. Publications of local history societies are also useful repositories of detailed information. The Devon historian is the most well-known of these. Parish and school magazines are not always passed to libraries but files can sometimes be found in local libraries, museums or deposited in record offices. There are also many specialist publications, on business, natural history etc. as well as house magazines or newsletters of various organisations. Full or partial files of many of these can be found in the main local studies libraries.
Periodical articlesThere is no consolidated index of periodical articles relating to Devon although many libraries maintain partial card indexes and the Burnet Morris Index in the WSL (see 3.118) covers many periodicals up to 1940. In November 2015 the local studies catalogue included almost 11,000 periodical articles covering a number of the major county periodicals. Select A: periodical articles on the catalogue search page and input subject terms in the keywords box. The transactions of the Devonshire Association have a series of four indexes covering the first hundred volumes, The Devon historian has indexes to nos 1-15 and 16-30. The Library Association’s county volumes of the Subject index to periodicals cover books and periodical articles for the years 1954-61 continued by the regional lists of their British humanities index 1962-66. More general indexes will have to be consulted, such as the British humanities index after 1966, or the Local studies index. E.C.L.Mullins A guide to the historical and archaeological publications of societies in England and Wales, 1901-1933 is also useful. The provision of a general index of periodical articles relating to Devon is something which should be addressed by a co-operative effort.
44. Monograph series
Other publications which appear in series include the Exeter papers in economic history, Exeter studies in history and, perhaps most important of all, the publications of the Devon and Cornwall Record Society. This body has published scholarly editions of original historical records since 1904. At first concentrating on parish registers, after 1954 the Society in its second series of publications tackled a wider range of sources including particulars of grants for monastic lands, 1536-38 (vol. 1), tax and rate assessments for Exeter (vols. 2, 22) bishops’ registers 1420-1455 (vols. 7, 10, 13, 16, 18), churchwardens’ accounts for Ashburton 1479-1580 (vol. 15) chancery proceedings relating to shipping 1388-1493 (vol. 21), accounts of the fabric of Exeter Cathedral 1279-1353 (vols. 24, 26), household accounts 1627-59 (vols. 38, 39), and Benjamin Donn’s map of Devon 1765 (vol. 9) and many other classes of records.
Statutes can be among the oldest printed items of local significance, although the earliest statutes are normally available in later compilations or reprints, one of the earliest being Statutes of the realm, published by the Record Commission and covering statutes to 1714. Copies are in Exeter Central Library
Local and personal acts are listed in broad subject categories in HMSO’s Index to local and personal acts... 1801-1947 (1949) and the Supplementary index to the local and personal acts [...] 1948-1966 (1967). Various earlier listings can be found, some including private acts. WSL holds Statutes locally connected with Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and Bristol, 1801-1947, compiled by R.R.Sellman in 1987. Local and personal acts are published individually, with annual or sessional indexes. Sets of annual volumes are rare; there is a set in the DRO covering 1816 to date but it is not complete. Many statutes are listed in the local studies catalogue. Many individual titles are held in the main local studies collections and the Record Offices also have examples, frequently with deposited plans and other documents. The text of some local acts is available on-line, especially for the period after 1990.
Many statutes relating to Devon are listed under the heading ‘Local acts' by A.A. Brockett in The Devon Union List. In Plymouth and Exeter listings of local acts have been compiled and a list giving locations in collections in Devon is in course of compilation. The headings used in catalogues vary, but they can normally be located under such headings as ‘Statutes’ or ‘Great Britain. Statutes’.
52. Statutory Instruments
The Westcountry Studies Library holds an incomplete set of SIs. The text of many SIs is available on-line, especially for the period after 1970. Also known as Statutory Rules and Orders, SIs are pieces of subsidiary legislation, issued individually, with annual cumulations which omit local items. HMSO’s Index to government orders in force and Table of government orders also omits local SIs, which can be difficult to trace. More than 1300 Statutory Instruments are held in WSL and there are entries for them on the local studies catalogue. Many orders do not appear as SIs but are published in the London Gazette, lengthy files of which are held in Exeter University Library and Exeter and Plymouth Reference Libraries. There are indexes (at present quarterly but earlier annual). The London Gazette is now accessible to search on-line from 1665 to date but searching in earlier centuries can be hit-and-miss because of problems in digitising early type fonts.
53. Sessional papers
The House of Commons sessional papers, which include reports from select committees, royal commissions, surveys and returns to the House, were organised in 1801 into three groups: bills, House of Commons papers, and command papers. The first two received numbers starting a new sequence each session, command papers were numbered in longer sequences: 1-4222 (1833-69), C.1-9550 (1870-99) Cd.1-9329 (1900-18), Cmd.1-9889 (1919-56) and Cmnd.1-9927 (1956-86), Cm. 1- (1986-). Papers were published separately with indexes to enable them to be bound in volumes at the end of each session. References in indexes and footnotes frequently give the volume and page number as well as the paper number. Cumulated indexes by HMSO include the General index [...] 1801-52 (3 vol), General alphabetical index 1852-99 and the General index 1900 to 1948/9. For later periods there are decennial indexes. P. and G. Ford have produced lists and summaries of major parliamentary papers: Hansard’s catalogue and breviate of parliamentary papers 1696-1834 (1953), Select list of British parliamentary papers, 1833-1899 (Rev ed. 1970), Breviate of parliamentary papers, 1900-1916 (1957), and the same for 1917-1939 (1951) and 1940-54 (1961) - copies can be found in the larger reference libraries and the University of Exeter Library. The easiest way to track down references in these sources is by consulting complete sets of sessional papers. These are held for the 18th century onwards in original, hard copy reprint, and microfiche in the University of Exeter. There are not as large a number of sessional publications relating specifically to the South West as there are for more industrialised areas in the 19th century. The county sections of census reports, containing statistics down to parish level, were published as sessional papers to 1921 (they are available online at Histpop, for enumerators’ returns see section X1 on national archives below) and the local sections of a number of other reports can also be found most of the main local studies libraries, for example: the Charity Commissioners (especially 1826-32 and early 20th century), the Commissioners on Municipal Corporations (1835), the reports on Boundaries of Municipal Corporations (1837), the Schools Inquiry Commission (1868), the Return of owners of land (1873), the Royal Commission on Agriculture (1895), the Prison Commissioners. There are also sessional papers for the House of Lords, but these are largely made up of bills and are not so useful for the local historian.
The verbatim reports of the House of Commons and House of Lords which can contain debates and questions of local interest, are to to found in Exeter and Plymouth Reference collections and in the University of Exeter. Coverage of debates in both Houses is full from 1803, first by Cobbett, later by Hansard and from 1909 by Parliament itself. Debates prior to 1803 are contained in a variety of unofficial sources. The official records of proceedings are contained in the Journal of the House of Commons (rekeyed British History online 1547-1699, 1830) and House of Lords (vol. 1 rekeyed 1509-1577 vol. 2 rekeyed 1578-1614). Prior to 1801 many committee reports were printed in the Journals. Sets of these are available in the Exeter Reference and the University of Exeter libraries.
55 Departmental publications
Only a small proportion of official publications are statutory or sessional publications. Those that are published by the Stationery Office are listed in the Annual lists (1920-) which have cumulated indexes Examples of such Stationery Office publications include the local reports of the British Geological Survey and the county volumes of the census from 1931. There are also reports on economic development, especially since 1945. Among the earliest official publications that are generally available are the regional reports to the Board of Agriculture made by R.Fraser (1794), W.Marshall (1796), G.Vancouver (1808) and others.
From 1980 non Stationery Office publications are listed by Chadwyck Healey in the Catalogue of British official publications not published by HMSO. Prior to that date it is often necessary to search in departmental publication lists as not all such publications appear in the British national bibliography. Recent examples of departmental publications which include titles of local interest are the reports of HM inspectors schools, published by the Department of Education and Science, Home Office publications, such as those of HM inspectors of constabulary, and the publications of the Transport and Road Research Laboratory. The main local studies collections attempt to collect such Stationery Office and departmental publications as they can identify, but much is missed. They can be located in catalogues under the name of th department or committee (sometimes as a subdivision of the heading ‘Great Britain’) or under the name of the compiler or chairman. In cases where authorship is unclear the item may be located under title. The parish packs found in most branches and schools normally include local extracts from the census reports and the Charity Commissioners.
Pemberton, J.E. British official publications (2 ed, 197:
56. LOCAL GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS
From the 19th century the minutes of local authorities began to be circulated in print. These contain a wealth of detail, down to permission for the development of individual properties but they are complex documents to work through as several committees could deal with th same matter and they are normally unindexed. The reports of individual officers and departments, such as the medical officer of health were also published, often with financial and statistical tables. The Analysis of survey for the Devon County Development appeared in 1952 and the Report of survey for the Structure Plan in 1977 and each have been followed by an ever increasing flood of planning documentation, much of it containing valuable surveys of the social and economic conditions in the county. Local plans have been produced more recently by district councils and there have been separate plans for Dartmoor National Park Since 1977. Publications on specific topics include annual reviews of tourism, mineral working, conservation, employment, transport policies and various other subjects.
