Promoting awareness of the archaeology and history of North Devon

Copyright © 2015-2022 North Devon Archaeological Society



The Society has a long history of research and publishing. Over the years it has featured reports on Mills in Northern Devon and on the Taw and Torridge Estuary and two currently available publications: The Heritage Handbook, now in its second edition, and Bronze Age to Bottle Seals, its 50th Anniversary publication.

To these it is now adding online publication of essays and monographs by its members. The first of these is a study on The Origin of Early Medieval Settlement in Northern Devon by Steve Pitcher, shortly to be followed by a study of North Devon’s link with Newfoundland by John Bradbeer, and subsequently ‘Northern Devon in the Domesday Book ‘ also by John Bradbeer. The intention is that this work should be made freely available both to members of the Society and visitors to this website.

The North Devon Archaeological Society Golden Anniversary Book

The book is available from local shops and retail outlets at such as the local museums and attractions or by post from NDAS. The publication team have tried to include as wide a selection of articles as space permits to reflect both the Society’s broad interest and also the amount of work being undertaken within northern Devon.

Fully illustrated with a colour section on the Harvest Jug exhibition and also an index from the Portable Antiquities officer for Devon of recent finds. In all 17 wide ranging articles of interest to Archaeologists, Landscape Historians and Historians in general.

Available from NDAS - Order Form

The Origin of Early Mediaeval Settlement in North Devon - new.pdf

The purpose of this study is to approach the question of the origins of settlements in north Devon in the Early Medieval (Anglo-Saxon) period from a landscape scale perspective. The landscape in question is the area that lies between the Bristol Channel and the northern edge of Dartmoor and between the River Exe in the east and the Cornish border in the west – which for brevity I am calling north Devon (to distinguish it from the modern local government units of North Devon and Torridge Districts). The study includes a brief historical synopsis and considers some general issues before taking a series of settlement case studies from across the area.

Available to download by clicking the image opposite.

Taw & Torridge Archaeology 2nd   edition FINAL-1.pdf

Man has always used the environment for his own ends and an estuary (the tidal reach of a river) is a choice place for exploitation. It is a natural resource, a haven, an entrance and an exit, a birthplace and a graveyard for ships.

There is, in fact, a mass of archaeological data out there and an effort has been made to include all the important sites but much of it needs condensing and in some cases virtually decoding! For readers who have, or develop, an interest in a particular theme or site, there are references to detailed sources in the bibliography at the end.

Available to download by clicking the image opposite.

NDAS web essay North Devon and  Newfoundland final.pdf





Of all the episodes in the history of North Devon, there is probably none more overlooked than that of trade with Newfoundland.  In Bristol, as well as the Cabot shopping centre and the Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill, there is Newfoundland Way, linking the city centre to the M32.  Yet proportionately Bristol had far less involvement with Newfoundland than did Barnstaple and Bideford, but in neither town is there anything as obvious to suggest this connection.  A primary aim of this study is to tell North Devon’s story and show how central the Newfoundland trade was to Barnstaple and Bideford for around a century and a half.

Available to download by clicking the image opposite.


The Domesday Book is among the best known documents in the western world. It was commanded by William the Conqueror during his sojourn at Gloucester at Christmas 1085, after consulting his council, and, as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle puts it, ‘deep talk’. Most of 1086 was taken up by the inquiry and initial compilation process and a version was presented to the king and his council at Old Sarum at Christmas 1086.

This essay will attempt to analyse the entries for northern Devon, the modern local government districts of North Devon and Torridge, it will touch on the issues of production and compilation of the Devon

folio of the Domesday Book and then analyse land-use, population, livestock numbers and land-tenure across northern Devon.

Available to download by clicking the image opposite.

Currently out of print

watermills book web-1.pdf

Based on a survey and record  of the many mills and sites originally made in 1971-1975 by members of NDAS, the book was published in 1989 and is now very difficult to find so our thanks to Barnstaple Musuem for making a copy available for this site,

Please click the image opposite to download.