Broadclyst, Devon - Genealogy and Family History

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St. John the Baptist

Baptisms Marriages Banns Burials

Historical Overview

Broadclyst lies approximately 5 miles north-east of the City of Exeter.   The parish is very large, covering an area of approximately 15 square miles and is made up of many scattered properties, including many beautiful thatched cottages and acres of woodland. It encompasses the villages of Beer, Budlake, Westwood, Church Hill and Black Dog.  Nearby Ashclyst Forest is a popular location for tourists.

The history of Broadclyst predates the Norman Conquest of 1066 and from White (1850) we learn that it was supposedly burnt by the Danes in 1001.  It's name probably derived from the River Clyst running past the west of the town.  Many other villages along the river have "clyst" as part of their name. The word "clyst" is believed to have meant "clear stream" in Celtic.  Anciently the parish of Broadclyst was known as Cliston and was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Along with the nearby village of Budlake, Broadclyst is part of the huge Killerton Estate.  Lying 2 miles north, is Killerton House, an C18th country mansion dating from 1778, former home to the ACLAND family, now owned by the National Trust.  The Britain Express Website also have a page on Killerton House and Gardens.

In the centre of Broadclyst is C15th Markers Cottage, a small medieval cob house, steeped in local history.  It's present name comes from a previous owner, Sarah MARKER, who according to the Land Tax Assessments owned the property between 1790 and 1814.  It was later passed to the ACLAND family before finally being given to the National Trust by Sir Richard Acland in 1944.

Other properties in the parish that are now owned by the National Trust and open to the public are:

St. John the Baptist

Broadclyst's parish church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist.  It was built in stone and dates from the C15th.  Outside stands an ancient cross.  An historical description and sketch of the church can be found within William Spreat's (1842) "Picturesque Sketches of the Churches of Devon" available by searching Broadclyst and SPREAT from Devon Local Studies Catelogue search page.  Kelly (1893) tells us that inside the church, in the south chancel is a monument of a knight in plate armour that is believe to be Sir. Roger de Nonant c.1350, whose family held the manor at Broadclyst from the reign of Henry I to Edward III.

A Baptist Chapel was also built in the parish in 1883. (Kelly, 1893)

Parish Life

Schooling of some description appears to have been in place since possibly the late 17th Century with Thomas WEARE in 1691, leaving the Holbrook estate for renting out and the money to be used for the schooling of poor children and also George LEACH leaving a legacy of £100 in 1684.   Also around 1810 according to White, at least Two schools were built in the parish by Sir. T. D. Ackland and funded partly by subscription and also through the money gained from WEARE and LEACH.

A National School was built in the parish in 1810  to educate 250 boys and girls (including infants), although average attendance was about 200 pupils at a time.  Samuel MARDON was the boys master, Miss Susan BAKER the girls mistress and Mrs Elizabeth Ann MARDON, mistress of the infant children.  There were other schools at Budlake and Westwood, both described as "mixed schools.  Budlake school, catered for 80 pupils, although averaging 47 pupils at a time - the school mistress in 1893 was Miss F. E. LONG.  Westwood was also built to cater for 80 pupils, averaging 55 pupils at a time.  Its mistress in 1893 was Miss E. COWLES. (Kelly's, 1893)

There were a number of Public Houses in Broadclyst.  Below are listed those that appear in White(1850) and Kelly's (1893) trade directories of Devon, along with their publicans:

Name White (1850) Kelly (1893)
Crown and Sceptre John GIBBINGS Robert GIBBINS
New Crab Tree James BADCOCK  
Plough Inn Mary Ann SMITH  
Red Lion Daniel HARRIS Harry Walter WORTH
Alexandra Commercial Hotel and Posting House, Railway Station   George FISHER
(Builder and Contractor)
Beer Retailer   William MORTIMORE

From the various occupations listed in both White's (1850) and Kelly's (1893) Trade Directories for Devon, Broadclyst appears to have been quite a self-sustaining parish.  Typical of many other Devon parish, there were quite a few farms in the area and White (1850) tells us that cattle fairs were held in the parish on the first Monday in April and September each year and Kelly (1893) states that roots and cereals were the main crops grown in the parish at that time.

The Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry Cavalry (D troop) were stationed in Broadclyst in 1893, according to Kelly.  Officer in command was Capt. B. C. CLEAVE and the drill instructor was Sergt.-Major BARKER.


Books - click for sources.

Historic Populations

Year 1801 1851 1901 1931 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 1540 2450 1900 1904 2043 2149 2538 2515 2965

Source: 1801-1991 Census ©Crown Copyright
Source: 2001 Registrar General Population Estimates

Data originally from Devon Facts and Figures part of the Devon County Council website. [no longer available]

Map of the Area


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