Devon County Council. Planning in Devon: an information handbook (updated at intervals)
60. GREY LITERATURE
Besides local councils, a wide range of bodies produce material known as 'grey literature’ because it is difficult to track down. It is not published through normal commercial channels, so misses being listed through normal bibliographical sources.
61. REPORT LITERATURE
Producers of reports include health authorities, the public utilities, commercial companies, charities, and academic institutions. Some information can only be found in such reports, which often receive limited circulation or are expensive to acquire. For example South West Water produced a wide range of information on climate in the 1970s. Since the 1960s the regional surveys of the Agricultural Economics Unit at the University of Exeter include a Wealth of statistical and economic data for the historian of agriculture. Many bodies produce annual reports with statistical and financal information and some of these are held in WSL. A listing of annual reports, prospectuses and journals was produced in 2003.
62. PRINTED EPHEMERA
Only a sample of the wealth of ephemeral printed material can be collected. Posters, brochures, timetables, theatre programmes and other flimsy items are not intended for preservation but, where they survive, they are frequently attractive items and give a vivid insight into everyday life. Libraries, museums and record offices all have material of this type. Some material, such as the execution broadsheets, which survive in an unusual number for Exeter in the 18th century, are flimsy, others such as estate sale particulars, can be quite substantial publications, often with detailed plans and illustrations of the properties to be sold. There is a Handlist of playbills in the Westcountry Studies Library but many are also included in the main catalogue .
Listings are to be found in The Devon historian no. 8 (1974), p.3-12, no. 9 (1974), p. 28-33 and no 16 (1978), p.27-30. Many local theses are held in the library of the University of Exeter or in individual departments. Listings include the ASLIB index to theses, available in major libraries and many theses are included in COPAC.
Listings are to be found in The Devon historian no. 8 (1974), p.3-12, no. 9 (1974), p. 28-33 and no 16 (1978), p.27-30. Many local theses are held in the library of the University of Exeter or in individual departments. Listings include the ASLIB index to theses, available in major libraries and many theses are included in COPAC.
70. DIGITAL RESOURCES
Search engines such as Google give immediate access to a wealth of on-line information on Devon, but it is a shifting resource of frequently repetitive, irrelevant, unverfied and inaccurate data. It is also difficult to track down non-current information on the web. An attempt to provide a more structured guide for Devon can be found on Devon's digital archive, which also gives links to earlier versions of the websites and to websites that are no longer on the internet.
There are few visual materials for Devon before the 18th century and then only the major historical sites are recorded. Only the arrival of the camera made everyday life the subject of illustrations and there is no certainty of finding a large-scale plan of any parish before the tithe survey of about 1840. Illustrations and maps can convey information in a way that is impossible in written form but, for that very reason they pose problems in indexing, storage and access. There are large collections of illustrative material in Devon, but it is not always easy to identify the precise image required and it is advisable for researchers to make prior enquiry that there will be material available. The main collections are held by the larger libraries but many extensive collections of local scenes can be found in museums. Generally museums are better at indexing artists than are libraries, which are more interested in the topographical content of the items.
There are sometimes high resolution scans or negatives available for illustrations and where this is the case it can considerably cut the costs of making high quality copies. In the Devon Heritage Centre a fee is payable for making personal digital copies and a royalty may also be payable should illustrations from collections be used in publications or broadcasts.
Topographical prints of a particular locality can be located by selecting the resource type E:Etched on Devon's memory and inputting the place-name in the keyword box, e. g. Sidmouth. Over 3500 engravings and lithographs of Devon scenes are listed in J. V. Somers Cocks Devon topographical prints, 1660-1870: a catalogue and guide (1977) which also has an excellent introduction outlining the history of topographical prints in Devon, as well as a list of sources in which series of prints are to be found. The engravings and lithographs are arranged by place with a supplement listing in chronological order the sources from which many of the individual prints came. Locations are not given but many libraries keep copies annotated with their own holdings. Many additional prints were located during the Etched on Devon's memory project. Several collections in Devon have used this catalogue as a basis for arranging their own collections of prints and it is always worth while quoting the catalogue numbers of items you wish to see. Copies of the catalogue are available in many libraries. Certain categories of material, such as wood engravings an interiors are for the most part omitted. There are indexes of artists and engravers and a very selective subject index. It was possible to re-engrave plates to incorporate changes. For example a view of Exeter Cathedral (Somers Cocks catalogue no. 841) first appeared in 1853 but was amended after the rebuilding of St Mary Major between 1865 and 1867.
There are collections of drawings and watercolours in most local studies collections but those of artistic merit are more likely to be found in museums. This is reflected in the standard directory: A guide to British topographical collections by M.Barley (1974). Not all collections house original works of an separately from other prints and photographs and there are not alway full indexes of artists and subjects.
A useful book on the use of photographs for historical research G.A. Oliver’s Photographs and local history (1989). Other titles are Recording the past: a photographer’s handbook by Eric Houlder (1988) and Dating old Photographs by Robert Pols (1992). There has been a considerable growth of books of early photographs since the 1960s and ther are few areas of the county which have not been covered. If reference for the purposes of private study is required it may often be most convenient for such volumes to be consulted before the local studies collections are approached. Such volumes are normally shelved with the histories and guidebooks of the locality in question and loan copies of many titles are available. A national example is the Britain in old Photographs series, published by Alan Sutton. Local publishers such as Obelisk in Exeter and A.L. Clamp in Plymouth issued many titles made up largely of old photographs which have frequently been made available by private individuals. These often have the advantage of having been carefully identified by the owners.
The Francis Frith Collection is a nationwide collection built up by leading commercial photographer over the period 1860-1970. The entire collection for the British Isles has been made available on microfiche and the Devon section, containing some 15 349 illustrations, is available in WSL and North Devon Athenaeum. A further set has been split between the main local studies collections in Plymouth, Torquay and Exmouth. An on-line listing is available on the Francis Frith website, for example for Tavistock. The original glass negatives are deposited in Birmingham Central Library and fine quality copies can be purchased. Many Francis Frith photographs are included in general illustrations and postcard collections. They can frequently be identified by the letters FF preceding the negative number. Another early photographer active in Devon was Francis Bedford and some examples of his albums of photographs, some dating from the 1860s, can be found in the main collections.
There have been a number of photographic surveys, often carried out by Manpower Services Commission projects, although one of the earliest, the Exeter Pictorial Record Society, held in WSL, dates from the period 1900-1914. The items (which include prints and drawings) have been rephotographed and digitised on the Westcountry Studies catalogue. There is no current countywide photographic survey being undertaken. The historic photographs collected by the Beaford Community Archive have been deposited in the North DRO together with listings as well as the views of North Devon by the photographer James Ravilious, 1,700 of which are accessible on the Beaford Archive website. The Dartington Rural Archive has performed a similar function for the south of Devon and there are collections of photographs in many museums across the county. The Express and Echo have placed their photograph collection with WSL and they are in the process of being catalogued. Those catalogued can be identified by the shelfmark E&E on the local studies database. The photographic archive of the Western morning news has been deposited in the Record Office in Plymouth, but much work has to be undertaken on conservation of the glass plates and their indexing.
Lantern slides have been collected by libraries but because of their fragility they will only be produced for serious researchers when no altnative is available.
Miller, S. T. ‘The value of photographs as historical evidence’, Local historian 15:8, Nov 1984, 468-473.
Scott, C. G. Photographers in Devon 1842-1939: a brief directory, Royal Photographic Society, 1994.
Portraits are usually filed alphabetically by the name of the subject and there are collections of varying sizes in many of the larger local studies collections. Only the most important personages had their portraits painted or engraved but early photographs of many individuals can be found in the form of cabinet photographs on cards with details of the photographer on the verso. Since individual’s names are not normally identified, these are frequently to be found in the costume section of the illustrations collection.
Picture postcards, which originated in the 1890s and were especially popular during the period up to 1914, are held by some local studies collections but are not always housed separately from the main illustration collections. WSL does have a separate sequence arranged by place.
86. AUDIO-VISUAL RESOURCES
The most important repository in Devon for film and video is the South West Film and Television Archive in Plymouth which is based on the extensive film collections of Television South West and its predecessor Westward Television. Despite discussions at various times, there is no central oral history collection in Devon, but various projects have been collecting oral history as well as folk music. It should be noted that many project collections have limited access and listening facilities for the public. WSL holds very few phonocassettes and videocassettes and has no viewing and listening facilites for pre-digital material.
Extensive collections of maps in hard copy and microfilm can be found in the main local Studies libraries. Museums and record offices also hold maps, as does the Department of Geography at the University of Exeter.
Old Maps Online is a website giving details of maps with good quality digital images available on the internet.
