01. By Way of Introduction

This elaborate ironwork has decorated the door at MIlton Damerel's Holy Trinity for hundreds of years

As the Online Parish Clerk for Milton Damerel and Abbots Bickington for several years I have had the opportunity to correspond with many other researchers. Most have not yet had the opportunity to explore the original records or to analyse them. Many do not know where to look. I hope this site will, over time, fill a gap in that regard and that it will prove useful to others.

For historians of the decades and centuries before the beginning of Victoria’s reign in 1837, when civil registration and the immeasurably useful nominal census were born, it is the parish records which are the cornerstone for discovery. We learn from the surviving registers who was baptized, married and buried year by year. Every family was included prior to 1837, religious or not, for the parish officials were the local government. From other parish records such as churchwardens’ accounts and vestry minutes we will learn about the nitty-gritty of daily lives of the inhabitants.

The Parish Registers and Bishop’s Transcripts for Milton Damerel

On 12 August 1952  Lt-Col Thomas Lane Ormiston (1867-1954), one-time High Sheriff of Devon (1940) and resident of Trood House, Alphington nr. Exeter, completed a transcription of the then extant Parish Registers of Milton Damarel which he described as follows:

Volume 1:    15 x 8 inches , 17 double sheets (68 pages), loose with no binding, containing:

Baptisms 1683-1791, Burials 1678-1791, Marriages 1683-1779 sometimes mixed and sometimes on separate pages.

Volume 2:   14 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches bound in rough boards containing:

Baptisms & Burials 1791-1812, entries mixed, 45 parchment leaves, the last 53 pages are blank.

Volume 3:  Marriages 1752-1812 and banns, a printed tabular form, unbound, pages loose.

Volumes 4, 5, & 6 Standard forms for Baptisms, Burials and Marriages 1813-1837.

Ormiston notes that the Bishops Transcripts begin in 1606.  He has, he explains, recorded those entries which were missing from the surviving parish registers. He has also documented any discrepancies between the Bishop”s Transcripts and the Parish Registers.


14 Responses to “01. By Way of Introduction”

  1. Rose Graham Says:

    I have recently returned from looking at Devon Family History Records in Exeter. I was born a Fishleigh and can trace my lineage back to Bartholomew Fishleigh born abt 1775 in Milton Dameral. The records concerning some of these years were illegible and I hoped that looking at the Bishops Transcripts might be the answer. Looking at what you have found that is not the case – or am I wrong.

    May I congratulate you on a well researched, enjoyable and very informative website. Absolutely brilliant – I have been glued to my computer for the past 3 hours!


    Rose Graham (Fishleigh)

    • fishleigh Says:

      Thank you Rose for your kind words. I am touring South Africa at the moment and next week will be back in Milton Damerel. I will be staying at Ley farm once occupied by one Bartholomew Fishleigh.
      The site is a work in progress and I look forward to getting back to it before too long.
      If you would like to exchange ideas and information directly I would be pleased to do so.
      My email address is dwdavis@shaw.ca
      Kind regards,
      Don Davis

  2. Sheila Fishley Says:

    Hi I really enjoyed reading this website. I am married to a Fishley and am trying to figure out their lineage. My husband’s great, great grandfather was Bartholomew Fishley married to Elizabeth Bromell. His age according to the Canada Census is abt. 1808 and birthplace England. I cannot find a cenus for him in the England Census and it starts in Ontario in 1851 where his family is listed. I know he was in Canada at least a few before that as two of his daighters were married in Hope. We are really at a dead end we have no idea who Bartholomew parents are and his son John Wesley drowned in the Great lakes in his early 60’s and his wife passed in her thirties. The children were very young and did not remember much about their mother. Four of the sons moved to Saskatchewan as young men. All the names in your website I have heard of because of the searching we have been doing on Barthlomew, vey interesting. If you know any thing about my family will you let me know? We would be very grateful!

    • fishleigh Says:

      Hi Sheila,
      I’m happy to know that you found your way to my blog and that you found it interesting. It will be a pleasure for me to see what I can learn about your Bartholomew and family. I suspect that they were part of the great migration from North Devon to Canada prior to the 1841 Census. If you emil me directly using dwdavis@shaw.ca I will be pleased to follow up although it may take a few days because I am on the road til next Thursday.
      Kind regards,

  3. Denise Lowth Says:

    Dear Don, I have just discovered your website during my lunch hour at work and cannot wait to spend more time researching my family history. I believe my Great Great Great Grandfather, Joseph Ridge was born in Milton Damerel Abt. 1796/1801 and have researched 7 generations of my family. Joseph Ridge was married to Mary with children William James, Mary, John, Joseph and Elizabeth Ann. On census records he is shown as a Farm Labourer and in latter years Nursery Man. He resides at numbers 26 and 38, Gitcott Mill. If you have any further information I would be most grateful. Does Gitcott Mill still exist? Kind Regards, Denise.

  4. Jean Bradford Says:

    This is a most interesting web site. You have obviously put a great deal of time into gathering all of this information.

    My grandmother was a Fishleigh – daughter of Robert Fishleigh – born at Newton St Petrock in 1850, his father was George Fishleigh.

  5. Karen Shirley Says:

    I have found my gr-gr-gr grandmother’s death registration on ancestry.ca and have just found your blog. I feel like I have hit the jackpot after all these years of looking!

    Elizabeth Francis Williams (Fishleigh) married John Williams of Great Torrington, Devon
    b: 17 Jul 1814 Milton Dameral, Devon
    d: 4 Jul 1909 Irondale, Glamorgan Township, Ontario
    parents: Francis and Elizabeth Fishleigh

    Elizabeth and John brought their family to Canada in 1869

    I see that the baptisms start with Mary on 17 Jan 1813. Is there anyway of going back further and finding Francis’ parents? Any information would be appreciated.

    • fishleigh Says:

      I am delighted that you have made the connection with your 3xg grandmother. Yes, Karen, there is certainly a way to go back further. Your message finds me researching in the UK away from home base in Vancouver.I will reply more constructively, if not sooner, when I arrive home 4 May.

  6. larry miller Says:

    Could you please tell me if this blogger is still active? Thank you.

    • fishleigh Says:

      Indeed, Larry, the blogger is still active, but is focused on other writing in recent months.

      • Larry Miller Says:

        Thanks for the response. I am doing research on my wife’s family, “Batten”. They seem to be from the Milton Damerel area for sure. I have found your Blog very helpful!
        Larry Miller.

  7. annabel nee fishleigh Says:

    i am researching the fishleighs in london; and have found george [1801-1865] m to charlotte russell; he was born in milton damerel but i can trace yet a ma or pa or siblings for him, milton damerel seems to be awash with fishleighs!; he and his wife had 9 children. any help or prompts would be much appreciated

    • fishleigh Says:

      Annabel, George was the third of four children of Leonard Fishleigh and Grace nee Fishleigh who were both baptised in 1771 in Milton Damerel and married there in 1797. Please contact me directly at dwdavis@shaw.ca if you would like to correspond regarding further details. Don

  8. Patrick Harnett Says:

    I am doing Fishleigh research for a friend whose family came to Ontario Canada 1841, a Robert b.1834 England to Frances & Elizabeth, not sure where in England but his wife, Elizabeth Grace nee Dunn apparently came from Devonshire where she was born in 1851. I must say that I enjoyed reading your blog, so very interesting, thank you

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