Halberton from Domesday to 1799

About 1160William Fitz Robert gave the Church of Halberton with the land to the Abbey of St Augustine in Bristol. Augustinian monks arrived in the village and set up a priory.
About 1180The date of the font at St Andrews church
1259A vicarage was endowed on the village and a vicar appointed, separating the monks from the clergy
1285First record of the Lord of the Manor of Halberton Boys, Sir William Du Bois. It is believed that Halberton Court farmhouse was the location of his manor house.
1300’sSt Andrews was rebuilt in stone and the Priory was built in the High Street.
1429The screen was erected at St Andrews
1539The last two monks left Halberton Priory following Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. The land in the possession of the Abbey of St Augustine was passed to Bristol Cathedral and became known as Halberton Dean (now ‘Lower Town’). The sandstone chimney stack on the Priory was built.
1553There were five bells in St Andrews church
1576Record of an organ at St Andrews church
1589First mention of a clock (subsequently replaced) at St Andrews
1642-1651During the English Civil War soldiers camped in St Andrews churchyard. Two unnamed soldiers are buried there, as is English Republican Commander Colonel John Were of Halberton (died 1658).
1703Record of a Mill at Halberton
1738John Wesley’s first visit to Halberton
1739John Wesley’s second visit to Halberton
1758Tiverton Turnpike Road created
1783A fire burned the Presbyterian Chapel to the ground and a former malthouse was converted into a second chapel


1642 Halberton Protestation Return

The Protestation Returns of 1642 were the result of an order of the House of Commons in which all adult men were asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the Protestant religion.  Their names were duly inscribed in a list for each parish divided up into tythings or districts such as in this case Halberton Boyce or Ash Thomas.  The document is signed at the end by ten local officials – vicar, constables, church wardens and overseers.  It is suggested that these men were responsible for compiling the list.  Once completed the Returns were returned to the Houses of Parliament where they are now held in the Parliamentary Archives.  Thanks to the hard work of one of our Group members a transcription of the return is available if you click on the PDF icon below

1642 Halberton Protestation Return

1658 – 1753 Manorial Surveys

The large parish of Halberton contained many historic manors which over time were owned by several different landowners.  Two of the most significant of these landowning families until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries respectively were the Pouletts and the Wyndhams, both from Somerset. 

The three manorial surveys of land in Halberton (1658, 1696 and 1700) are just a few of many such surveys of tenancies of the wider Poulett estate held in the Somerset Heritage Centre.  These surveys of land held of the lord of the manor detail the tenants, type of tenancy, the holding, rent and yearly value.  The age of tenants is sometimes entered after their name. 

We are extremely grateful to a member of the Halberton History Group for undertaking the painstaking work of transcribing the original documents and giving permission for the transcripts to be published here.  

There are several pdf files listed below, which link to the documents. You are strongly advised to read the two introductory documents first, which provide a guide to manorial surveys and an introduction to the definitions and conventions etc used in producing these transcriptions.

Guide to Manorial Surveys

Introduction to the Poulett Manorial Surveys Transcripts

Halberton Boys, 1658 transcript

Halberton Boys, 1696 transcript

Halberton Boys, 1700 transcript

Halberton Deane, 1658 transcript

Halberton Deane, 1696 transcript

Halberton Deane, 1700 transcript

John Donne 1753, transcript

1723 Devon Oath Rolls

These documents form part of the Devon Quarter Sessions records held at the Devon Heritage Centre. Since Elizabethan times there had been a succession of oath taking in England to secure the loyalty of subjects in response to perceived issues of religion, plots against royalty and lineage.

This one of 1723 was the result of the aftermath of the Jacobite Atterbury plot of 1720-22. All men and women over the age of 18 were required to swear loyalty to George 1 before magistrates unless they had done so in the first year of his accession in 1715. There appears to be no property qualification. However in Devon no-one seems to have been prosecuted for not swearing. Two versions of the transcription of Halberton entries in the 1723 Devon Oath Rolls are available on our website:

Halberton Oath Rolls, 1723 transcript

Halberton Oath Rolls, 1723 transcript

Further information about the issue of oath taking in Devon at this time may be seen on the Friends of Devon Archives website; click here.


PASSMORE, John (1505 – 1544)

In his will of 1543 John Passmore of Sutton Farm in this parish asked to be buried at Halberton. He was a Member of Parliament and a prominent lawyer. Further reading:

Sutton Farm, Halberton

John Passmore in The History of Parliament

WERE, Humphrey of Halberton (c1569 – 1625) and his son Colonel John (died 1658)

The father was a lawyer, the son a Republican Commander during the English Civil War

CROSS, Robert of Rowridge

A legal wrangle about ownership of a church pew (1785 – 1789)