B. Sc., M. Sc., Ph. D.

Local Historian of Bovey Tracey.

Honorary Associate Research Fellow University of Exeter


I hope you enjoy reading my work. On this site you will find presentations on topics, my published papers, and a list of work in progress.
Do contact me if you would like me to talk to your society. The questions asked at talks are a great help.

Let me know if you would like me to try and find out more about the history of your Bovey Tracey house or family.  


Brimley and Langaller Manor– Langaller, which included Higher and Lower Brimley Chapple and Whistelwell, was a medieval manor. There are some manor records but it is difficult to find who lived where, and  the location of some holdings is no longer known. If you have any records which might help please do contact me. I have listed all the historic holdings and also the names of tenants from the rent records so do let me know if these relate to your family.

 Devon House of Mercy- under  Places. I am giving a talk on this at the Bovey Tracey Heritage Trust AGM on 26 November 2024. It is a very intersting story building on what has already been published in The Bovey Book,  as people have contacted me about their families’ expreiences of being ‘inmates’. Thanks to information from a descendant Rose Lilwall’s story has been added. Like some other ‘inmates’ Rose’s child was cared for  by her extended family, and she went on to marry and have another child. This supports the picture of the  positive help which the Devon House of Mercy gave. 

Civil War- under Topics. Bovey Tracey in the English civil war is described from sources written at the time and later descriptions. Some of the local  memories are based on fact but others are just legends. I will be  giving a talk on this at the Dartmoor National Park Authorioty local history day in 15 June 2025. 

Sylvia Fox Strangways- First Artist in Residence at Dartington Hall in the 1920s- I am contributing to a Devon History Society event at Devon Heritage Centre on 14 June 2024. 

Field Names- under Discoveries. There are hundreds of field names in Bovey Tracey. I have traced their meanings and  picked out a few of the most interesting ones. Do contact me if you would like to know about a particular field or farm. I wonder if Castle Down was the site of an ancient fort; are Spirux fields by ancient bridleways; was Cost is Lost poor quality land or was it a pun? 


Thomas Henry Lyon mine owner’s son and internationally famous architect who built houses at Haytor  and churches in Cambridge- I gave a talk on this to Ilsington History Group on 16 March 2024. Do let me know if you have any family memories to add.


A list of  the wild flowers of some local footpaths season by season. I contributed records to the New Year Plant Hunt  for the Botanical Society of the British Isles. You can see my list of 34 plants in flower in Bovey Tracey on www.

Illustrations: Cross at Challabrook Farm to Commemorate the Civil War; Seals on a Local Deed; Signature of John Southcott when Lord of the Manor; The Trough by the Parish Church.

Frances Billinge, updated 28 May 2024