91. Early maps
The tradition of surveying was not so well developed in earlier centuries in this country as on the continent and much reliance was placed on written description of estates until the eighteenth century. Most local studies libraries only hold a small selection of the earliest engraved county maps whose interest is decorative rather than topographical, but WSL has examples of virtually every county map produced between the first survey of Devon, made by Christopher Saxton in the 1570s, until the mid 19th century through its acquisition of the Batten and Bennett Collection in 1997. There are also early estate plans in the Record Office. Until Benjamin Donn’s Prize-winning survey of 1765 almost all Devon maps derived from Saxton’s survey. Donn only showed the main roads. Side roads and tracks were first shown by the Ordnance Survey in 1809 and fields by the tithe maps of about 1840 (held in record offices) and the 1:2500 Ordnance Survey plans from the l860s (held in larger libraries).
Apart from the Ordnance Survey, two cartographers have produced one inch to the mile maps of Devon: Benjamin Donn whose Map of the county of Devon was published in 1765 (reprinted by the Devon and Cornwall Record Society in 1965) and C. and J.Greenwood’s Map of the county of Devon from an actual survey made in the years 1825 and 1826 (1827). Both are widely available in the major local studies collections. The standard sources for Devon’s early county maps is: The printed maps of Devon 1575-1837,by K. Batten and F. Bennett (2nd ed 2008) and their The Victorian maps of Devon : county maps 1838-1901 (2nd edition 2010).
92. Ordnance Survey
The establishment of the Ordnance Survey in 1791 brought a new standard of mapping to the British Isles. Photographs of the manuscript drafts used for the first edition of the Ordnance Survey one inch to a mile map of Devon are held in WSL. These were produced at scales ranging from two- to six inches to one mile between 1784 and 1809 and the originals are in the British Library. Although field boundaries are shown, these are normally schematic only. Colour images of many of the sheets held in the British Library are available on-line. They are difficult to locate and the accuracy of the list below is not guaranteed:
Launceston area - sheet 15
Kingsbridge area - sheet 21
Dartmouth area - sheet 22
Dartmoor Prison and Moretonhampstead area - sheet 23
Tavistock area - sheet 25
Modbury area - sheet 28
Holsworthy area - sheet 29
Barnstaple area - sheet 31
North Molton area - sheet 32
Milverton area - sheet 33?
South Molton area - sheet 34
Hartland area - sheet 35
Okehampton area - sheet 36
Crediton area - sheet 36 E
Torbay area - sheet 38
Exmouth and Teignmouth area - sheet 39
Exeter area - sheet 40
Tiverton area - sheet 41
Bampton area - sheet 41
Minehead area - sheet 42
Taunton area - sheet 44 E
Wellington area - sheet 44 W
Cullompton area - sheet 45 NE
Honiton area - sheet 45 NW
Axminster area - sheet 45 NW?
Ottery area - sheet 45 SW
Axmouth area - sheet 45 SE
Ilminster area - sheet 46
Lundy - sheet 293
J. B. Harley of Exeter University has written two guides to OS maps: The historian’s guide to Ordnance Survey maps (1964) and Ordnance Survey maps: a descriptive manual (1975). R. Oliver’s Ordnance Survey maps: a guide for historians (1994) is a revision of Harley’s work.
The first edition (Old Series) of the one-inch-to-a-mile map covering Devon was published in 1809. The same plates were used until the 1880s with selective alteration for railways, new roads and other major changes. The facsimile published by Harry Margary in book form uses the earliest version of the plates while the sheets published by David and Charles are taken from late electrotype plates, usually of the 1870s and 1880s and show railways. Both have extensive documentation by J.B. Harley.
The second edition (New Series) was current in Devon from about 1886 to 1910, the third edition from about 1910 to 1918 the fourth edition (Popular Edition) from about 1918 to 1933, the fifth edition from about 1933 to 1939, the sixth edition (New Popular) from about 1946 to 1957, and the seventh series from about 1953 to 1972, at which date they were replaced by the 1:50 000 first series (1974-). The second (Landranger) series was introduced in Devon in about 1985. While too small for detailed local history research, these small scales were revised more frequently than the larger scales and can record major changes. Useful guides by R. Oliver are his Guide to Ordnance Survey one inch series (3rd ed, 1990), and his Guide to the Ordnance Survey one inch new popular edition (2nd ed, 1989).
The large-scale survey of the British Isles was delayed by a dispute over the scale at which it was to be published and it did not commence publication in Devon until 1864. From this period the first edition of the six inch to a mile (1:10 560) and 1:2500 (25 inch) plans of the Plymouth and Torbay areas were published concurrently. Coverage of the remainder the county had to wait until 1885-90. A second edition was published for most of the county in 1905-6 and revisions for the built-up areas also appeared, mostly in the 1930s. The central areas of Dartmoor and Exmoor were not covered at a scale of 1:2500. Devon was covered by 139 sheets, numbered in strips across the county from west to east and north to south. The 1:10 560 maps appeared in four sub-sheets (NW NE SW and SE), the 1:2500 in 16 subsheets, numbered from 1 to 16. The Ordnance Survey’s key sheets have recently been reprinted: Indexes to the 1:2500 and six inch scale maps: England and Wales. The major local studies collections have the first and second edition 1:2500 and 1:10560 sheets for their own area in aperture card or microfiche. Revised editions must be consulted in hard copy. Between 1855 and 1892 the Ordnance Survey published even larger scale plans (typically 1:500) of the following towns in Devon: Barnstaple, Bideford, Brixham, Crediton, Dartmouth, Dawlish, Exeter, Exmouth, Ilfracombe, Newton Abbot, Plymouth, Tavistock, Teignmouth, Tiverton, Torquay and Totnes. Microfiches of these extremely detailed plans are available in the appropriate area local studies collections with a full set for the county in WSL. Access is through a combination of listings and key sheets. Parish packs in branch libraries and schools should contain copies of the second edition Ordnance Survey 1:10560 local sheet.
From 1945 large-scale Ordnance Survey plans were based on a metric national grid. The 100 Km squares which cover Devon are SS, ST SX and SY. Within these main squares references are given by counting frist the eastings and then the northingS. Thus a two figure reference (e. g. ST12) is accurate to within ten kilometers, a four figure reference (e. g. ST1234) to within one kilometer and a six-figure reference (e. g. ST123456) to within one hundred meters. The national grid maps have been published at the following scales since 1945:
1:25000: sheets first covered one 10km square (e.g. ST1O) and later two adjacent squares (e.g. ST1O/20) which became designated as the Pathfinder series with sheets receiving sequential numbering covering the whole country. Popular tourist areas acquired larger sheets in the Outdoor Leisure series and later the remainder of the country was also also grouped into larger areas in the Explorer series. Historically public libraries in Devon held the following areas:
WSL: Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset
Plymouth: Devon, Cornwall
Torquay: Devon, Cornwall
Barnstaple: Devon, North Cornwall, West Somerset.
In recent years this coverage has been cut back.
1:10,560 (from about 1970 1:10,000). Sheets cover one 5km square (e.g. ST10NW, ST10NE, ST10SW, ST10SE. Public library holdings in Devon were as follows:
WSL: Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset
Plymouth: Devon, Cornwall
Torquay: South Devon
Barnstaple: North Devon
1:2500. Sheets cover a 1km square (e.g. ST1234) or two adjacent squares (e.g. ST1234/1334). Where 1:1250 plans are published this scale was discontinued and
the centres of Dartmoor and Exmoor were never covered at this scale. Public library holdings are:
WSL: East Devon area and 15km radius of Exeter
Plymouth: West Devon area
Torquay: South Devon area
Barnstaple: North Devon area
Exmouth: Exmouth area only
SUSI (unpublished interim updates) were not normally acquired by libraries. In 1992 the publication of plans at the scales of 1:2500 and 1:1250 was discontinued and succeeded by Superplan, a system of continuous computerised updating. In view of the expense, print-outs from these sheets are not normally acquired by Devon Library Services but it is possible to consult large-scale mapping of the entire county on computer at WSL and Barnstaple, and to obtain A4 print-outs under the fair dealing clause of the Copyright Act.
1:1250. Sheets cover an area 500 meters square (e.g. SX9292Nw, SX9292NE, SX9292SW, SX9292SE). Only the major towns are covered.
Public library holdings: as for 1:2500 sheets.
Old-Maps.co.uk in co-operation with the Ordnance Survey provides copies of virtually all Ordnance Survey published mapping at scales of 1:10560, 1:2500, 1:1250 and 1:500 from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1990s when hard copy editions at these scales were replaced by continuously updated printouts or downloads on demand. Watermarked images up to a certain scale can be viewed on-line but larger scale downloads have to be purchased.
93. TOWN PLANS
There are few large-scale town plans before 1800, and most recent ones are derived from Ordnance Survey mapping. A great problem is that many publishers did not add dates of publication to town plans. Folded town plans held by the main local studies collections are usually filed alphabetically by place but are also frequently found in local guidebooks.
