Place:Exeter, Devon, England

Alt namesEscancestresource: Blue Guide: England (1980) p 160
Essecestrasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 80
Execestresource: Domesday Book (1985) p 80
Exoniasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 80
Isca Dumnoniorumsource: Blue Guide: England (1980) p 160; Romano-British Placenames [online] (1999) accessed 16 August 2004
TypeCity, Borough (county), County town
Coordinates50.72°N 3.53°W
Located inDevon, England     ( - 1974)
See alsoWonford Hundred, Devon, Englandhundred in which the city was located
Exeter District, Devon, Englanddistrict municipality of which it is the principal part since 1974
Contained Places
Exeter Cathedral
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

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

Exeter is a historic city in Devon, England. It lies within the ceremonial county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. Currently the administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district and is therefore under the administration of the County Council. The city is on the River Exe about northeast of Plymouth and southwest of Bristol. Its population was 117,773 at the time of the UK's 2011 census.

Exeter was the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in Britain. Exeter Cathedral, founded in the early 12th century, became Anglican during the 16th-century English Reformation. The modern city's transport hubs include the Exeter Metro St Davids Railway Station, the Central railway station, the M5 motorway, and Exeter International Airport.


Parish Organization

From Saxon times, Exeter was in the hundred of Wonford. The city had a number of churches, each covering a parish with agreed boundaries. Until the start of civil registration in 1837, the parish church (of the Church of England) was responsible for recording the baptisms, marriages and burials which occurred in its area. The only legal marriages were those which took place within the Church of England. The names of the parishes were as follows:

  • Exeter All Hallows-on-the-Walls
  • Exeter Allhallows Goldsmith Street
  • Exeter Bedford Circus
  • Exeter Bradninch Precinct
  • Exeter Castle Yard
  • Exeter Holy Trinity
  • Exeter St. David
  • Exeter St. Edmund
  • Exeter St. George-the-Martyr
  • Exeter St. John
  • Exeter St. Kerrian
  • Exeter St. Lawrence
  • Exeter St. Martin
  • Exeter St. Mary Arches (can be found in WeRelate as St. Mary Arches, Devon, England)
  • Exeter St. Mary Major
  • Exeter St. Mary Steps
  • Exeter St. Olave
  • Exeter St. Pancras
  • Exeter St. Paul
  • Exeter St. Petrock
  • Exeter St. Sidwells (can be found in WeRelate as St. Sidwells, Devon, England because it is somewhat outside the city)
  • Exeter St. Stephen
  • St. Leonard joined Exeter in 1900
  • St. Thomas the Martyr joined Exeter in 1900

GENUKI has descriptions of all the parishes complete with maps to indicate their locations within the city. It also gives alternate names for some of the parishes which may explain how they received their official names as given above.


For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Exeter. See also Wikipedia's article on the Exeter Blitz

The Wikipedia article describes the bombing raids on Exeter during World War II and the devastation caused, but it does not mention that the City Library was burnt out and about a million books and historic documents went up in smoke. Genealogists should be aware that while equivalent records--particularly wills--are quite easy to come by for other English counties, some records for Devon and surrounding counties do not exist. (FS20 - Wills - Devon County Council)

Registration Districts

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 Exeter. 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.