A Devon Bibliography

Cash, Margaret (Editor)  Devon Inventories of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries Devon and Cornwall Record Society  New Series No. 11  (Torquay) 1966

Erskine, Audrey M.  The Devonshire Lay Subsidy of 1332 Vol. 14 of the New Series of the Devon & Cornwall Record Society  (Torquay) 1969

Hoskins, William George  Devon Collins 1954 and republished Phillimore 2003

This recent reprint of Hoskin’s classic work contains a supplementary bibliography listing the best of the many scholarly monographs and postgraduate dissertations which have placed the county of Devon in the forefront of English local history.

Howard, A. J. and Stoate, T. L. (Editors)  The Devon Muster Roll for 1569 Bristol 1977

Maxted, Ian   In Pursuit of Devon’s History: A Guide for Local Historians in Devon Devon Books 1997

This is a compilation of sources by a Local Studies Librarian for Devon. Although now dated it remains a very useful first step in finding where to look for various historical records.

Postles, David  The Surnames of Devon Leopard’s head Press  (Oxford) 1995

This scholarly work covers the evolution of bynames and surnames through the centuries.  In the process one learns about dialects and about migration and mobility which are invaluable to the Devon local historian.

Of particular interest to me was the explanation of the interchange in Middle English of “fricative” initial f and v which was widespread in Devon from the twelfth century. In the lay subsidy of 1524-5, the interchange was extensive. Among the many taxpayers whose names we would spell with a f  we find Vishleigh.

Stoate, T. L. (Editor) Devon Taxes 1581-1660  Bristol 1988

Turner, Sam  (editor) Medieval Devon and Cornwall: Shaping an Ancient Countryside Windgather Press (Macclesfield) 2006

The countryside of Devon and Cornwall, west of the Blackdown-Quantocks divide which separates it from the rest of Britain, preserves an unusually rich and unique legacy from its medieval past. This book explores the different elements which go to make up this historic landscape – the chapels, crosses, castles and mines; the tinworks and stripfields; and above all, the intricately worked pattern of hedgebanks and winding lanes.

Between AD 500 and 1700, a series of revolutions transformed the structure of the South West peninsula’s rural landscape. This book tells the story of these changes, and also explores how people experienced the landscape in which they lived: how they came to imbue places with symbolic and cultural meaning.

The chapters of this book make a significant contribution towards our understanding of a complex, rich and beautiful landscape in the Middle Ages. Each of the eight chapters has its own comprehensive bibliography.

One of the most interesting aspects of the recent research contained in this book is the demonstration that there was more continuity in the settlement of Devon than was previously supposed by earlier writers such as Hoskins who believed that the land had been abandoned between the fifth and seventh centuries. On the contrary while there is a lack of archeological evidence of continuous occupation, the environmental evidence, especially comparative pollen counts, indicates that there was no reduction in land use at the end of the Romano-British period. Recent work has begun to demonstrate continuity of settlement and occupation into the fifth and sixth centuries showing that people remained in the area.

There is evidence for discontinuity between Romano-British period field systems and medieval field systems. There was likely a period of reorganisation of the landscape which had taken place by the eighth century.

The evidence from inscribed stones, burial practices and imports of pottery and other goods suggests that western Britain between c.AD 350-600 was a functioning, if distinctive, part of the Christian world of late Antiquity.

Vancouver, Charles General View of the Agriculture of the County of Devon Richard Phillips (London) 1808

The County Reports to the Board of Agriculture rank among the most important source works in English local and trade history as well as in the literature of agriculture. The best, such as those written by Arthur Young, the Board’s Secretary, rise above the level of ordinary reportage and may be read as much for enjoyment as instruction. But all contain a wealth of factual detail. They tell of farming history and practice, of enclosures, drainage and the treatment of the poor, of wage rates, machinery, crop husbandry and experimentation, of the very philosophy of those who ran the English countryside during the Napoleonic wars. They also have useful comment on the role played by canals, the improvement of the roads, the factory system, and the public’s changing taste in food.

Youings, Joyce Devon Monastic Lands: Calendar of Particulars for Grants 1536-1558 Devon & Cornwall Record Society New Series Vol. 1  (Torquay) 1955


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