94. Thematic maps
Sheet numbering is based on the 2nd series 1:63 360 of the Ordnance Survey but sheets are now being reissued on the scale of 1:50,000. For many sheets there is a geological memoir which includes sections on economic geology. Area collections hold local sheets with regional coverage of South West England in WSL. List of WSL holdings.
LAND UTILISATION SURVEY
Produced at a scale of 1:63 360, mainly in the 1940s and not updated. Revised sheets are kept at Bedford College in the University of London.
LAND USE MAPS
Only a very few sheets have been issued at a scale of 1:25,000. WSL holds sheets for Exeter, Lynton, Cheddar, and Saint Austell. These are held in WSL and other major collections.
AGRICULTURAL LAND CLASSIFICATION
Published in the 1970s on the sheet lines of the seventh edition of the 1:63,360 maps. For some sheets there is a brief accompanying memoir. There is also a 1:250 000 sheet for the whole region. WSL holdings.
Not all of the county has been covered at a large scale. For large-scale sheets that have been issued (some at 1:25,000, some at 1:63,360) there is normally also a memoir. Sheets and memoirs are held in the larger local studies collections. WSL holdings.
The shopping centre surveys are compiled for the larger towns and are updated annually or every two years. In the 1970s they succeeded the Goad insurance plans which had been published only for Exeter and Plymouth in Devon between 1888 and 1962 at a scale of 1 inch to 40 feet. These were updated by means of paste-on slips and are extremely detailed, showing the fabric of individual buildings and th location of fire hydrants. They are available in Plymouth Local Studies Library and WSL on aperture cards. List of Goad shopping centre plans in WSL.
Besides those published by the Admiralty Hydrographic Department the firm of Imray have published charts for yachtsmen. Sheets for local waters are held in local studies collections. it should be noted that the Admiralty do not allow any copying from charts which are still in copyright. List of navigation charts in WSL.
There is no comprehensive published list of maps covering Devon. Library finding aids are a mixture of records on the on-line catalogue (select resource type M: Maps), marked up key sheets or card listings.
Hindle, B.P. Maps for local history (1988).
Kain, R.J.P. The tithe maps of England and Wales. (1995).
Smith, D. Maps and plans for the local historian and collector (1988).
95. Aerial photographs
These can be found in most of the larger collections, sometimes integrated in the main photograph sequences. Beside their value for tracing the development of communities, they can be invaluable for showing crop-marks which reveal otherwise hidden prehistoric sites. For this reason one of the main collections in the county is held by the Sites and Monuments Register at County Hall, Exeter. A guide to collections is given by W. Minchinton in ‘Air photographs for the Devon historian’ in Devon Historian 16 pp.25-26. A later guide, with notes on their use for teaching is: Devon Education’s A Devon approach to geography in the national curriculum: finding and using aerial photographs (1991). A useful collection of aerial views of archaeological sites is Devon’s past: an aerial view by Frances Griffiths (1988).
X. ARCHIVES AND RECORDS
Original archives and records are normally located in record offices and the emphasis here is on published versions, transcripts, calendars and indexes that are available in WSL and other library collections, including national as well as local records. Because the Burnet Morris Index index is now remote from the collections of lists, indexes, calendars and other archival and historical sources in Exeter Library, attempts are being made to locate on-line versions. Many of the records held by Devon Record Office and Plymouth and West Devon Record Office are included in the National Archive's Discovery database. A useful printed guide to the core collections in the DRO remains the Brief guide, part 1: official and ecclesiastical (1969). These are supplemented by special guides to different types of resources relating to Devon.
X-10. NATIONAL ARCHIVES
The National Archive Office in Kew is England’s national record office. The contents of the massive collection are summarised in the three volume Guide to the contents of the Public Record Office and the more recent Current guide (1996). The contents of the National Archives and 2,500 other record offices cross the UK can be searched through the Discovery website. Many transcripts, calendars and lists of national archives are published by HMSO or the National Archives. The earliest official record publications are those by the Record Commission in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. A useful listing is to be found in HMSO sectional list 24 which lists the titles published and outlines the coverage of many categories of records. HMSO Sectional list 17 covers the publications of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts which include many official records in private collections. Good runs of the publications covered by both these sectional lists are held in Exeter Reference and Exeter University Libraries. Publications are also available in Plymouth Reference Library.
HMSO Sectional list 17 (last published in 1987) covers the publications of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, the body which maintains the Nationa1 Register of Archives in London. This incorporates information supplied by national and local record offices across the country and also houses the Manorial Documents register. The database of the National Register of Archives can now be accessed on the internet and can give references to many stray records 1i1illiig to Devon.
Mutton, A. British national records and the local historian. (1980).
X-11. MEDIEVAL RECORDS.
Some of the main early series of records, many of which have been edited, calendared or listed are noted below. In parentheses are the PRO class letters and numbers, the periods for which calendars are available, and sometimes the dates for which Devon references are incorporated in the Burnet Morris Index in the DHC reading room. Other national records are held in the House of Lords Record Office. A useful source for these is Guide to the records of Parliament by M.F. Bond.
X-11a. CHANCERY RECORDS
The Court of Chancery was the King’s main centre of administration in the middle ages and a number of the main series of records have been published.
Parliament rolls (C. 65) records parliamentary proceedings (petitions, bills and answers, both public and private) which formed the basis of acts of Parliament. Links to calendars of parliament rolls on-line 1273-1553.
Patent Rolls (C.66, calendared 1216-1578, Burnet Morris indexed 1216-1509, 1547-57). So called because they were issued open with the great seal pendent, these include grants and leases of land, appointments to offices, licences and pardons. In 1365 for example they record the pardon granted to one Simon Bade of Barnstaple for outlawry (Cal. Pat. Rolls 1364-70, p. 80).Links to calendars of patent rolls on-line 1216-1558. Calendar 1481-1489
Close rolls (C. 54 1227-1509, Burnet Morris indexed 1227-1447). These include writs to individuals which were folded or closed up. Contents can include th observance of treaties, repair of buildings, or payment of salaries. In 1343 for example they record the issue of orders to the bailiffs of Dartmouth and other Devon ports to arrest certain named ships (Cal. Close. Rolls 1343-6, p.129-31). Links to calendars of close rolls on-line 1224-1468.
Charter rolls (C.53 1226-1515, Burnet Morris indexed 1226-1515). The royal charter was the writ by which the monarch made grants of lands, liberties and privileges to corporations and individuals. Thus the grant of a market and fair to Newton Poppleford in 1253 is recorded in the charter roll for 37 and 38 Henry III (Cal. rot. chart (1803), p.82) Links to calendars of charter rolls on-line 1216-1417.
Fine rolls (C. 60 1227-1509, Burnet Morris indexed 1272-1383). These include payment for writs, licences to marry, pardons and appointments of sheriffs. Links to calendars of fine rolls on-line 1199-1461.
Inquisitions post mortem (C.132-142 1235-1368, Burnet Morris indexed 1485-1649). These enquiries took place on the death of a tenant in chief under the King to establish the lands that were held. The Devon and Cornwall Record Society has published Inquisitions post mortem: a calendar for Cornwall and Devon 1216-1649, edited by E.A. Fry (1906) and WSL has a typescript summary of several thousand IPMs. Links to calendars of inquisition post mortem on-line 1236-1370.
Early Chancery proceedings. These are covered by the PRO lists and indexes series. A special category of cases published by the Devon and Cornwall Record Society is A calendar of early Chancery proceedings relating to Westcountry shipping 1388-1493, edited by Dorothy M.Gardiner (1976).
X-11b. EXCHEQUER RECORDS
Domesday Book (E. 31 1086). This unique survey of William the Conqueror’s possessions is the oldest of the public records and has been published in facsimile or as an edited text on a number of occasions. Devon is fortunate in having in Exeter Cathedral Library a manuscript containing a fuller version covering the western counties. The Devonshire Association published the Devonshire Domesday and geld inquest in two volumes in 1884. This gives parallel texts of the Exchequer and Exon versions with translations. A more recent edition was published by Phillimore in 1985. Facsimiles of the Exchequer text were published by Ordnance Survey as long ago as 1862, while the Alecto facsimile of The Devonshire Domesday (1988) is in colour with accompanying translations, identifications and a volume of Domesday Book studies.
Book of fees. This is also known as the Testa de Nevill and is made up of returns and lists, mainly for the period 1234-42, copied in about 1307. It is useful on the holdings of feudal tenants.
Feudal aids. This is made up of returns and surveys of holders of land between 1284 and 1431.
These and other sources were extensively used by Oswald Reichel in a series of articles which appeared in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association between 1903 and 1922. Those unpublished at his death were issued by the Devonshire Association in ten parts with the title ‘The hundreds of Devon’ between 1928 and 1938. There is also a very full name index.
