With the 2021 census just completed, lets look at how Bideford appeared in previous censuses. The FreeCEN website gives free access to 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1891 censuses of Bideford. White's Devonshire Directory from 1850 can fill in some gaps. How would your life look to future historians, if they could only read a few lines every 10 years?

Three traces of past lives, 

  • WIlliam Skewes, Culm Mining Agent
  • Charlotte Prouse, Milliner
  • Thomas Johns, Culm Miner



St Mary's Church, Roger A Smith https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/854105

Pannier Market, Jonathan Billinger https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1009484

Town Hall and Library, Philip Halling https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1357042

Quay House, Roger A Smith https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4783872

Longbridge, Philip Halling https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2824726 


WIlliam Skewes, Culm Mining Agent

1841, Cornwall, East, Stoke Climsland, Luckett
HENWOOD, Susanna, 35
HENWOOD, Samuel, 15, Miner
HENWOOD, Richard, 12
HENWOOD, Joseph, 7
HENWOOD, Thomas, 5
HENWOOD, Mary, 1
PHILLIPS, Joseph, 30, Miner (Copper)
DONEL, Elizabeth, 16, Female Servant
SKEWES, William, 35, Smith
SKEWES, Cordalysa, 40
POLLARD, Cordalyea, 10

White's Devonshire Directory 1850
Page 761.  Bideford Anthracite Mining Co. culm and black paint owners, &c. Wm. Skews, agent 

1851 Devon, Bideford, Barnstaple St
SKEWES, William, Head, 48, Culm Mining Agent, Kea (Cornwall)
SKEWES, Cordelia, Wife, 51, Kea
POLLARD, Cordelia, Niece, 19, Dress Maker, Bideford

1861 Devon, Bideford, Barnstaple St
DENNIS, Richard, Head, 29, Joiner Emp 1 Boy, Monkleigh
DENNIS, Cordelia, Wife, 29, Bideford
DENNIS, William S., Son, 9 months, Bideford
SKEWES, Cordelia, Aunt (Widow), 61, Nurse, Key
GRIFFEY, Thomas P., Appren, 16, Joiner's App., Bideford


Charlotte Prouse, Milliner

1841 Devon, Shebbear, Bideford, Butt Garden
PROUSE, Hugh, 35, Shoemaker
PROUSE, Charlotte, 25
PROUSE, Margaret, 2
PROUSE, Charlotte Jnr, 1

White's Devonshire Directory 1850
Page 764. BOOT & SHOE MKS.  Prouse, Hugh, Mill St.
Page 765. MILLINERS, &c. Prouse Chtte. Mill St.

1851 Devon, Bideford, Mill St
PROUSE, Hugh, Head, 47, Cordwainer Master, Buckland
PROUSE, Charlotte, Wife, 40, Bideford
PROUSE, Caroline, Dau, 11, Scholar, Bideford
PROUSE, Jn., Son, 8, Scholar, Bideford
PROUSE, Jas., Son, 6, Scholar, Bideford
PROUSE, Fanny, Dau, 4, Scholar, Bideford
ELLIOT, Eliza, Lodger, 15, Serv, Bideford
SANDERS, Wm., Lodger, 71, Mariner, Bideford

1861 Devon, Bideford, Mill St
PROUSE, Hugh, Head, 55, Boot & Shoemaker, Buckland Brewer
PROUSE, Charlotte, Wife, 48, Boot & Shoemaker's Wife, Bideford
LANG, Caroline, Dau, 20 Bideford
PROUSE, John, Son, 18, Tailor, Bideford
PROUSE, James, Son, 15, Boot & Shoe Maker, Bideford
PROUSE, Fanny, Dau, 14, Bideford
PROUSE, Emily, Dau, 8, Bideford

