Place:Buckfastleigh, Devon, England

TypeTown, Urban district
Coordinates50.483°N 3.767°W
Located inDevon, England
See alsoStanborough Hundred, Devon, Englandhundred in which Buckfastleigh was located
Teignbridge District, Devon, Englanddistrict municipality of which it is now a part
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Buckfastleigh is a small market town and civil parish in Devon, England situated beside the Devon Expressway (A38) at the edge of the Dartmoor National Park. It is part of Teignbridge District and, for ecclesiastical purposes lies within the Totnes Deanery. It has a population of 3,661. It is a centre of tourism, and is home to Buckfast Abbey, the South Devon Railway, the Buckfastleigh Butterfly Farm and Otter Sanctuary, the Tomb of Squire Richard Cabell and The Valiant Soldier.

The town was originally part of Stanborough Hundred, an ancient division of Devon. In 1894 it was split into two parishes of East Buckfastleigh and West Buckfastleigh which together made up the urban district of Buckfastleigh. In 1974 the two parishes were re-joined and with other local municipalities became part of the Teignbridge District.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Historically Buckfastleigh has grown as a mill town known for its woollen mills, corn and paper mills and a tannery supported by the rivers Dart, Mardle and the Dean Burn — water being an essential natural resource used in the manufacturing of wool and other products.

Buckfastleigh is medieval in origin, as is still evident in the original layout of the town. By the seventeenth century, most of the properties had been rebuilt, but the medieval layout, particularly in Fore Street, is still visible today.

The name "Buckfast" means "stronghold" — traditionally a place where deer and buck were held, and "Leigh" would have been the pasture belonging to Buckfast — hence the meaning deer held in a pasture (buck-fast-leigh).

Buckfast probably existed before Buckfastleigh as it is mentioned in the Domesday Book and in 1018 a Benedictine Abbey was founded and endorsed by King Canute at Buckfast.

Buckfastleigh town centre is now an area of mostly late eighteenth to early twentieth century buildings with an interesting collection of private dwellings, commercial and retail properties and public houses which retain many, if not all, of their original features, styles and character.

The town centre during the first half of the twentieth century was a lively almost self-sufficient community with locally based employment and a large building programme of local authority housing initiated by Buckfastleigh Urban District Council which commenced in the 1920s and extended the town to the south west and the north west. Census data shows that in 1801 the population was 1,525, and 2,781 in 1901.

The most prominent benefactors of the town were the Hamlyn family . who were the original owners of the woollen mills up until 1920 and together with other philanthropists in the town, new cottages were erected. In 1887 they were instrumental in the building of a new Town Hall and community building to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Land was also made available at this time for further public facilities which included Victoria Park, the tennis courts and the swimming pool. The new primary school was built in 1875 and the railway line from Buckfastleigh and Ashburton to Totnes was opened.

Registration Districts

Listed as East Buckfastleigh and West Buckfastleigh between 1894 and 1974.

Research Tips

  • Ordnance Survey Maps of England and Wales - Revised: Devonshire Northand Devonshire South illustrate the parish boundaries of Devon when rural districts were still in existence. The maps publication year is 1931. The maps blow up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. These maps are now downloadable for personal use.
  • GENUKI has a new map feature on its individual Devon parish pages. Each parish page includes an outline map of parishes in the region of the one under inspection. By clicking on this map the user is taken to a blow-up of Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file] provided by R. J. P. Kain and R. R. Oliver of the History Data Service of Colchester, Essex (distributed by UK Data Archive).
  • Devon County Council's Record Offices and Local Studies Libraries are being reorganized and amalgamated to form the Devon Heritage Services, comprising the Devon Heritage Centre (Exeter) and the North Devon Record Office (Barnstaple). These developments, which are described in Historical Records: A New Future for Devon's Heritage, do not affect the other major Devon archive, the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, or the Local Studies Library, which are located in Plymouth and come under the Plymouth City Council. (Devon FHS report that Plymouth Record Office has just aquired new premises.) There is a guide entitled Which heritage centre or record office should I visit? which is provided to explain the organization further.
  • Devon Family History Society Mailing address: PO Box 9, Exeter, EX2 6YP, United Kingdom. Specialized contacts for membership, publications, queries, etc. The society has branches in various parts of the county. It is the largest Family History Society in the United Kingdom.
  • Devon has a Online Parish Clerk (OPC) Project. Only about half of the parishes have a volunteer contributing local data. For more information, consult the website, especially the list at the bottom of the homepage.
  • GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Devon as well as leading to a collection of 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes. Devon is one of the counties on the GENUKI website that has recently (summer 2015) been updated. The maps described above are just one of the innovations.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki provides a similar information service to GENUKI which may be more up-to-date. An index of parishes leads to notes and references for each parish.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has
  1. organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts and rural and urban districts of the 20th century
  2. excerpts from a gazetteer of circa 1870 outlining individual towns and parishes
  3. reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
  • More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Buckfastleigh. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.