Pipe rolls (E.372 1130-1242). These are audits of accounts taken before the barons of the Exchequer, usually sent in by the sheriff and are arranged by county. The Pipe Roll Society has edited many records in this class which contains much local material. Thus in Michaelmas 1221 the Bishop of Exeter is shown as owing 35 marks in knights’ fees while the Abbot of Tavistock owed three marks (Pipe Roll Soc. new series, vol. 48, p.68). The transcripts are highly abbreviated. Links to calendars of pipe rolls on-line 1158-1259.
Liberate rolls (E. 403). These contain writs by which officers of th Exchequer were ordered to make payments on behalf of the Crown.
Lay subsidy documents have been extensively transcribed, mainly for genealogical puproses. WSL holds published transcripts covering Devon for 1332, 1523-7 and 1543-5.
Hearth tax was introduced in 1662 and WSL holds published transcripts, inclding Devon for 1674 and other dates on microfilm.
X-11c. JUDICIAL RECORDS
These include Curia Regis rolls (1189-1220), Court of Common Pleas and King’s Bench records.
X-11d. ASSIZE RECORDS.
Assizes dealt with the most serious crimes, such as murder and treason. Assizes in Devon were held twice yearly. The assize records for the Western Circuit survive for the period 1611-1936 in the PRO. Some local records have been calendared by J.S. Cockburn in Western circuit assize orders 1629-1 648 (1976), and for an earlier period the Assize roll, county of Devon 1359 by A.J. Howard (1970) and there are other published transcripts for this period. Little survives locally but gaol calendars for the period 1854-1919 are held in the DRO.
X-11e. CHRONICLES AND MEMORIALS.
Also known as the Rolls Series, these are not archives but editions of medieval chronicles and similar historical records published during the nineteenth century. There are many references to Devon in these early sources, sets of which are held in Exeter Central Library and Exeter University Library. Some links to free e-books:
Chronicon Scotorum -1150.
Royal letters 1236-1272.
Epistolae cantuarienses 1187-1199.
Chronicle of Benedict of Peterborough 1169-1192.
History of the monastery of St Peter of Gloucester.
X-12. EARLY MODERN SERIES
The record group known as State Papers is made up from the documents which accumulated in the offices of the principal secretaries of state from Tudor times onwards. Published calendars of these have been issued in various series:
Letters and papers of Henry VIII (1509-47). These cover both domestic and foreign matters and have been indexed by Burnet Morris.
State papers domestic. There is a microfilm covering the period 1547-1640 in the University of Exeter Library. They are covered by the Burnet Morris Index for the period 1547 to 1704 and there is a considerable amount of local information. Two examples must suffice: The calendar of state papers domestic 1581-90, p.665 includes an order by Queen to the Mayor of Exeter to deliver up Philip Hart, a condemned criminal, to serve in the wars in Ireland, and the volume for 1687-9 contains on page 360 a note dated 23 November 1688 that an account of Willam of Orange’s departure from Exeter had been received in London. The rekeyed calendars of Letters and Papers of Henry VIII on the British History Online are freely available for 1509-1547 but later state papers require a subscription. Links to freely available e-books are given here: 1547-1580, 1581-1590, 1595-1597, 1598-1601, 1601-1603, addenda 1547-1565, addenda 1566-1579, addenda 1580-1625, 1603-1610, 1611-1618, 1619-1623, 1623-1625, 1625-1626, 1627-1628, 1628-1629, 1629-1631, 1635, 1637, 1637-1638, 1638-1639, addenda 1625-1649, 1650, 1652-3, 1653-1654, 1654, 1655, 1655-1656, 1656-7, 1657-8, 1658-1659, 1659-1660, 1660-1661, 1664-1665, March 1, 1675-Feb. 29, 1676, 1702-1703.
State papers colonial and foreign. Have also been searched by Burnet Morris as there is a considerable amount of relevant information. The same applies to the Venetian, Spanish, Scotland and Ireland series.
Venetian. Freely accessible on-line, rekeyed, 1202-1675. Facsimile:
East Indies, China and Japan 1513-1616.
Committee for compounding with delinquents. Delinquents were individuals who took the royalist side during the Civil War. Burnet Morris has covered them for the whole period 1643 to 1660.
Other series of early modern records tackled by Burnet Morris include the Acts of the Privy Council (1542-1641, 1542-1627)
X-13. DEPARTMENTAL RECORDS
Treasury books and papers. The Calendars have been searched for Devon items by Burnet Morris from 1556 to 1745.
Treasury papers: 1556-1696, 1697-1702, 1702-1707, 1708-1714, 1714-1719, 1720-1728.
Treasury books: 1660-67, 1667-1668, 1669-1672, 1672-1675, 1676-1679, 1679-1680, 1681-1685, 1685-1689, 1689-1692, 1693-1696, 1696-1697, 1697, 1697-1698, 1698-1699, 1699-1700, 1700-1701, 1702, 1703, 1704-1705, 1705-1706, 1706-1707, 1708, 1709, 1710, 1711, 1712, 1713, 1714, 1714-1715, 1716, 1717, 1718.
Treasury books and papers: 1729-30, 1731-34, 1735-38, 1739-41, 1742-45.
Home Office papers. The Calendars have been searched by Burnet Morris from 1760 to 1775. The Home Office records also include the census for 1841 and 1851. See under Registrar General below.
Board of trade. This department began as the Commission for Trade and Plantations. The Journals have been looked at by Burnet Morris for the period 1708-22 and 1728-82. An important later category of records are crew lists (BT/99), some of which were transferred to the DRO in 1970-71, see DRO Handlist no. 3 which gives details of 5000 annual returns covering the period 1863-1914.
Inland revenue. Records include registers of apprentices on which premiums were paid. Details for Crediton have been extracted in Venn’s manuscript history. From 1796 to 1857 transcripts of wills were made for tax purposes (see probate record below). Land tax records also belong to the Inland Revenue records.
Tithe Commissioners. The most important group of records are the tithe apportionment maps and schedules. Mostly dating from about 1840 these are deposited in DRO which also holds estate and other plans. The schedules list farms and other premises with names of owners and occupiers, sometimes including the land use, and give valuation. Tithe surveys, often the earliest large-scale iuveys of parishes, are invaluable for tracing estates of the major landowners. They also show roads and watercourses. Enclosure Acts with the accompanying surveys are relatively uncommon in Devon and largely confined to the east of the county.
Customs. Shipping registers, normally starting in 1824 with some earlier items, have been transferred from local customs houses to the DRO. Customs rolls for Exeter start in the reign of Edward II, about the same date as the records in the City archives.
X-14. REGISTRAR GENERAL
This department is discussed separately as it includes two important series, the census records (from 1861, earlier records are with the Home Office papers) and civil registration (from 1837). Census enumerators’ returns and the indexes to births, marriages and deaths from 1837 can be consulted for the whole country in the Family Records Centre, Myddleton Street, London EC1 (tel: 0181-392 5300).
X-14a. CENSUS ENUMERATORS’ RETURNS
Census enumerators’ returns are the only publicly available source to provide details of every individual in a community including women and children. A census of population has been held every ten years since 1801, except for the war year of 1941. In addition a ten per cent sample census was held in 1966. The results have been published as statistical tables by the Stationery Office and are available in most large reference libraries. From 1801 to 1831 the censuses were locally administered by parish overseers or clergy and any records of local population enumeration survive rarely and are scattered in local record offices. After the establishment of the General Register Office local registrars appointed enumerators to deliver forms to each household in the enumeration district allocated to them and to collect them after census night. These forms were then tabulated by the enumerator in books which formed the enumerators’ returns. These provided the raw material for the totalling and statistical analysis which eventually resulted in the published census volumes. The enumerators books, which contained detailed information on individuals, were restricted for one hundred years before being released for general public consultation and microfilm copies have been produced by the Public Record Office for general sale. Those for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 have so far been released and have been purchased by libraries in Devon.
The forms used to transcribe the information vary from one census to another. The 1841 census returns contain less information than the later ones, and, as they were written on blue paper, the microfilms are usually difficult to decipher.
Schedule (original form) number. From 1851.
Place (Street name, house name or number).
Houses. 1841, 1861 onwards distinguish uninhabited houses.
Names. Surname and forename of those resident on census night.
Relation to head of family (wife, son, lodger etc). From 1851.
Marital condition (married, unmarried, widowed). From 1851.
Age and sex. Ages over 15 rounded down to nearest five years in 1841.
Occupation (rank,profession, employment).
Where born. County or country if outside England and Wales 1841,
parish and county from 1851.
Whether blind, deaf or dumb. From 1851.
Whether imbecile or idiot. From 1871.
Employment status. From 1891.
Number of rooms. From 1891.
Institutions such as prisons, workhouses, boarding schools, hospitals and also ships have special forms.
In 1841 the books are arranged by hundred and then by parish within each hundred. From 1851 the arrangement is by registration district, subdivided by subdistrict, town or parish, and enumeration district. Within each enumeration district the arrangement reflects the frequently circuitous route the enumerator travelled, winding along one side of a street, into alleys, crossing the road, diverting to take in individual properties.
