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Devon County

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It is interesting that the various branches of the Bulleid family nearly all have their roots within a radius of twenty miles from Winkleigh. Unfortunately, records do not go back far enough to be able to link all these branches, but I am confident that we are all part of the same family.



Winkleigh is a village in mid-Devon about 8 miles north of Okehampton. It existed at the time of the Saxon invasions in the 5th and 6th centuries. It is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, when it was a very wealthy parish paying £30 in tax, three times as much as Okehampton. It has the remains of two 12th century castles and, for a long time, was an important centre in that part of Devon.

The parish church where many Bulleids were christened, married and buried is All Saints, which dates from the 15th century and has a tower with five bells. John Bulhead married Armynell Jeffery there on 16 June 1606 and a reproduction of the register entry is to be found in ‘Ancestral Trails’ by Mark Herber. Winkleigh’s population declined after 1850, when it peaked at 1,650.

Winkleigh Church
© Geoff Ledden
Ashreigney Church


Ashreigney is a village about 3 ½ miles north of Winkleigh, which had a population of 1,088 in 1850. The very old parish church is St. James, with a tower, which had four bells in 1790 and six in 1850. Ashreigney was the birthplace of Richard Bulleid in 1826 and Elizabeth Bulleid in 1847. Richard and Elizabeth’s parents emigrated to Canada.

© Richard J. Brine  



Hatherleigh is an ancient market town about 6 miles southwest of Winkleigh. Its charter for a market was granted about 1694. The parish church, St. John the Baptist, is also ancient with a tower, spire and six bells in 1868. The population in 1850 was 1,882. Thomas and Samuel Bulleid owned land in Hatherleigh in 1873 when the Return of Owners of Land was compiled.

Samuel Bulleid (1803-1875) was a butcher living at 4 Conduit Street in 1851 and 1861. In 1871, he was farming 14 acres and living in High Street, formerly Conduit Street. His son, John Samuel (1830-1889) is a provision dealer in 1871, living with his wife and family in High Street, next door to his parents, whilst in 1881 he is a butcher and farmer living at 4 High Street. Another son, Samuel John (1835-1908) is a butcher in 1861 (presumably working for his father) and living in Conduit Street with his wife and family.

Conduit Street Hatherleigh

© Janet Few

Janet writes:

"I believe what is now the butcher's shop (behind the FOR SALE sign) in this photo corresponds to No 5 High Street in the 1881 census Number 4 Conduit Street in 1851."



Care has to be taken not to confuse the hamlet of Hollacombe, two miles north of Winkleigh, with the village of the same name about 17 miles west of Winkleigh, near Holsworthy. The former was originally spelt ‘Hollocombe’ and was raised in status in 1260, when it was granted a charter to hold an annual fair. Six of the children of Richard Bulleid and his wife Elizabeth were born in Hollacombe and baptised in Winkleigh before the family emigrated to Canada in 1847. One of them, Anne, had the misfortune to die in jail in Lindsay, Ontario, in 1829.



Also known as Mary Ansleigh and Marley, Mariansleigh is a small village with a population of 338 in 1850. It lies about 11 miles northeast of Winkleigh and the parish church, St. Mary, is an ancient structure with four bells in 1850. John Bulleid left money to the poor of Mariansleigh when he died in 1628.


North Tawton

North Tawton is an ancient village about five miles south southeast of Winkleigh. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, but was occupied centuries earlier by the Romans, who built a fort. The 13th century church of St. Peter had a tower with six bells, topped by a wooden spire. It had a population of 1,436 in 1801.

North Tawton Church
© Richard J. Brine
The railway reached the town in 1865 when William Bulleid was 19. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1875, where his son Oliver V S Bulleid was born. Oliver went on to become Chief Mechanical Officer of Southern Railway in England and a famed designer of steam locomotives.


Ten miles northeast of Winkleigh and a mile from Mariansleigh, Romansleigh is a village on top of a hill. It was also known as Rumonsleigh and the church is dedicated to St. Rumon. The parish registers go back to 1539, but the church was rebuilt in 1868. The names of Amos and Robert Bulled are inscribed on two of the bells. The population in1801 was a mere 156.



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