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Countisbury or Countesbury, Devon

Historical Description

Countisbury or Countesbury, a parish in Devonshire, on the coast, at the boundary with Somerset, 15¼ miles E by N of Ilfracombe, and 20 NE of Bamstaple station on the G.W.R. and L. & S.W.R. Post town, Lynmouth, under Barn-staple; money order and telegraph office, Lynmouth. Acreage, 2958; population of the civil parish, 233; of the ecclesiastical, 545. The manor belonged in the time of Edward the Confessor to Ailmar, a Saxon; was given at the Conquest to William Chieire, a follower of the Conqueror; passed through various hands, and belongs now to the Hallidays of Glenthorne. The land rises steeply from the sea, attains a height of 1146 feet at Barney-barrow, in the vicinity of the church, and is elsewhere hilly. Many remains of ancient camps are seen, and a great number of Roman coins have been found. The camps are believed to be early British, and are thought to have been made to facilitate the escape of "Celtic marauders who had been engaged in cattle-lifting in the neighbouring county of Somerset. The living is a vicarage, with Lynmouth annexed, in the diocese of Exeter; joint value, £185. Patron, the Bishop of Exeter. The church consists of nave and chancel, with a belfry, and was rebuilt within the nineteenth century. Coupe Lench. See COWPE LENCH. Couperon, The, a lofty cliff, with interesting Druidical remains, in Jersey, adjacent to Rozel Bay, 5½ miles NE of St Helier.

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 parishCountisbury St. John the Baptist 
Poor Law unionBarnstaple 

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

Church Records

The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Countisbury 1676-1757, Devonshire is available to browse online.

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 Countisbury or Countesbury from the following:


Online maps of Countisbury or Countesbury 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.