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
St Petrock Churchyard
St. Mary Arches
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 cathedral city in Devon, England, with a population of 129,800 (mid-2016 EST). The city is located on the River Exe approximately northeast of Plymouth and southwest of Bristol. It is the county town of Devon, and the base of Devon County Council. Also situated in Exeter, are two campuses of the University of Exeter, Streatham Campus and St Luke's Campus.

Exeter was the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in Britain. Exeter became a religious centre during the Middle Ages and into the Tudor times: Exeter Cathedral, founded in the mid 11th century, became Anglican during the 16th-century English Reformation. During the late 19th century, Exeter became an affluent centre for the wool trade, although by the First World War the city was in decline. After the Second World War, much of the city centre was rebuilt and is now considered to be a centre for modern business and tourism in Devon and Cornwall.

The administrative area of Exeter has the status of a non-metropolitan district under the administration of the County Council; a plan to grant the city unitary authority status was scrapped under the 2010 coalition government.


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:

All the parishes written in blue can be used as "places" within WeRelate, but only Exeter St. Peter (the cathedral) and St. Thomas the Apostle, a large parish even before it was merged into Exeter, has a descriptive page. Exeter Bedford Circus, Exeter Bradninch Precinct and Exeter Castle Yard were too small to be referenced at all.

GENUKI has descriptions of all the parishes and a map 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 which are 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

(revised Nov 2018)

  • For a quick view of all the parishes in Devon, download this map from Devon County Council and save it to your computer. It is in pdf format and expansion to 200% allows viewing of all the parishes by name. Modern "district" and parish boundaries are shown.
  • Ordnance Survey Map of Devonshire North and Devonshire South are large-scale maps covering the whole of Devon between them. They show the parish boundaries when Rural Districts were still in existence and before the mergers of parishes that took place in 1935 and 1974. When expanded the maps can show many of the small villages and hamlets inside the parishes. These maps are now downloadable for personal use but they can take up a lot of computer memory.
  • GENUKI has a selection of maps showing the boundaries of parishes in the 19th century. The contribution from "Know Your Place" on Devon is a huge website yet to be discovered in detail by this contributor.
  • Devon has three repositories for hands-on investigation of county records. Each has a website which holds their catalog of registers and other documents.
  • Devon Family History Society Mailing address: PO Box 9, Exeter, EX2 6YP, United Kingdom. The society has branches in various parts of the county. It is the largest Family History Society in the United Kingdom. The website has a handy guide to each of the parishes in the county and publishes the registers for each of the Devon dioceses on CDs.
  • This is the home page to the GENUKI Devon website. It has been updated since 2015.
  • Devon has a Online Parish Clerk (OPC) Project which can be reached through GENUKI. 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.
  • Magna Britannia, Volume 6 by Daniel Lysons and Samuel Lysons. A general and parochial history of the county. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822, and placed online by British History Online. This is a volume of more than 500 pages of the history of Devon, parish by parish. It is 100 years older than the Victoria County Histories available for some other counties, but equally thorough in its coverage. Contains information that may have been swept under the carpet in more modern works.
  • There is a cornucopia of county resources at Devon Heritage. Topics are: Architecture, Census, Devon County, the Devonshire Regiment, Directory Listings, Education, Genealogy, History, Industry, Parish Records, People, Places, Transportation, War Memorials. There are fascinating resources you would never guess that existed from those topic titles. (NOTE: There may be problems reaching this site. One popular browser provider has put a block on it. This may be temporary, or it may be its similarity in name to the Devon Heritage Centre at Exeter.)
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.