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Bow

Bow is located within Mid Devon local authority area. Historically it formed part of North Tawton Hundred. It falls within Cadbury 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 677 in 1801 660 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website.The lay subsidy of 1524 valued the community at £02/03/08. In 1641/2 129 adult males signed the Protestation returns. It is recorded as a borough from 1259. It had parliamentary representation from 940. Also known as Nymet Tracey. A market is recorded from 14c.-1792.

A parish history file is held in Crediton & Okehampton Libraries. 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 Bow area on Donn's one inch to the mile survey of 1765.

Bow area on Donn's map of 1765 (ss70don)

On the County Series Ordnance Survey mapping the area is to be found on 1:2,500 sheet 66/1,2 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 66NW
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SS722018. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SS70SW, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Explorer 113, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 191. Geological sheet 324 also covers the area.


A fair is known from: 14c.-1822. [It is intended to include the local section from The glove is up! Devon's historic fairs, by Tricia Gerrish, by kind permission of the author].

Extract from Devon by W.G.Hoskins (1954), included by kind permission of the copyright holder:

BOW is a large street-village on the old Crediton and Okehampton road. The original centre of the parish was Nymet Tracey (for the meaning of nymetsee KING'S NYMPTON) but in the 13th century a new settlement grew up on the main road. Henry de Tracey obtained in 1259 the grant of a weekly market and a three-day fair at the feast of St. Martin, (Lysons, 346-5. Lysons gives 1258 as the date of the grant, but it should it should be 1259). which would naturally be held down on the main road; and so Bow was born. Early in the 14th century an attempt was made to make a borough of it. We find four burgesses here in 1326; (Lysons, 364-5. Lysons gives 1258 as the date of the grant, but it should be 1259) but the place never developed any urban characteristics, though it retained its fair until about 1900.

Halse was a Saxon estate and is recorded in Domesday. Hillerton is recorded in a Saxon charter of 739. Here Mr. Reckitts, the starch mignate, built a mansion which is now completely demolished. At Hilldown, the Traceys are said to have had a castle (more probably a fortified manor house) of which some walls remained within living memory.

Nymet Tracey church (St. Bartholomew) is a 14th century building, with a 15th century N. aisle, all heavily restored in 1889-90, when the chancel was rebuilt. There are traces of Norman work in the S. doorway. An unusual early 16th century rood-screen retains a good deal of the ancient colouring. The pulpit and altar rails date from 1680. There was formerly a chapel at Bow dedicated to St. Martin.