Kingsbridge Devon Family History Guide

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

Parish church: St. Edmund
Parish registers begin: 1612

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Independent/Congregational, Presbyterian, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Kingsbridge

  • Churchstow
  • West Alvington
  • Dodbrooke

Historical Descriptions of Kingsbridge

Beeton's British Gazetteer 1870

KINGSBRIDGE, a market and post town of England, in Devonshire, situated at the head of an estuary of the English Channel, 32 miles S.W. from Exeter. The estuary is navigable throughout for vessels of considerable tonnage. The town is separated from the adjoining town of Dodbrooke by a small rivulet called the Dod. It has a fine old parish church, dedicated to St. Edmund, which has lately been almost entirely rebuilt. There are also numerous chapels for nonconformists, a handsome town-hall, to which an assembly room, reading-room, and museum are attached ; and a free grammar-school, with exhibitions to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Colonel Montague, the celebrated ornithologist, resided for many years in Kingsbridge, and Dodbrooke is the birthplace of Dr. Wolcot, better known as Peter Pindar. The climate here is so mild that oranges, and some of the other descriptions of fruit belonging to the S. of Europe, grow and ripen in the open air. Manf. Chiefly malt and leather; the town is the centre of an important agricultural district, and one of the largest corn-markets in the county is held here weekly. Shipbuilding is also carried on here. Mar. D. Sat. Pop. of Kingsbridge, 1585; of Dodbrooke, 1183. It is a telegraph station. The nearest railway station is Kingsbridge Road, on the South Devon Railway.

Source: Beeton's British Gazetteer 1870. Ward, Lock & Tyler, Paternoster Row, London.

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1831

KINGSBRIDGE, a market town and parish, in the hundred of Stanborough, county of DEVON, 34 miles (S. S. W.) from Exeter, and 207 (W. S.W.) from London, containing 1430 inhabitants. This place is pleasantly situated at the head of the bay, or haven, of Salcombe, on the summit and declivity of a hill, surrounded by others of greater elevation; and consists chiefly of a long street, in which are some good houses. The town, which is partially paved but not lighted, is bounded on the east by a brook, which separates it from the town of Dodbrook. A mechanics' institute has been established. Races are held in the neighbourhood, generally once a year, but at no fixed period. The woollen manufacture was formerly carried on here very extensively, but it is now inconsiderable: the principal branches of trade at present are in malt and leather, especially the former, a considerable quantity of malt and grain being annually sent from this place. Various articles of commerce are brought coastwise, chiefly in vessels of from fifty to sixty tons' burden, though the haven is navigable for ships of a larger size: about thirty of these vessels belong to Kingsbridge and Salcombe. The market is on Saturday; and there is a fair on the 20th of July, unless that day falls later in the week than Thursday, when the fair is postponed to the following Tuesday, and continued for three successive days, for the sale of woollen cloth, toys, &c. The town is under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, but a port reeve, or chief officer, is appointed annually at Michaelmas, at which period a court leet is held by the lord of the manor.

The living is a discharged Vicarage, with that of Churchstow, in the archdeaconry of Totness, and diocese of Exeter, endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Crown. The church, originally founded about 1330, was considerably enlarged and improved in 1827, when it received an addition of two hundred and eighty-six sittings, of which, one hundred and sixty-five are free, the Incorporated Society for the enlargement of churches and chapels having granted £160 towards defraying the expense. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyan Methodists. A free grammar school was founded pursuant to the will of Thomas Crispin, who, in 1689, bequeathed to trustees an estate for its endowment, and also made provision for teaching gratuitously, in addition to the classics, reading, writing, and arithmetic: the number of boys in the grammar school is restricted to fifteen, and, if so many are not to be found in the town, the trustees may complete the number from any other place. William Duncombe, in 1691, gave by will property now producing about £350 per annum,- for the support of four exhibitioners from this school to Oxford or Cambridge, for apprenticing boys educated in the school, and for the salary of a lecturer at the parish church; by order of the court of Chancery, in 1819, the stipends of the exhibitioners were extended from £10 to £50 per annum. Almshouses for four poor persons were founded by Robert Mydwynter, in the reign of Elizabeth; and a considerable income for the repair of the church, &c., arising from the rents of the town-lands, is vested in trustees.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1831


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