Lifton is located within West Devon local authority area. Historically it formed part of Lifton Hundred. It falls within Tavistock 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 843 in 1801 942 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website. In 1641/2 200 adult males signed the Protestation returns.
A parish history file is held in Tavistock 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.
On the County Series Ordnance Survey mapping the area is to be found on 1:2,500 sheet 86/16 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 86SE
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SX387851. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SX38NE,SX38SE, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Explorer 112, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 201. Geological sheet 337 also covers the area.
Illustrations: The image below is of Lifton as included in the Library's illustrations collection. Other images can be searched for on the local studies catalogue.
Extract from Devon by W.G.Hoskins (1954), included by kind permission of the copyright holder:
LIFTON was undoubtedly one of the earliest villages to be founded in West Devon by the Saxons, and was of considerable military importance, being within a mile of the Tamar and the Cornish frontier. It is the Liwtune referred to in King Alfred's will 880-5, and it also appears to be the Leowtun where Athelstan held his court in November 931. (P.N.D., 188n. Also D.A. 63 (1931) 354-6.)
Ashleigh was a Domesday manor, later a medieval mansion, and now a farmhouse. Wortham was also a medieval mansion and remains substantially unchanged to this day. Part of it may date from the 14th century, but it is mostly late 1st to early 16th century, reconstructed internally in the early 17th century, as so often happened, when the medieval hall-house was converted into something warmer and more convenient. The house has recently been rescued from its decay as a farmhouse and well restored. Other ancient farms are Tinhay and Gatherley, both recorded before 1200. Lifton Park is comparatively modern, the house dating only from 181S and later. It commands beautiful views of the Tamar valley and the Cornish hills. Smallacombe, now a farmhouse, has doorways of 1st century granite. The house was modernised in the early 18th century (in brick) and "turned around" to face the other way.
The church (St. Mary) is a 15th century building, badly restored in 1871. There are some traces of 14th century work and there is a magnificent late 12th century font. The monuments are interesting: (I) to John Dynham of Wortham (1641) and his wife Margaret (1649); (2) a splendid monument to the Harrises of Hayne, I590, 1618, 1631, repaired and beautified by their descendants in the 18th century; (3) an incised brass to John Harris of Hayne, 1657.