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Princetown, Devon

Historical Description

Princetown, a village and a chapelry in Lidford parish, Devonshire. The village stands in Dartmoor Forest Quarter, with a station on the G.W.R., 257 miles from London, and 7½ E by S of Tavistock, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office, and an inn. The chapelry contains also the great convict prison; and its limits, in some sense, are conterminate with those of Dartmoor Forest Quarter. The prison was erected in 1808-9, at a cost of £127,000, for French prisoners of war; was leased for some time to a company manufacturing naphtha from peat; was converted in 1850 into a convict prison; stands on a wild part of Dartmoor, at an elevation of about 1400 feet above sea-level; occupies an area of about 30 acres, inclosed by a double line of lofty walls; and includes a governor's house, officers' residences, an hospital, and five buildings, each 300 feet long and 50 feet wide, for prisoners. Great improvement has been made on much of the land near the village and the prison; and extensive granite quarries are on the W side of North Hessary Tor, about 2 miles from the village. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Exeter; net value, £160. The church is a plain building of granite, and has been restored.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

Findmypast, in association with the South West Heritage Trust, Parochial Church Council, and Devon Family History Society have the Baptisms, Banns, Marriages, and Burials online for Princetown


Online maps of Princetown are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Devon online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of the County of Devon in the year 1564, with additions from the earlier visitation of 1531, is online.

The Visitations of the County of Devon, comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564, & 1620, with additions by Lieutant-Colonel J.L. Vivian, published for the author by Henry S. Eland, Exeter 1895 is online.

DistrictWest Devon
RegionSouth West
Postal districtPL20
Post TownYelverton