No indexes were compiled at the time the census was taken. The Public Record Office has produced listings, which usually follow the arrangement of the parishes in the printed statistical tables, grouped into enumeration districts and not alphabetically by place within county. Local studies collections in Devon have produced alphabetical indexes to the parishes in their collections: Devon census returns: PRO references. The Public Record Office has provided street indexes to some of the larger towns. Some libraries have also produced street indexes to their local towns. Surname indexes in Devon have been produced in a series of booklets covering individual enumeration districts for 1851 and published by the Devon Family History Society. These are available in the main local studies collections and from the Society. There are a range of computer generated indexes to the 1881 census produced by the Mormons who have also recently completed the 1851 census for Devon.
The system of reference adopted by the Public Record Office is as follows:
1. The class (to 1851 Home Office records, from 1861 Registrar General’s records). 1841: HO 107, 1851: HO 107 (continues 1841 numbering), 1861: RG 9, 1871: RG 10, 1881: RG 11, 1891: RG 12
2. The piece (book, box or bundle of documents). This is a running number quoted after the class and an oblique stroke: e.g. RG 12/1777 (the 1891 returns for parishes in the Ilfracombe subdistrict). In 1841 the piece is a box containing books with separate foliation: e.g. HO 107/262/9 covers Chagford for 1841.
3. The folio. In 1841 the folio number was printed on the top right of each page.
Each book has a separate sequence of numlwrs: e.g. 110 107/203/13 fo.
1-13 lists the inmates of Barnstaple gB)l lii I M4 I
From 1851 the folio number was stamped on the top right of each folio.
Numbering runs in one sequence through all the hooks in each piece:
e.g. RG 9/1423/99 is the first folio of the H46I Charleton returns.
4. The page
From 1851 each book has its own pagination printed and this can be used in addition to the reference to the front (recto) or back (verso) of the folio to provide a more precise reference: e.g RG 9/15 19 fo.10 p.20.
Local libraries in Devon have usually provided their own system of reference to the reels or fiches in their individual collections. Typically this provides a sequential number for each reel or fiche. Finding aids usually list places alphabetically, with reference to the reel or fiche number, frequently also giving the Public Record Office number.
1841-1891 All Devon and some border parishes in adjoining counties.
PLYMOUTH LOCAL STUDIES LIBRARY
1841-1891 Plymouth registration district.
1891 Tavistock and Okehampton registration districts.
TORQUAY LOCAL STUDIES LIBRARY
1841-1891 Torbay district.
1891 Newton Abbot, Totnes, Kingsbridge registration districts.
NORTH DEVON LOCAL STUDIES CENTRE (BARNSTAPLE)
1841-1891 Barnstaple, Bideford, South Molton, Torrington and
Holsworthy registration districts.
EXMOUTH REFERENCE LIBRARY
1891 Axminster, Honiton and St. Thomas (part) registration districts
As census enumerators’ returns are held in microform it is wisest to contact local studies collections in advance to reserve a microform viewer. library staff cannot search microfilms on behalf of enquirers.
Use for education and research
As these are the fullest available listings of inhabitants of each community in the past, there is a wide range of uses to which the records can he put. For the genealogist they provide evidence of family relationships, ages and place of birth which can give clues for the appropriate Parish registers or civil registration records to search for baptisms or births. For the demographic historian they give evidence of age structure, family size and migration. For the house historian they give detailed evidence of occupancy. For the social and economic historian hey give evidence of occupation and education. Schools have put the returns for their community on databases to facilitate analysis by occupation, place of birth or family names. They can answer such questions as: How many children worked for a living? How many households had servants? Use of the returns can be combined with fieldwork to identify buildings listed. Beside history, the returns can cover geograhy, maths and information technology in the national curriculum.
Boreham, J. M. The census and how to use it (1982)
Chapman, C. R. Pre-1841 census and population listings in the British Isles (2nd ed, 1991)
Gibson, J. S. W. Census returns on microfilm: a directory to local holdings (5th ed, 1990)
Gibson, J. S. W. Census indexes and indexing (2nd ed, 1983)
Higgs, E. Making sense of the census: the manuscript returns for England and Wales, 1801-1901 (1989)
Lumas, S. Making use of the census (1992). PRO readers guide; 1.
McLaughlin, E. The censuses 1841-1881 (1986)
Mozley, H. People count: teacher notes on using the Victorian census (1991)
Nissel, M. People count: a history of the General Register Office (1987)
Otfice of Population, Censuses and Surveys. Guide to census reports: Great Britain 1801-1966 (1977)
X-14b. CIVIL REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS
This was introduced in 1837 and improved on the patchy coverage of parochial and non-parochial registration of baptisms, marriages and burials. Registers are available for England and Wales back to 1837 at the Family Records Centre, Myddleton Street London, with local regis1 trations held at district offices throughout the country. Microfilms of the indexes to births, marriages and deaths covering the whole country from 1837 are available in the North Devon Athenaeum at Barnstaple and the Plymouth Chapel of the Mormon Church by appointment.
X-15. PARLIAMENTARY RECORDS
Many of the records of Parliament are held in the House of Lords Record Office. Among the most important for genealogists are the Protestation Returns, the closest record we have to a census from 1642. By order of the House of Commons, all adult men were asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the Protestant religion in 1642. Their names were duly inscribed in a list in each parish, and the list sent back to Parliament. WSL holds published transcripts of returns for the south west region.
X-20. COUNTY RECORDS
DRO issues a Guide to sources which includes ‘Lists and indexes: a brief guide’ as well as notes on sources on such subjects as family history, house history, farming history, transport history, maritime history, crime and punishment. There are also guides to specific categories of records.
X-21. Quarter sessions
While starting as a court of law in Tudor times for less serious crimes than the Assizes, the Quarter Sessions had many administrative functions attached to it over the centureS. Records of a wide range of activities are held in the DRO. Beside the County Quarter Sessions there were also separate sessions for Exeter, Plymouth, Bideford, South Molton, Dartmouth, Tiverton and Torrington. The main records of the court in session, the order books, extend from 1592 to 1971 for Devon, while rolls and books cover Exeter from 1557 to 1971.
Other records include gaol calendars and records of transportation (for Devon from 1718 to 1775). Deeds of bargain and sale were enrolled from 1536. Plans of major statutory undertakings, such as roads, bridges, ferries, harbours and railways were deposited pursuant to a House of Commons order of 1792, though most for Devon do not survive until after 1810. The Sessions were charged with maintaining registers of various kinds. Among those which survive are registers for freemasons’ lodges and printing presses. Publicans’ recognizanceS are a useful source for those studying the history of inns, although the name of the inn is not always given.
X-22. County Council records
Devon County Council was established, like all other county councils in 1889 and took over most of the adminstrative work of the quarter sessions. At first they had relatively few powers but from the start the records of the County Treasurer survive in the DRO. The gradual growth of the county’s administrative activities is seen by the Record Office’s holdings of other series of records, for example those for education (from 1890), roads and bridges (from 1892), smallholdings (from 1910), public health (from 1912), public assistance (from 1929), planning (from 1931). Many of these functions, for example health, now been transferred to other authorities. Council minutes were printed and made more widely available from 1905.
Emmison, F.G. and Gray, I. County records. (New ed, 1987).
Devon Record Office. Assizes and quarter sessions in Exeter. (1971).
X-30. MUNICIPAL RECORDS
For the smaller towns these may differ little from parish records. In some instances the trustees of an influential charitable institution may have taken over a variety of functions. One Devon example is feofees of Colyton. Larger incorporated boroughs would have a council with a mayor or portreeve, aldermen, councillors and one or more paid officials. The basis of the early powers would be laid down, confirmed or amended in a series of charters. The meetings of the council and its various committees would be recorded in minute books. Details of financial management will appear in the account books of the Chamberlain or a similar official. Some towns had powers to hold petty sessions or even quarter sessions. Rating records, often arranged by street, can be a useful guide to the development of the town. Some towns also maintained registers of freemen who had the right to trade and to bind apprentices. This structure of economic control becamel less strict during the 18th century but freedom records are a useful guide to trades before the development of directories. The Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 brought the old and sometimes corrupt oligarchic corporations into line. Gradually separate committees began to oversee special functions. The records of the Exeter Watch Committee for example start in 1836. The City of Exeter has one of the finest collections of archives of any provincial town in England and there is no space to deal with them in any detail here. A published listing of the Exeter records with extensive extracts is given in the Historical Manuscripts Commission’s rather confusingly arranged Report on the Records of the City of Exeter (HMSO, 1916). During the 19th century several towns had Improvement Commissioners which stood apart from the original corporation.
West, J. Town records. (1983).
X-41. Poor law unions.
These date from the late 1830s and early 1840s when groups of parishes were combined into poor law unions after the Poor Law Reform Act of 1834. The account and minute books contain data on the cost of poor relief, workhouse rules and administrations, schooling and discipline. Unions were also responsible for providing medical care at parish level. WSL has a number of works relating to the poor law in the south west.
