Place:St. Thomas-the-Apostle, Devon, England

NameSt. Thomas-the-Apostle
Alt namesSt Thomas-the-Apostlesource: spelling variant
St. Thomas the Apostlesource: spelling variant
St Thomas (the Apostle) by Exetersource: GENUKI
Exeter St. Thomassource: GENUKI
TypeParish, Urban district
Coordinates50.715°N 3.544°W
Located inDevon, England     ( - 1900)
See alsoWonford Hundred, Devon, Englandhundred in which the parish was located
Exeter, Devon, Englandadjacent cathedral city and county borough which absorbed the parish in 1900
source: Family History Library Catalog

According to GENUKI, St. Thomas-the-Apostle is "sometimes known as St Thomas (the Apostle) by Exeter. This parish was not part of the City and County of Exeter prior to 1900; it is often (incorrectly) referred to as Exeter St Thomas. Exwick ([established] 1872) and Emmanuel ([established] 1910) are modern [ecclesiastical] parishes here." Both GENUKI and the FamilySearch Wiki file St. Thomas-the-Apostle under Exeter St Thomas. The original St. Thomas parish probably accounts for half of Exeter today.

GENUKI quotes the following description of the parish of St. Thomas from White's Devonshire Directory of 1850:

"ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE'S is an extensive parish on the western side of the river Exe, connected with Exeter by Exe Bridge, and containing about 3700 acres of land, 4301 inhabitants; the populous suburbs of Cowick street, Okehampton street, Alphington street, &c.; the hamlets of Exwick and Oldridge, about a mile N.N.W. of the city; many scattered houses; and several mills. It is crossed by the South Devon Railway, which has a small station near Cowick street....
"S.W. Buller, Esq., is lord of the manors of Cowick and Hayes, and also of Exwick and Barley; Sir J.S.G. Sawle, Bart., owns the manor of Bowhill; and Thomas Northmore, Esq., owns Cleave, which has a pleasant mansion commanding a fine view over Exeter. Franklands belongs to the Jones family, and Oldridge to the Yardley and other families. Floyer Hayes, was the seat of the ancient family of Floyer from the time of the Conquest till last century....
"Exwick is a considerable village on the banks of the Exe, 1 mile N.N.W. of Exeter, and has a woollen manufactory, a large corn mill, and a paper mill."

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of the Registration District of St. Thomas from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72. It includes census statistics from 1851 and 1861.:

"THOMAS (St.), a district in Devon; named from St. Thomas-the-Apostle parish at Exeter, and containing the sub-districts of St. Thomas, Alphington, Christow, Kenton, Heavitree, Topsham, Broad Clist, Woodbury, Exmouth, and East Budleigh. Acres: 130,141. Poor rates, in 1863: £20,860. Pop. in 1851: 48,806; in 1861: 48,405. Houses: 9,663. Marriages in 1863: 285; births: 1,386, --of which 76 were illegitimate; deaths: 947, --of which 383 were at ages under 5 years, and 45 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60: 2,869; births: 13,218; deaths: 9,423. The places of worship, in 1851, were 58 of the Church of England, with 19,268 sittings; 7 of Independents, with 2,161 [sittings]; 5 of Baptists, with 601 [sittings]; 2 of Unitarians, with 670 [sittings]; 14 of Wesleyans, with 1,888 [sittings]; 1 of Bible Christians, with 72 [sittings]; 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 55 attendants; 2 of Brethren, with 300 [sittings]; and 7 undefined, with 700 [sittings]. The schools were 52 public day-schools, with 2,915 scholars; 94 private day-schools, with 2,046 [scholars]; 53 Sunday-schools, with 3,014 [scholars]; and 1 evening school for adults, with 10 [scholars]."


Research Tips

  • GENUKI contains a number of references for further sources of information and an outline map of the parish which leads to a 19th century map of the area.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time Units and Statistics section has been employed to provide the timeline given above and also contains census statistics for the parish.
  • The FamilySearch wiki on the ecclesiastical parish of St Thomas-the-Apostle provides a list of useful resources for the local area. The usual Family History Catalog link for the parish is blank--probably because of the great variation in the way it can be spelled. The entries will probably be found through the FamilySearch Wiki.
  • A map of Devon circa 1888 (before the existence of rural and urban districts) supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time
  • A map of the southern part of Devon circa 1944 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time
  • There is no article in Wikipedia for St Thomas-the-Apostle and very little reference to it in the article on Exeter.