UK Genealogy Archives logo
DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission.

Ottery St Mary, Devon

Historical Description

Ottery St Mary, a town and a parish in Devonshire The town stands on the river Otter, with a station on the L. & S.W.R., 162 miles from London, 6 SW of Honiton, and 12 NE of Exeter. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office. It is a place of considerable antiquity;. was once sectioned into three parts, called Ottery St Mary, Ottery St Budeaux, and Ottery St Saviour; had a college for forty members, founded in 1337 by Bishop Grandison, with revenues estimated in the time of Henry VIII. at £303., and given then to the Earl of Hertford; was occupied by alternately the Parliamentarians and the Royalists in the Civil Wars of Charles I.; suffered great devastation by pestilence during an occupancy by the Parliamentarians; was visited at that time by Oliver Cromwell, and in 1688 by tha Prince of Orange; had for residents Sir Walter Raleigh and W. Browne, author of " Britain's Pastorals," and for natives the poet Coleridge, the Garter King-at-Arms Sir Isaac Heard, and the Right Hon. John Duke, first Baron Coleridge, Lord Chief Justice of England; suffered damage or destruction of about 111 houses by an accidental fire in 1866; is somewhat irregularly built, but pleasantly and picturesquely situated, with bold sheltering hills on the E and the W; is a seat of petty sessions, has an urban district council, and has two good hotels, several inns, a bridge, a magnificent ancient church. Congregational, Baptist, and Wesleyan chapels, a grammar school, a town-hall, two banks, a library with reading-room, an hospital, almshouses, and some large charities. The church is variously Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular; was partly built in 1260 by Bishop Bronescombe, after the model of Exeter Cathedral, includes portions added by Bishop Grandison; comprises nave, tranr sept, choir, and Lady chapel, with two towers; has undergone very careful restoration at various times; shows many features of much interest and great beauty; and contains a piscina, two sets of sedilia, a chancel screen, a stone reredos, a modern inlaid marble font, and a number of elaborate monuments and brasses. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter; gross value, £290 with residence. The ancient college was connected with it, and two suffragan bishops- Cornish of Tyne, and Chard of Solubrae, were wardens; while Barclay, the author of the " Ship of Fools," was a priest. A grammar school was founded by Henry VIII. in 1546, on the dissolution of the ancient college; was endowed and kept in repair from the small tithes vested in the church corporation; had as. a master for many years the father of the poet Coleridge,. and numbered among its pupils Bishops Luxmoore, Coleridge,. and Patteson," and Judges Buller and Coleridge, but the building was pulled down in 1884, and large and commodious premises, called The Priory, have been purchased by the governors to supply its place. A market is held on the second Tuesday of every month, and fairs on the last Tuesday of March and the third Tuesday of Sept. There is a brush manufactory.

The parish contains the hamlets of Alphington, Fluxton, Tipton, and Wiggaton, and the tithings of the Town, Alphington, Fluxton, Tipton, Wiggaton Rill, Gosford, and Cadhay. Acreage, 10,008; population of the civil parish, 3855; of the ecclesiastical, 2626. The manor was given by Edward the Confessor to the Cathedral Church of St Mary at Rouen; passed to Bishop Grandison by purchase in 1334; went to the Crown in the time of Henry VIII.; and passed to successively a Mr Burridge, Sir George Yonge, Mr John M. Howe, and Sir John Kennaway, Bart. There are several good residences in the neighbourhood.

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 
Poor Law unionHoniton 

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 Ottery St Mary

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Ottery St Mary from the following:


Online maps of Ottery St Mary 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


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 districtEX11
Post TownOttery St. Mary