Historial Association. Short guides to records: guardian’s minute books (1994)
X-42. School boards.
The most important records are school log books, compiled from 1863 on instruction from the Board of Education. Admission registers survive in Devon from the 1850s when many National and British Schools were built. The 1870 Education Act ordered the setting up of local school boards and records from 1871, including plans, survive in the DRO.
X-43. Health authorities, hospitals.
Local hoards of health were set up after surveys in the mid-nineteenth century. Many of the annual reports of the medical officers of health were printed and so can be found in libraries as well as record offices. The University of Exeter has conducted a project to locate historical medical records in the region.
X-44. Turnpike trusts.
These were set up in Devon from the 1750s and were private bodies maintaining stretches of highway between the main towns. Not all records survive, but a number can be found in the Record Office. Records also had to be deposited with the Quarter Sessions. From 1864 much of the work of the turnpike trusts was taken over by highway boards.
X-45. Fishery boards.
These were set up in the 19th and 20th centuries. Those for the Taw and Torridge, Exe, Teign, Axe and Dart survive in the DRO.
These are public records but few survive in Devon. There is very limited access to more recent records. See the Devon Record Office guide.
X-47. Petty sessions
These dealt with lesser crimes such as poaching and minor theft. Judicial records survive from the 19th century only.
X-48. Electoral records.
Electoral registers have been compiled since the 1832 Reform Act and survive from that date in the DRO. All 19th century registers have been microfilmed and can be consulted on fiche in all record offices in Devon. The main local studies libraries have some coverage, mainly for more recent dates, covering the area where the library is located. Poll books, which indicate the way individuals voted and were intended to prevent corrupt practices appeared between about 1695 and 1872 when the secret ballot was intoduced. They occasionally reached printed form, for example for the Exeter election of 1818 when the poll was printed by R. Cullum with the Addresses, speeches, squibs, songs etc. which were circulated during the recent election. Relatively few poll books survive for Devon in libraries and record offices. Those that do are listed in Poll books c1696-1772 byJ.Gibson (3rd ed, 1994).
Historical Association. Short guides to records: poll books (1994)
X-49. District council records.
Urban and Rural District Councils were established in 1888 and replaced by District Councils in 1974. Their records, where they survive, are mostly deposited in the DRO.
X-50. PARISH RECORDS
The contents of the parish chest is one of the first ports of call for the historian who is conducting in-depth research into the history of a parish. Of the items it contains the best-known are the parish registers.
X-51. Parish Registers
Parish registers were introduced in 1538 and until the advent of civil registration in 1837 provide the main source for tracing baptisms (not births), marriages and burials (not deaths). Some of the earliest registers were kept on loose sheets of paper and relatively few survive in Devon but a canon of 1597 required their copying retrospectively into parchment books and the making of annual transcripts of entries for the Diocese. The production of Bishops’ Transcripts in Devon was largely ignored and few start earlier than 1606, but in many instances the series, which have always formed part of the diocesan records, fill gaps where the original parish copies have disappeared. The Civil War and Commonwealth interrupted the production of parish registers with Bishops’ Transcripts ceasing for twenty years from 1642 although in 1653 a layman, confusingly known as the Parish Register, was appointed in each parish to maintain registration. Even after the Restoration there are many gaps in Bishops’ Transcripts until the 1720s. From 1754 Lord Hardwicke’s marriage act introduced printed books of fors and the parties and witnesses had to sign or give their marks - important evidence for literacy. In 1812 the Parochial Registers Act introduced printed forms for baptisms which included the names, residences and occupations of the parents, and for burials which included the residence and age at death. From the introduction of Civil Registration in in 1837 the marriage register was changed to include the age of the parties, their occupations and their fathers’ names and occupations. A good introduction to Anglican and other registers is given by Hugh Peskett in Guide to the parish and non-parochial registers of Devon and cornwall 1538-1837 (Devon and Cornwall Record Society, 1979). Since this work was compiled virtually all Devon parish registers have been called into the three record offices in Devon under the Parochial Records Measure of 1978 and a better guide to location is now the DRO‘s Parish, non-parochial and civil registers in the DRO (regularly updated). The current registers (which may in smaller parishes extend back a considerable time) remain with the church.
While most parish registers and diocesan transcripts are therefore available, normally on microfiche, in the Devon’s record offices and service points, other transcripts and indexes are also to be found. The Devon and Cornwall Record Society has transcribed and published a number of registers, including notably Colyton, which has been used for a range of important demographic studies. These published transcripts are widely available in libraries. The Society’s library now freely available on the open shelves of the Devon Heritage Centre search room, includes several hundred additional unpublished parish register transcripts and also includes Boyd’s and Fursdon’s marriage indexes and an index to marriage licences, all in typescript or manuscript. Baptisms and marriages, but not burials, for parishes held in the library’s collection along with some other parishes have been indexed by the Mormons and are available on microfiche as the International Genealogical Index. Various versions of the Devon section of this Index are available in libraries throughout Devon. An extended version is available online on the Family Search website. The Devon Family History Society is involved in indexing Devon baptisms 1813-1839, marriages 1754-1837 and burials 1812-1837 as well as the Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth burial index 1848-1924. The growth of nonconformity means that coverage becomes increasugly patchy in Devon, although the established church was frequently used by dissenters for baptism, marriage and burial, and certainly during the period of Civil Registration the registry office indexes are the most comprehensive source for births, marriage and deaths.
Linked to parish registers are the monumental inscriptions to be found in churches and churchyards. WSL has produced Monumental inscriptions : a list of works in local studies collections in Devon, based on a search made in 2001.
X-52. Other parish records
These are normally to be found in record offices. Unlike parish registers these for the most part have not been transcribed indexed or published. Stuart Raymond’s Devon: a genealogical bibliography lists examples of many parish records which have been the subject of books or periodical articles relating to specific localities.
Since Tudor times the parish has had a wide range of administrative activities and has generated a variety of records. From 1555, for example, each parish was made responsible for its highways and a series of Acts culminating in those of 1597 and 1601 obliged them to relieve the poor.
Vestry minutes contain the main proceedings of the parish and give an account of the vestry’s activities in a wide range of areas.
Churchwarden’s accounts in a few instances pre-date parish registers and several have been transcribed and published. Examples include Ashburton (1479-1580), Chagford (1480-1600), Hartland (1597-1706) and Morebath (1520-1573). They note expenditure on a remarkably wide range of matters from road repairs to the payment of bounty for killing vermin. WSL holds printed copies of churchwardens' accounts.
Rating lists indicate the liability of each named person, but only rarely give the names of properties on which their liability was assessed. There may be separate rating assessments for poor rates, church rates and highway rates. See the Historical Association’s Short guide to records: rate books (1994). WSL has transcribed rate records for Bovey Tracey.
The accounts of the Overseer of the Poor are perhaps the most informative for social historians. The parish was responsible for poverty relief until the Poor Law Reform Act of 1834 set up poor law unions (see 3.341 below). Among the records of most value for family historians are the apprenticeship papers, although these do not survive for all parishes. Poor law apprenticeships were normally for menial rather than skilled employments, such as domestic service or agricultural labour. Those for Stockleigh English are discussed in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association (1901) p.484-94. Settlement papers are useful for studying migration. Other papers which may survive are bastardy records, vagrant searches, removal orders and workhouse accounts. A listing of these groups of records is given by the DRO in Parish poor law records in Devon (1993)
Records of parish charities, often including charity schools, can provide valuab1e information on the way public services were provided as a result of private philanthropy. Information is often summarised in the reports of the Charity Commissioners (see section 3.173).
Civil parishes were established in 1894 and many of their records are also deposited in the DRO. In a few cases copies of minutes may also be found in the local library or museum.
Tate, W. E. The parish chest. (3rd ed, 1983)
West, J. Village records. (Rev. ed, 1997)
Cole, A. An introduction to poor law documents before 1834. (1993).
X-60. ECCLESIASTICAL RECORDS
In the past the Church played a much wider part in the regulation of society than it does today and it had considerable jurisdiction over the moral behaviour of individuals as well as requiring a considerable administrative structure to maintain its properties and estates. Most surviving ecclesiastical records for Devon are deposited in the DRO.
X-61 Diocesan records
These were received from the Diocese in 1954 and have a complex series of listings which are explained in a DRO leaflet. Some of the main groups include:
Bishops registers 1257-. These form the record of the official acts of the Bishops together with correspondence and other records. Those of most of the pre-Reformation bishops have been calendared, those from Bishop Walter Bronescombe in 1257 until Bishop Edmund Lacey 1455, edited by F. C. Hingeston-Randolph between 1889 and 1909, and that of Bishop Lacey, more fully edited by G.R. Dunstan and published by the Devon and Cornwall Record Society in five volumes 1963-1972.
Act Books of the Diocese are registers of business including alterations to churches and a range of other licences. They are in nine volumes and cover the period 1568-1734.
