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East Down, Devon

Historical Description

Down, East, a parish in Devonshire, round the head-streams of an affluent of the river Taw, 6¼ miles NNE of Barnstaple town and station on the G.W.R. and L. & S.W.R. Post town, Barnstaple; money order office, Combmartin; telegraph office, Bratton Fleming. Acreage, 3677; population, 346. The manor belonged in the time of Edward III. to the family of Downe, and passed to the Pines and the Coffins. Churchill estate belongs to the Chichesters. The southern part around the church is a pleasant valley,. and the northern part rises into bold hills. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter; value, £330. The church is Perpendicular English, consists of nave and aisle with low-square tower, and is good. It was almost entirely rebuilt in 1886.

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 parishEast Down St. John the Baptist 
Poor Law unionBarnstaple 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1538.

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 East Down


Church of England

St. John the Baptist (parish church)

The parish church of St. John the Baptist is an ancient building of stone, in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel with aisle, nave, south aisle, south porch and a low embattled tower of earlier date, on the north side, containing 4 bells: the first three are dated respectively 1669, 1712, and 1830; the 3rd bears an indistinct legend in Lombardic characters: the church retains a screen of wood, which was restored in 1925, and in 1886-7 was rebuilt (with the exception of the tower) at a cost of £1,500: there are 180 sittings. In the churchyard is a cross erected to the memory of the men of the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-18.


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 East Down from the following:


Online maps of East Down 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.

DistrictNorth Devon
RegionSouth West
Postal districtEX31
Post TownBarnstaple