Family History Federation

Heavitree Nuisances Presentments and Inspectors Record Books – 1856-1859

This booklet was compiled by members of the Devon Family History Society in co-operation with the Devon Records Office. The booklet provides an extract of some information and further details may be obtained from the Devon Records Office. These two books were kept by the inspector of nuisances for the parish of Heavitree, on the outskirts of Exeter. One book is the Presentment Book which records ‘particulars of complaint’, the name of the inspector and the location of the nuisance. The second book is the Inspector’s Record Book which records the actions taken to put the nuisance right. The books cover the period 1856 to 1859, with some later entries for 1862 and 1872, and have to be used in conjunction to get a complete account of each case. They are not a source which is often used for family history because their official title does not give any idea of the content, but as an account of what everyday life was like for ordinary working people, they are full of interest. Heavitree in the 1850s had its share of blocked drains, filthy gutters and dirty pigs and it is easy to see how diseases flourished when hygiene was so poor. However, the books show that the inspector was vigilant in hunting out nuisances and in making sure that Heavitree was clean. He had a thankless task and, with repeat offenders, he must have felt as if it were never-ending, but his efficiency has created a valuable record for us; this index provides the key to his work.


SKU : D066

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