As can be expected, a wide range of records relate to the clergy. These include licences to preach, registers and papers relating to ordination starting in 1571, licences and registers for non-residence starting In 1804 and also records of complaints against the clergy.
Bishop’s transcripts of parish registers. These are discussed under the section for parish registers (3,3 11). A related type of record is marriage bonds (1660-1823), allegations (1755-1842) and licences (registers 1734-1918). Licences exempted those intending to marry from the call. ing of banns in the parish church and were normally used if partners were not resident in the same parish or if either partner was a minor. From 1523 to 1734 licences did not have their own registers but were recorded in the Principal Registry Act Books. Typescript indexes to this scattered mass of material are available in the Devon and Cornwall Record Society in the reading room of the Devon Heritage Centre, and the DRO produces a leaflet guide to this class of records.
Church property has various types of records, including licences to alter church structures and fittings and enqUries about parsonage houses. Church land or glebe is the subject of records such as glebe terriers or glebe exchanges. Records of episcopal estates have been transferred from the Church Commissioners and there is also a collection of deeds and documents relating to Exeter Cathedral as well as manor court books, leases and rentals for Bishop’s manors in the diocese. See the Historical Association Short guides to records: glebe terriers (1994).
Bishops’ visitations, records for which survive between 1622 and 1919, are regular inspections of the diocese made by the Bishop. Replies to bishops’ queries prior to visitations were made by local incumbents on a range of parish matters such as dissenters, schools, the poor, and population. Those for the visitation of 1821 are transcribed in The diocese of Exeter in 1821, edited by M. Cook (DCRS, 1960). See the Historical Association Short guides to records: epiScopal visitation books (1994).
Beside the control over the established church, an eye was kept on nonconformist congregations with registers of licences to meeting houses I /9-1852) as well as certificates (1791-1852). The Diocese also had jurisdiction over other areas of life and among less expected classes of reords are licences for schoolmasters, and surgeons.
The Bishop of Exeter’s Consistory Court, 1513-1933. This dealt with ecclesiastical matters, wills, tithes and morals. The Act Books survive from 1513 and other categories of records reflect the legal nature of this body’s work: depositions, exhibit books, cause papers and precedent books. The DRO has published The records of the Bishop of Exeter’s Consistory Court to 1660, by Donald Vage (Handlist no. 1, 1981).
X-62 Archdeaconry records
Most of the records of the Archdeaconries of Exeter and Totnes were destroyed in 1942. The records of the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple for the period 1570-1857 are held in NDRO. The earliest records have been edited by Peter Christie in Of chirch-reeves, and of testamentes: the church, sex and slander in Elizabethan north Devon, 1570-1579 (1994).
Tarver, A. Church court records: an introduction for family and local historians (1995).
X-63 Rural deaneries
These are smaller administrative units of the diocese. Presentments, mandates and papers from rural deans survive from 1662 to the present century and records of individual deaneries, such as Ottery, are also available.
X-64 Nonconformist records
Registers of nonconformist congregations prior to 1837 were called in by the Registrar General and are now in the Public Record Office. DCRS has microfilms of these registers and most are included on the IGI. An excellent introduction to nonconformist registers is provided by Hugh Peskett in his Guide to the parish and non-parochial registers of Devon and Cornwall 1538-1837 (1979). Many records are deposited in DRO and for the Methodist denominations there is a special guide by Roger F.S. Thorne, Methodism in Devon: a handlist of chapels and their records (DRO Handlist no. 2, 2nd ed., 1989).
X-65 Probate records
Until 1858 most wills were proved in a variety of ecclesiastical courts depending largely on the area in which property was held. The five main courts in Devon were the three Archdeaconry courts of Totnes, Barnstaple and Exeter, the Episcopal Consistory Court of Exeter and the Episcopal Principal Registry of Exeter. All of these records were destroyed in 1942 air raids. No list survives of the wills proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Totnes; for Barnstaple there is a typescript listing in WSL, while for the other three courts there is a published calendar by E.A. Fry (British Record Society Index Library, vols 35 and 46, 1908-14), but these give no details other than name, place and year. Selections of Devon wills were summarised by Olive Moger and Sir Oswyn Murrary before the Second World War and the typescript volumes are available in WSL. Many of these wills are copies of wills proved by Devonians from the registers of the main English probate court, the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, whose records survive in the PRO with a series of published indexes up to the 18th century. From 1796 to 1812 copies of Devon wills are available at the PRO. DCRS has a microfilm of the PRO calendar of these wills. From 1812 to 1857 there is a complete series of copies of Inland Revenue will transcripts in the DRO. DRO also has a card index of copies of individual wills. From 1858 wills have been registered centrally at the Principal Probate registry in London, with listings available in district registries. Invaluable social documents attached to wills are probate inventories, full listings of household goods. Of the very few that survive for Devon many have been transcribed by Margaret Cash in Devon inventories of the 16th and 17th centuries (DCRS new series, vol. 11, 1966). An unusual exception to the general dearth of probate records in Devon is the parish of Uffculme, which was a peculiar of the Diocese of Salisbury. The wills and inventories in the Wiltshire Record Office have been edited by Robin Stanes and a local history group and have been published by the DCRS (1997).
Camp, A.J. Wills and their whereabouts (1963)
Gibson, J.S.W. Probate jurisdictions: where to look for wills. 4th ed (1994)
Historical Association. Short guides to records: wills [and] probate inventories (1994).
The study of manorial records is a specialist field. The court leet and view of frankpledge elected the constable and hayward, dealt with the enforcement of laws and customs. The court baron dealt with changes of copyhold, property damage and the open field system. The general administration was in the hands of a steward. By the late 17th century vestries had taken over much business formerly dealt with by the manor. Types of records include accounts (or compoti), court rolls and custumals or extents. The records of many manors are to be found in local record offices, often as part of larger estate collections or as part of the records of bodies such as the Diocese of Exeter. Records have become scattered over the centuries and a national register is maintained by the Manorial Documents Register, part of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Quality House, Quality Court, Chancery Lane London WC2A 1 HP. The register can now be consulted on the Internet (http://www.hmc.gov.uk).
Later estate records normally include surveys, rentals, maps, household accounts and legal documents relating to estates, such as inventories, marriage settlements, wills and other probate records. Title deeds and leases form a large part of estate records. Among the larger estates in DRO are Bedford (1258M), Fortescue (1262M), Rolle (96M), Peter (123M), Courtenay (1508M), Drake (346M), Kennaway (961M) and the Diocese of Exeter. NDRO holds the estates of Chichester (50/11. 1308, 1478), Pine-Coffin (63/4) and the Bideford Bridge Trust (4274, B68, I3BT). Because of the complex ownership of scattered estates, many L)evon estate records are held outside the county. The National Register of Archives at the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts will have entries for many of these.
Estate sale catalogues are important sources of information on estates. These printed and frequently illustrated items, often with detailed maps, do not always form part of the estate records but may form part of the collections of solicitors or estate agents or may be individually acquired. Libraries have some examples of these but there are extensive collections in DRO (especially 62/9 and 547B). They are currently being indexed by the Devon Gardens Trust.
Alcock, N.W. Old title deeds (1986)
Alcock, N.W. ‘An east Devon manor in the later middle ages’ in Transactions of the Devonshire Association 102 (1970) 141-187; 105 (1973) 141-190. A study of the records of Bishop’s Clyst.
I)ibben, A.A. Title deeds (Historical Association Helps for students of history, 1968)
Finberg, H.P.R. Tavistock Abbey: a study in the social and economic history of Devon (2nd ed 1969).
Historical Association Short guides to records: deeds of title (1994).
Stuart, D. Manorial records (1992).
X-80. BUSINESS AND OTHER RECORDS
Records of individual businesses only survive rarely and those deposited in record offices must serve as examples of a much wider mass of documnentation. Some records survive in estate papers, for example the Iddesleigh papers contain records of the manganese mine at Upton lyne (51/24/129). Some mining plans are also held. DRO has a number of farm account books, and solicitors’ collections sometimes have material of relevance. Other individual collections include that of Ellis, the Exeter watchmaker and shipping records in the Holman bequest. DRO has a special listing of business records.
Insurance records contain details of many thousands of individual businesses but normally the policy number must he known to locate the relevant entry in the register. Extensive collections of insurance registers are held at Guildhall Library, London and an index on microfiche to Sun and Royal Exchange policies between 1775 and 1787 is available in the Westcountry Studies Library. DRO has the registers of the West of England Insurance Company.
Trade guilds are also an important source of information for business and economic history, but the guild system was not widely developed in Devon and few records have survived. The most significant records are for the Worshipful Company of Weavers, Fullers and Shearmen of Exeter and the DRO has produced a calendar of its documents (ref: 58/7). These were used by Joyce Youings for her work Tuckers’ Hall, Exeter: the history of a provincial city company through five centuries (1968).
This page last updated 24 May 2016