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Clovelly, Devon

Historical Description

Clovelly, a village and a parish in Devonshire. The village nestles in a woody nook of a picturesque sea cliff about 500 feet high, 11 miles W by S of Bideford station on the L. & S.W.R., and is one of the most extraordinary and romantic seats of population in the kingdom. It consists of one main street, or rather a main staircase, with a few houses climbing on each side of the combe so far as the narrow space allows. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Bideford, a small harbour, and an inn, and carries on a fishery in prime herrings and many other kinds of fish. The parish comprises 3395 acres; population, 741. The manor belonged once to the Gif-fords, passed in the time of Richard II. to Sir John Gary.

The cliffs on the coast and many parts inland both exhibit splendid scenery and command magnificent views. Bucks Mill Glen makes a fine break in the cliffs, and the freshwater rivulet forms a pretty cascade over them to the shore. Clovelly Court, the seat of the Fane-Hamlyn family, is a handsome edifice of 1780, on the site of a previous mansion destroyed by fire, and stands amid grounds surpassingly picturesque, with woods, crags, waterfalls, and other features of distinctive interest. Clovelly Dykes, situated on very high ground, is an ancient British camp, 360 feet long and 300 broad, with three trenches or dykes. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter; value, £279. The church is an ancient structure with a low tower, was made collegiate in 1387 by Sir William Cary, and contains a brass and monuments of the Carys, and a brass memorial of Charles Kings-ley. The font is very ancient, supposed to be Saxon. There are Wesleyan and Bible Christian chapels. There is a coastguard station and a reading room.

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


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDevon 
Ecclesiastical parishClovelly All Saints 
Poor Law unionBideford 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

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 Clovelly

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Clovelly from the following:


Online maps of Clovelly 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.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtEX39
Post TownBideford