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

Other places in the parish include: Cheristow, Edistone, Elmscott, Hartland Quay, Harton, Meddon, Milford, Pilham, Rimscott, South Hole, and Stoke.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin: 1559

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

Parishes adjacent to Hartland

Historical Descriptions


The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

HARTLAND, a village, a parish, a sub-district, and a hundred in Devon. The village stands on a cape on the S side of Barnstaple bay, 3½ miles SE of Hartland point, and 13 ½ W by S of Bideford r. station; is said to have got its name from the ancient abundance of stags in its neighbourhood; was once a borough and a market-town; is now governed by a portreeve and other officers appointed annually; and has a post-office under Bideford, and fairs on Easter Wednesday and 25 Sept. The parish contains also the villages of Hartland Quay and Stoke, and the hamlets of Cheristow, Elmscott, Meddon, Milford, and Pilham. Acres, 16, 700. Real property, £10, 243. Pop. in 1851, 2, 183; in 1861, 1, 916. Houses, 401. The property is much subdivided. The manor belonged to an Ancient convent, founded on it in the time of Edward the confessor; passed to the families of Dinham, Bouchier, Fitzwarren, Zouche, Carew, Arundell, and Buck; and belongs now to Sir George Stuckley, Bart. The convent was founded by Githa, the wife of Earl Godwin, and dedicated to St. Nectan, whom she imagined to have preserved her husband from shipwreck; and was refounded, in the time of Henry II., by Jeffrey de Dinham, for canons secular of the order of St. Angustine. A mansion on its site was built about 1790; retains, in the basement story of the E and W fronts, portions of the original buildings, particularly the cloisters, which are early English; stands in a beautiful vale, surrounded with woodland; contains old carving and pictures; is approached by a romantic private road, open to the public; and is the seat of Sir G. Stuckley. The surface of the parish is diversified; the rocks are chiefly of the carboniferous formation; and the coast abounds in cliffs, of dreary scenic character, showing black and rusty bands of slate, and remarkable contortions. St. Catherine’s Tor, in the neighbourhood, is a conical hill, surmounted by vestiges of a Roman building, and connected with adjacent heights by a massive Ancient wall. Hartland point is 350 feet high; was the Hercules’ Promontory of Ptolemy; and has been thought to retain some shadow of artificial Antiquity. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £97. Patron, the Rev. T. How Chope. The church stands upon an eminence, 1½ mile W of the village; serves as a landmark for mariners; is the church of the ancient abbey; has Norman and early English parts; comprises nave, chancel, and two aisles, with a magnificent pinnacled tower 128 feet high; includes four ancient chapels, which still retain their distinctive names; underwent recently a careful restoration; and contains a superb oak screen, a black oak pulpit, a quaintly sculptured Norman font, and a number of old monuments. There are a chapel of ease in the village, chapels for Independents there and at South Hole, chapels for Wesleyans at Town End and Elmscott, chapels for Bible Christians at Bideford and Eddistone, a national school, and charities £75. Eleven ancient chapels were in the parish; but traces of only two of them now exist.

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

Hartland Abbey

The National Gazetteer 1868

ABBEY, near Hartland, in the par. and hund. of Hartland, in the co. of Devon, 46 miles W.N.W. of Exeter. The seat of Mrs. Orchard, a mansion built on the site of the abbey founded by Githa, wife of Earl Godwin, in the 11th century, and rebuilt by Geofrey Dinant in 1184: it passed at the Reformation to Serjeant Abbot.

Source: The National Gazetteer: a Topographical Dictionary of the British Islands compiled from the latest and best sources and illustrated with a complete county atlas and numerous maps. Vol. 1. Virtue & Co. London. 1868.


Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales Circa 1870

Cheristow, a hamlet in Hartland parish, Devon.

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

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: Bideford
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple
  • Diocese: Exeter
  • Rural Deanery: Hartland
  • Poor Law Union: Bideford
  • Hundred: Hartland
  • Province: Canterbury

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