While there are villagers who know that they live close to their forbears, many people born in Trusham moved to other parts of Teign valley, Devon and other parts of  Britain, as well as to far flung places in other continents. There is a wide range of documents that can give an insight into Trusham families. Church registers dating from 1559  give varying details of births, marriages and deaths, with a map of the churchyard shows the final resting place of some villagers. Tithe apportionment records of 1838 include names of landowners and tenants as well as fields. The eight censuses taken between 1841 and 1911 give information about village households, while the school log has day to day observations of pupils, epidemics and the weather!


These have been taken from the original records which vary in legibility and detail. Names have been transcribed as written. Where writing is unclear, because of the vicar’s script or because of fading or blemishes, it has been sometimes possible, using other records, to attempt interpretation

16th century records (1559-1599) are all in the same hand, suggesting they were collated from earlier records dating from 1558, the beginning of Elizabeth I’s reign. In 1598 an order was made that records were to be kept in 'great decent books of parchment'. 

17th century records hint at national turmoil and uncertainty. There are no baptisms recorded between 1638 and 1665. It is unlikely that there were no children born in Trusham but during the English Civil War and Cromwell’s Puritan Commonwealth, records might not have been kept or might have been hidden. There are no baptismal records between 1679 and 1686. This might be because of events surrounding the Crown, concerning the succession to the throne of Charles II’s Catholic brother, James.

In 1678, the Burial in Woollen Act was passed to protect the English woollen industry. The Act stated that corpses had to be buried only in pure wool shrouds. Affidavits had to be sworn by relatives to confirm that this had been done. If not, fines of £5 were payable by families, who were sometimes willing to do this, as their deceased relative had wanted to be buried in their finest clothing. It was increasingly ignored and then repealed in 1814.

18th century records give more information, some include reference to residence, while after 1730, mothers’ names are given. From 1776, birth as well as baptism dates were recorded, with some vicars also giving useful detail about the parents. Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act meant that weddings could be solemnised only after the publication of banns or the issuing of a licence. Registers were standardised. Only Anglican clergyman (Jews and Quakers were exempted) could conduct marriages. Girls over 12 and boys over could marry, but only with parental consent. This was changed to 16 in 1929.

The year began on March 25th, until September 1752, when England changed to the Gregorian calendar. This information might help explain what could seem to be anomalies. For example, an infant baptised on March 23rd 1700 would have been almost a year younger than an infant sibling baptised on March 30th 1700.

19th century records continued in this format until 1812, when Rose’s Act led to the introduction of separate registers, pre-printed to the same common format.

The introduction of civil registration began on July 1st 1837. Trusham registration district was, and continues to be Newton Abbot.