1891 Devon, Bideford, 20 High Street
PROUSE, James, Head, 44 Tanner Currier Boot Maker, Bideford
PROUSE, Henrietta, Wife, 42, Bideford
PROUSE, Purcey E, Son, 16, Bideford
PROUSE, George T, Son, 12, Bideford
PROUSE, John T, Son, 11, Bideford
WILLIAMS, Mary, Servnt, 24, General Servant, Hartland


Thomas Johns, Culm Miner

1841 Devon, Shebbear, Bideford, East The Water
JOHNS, Thomas, 25, Ag Lab
JOHNS, Elizabeth, 25
JOHNS, George, 2

1851 Devon, Bideford, Torrington Lane
JOHNS, Thomas, Head, 37, Culm Miner, Woolfardisworthy
JOHNS, Elizabeth, Wife, 36, Parkham
JOHNS, George, Son, 11, Scholar, Abbotsham
JOHNS, Thomas, Son, 8, Scholar, Bideford
JOHNS, Edward, Son, 6, Scholar, Bideford
JOHNS, Ann, Dau, 3, Bideford

1861 Devon, Bideford, Nuttaberry
JOHNS, Thomas, Head, 46, Culm Miner, Wolfardisworthy
JOHNS, Elizabeth, Wife, 45, Parkham
JOHNS, Thomas, Son, 18, Tinman & Plumber's Ap., Bideford
JOHNS, Edward, Son, 16, Blacksmith Ap., Bideford
JOHNS, Ann, Dau, 13, Scholar, Bideford
JOHNS, Henry, Son, 9, Scholar, Bideford
JOHNS, Bartholemew, Son, 7, Scholar, Bideford

1891 Devon, Bideford, 13 Sunnyside
JOHNS, Thomas, Head, 78, Living On His Own Means, Woolfardisworthy
JOHNS, Elizabeth, Wife, 77, Parkham
JOHNS, Fredrick, Grnson, 13, Scholar, Bideford
JOHNS, Thomas, Grnson, 10, Scholar, Bideford

1891 Devon, Bideford, 25 North Road
JOHNS, Edward, Head, 48, Shoeing Smith(Em'ee), Bideford
JOHNS, Mary A, Wife, 48, Bideford
JOHNS, Mary A, Dau, 24, Forewoman Collar Works(Em'ee), Bideford
JOHNS, Lily, Dau, 22, Board School Teacher(Em'ee), Bideford
JOHNS, Edmund, Son, 20, Shoeing Smith(Em'ee), Bideford
JOHNS, Elizabeth A, Dau, 18, Machinist In Collar Works, Bideford
JOHNS, Sarah J, Dau, 16, Machinist In Collar Works, Bideford
JOHNS, Eliza Ellen, Dau, 10, Scholar, Bideford


General Information on Bideford

GENUKI provides a virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland. It is a non-commercial service, maintained by a charitable trust and a group of volunteers.



Welcome to the Devon Heritage website where you will find information and articles about the people and places of this County, both past and


British History Online has copies of the late 19th Century Ordnance Survey maps.



Census 2021 The census is a survey about all the households in England and Wales. The last census took place on Sunday 21 March 2021. Everyone must complete the census and provide accurate information. It helps decide how services are funded in your area.



A Vision of Britain Since 1801 the Census has created a uniquely detailed record of our changing communities. For data on your chosen town or village, search by place from our main home page. 

Bideford https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/449 


Extract of the Bideford entry from William White's Devonshire Directory of 1850



FreeCEN The aim of FreeCEN is to provide free internet searches of the 19th century UK census returns. The first UK census to include names and other details of UK residents took place in 1841. Since then, a census has been held every ten years.

The FreeCEN project was begun in July, 1999, with a pilot transcription for Devon, coordinated by Brian Randell. Since then, the project has moved on, outgrowing its original database and website: we are now based on this site and have plans to improve the database and the ways you can search it.


Coverage for Bideford on FreeCEN is for the years 1841 (census district Shebbear), 1851 (Bideford), 1861 (Bideford), and 1891 (Bideford)



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