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Modbury Surnames Lists


Modbury Parish Registers

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Paul has agreed to act as the Online Parish Clerk under the GENUKI scheme for the parishes of Modbury and Yealmpton. To allow us to respond to enquiries under that scheme, we are working on a full transcription of all of the Parish Registers involved. Progress is slow and is regularly interrupted by enquiries and by our own research.


For St. George's Church, Modbury, there are a number of Registers held by the Devon County Records Office. At the present time we are working on the following:

PR 1    Baptisms and burials from 1601 to 1665; Marriages from 1553 to 1665

        In Progress


PR 2    Baptisms, marriages and burials from March 1665 to 1740/1(see note 1 below)

        Transcribed: total of 7,972 entries


PR 3    Baptisms, marriages and burials from 1741 to 1792 (see note 2 below)

Transcribed: total of 6,071 entries


PR 4    Baptisms and burials from 1793 to 1812

Transcribed: total of 1,860 entries


PR 5    Baptisms from 1839 to 1875         

Transcribed: total of 1,588 entries


PR 6    Marriages from 1754 to 1776

          Bride & Groom data covered in PR 3


PR 7    Marriages from 1776 to 1797

          Bride & Groom data to end 1792 covered in PR 3


PR 8    Marriages from 1797 to 1812


PR 9






PR12    Burials from 1813 to 1857


These are the only registers that are available to us for transcription.


All registers are hand-written, with the earliest being in Tudor script. Since the early registers are very difficult to decipher, we started with PR 3, but even in that there are some entries that have defied our best efforts.  We will be happy to search our data on behalf of other interested people, but only for names that appear in our list of surnames. If the name that you seek is not listed, or the period that you are interested in does not appear above, PLEASE do not contact us. It just wastes our time and yours.


If the name is there, send us an email and we will let you know whatever information we have. It may take us a little time to respond, so please be patient. We always try to reply within a day or two, even if we are unable to help, but this is sometimes just not possible. So please be patient, and remember:  There is no charge for this, it is all totally voluntary.


Please also remember that surname spellings varied: the name Sherriff was spelt 4 different ways within the same family. The Vicar or the Parish Clerk who recorded the registers often did so some time after the actual event. The parents of children being baptised, or participants in marriages, were often illiterate, and therefore the spelling of a particular Christian name or Surname was left in the hands of the Parish Clerk. When the Parish Clerk changed, so, perhaps, did the spelling. In the period from 1839 to 1875 there were a number of ‘Officiating Ministers’ so we have abbreviated their names. A list of these abbreviations can be seen at Officiating Ministers.


On the other side of the coin, however, just because the spelling is different to what you expect, it doesn’t rule out the person as an ancestor. During our research into the records of Ashbury, there is a period when the Parish Clerk himself was illiterate (between about 1803 and 1805) and some of the spellings are most strange, such as ‘Marthew’ for ‘Matha’ and ‘Burthlomor’ for ‘Bartholomew’. One of the most puzzling entries we have seen is the Christian name ‘Xan’. Whilst in a modern context one might assume a Chinese influence, it took us a long time to realise that in late-18th Century Berkshire it was just short-hand for ‘Christ(i)an’.


Note 1: PR 2 covers the period from March 1665 to 1740/1. Whilst the register is clearly very old, it would not appear to be contemporary. It has certainly been written after the actual period, as the entries for 1677 appear 'out of sequence' in that they are recorded after the entries for 1678. This can only happen if the registers were written some time after the event. In the period between mid-July and late-October 1693 there are no birth, marriage or burial entries at all, and this would possibly indicate some entries have been omitted.


Note 2: PR 3 covers the period from March 1741 onwards, but the early part of this register was re-written sometime around 1765, possibly at the same time as parts of PR2 were re-written. The problem with dating prior to 1752 seems to have been ignored, and so whilst the register starts at the end of March 1741, and the early periods are based on years from April to March, when it gets to the end of December 1741 the register is clearly marked January 1742 so any dates from PR 3 are based upon that. For further information on the problems of dates before 1752, visit


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Sherriff Family History, the Parish Registers of Modbury & Yealmpton, Devon and other items of Interest

© 2002-9 Paul and Christine Sherriff – Last Updated 17 Feb 2010 11:32

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