Brixham Devon Family History Guide

Brixham is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Devon.

Other places in the parish include: Lower Brixham, Woodhuish, Woodhush, Brixham All Saints, and Boohay.

Alternative names: Higher Brixham, Upper Brixham

Parish church: Virgin Mary

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1556
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1602

Separate registers exist for Brixham All Saints

  • Parish registers: 1826
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1827

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Independent/Congregational, Particular Baptist, Wesleyan Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist Reform. 

Adjacent Parishes

  • Dittisham
  • St Saviour
  • Kingswear
  • Townstall
  • Churston Ferrers
  • Dartmouth St Petrox

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BRIXHAM, a town, a parish, and a subdistrict, in Totnes district, Devon. The town stands at the southern point of Torbay, 2½ miles E of a station on the Dartmouth railway called Brixham Road, and 4 NE of Dartmouth. It is a seaport under Dartmouth, a coastguard station, and a seat of petty sessions; and has a head post office,‡ (designated Brixham, South Devon,) a banking office, and three chief inns. It consists of two parts, lower and upper; and extends fully 1½ mile from the quay up a valley. It is irregularly built, but occupies a picturesque site; and, had it been well edificed, would have been one of the most charming places in the county. The parish church, in its upper part, is an edifice of the 14th century, repaired in 1852, at a cost of about £700; and contains several monuments, one of them to Judge Buller. Another church, in the lower town, is a plain but commodious structure, built in 1814, and enlarged in 1830. Independent, Baptist, and Wesleyan chapels are in respectively Botton, Middle, and Fore streets. A free school has £78 a year from endowments; and other charities have £113. A market house and the harbour dues yield about £750 a year. Markets are held on Tuesday and Saturday, and a pleasure fair on Whit-Tuesday. Considerable business is done in ship-building and ropemaking; about 120 sloops of between 30 and 40 tons are employed in trawl-fishing, and nearly 100 boats in hook-fishing; and about 100 schooners and brigs, of aggregately about 18,000 tons, carry on commerce, chiefly coastwise but partly foreign. The exports are chiefly sheep, iron-ore, and malt: and the imports, coal, cider, and fruit coastwise, and cattle from the Channel Islands and France. The appearance of the fish market on every weekday evening is very striking; and a peculiar mode of selling at it is the subject of a famous picture by Collins. The pier was built in 1808; the harbour is a refuge for vessels in stormy weather; and a breakwater was recently formed to increase the security of the anchorage. The Prince of Orange landed here in 1688; and the Duke of Clarence visited the place in 1823. A pillar, commemorative of the Prince of Orange's landing, and enclosing part of the stone on which he first stepped, is on the pier; and a tablet, commemorating the Duke of Clarence's visit, is inserted in the pier wall. A spring on the outskirts of the upper town was long celebrated for ebbing and flowing; but, in consequence of changes on the ground near it, has lost its intermittent property. Pop. of the town, 4,390. Houses, 928.

The parish includes also the hamlets of Boohay and Woodhush. Acres, 5,740; of which 145 are water. Real property, £16,47 5. Pop., 5,984. Houses, 1,245. The property is much subdivided. A fourth of the manor was purchased many years ago by twelve of the fishermen, and the shares of this were afterwards divided. A magnificent view of Torbay is obtained from Furzham. Traces of an ancient camp are at Buryhead. A large bone cave was recently discovered, containing bone and flint objects of a kind involved in recent geological discussions, and noticed in Sir Charles Lyell's new work on the Antiquity of Man. The living is a vicarage, united with the vicarage of Churston-Ferrers, in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £494. Patron, the Crown. Lower Brixton is served by a vicar, with salary of £267, appointed by the Crown. The subdistrict consists of the parishes of Brixton and Churston-Ferrers. Acres, 8,517. Pop., 6,750. Houses, 1,390.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records

FamilySearch - Birth Marriage & Death Census Migration & Naturalization Military Probate & Court

England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912 (FamilySearch) - free

England, Devon Bishop's Transcripts, 1558-1887 (FamilySearch) - free

England, Devon and Cornwall Marriages, 1660-1912 (FamilySearch) - free

Devon Baptisms, Marriages, Burials (FindMyPast)

Devon Banns (FindMyPast)

England, Boyd's Marriage Indexes, 1538-1850 (FindMyPast) - free


Vision of Britain historical maps


County: Devon
Civil Registration District: Totnes
Probate Court: Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Archdeaconry of Totnes
Diocese: Exeter
Rural Deanery: Ipplepen
Poor Law Union: Totnes
Hundred: Haytor
Province: Canterbury