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"The pleasant village which gives its name to the Hundred is four miles N.E. by N. of Barnstaple, and has in its parish 686 souls, and 4762 acres of land. Sir Arthur Chichester, Bart, whose Baronetcy was created in 1641, is lord of the manor, and owner of most of the soil, and has a handsome seat here called Youlston Park, which one of his ancestors obtained by marrying the heiress of the Beaumonts, in the reign of Henry VII. He is patron of the rectory, valued in K.B. at £30. 3s. 11½d., and in 1831 at £472. The Rev. R.J. Beadon, M.A., is the incumbent, and has 85A. of glebe, and a good residence, recently erected. The Church (St Peter,) is a neat structure, and contains several memorials of the Chichesters. The poor have the interest of £56. 10s., given by various donors." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

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


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


Snetzler, M.F. North Devon Surname Index to the Census. Microfiche: M.F. Snetzler, Barcott, Buckland Brewer, Bideford, Devon EX39 5LN. [Covers 1881 census records for this parish]

Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1538 are held in the Devon Record Office - for details see Parish Registers in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1538 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.

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

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Christenings 1538-1772 and Marriages 1539-1754.

Court Records

Register of Freeholders - Shebbear, Sherwill And Southmolton c1816, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF D133). [Foreword]

Description and Travel

Victoria Clare has created a well-illustrated Shirwell Village web-site, which also contains information on the early history of the area.


Transcript of entry in White's Devonshire Directory of 1850.

Transcription, by Jonathan Frayne of the Shirwell section of Kelly's Directory of Barnstaple and Neighbourhood (1941).


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


Chichester, Alex Palmer Bruce, Sir. History of the family of Chichester, from A.D 1086 to 1874 including the descents of the various branches settled at Raleigh, Youlston, Arlington, Widworthy, Calverleigh Hall, and elsewhere in Devonshire; also of the Chichesters, Marquesses of Donegal, and Barons Templemore. John Camden Hotten, 1871.


General historical and descriptive information, area map from 1765, details about administrative boundaries, etc., about Shirwell from the Devon Library's Local Studies Service.

Reichel, O.J. The Hundreds of Braunton, Shirwell and Fremington in Early Times, Trans. Devonshire Association, Extra volume, (1935) 136pp.

Land and Property

Complete transcription of Shirwell Land Tax records, by Roy Conibear.

Names, Personal

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

Probate Records

Transcription of the will of Frances Symons (1652), provided by Sheila Howard.

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Last updated: 21 Jul 2015 - Brian Randell

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