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Musbury, Devon

Historical Description

Musbury, a village and a parish in East Devonshire. The village stands in the valley of the Axe, 2 miles from Seaton Junction station on the L. & S.W.R., 3 SW by S of Axminster, 3 NNE of the mouth of the Axe, and 4 W of the boundary of Dorsetshire. It has a post and money order office under Axminster; telegraph office, Colyton. Acreage of parish, 2229; population, 460. Ashe Hall, about a mile north of the village, once the property of the Drakes, and the birthplace of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, whose mother was Elizabeth Drake, is now a farmhouse. Musbury takes its name from a high and long hill, the commencement of a plateau which reaches to the border of Dorsetshire. It is a conspicuous object from the valley, and is called Musbury Castle, the Saxon interpretation of Mai Sun,, Mevigdown, which name remains in part of the village called Maiden Hayne. Scarcely any trace of the old camp, which ones according to tradition held a Roman legion, now remains. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter, and the extant list of its rectors begins in 1260; value, £225, but has neither a rectory nor glebe. Though a church certainly existed here in Saxon times no trace of it remains. The present church was, with the exception of the tower which has a peal of five bells, restored from the foundation by the rector, the Rev. H. W. Thrupp, M.A., in 1875-76, and consists of nave, chancel, a north aisle, and south aisle, called the Drakes Aisle, being a lengthening of their mortuary chapel, in which stands a much visited monument consisting of six life-sized kneeling figures in the costume of the days of Elizabeth. The church is in perfect condition, and is adorned with stained windows and many gifts, and has a fine organ. The parish is one of great variety and much beauty, and constantly visited. It is entirely a dairy parish. The parish council consists of seven members and sends one to the district council.

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 parishMusbury St. Michael 
Poor Law unionAxminster 

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 Musbury

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Musbury from the following:


Online maps of Musbury 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:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Ashe, or Ash

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.

DistrictEast Devon
RegionSouth West
Postal districtEX13
Post TownAxminster