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"TAWSTOCK, a pleasant scattered village and parish, from 2 to 4 miles S. of Barnstaple, has 1429 inhabitants, and 6500 acres of land, including the neighbouring hamlets of East Combe, West Combe, Hiscott, Prustacott, Chapeltown, and St. John's Chapel, in the fertile vale of the river Taw. The manor was successively held by the Brewer, Tracey, Martyn, Audley, Fitzwarren, Hankford, and Bourchier families. . . . It now belongs to Sir Bourchier Palk Wrey, Bart., of TAWSTOCK HOUSE, a large and handsome mansion, delightfully situated in an extensive and well-wooded park, on the western side of the river Taw. . . . Charles Sturt, Esq., is lord of the manor of Templeton. The Church (St. Peter,) is a fine Gothic structure, with a tower rising from the centre, and contains several monuments of the Bourchiers and Wreys. The rectory, valued in K.B. at £69. 12s. 1d., and in 1831 at £997, is in the patronage of Sir B.P. Wrey, and incumbency of the Rev. H.B. Wrey, M.A., who has 112A. of glebe, and a large and handsome modern residence. . . . " [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Fremington Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and the Diocese of Exeter. Has a modern chapel of ease at Harracott (1844).


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

A listing of the inscriptions on flagstones in the Parish Church, and extracted from books, is held in the Society of Genealogist's Library, in Vol. 7 of Devon Memorial inscriptions (DE/M20).

Messenger, A.W.D. The Heraldry of Tawstock Church, with Genealogical Notes. Trans. Devon Assoc. 83 (1951) pp.130-171.
Wrey, Castell. Monuments, epitaphs etc in Tawstock church. Barnstaple: H.Pincombe (1928) 56p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - s731.76/TAW/WRE]
Wrey, C. List of Flagstones, Mural Tablets and Monuments and some Epitaphs from the Churchtard. (n.d.)


Snetzler, M.F. North Devon Surname Index to the Census. Microfiche: M.F. Snetzler, Barcott, Buckland Brewer, Bideford, Devon EX39 5LN. [Covers 1841, 1861, 1871 and 1881 census records for this parish]

Church History

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

The Church Monuments Society website provides photographs and transcripts of the monuments from a small but growing set of Devon churches, including Tawstock Parish Church.

Harding, William. A paper on Tawstock church. Exeter Diocesan Architectural Soc. Trans. 1 ser, v. 5, (1856) pp.188-202. [Index]
Layley, Charles G. The story of Tawstock church. Tawstock: Tawstock P.C.C. (1981) 23p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - p726.5/TAW/LAY]
Strong, H.W. A history and description of Tawstock church. Barnstaple: W.Michael (1889) 25p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - s726.5/TAW/STR]
Wrey, Florence & Castell. A guide to Tawstock church (3rd. ed.) [Tawstock?]: [The Church?] (1938) 32p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - p726.5/TAW/WRE]
Wrey, Florence. Tawstock Church, North Devon Barnstaple (1892) 32p: ill.

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.

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):

Nothing entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993).

Deanery of Barnstaple - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837 and Burials 1813-1837 - CD-ROM, Exeter, Devon FHS (2005). [Index of Atherington: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1800-1837), Barnstaple: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Bishops Tawton: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Chittlehampton: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Filleigh: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Fremington: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), High Bickington: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Horwood: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1654-1837), Burials (1675-1837), Huntshaw: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Instow: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Landkey: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Newton Tracey: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1570-1837), Burials (1725-1837), Pilton: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Swimbridge: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Tawstock: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837), Westleigh: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1838)


Transcription, by Jonathan Frayne of the Tawstock 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.


The Online Parish Clerk for this parish is William Cooke.

Haines, K.P. Nicholas Jones of Barnstaple and Tawstock, Devon, Devon Family Historian, vol. 147, (2013) pp.16-17. [b. Tawstock 1803, m. Barnstaple 1826.]
Roberts, John. The Armada Lord Lieutenant: his family and career. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 102, (1970) pp.71-85; 103, (1971) pp.103-122. [Bourchier Family]


Messenger, A.W.B. The heraldry of Tawstock Church, with genealogical notes by John Benson. (d.d.) [Westcountry Studies Library - 929.8/TAW/MES]


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

Coulter, James. Tawstock and the Lords of Barnstaple. Bideford: Edward Gaskell (1996) xiv, 186, [6]p, pl: ill. [ISBN 1898546150]


Layley, Charles. G. The Lords of Barnstaple and Tawstock. Tawstock: Tawstock PCC (1983) 32p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - p333.322/BAR/LAY]

Names, Personal

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


Tawstock Apprentice Register 1802-1848. [Devon]: Devon Family History Society (2013). [Foreword]

Probate Records

Transcription of the will of Lawrence Gibbons (1635) provided by Christine Gibbins.

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Last updated: 23 Jul 2015 - Brian Randell

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