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"ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE'S is an extensive parish on the western side of the river Exe, connected with Exeter by Exe Bridge, and containing about 3700 acres of land, 4301 inhabitants; the populous suburbs of Cowick street, Okehampton street, Alphington street, &c.; the hamlets of Exwick and Oldridge, about a mile N.N.W. of the city; many scattered houses; and several mills. It is crossed by the South Devon Railway, which has a small station near Cowick street. . . . S.W. Buller, Esq., is lord of the manors of Cowick and Hayes, and also of Exwick and Barley; Sir J.S.G. Sawle, Bart., owns the manor of Bowhill; and Thomas Northmore, Esq., owns Cleave, which has a pleasant mansion commanding a fine view over Exeter. Franklands belongs to the Jones family, and Oldridge to the Yardley and other families. Floyer Hayes, was the seat of the ancient family of Floyer from the time of the Conquest till last century. . . . The populous parts of the parish of St. Thomas are included in the Parliamentary limits of the city of Exeter. The parish CHURCH, in Cowick street, is a large ancient structure, which was enlarged in 1828, and has a tower and six bells. . . . J.W. Buller, Esq., is impropriator of the rectorial tithes, and also patron of the vicarage, valued in K.B. at £11. 2s. 8½d., and in 1831 at £237, and now enjoyed by the Rev. Wm. Hy. Howard, M.A., who has a good parsonage house, and is also incumbent of Exwick and Oldridge Chapels. . . . Exwick is a considerable village on the banks of the Exe, 1 mile N.N.W. of Exeter, and has a woollen manufactory, a large corn mill, and a paper mill." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]
Sometimes known as St Thomas (the Apostle) by Exeter, this parish was not part of the City and County of Exeter prior to 1900; it is often (incorrectly) referred to as Exeter St Thomas. Exwick (1872) and Emmanuel (1910) are modern parishes here.

General Information


Mills, S.I. Does the Humour Carry On?, Devon Family Historian, vol. 122, (2007) pp.9. [Anecdote about Dorothy Ena Pentecost (b. 21 Jul 1907)]
Mills, Sheila. Romantic Rendezvous, Devon Family Historian, vol. 130, (2011) pp.10-11. [Herbert Pentecost (b. 1803, St Thomas Exeter) and Winifred Alice White]


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

Exeter City Council's Bereavement Services Alphabetical Index Cards - relating to over 100,000 burials at Exwick, Higher and Topsham cemeteries.

A record of the the memorials and graves in the churchyard and inside the church is held by the Parish Office, which is happy to perform lookups, or to arrange a visit for anyone who would like to see the inside of the church.


Snowden, L.J. 1891 Census Surname Index to St Thomas, Exeter and Topsham, RG12/1679 (1998). [Devon FHS Library p929.34235]

Church History

Swabey, Maurice. Annals of St. Thomas. Typescript [1930] 25p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sxB/EXE/0001/SWA]
Tubbs, B.R. The Story of St Thomas', Exeter. (1970) [Westcountry Studies Library, Exeter Cathedral Library]
Winsley, T. The Parish Church of St Thomas', Exeter. (1936) [Westcountry Studies Library]

Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1541 are held in the Devon Record Office - for details see Parish Registers in the Devon Record Office.

Indexed transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1541 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library - for details see Parish Registers in the Devon & Cornwall Record Society's Collection.

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

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1541-1837 and Marriages 1576-1812.

The LDS has a microfilm Parish Register transcripts, 1554-1837, of original records held at the Exeter Public Library - FHL BRITISH Film 916843 and 916844.

Description and Travel

Living Here: West of the Exe - community web-site, with extensive historical material.

Around the River Exe: The official guide of the St. Thomas (Exeter) Rural District Council (2nd ed.), London, Century Press (1955?) 36p: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library DEV/1955/St.T]


The parish of St Thomas is included in the Exeter Directory section of White's Devonshire Directory of 1850.


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


Aldam, Angela. The Baker Family of Whitestone and Exeter St Thomas, Devon and their Descendants, (1997). [Devon FHS Library 929.2/BAK]
Endicott, Don. Endicott Family, Devon Family Historian, vol. 143, (2012) pp.11-12.
Skinner, A.J. Budgell of St. Thomas, Exeter Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 10, 1918-19, pp. 206-7. [17-18th c.]


Calland, G. A History of the Devon County Prison for Debtors in St Thomas, (1999). [DFHS Library 365.094235] [ISBN 0953501507]
Enright, Jean and Enright, Philip. Dreadful Fire and Loss of Life, Devon Family Historian, vol. 129, (2009) pp.28-30. [In Exeter St Thomas - from Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, 21 Oct 1858]
Enright, Jean and Enright, Philip. Suicide of a Prisoner, Devon Family Historian, vol. 129, (2009) pp.30-31. [Frederick Jones Joslin, father of the family who perished by fire in 1858 - from Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, 22 Sep 1880]
Piller, Mavis. St Thomas of Yesteryear (three parts), Obelisk Publications (2001-2003).
Rice, Pat. Alarming Indundation, Devon Family Historian, vol. 71, (1994) pp.28. [Transcription of an article from the Exeter Flying Post for 26 Jan 1809 about the River Exe flooding]

Names, Personal

Harris, Jean. Devon Inventories of the Seventeenth Century, Devon Family Historian, vol. 96, (Nov 2000) pp.35-36. [Listing of 50 debtors of George Cook of Stoke Canon, living at St Thomas, Exeter - taken from the D & CRS publication]
Exeter St Thomas Vaccination Register - 1905, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D082). [Foreword]
Exeter St Thomas Vaccination Register - 1906, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D118). [Foreword]

Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

King, G.R. Aspects of poor law administration in St. Thomas Union, Devon, 1834 to 1846, Worcester (1987) 77, [30] leaves. [Westcountry Studies Library sxB/EXE/362.5/KIN]
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Last updated: 28 Jan 2014 - Brian Randell

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