Colyton Devon Family History Guide

Colyton is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Devon. Monkton and Shute are chapelries of Colyton.

Other places in the parish include: Colyford.

Alternative names: Culliton

Parish church: St. Andrew

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1538
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1609

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational, Presbyterian Unitarian, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History


The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

COLYTON, a small town, a parish, a sub-district, and a hundred in Devon. The town stands on the river Coly, near the Yeovil and Exeter railway, 5 miles SW of Axminster; is irregularly built; consists chiefly of very ancient houses; is a seat of petty sessions; and has a post office under Axminster, a station on the railway, two chief inns, a parish church, three dissenting chapels, and a free school. The church is later English; Comprises nave, aisles, and chancel; has an interesting eastern window of stained glass; and contains monuments of the Courtenays, the Poles, the Yonges, and others. A small weekly market is held on Thursday; and fairs on the first Wednesday of May and 30 Nov. Manufactures of paper and of pillow-lace are carried on. A royal force, while holding the town in the wars of Charles I., was attacked and defeated at it by a detachment of the parliamentarians from Lyme. The parish includes also the tything of Colyford. Acres, 7, 196. Real property, £12,741. Pop., 2,446. Houses, 503. The property is divided among a few. The Courtenays and the Poles were seated at Colcombe Castle; and the Yonges, at Colyton Great House. See Colcombe. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of Monkton, in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £403. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. Charities, £238. The sub-district is in Axminster district; and contains five parishes and an extra-parochial tract. Acres, 19,856. Pop., 6,190. Houses, 1,281. The hundred contains eleven parishes. Acres, 28,487. Pop., 7,810. Houses, 1,630.

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

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

COLYTON, or Culliton (St. Andrew), a markettown and parish, in the union of Axminster, hundred of Colyton, Honiton and S. divisions of Devon, 5 miles (S. W.) from Axminster, and 151 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 2451 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the river Coly, on which it is situated, near the confluence of that stream with the Axe. In the reign of Edward III. it obtained the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair. During the civil war, the royal forces in possession of the town were attacked and defeated by a detachment of the parliamentarian army stationed at Lyme. The town is pleasantly seated on the road between Axminster and Sidmouth, in a fertile vale, containing some fine pasture land and orchards, and abounding with excellent timber; the houses, many of which are very ancient, are in general irregularly built of flint, with thatched roofs. The inhabitants are supplied with water from two conduits connected with springs a little south of the town. The principal branch of manufacture was that of paper, which is at present on a reduced scale, there being but one establishment, in which only ten persons are employed: a tan-yard gives employment to about thirty hands. The market is on Thursday, and there are smaller markets on Tuesday and Saturday. Two small fairs are held under the control of feoffees, by charter of Henry VIII.; one on the first Thursday after the 1st of May, and the other on the first Thursday after the 14th of October; and there is likewise a fair at Colyford on the first Wednesday after the 12th of March. The petty-sessions for the division are held here; and two constables and a tythingman are annually appointed at the court leet of the lord of the manor.

The parish comprises 6430 acres, of which 140 are common or waste. The living is a vicarage, with the perpetual curacies of Monkton and Shute annexed, valued in the king's books at £40. 10. 10.; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The great tithes have been commuted for £600, the vicarial for £460; and there is a glebe of about an acre, with a glebe-house. The church is a spacious structure in the later English style, with a low embattled tower rising from the centre, surmounted by a handsome octagonal lantern turret with pierced parapets: the aisles have been widened to include the transepts, and the cruciform arrangement is thus destroyed. In the chancel is a beautiful altar-tomb with the effigy of a daughter of one of the Courtenays, earls of Devon, richly enshrined in tabernacle work; and in the angles north and south of the chancel are the sepulchral chapels of the Poles, and of the extinct family of Yonge: the Poles' chapel is separated from the church by an exquisitely carved screen. There are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. A school is supported out of a general fund arising from an endowment in land by Henry VIII.; the land, now worth about £300 per annum, was part of the property of Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter, who was executed Feb. 14th, 1539. The ruins of Colcombe Castle, the seat of the Courtenays, have been converted into a farmhouse.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848


A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

COLYFORD, a hamlet, in the parish and hundred of Colyton, Honiton and S. divisions of Devon, one mile (S. S. E.) from Colyton. This place was made a borough before the reign of Edward I., and is still governed by a mayor, who is annually chosen at the court of the lord of the manor. The corporation consists of the mayor and burgesses; and the mayor, who holds office for one year, and is constable the next, is possessed of a small field, and has the tolls of a well attended cattle-fair, held on the first Wednesday after March 12th. The road from Exeter to Weymouth runs through the village. There are lands still called Chapel Lands, but the existence of the chapel is known only by tradition: the great tithes within the limits of the borough belong to the vicar of Colyton. A Roman road passed through the place, the remains of which are sometimes dug up. Sir T. Gates, who discovered the Bermuda Isles, was born here.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Parish Records


England, Devon Bishop's Transcripts, 1558-1887

England, Devon and Cornwall Marriages, 1660-1912

England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912

England, Devon, Plymouth Prison Records, 1821-1919

Exeter Marriage Licenses 1523-1631

Exeter Burial Records

Devon Cemetery Photos

South Hams Memorial Inscriptions

Appledore Burials 1844-1970

Devon Calendars of Prisoners

Devon Convicts Transported to Australia 1782-1821

Records for England

Births and Baptism Records

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Marriage Records

England Marriages, 1538–1973

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Death Records

England Death Records, 1998-2015

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660

Non-Conformist Records

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977


England and Wales Census, 1841

England and Wales Census, 1851

England and Wales Census, 1861

England and Wales Census, 1871

England and Wales Census, 1881

England and Wales Census, 1891

England and Wales Census, 1901

England and Wales Census, 1911


United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

War and Conflict

Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United Kingdom, World War I Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920

Newspaper Archives

British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices

British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries


County: Devon
Civil Registration District: Axminster
Probate Court: Court of the Peculiars of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter
Diocese: Exeter
Rural Deanery: Pre-1848 - None, Post-1847 - Honiton
Poor Law Union: Axminster
Hundred: Colyton
Province: Canterbury