Halberton 1800 to 1900

1801Halberton population was 1,436 people
About 1814The New Inn (now the Hickory Inn) and Rock House were built
1814The Grand Western Canal opened between Tiverton and Westleigh.
1816The present Methodist Chapel was built
1819The Halberton Friendly Society was formed.
1823Earliest map of a village school attached to the Poor House
1825The enclosure of lands at Halberton (and Willand) was approved by Parliament
1830William Twose established his agricultural machinery manufacturing company in Halberton
1830Parliament approved the Tiverton Turnpike Trust proposal to connect Tiverton and Honiton via a new road junction at Halberton and from there via Willand and Cullompton.
1841The present church bells at St Andrews were installed
1844Halberton school was built to replace a school attached to the Poor House
1848The Tiverton Branch Line opened (Bristol and Exeter Railway)
1848St Andrews church was refurbished and the new Vicarage completed
1850Earl Powlett was Lord of the Manor of Halberton Deane (Lower town)
1850Richard Hall Clarke of Bridwell was Lord of the Manor, Halberton Boys
1851Halberton’s population was 1,745 (highest in the 19th century)
1860The Bible Christian Chapel (now Eastgate House, High Street) opened
1861The present clock at St Andrews church was installed
1862Canon Edward Girdlestone became Vicar of Halberton
1864The Grand Western Canal was sold to the Bristol and Exeter Railway Company and closed between Lodwell’s and Taunton.
1867The Halberton Strife
1874Ash Thomas school built
1877The church at Ash Thomas was dedicated
1894First meeting of Halberton parish Council
1897Jubilee lamp erected


1819-1838 The Halberton Friendly Society

John Anderson started work on transcribing a document he discovered in Bath Library in 2012 and in his words “it has taken Lockdown 2 for me to get around to putting it all together as a new document”. The minute book of the Halberton Friendly Society runs from 1819 to 1838 and it contains some interesting local names from 200 years ago and an insight into how communities looked after each other.

An interesting link with the 21st Century is the venue for the Benefit Society meetings from that time – the New Inn.  [it was presumably called “new” even in the early 1800s because Halberton already had an Inn dating back to the 17th century – the Swan Inn (now the Village Hall).  We think The New Inn was built to provide ‘victuals’ (food and drinks) for the navvies who constructed the Grand Western Canal, which opened in 1814.]. Over the years since then, the New Inn has been known variously as The New Inn & Station Hotel; the Welcome Inn; the Barge and now [2020] The Hickory Smokehouse.

The transcript is prefaced with a general note about the history of Friendly Societies prior to 1846.

The 1864 census of Halberton, taken by the the Revd. Canon Edward Girdlestone, Vicar of the parish from 1862 to 1872.

During 1864 The Revd Canon Edward Girdlestone conducted a census of the parish of Halberton. He meticulously recorded the results on sixteen pages of a large book, each page 13 inches by 8 1/4 inches. We have made a transcription of his census, which can be viewed online by following the links below. We suggest you start by reading the guidance notes.

Guidance notes


Transcription in the order it was written

Transcription sorted alphabetically by surname


TWISDEN, Captain John 1767-1853

Company Secretary of the Grand Western Canal Company

GIRDLESTONE, Canon Edward 1805-1884

Vicar of Halberton, “the agricultural labourer’s friend” (see also the transcript of his 1864 census of Halberton, above). This is a free issue A4 booklet about his life, including the story of “The Halberton strife”

The book Peasant life in the west of England by Francis George Heath, page 73 onwards includes a contemporary account of a meeting with him in 1872;(PDF, 17MB)

NATION, William Henry Codrington 1843-1914

Landowner and eccentric


The Tithe Map of Halberton, produced in 1838