Atherington is located within North Devon local authority area. Historically it formed part of North Tawton Hundred. It falls within Barnstaple Deanery for ecclesiastical purposes. The Deaneries are used to arrange the typescript Church Notes of B.F.Cresswell which are held in the Westcountry Studies Library. The population was 484 in 1801 453 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website.In 1641/2 132 adult males signed the Protestation returns.
A parish history file is held in Bideford Library. You can look for other material on the community by using the place search on the main local studies database. Further historical information is also available on the Genuki website
Maps: The image below is of the Atherington area on Donn's one inch to the mile survey of 1765.
On the County Series Ordnance Survey mapping the area is to be found on 1:2,500 sheet 20/16 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 20SE
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SS591231. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SS52SE, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Explorer 127, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 180. Geological sheet 309 also covers the area.
Extract from Devon by W.G.Hoskins (1954), included by kind permission of the copyright holder:
ATHERINGTON stands high and commands magnificent views. The church (St. Mary), on the hill-top, is a landmark for miles. It is entirely a 15th and 16th century building, and is of exceptional interest for its contents. It is notable in the first place in retaining the only rood-loft left in Devon, though this is now confined to the N. aisle only. The screen and loft, of exquisite design and finish, formerly stretched across the church, but at some date (possibly about 1800) the chancel section was removed and a much poorer and simpler screen of an early type substituted for it. This early screen is said to have come from the chapel at Umberleigh, the home of the Bassets, when it was pulled down. We know that the rood-loft at least was the work of two Chittlehampton carvers c. 1530-40. They may also have been responsible for the aisle screen, which bears a marked resemblance to those of Lapford and Marwood. The church also has a fine series of carved and crocketed bench-ends, of a most unusual type for Devon, and of an early type (probably 15th century). In the N. chancel aisle is a complete window of medieval glass. There are various effigies and tombs. The effigy of a 13th century knight in armour in the N. chancel aisle is believed to be that of Sir William Champernowne of Umberleigh; and the two 14th century figures in the chancel are said to represent Sir Ralph Willington, kt. (d. 1349) and Lady Eleanor (Mohun) his wife. These effigies were formerly in the chapel at Umberleigh, but were removed to Atherington church in 1818. The altar tomb on the N. side of the chancel has brass figures depicting a knight in armour, his two wives, and twelve children in two groups. It is the tomb of Sir John Basset of Umberleigh, and his two wives Ann (Denys of Orleigh) and Honor (Grenville of Bideford). Sir John died in 1529. Atherington church and screen were restored by J. L. Pearson in 1884.
Almost nothing remains of the great house at Umberleigh, beside the Taw. Umberleigh Barton contains some old work, possibly 16th century.