Branscombe Project © 2009-2024

The Branscombe Project

The Alexander Law Map 1793

In 1793 the Dean and Chapter of Exeter commissioned Alexander Law to survey their holdings in Branscombe. Law lived from 1755 to 1840. He came from Aberdeen, and was apprenticed to the well- known Devon map-maker, William Hole. He worked for many Devon and Cornwall landowners, including the Dean and Chapter, and then went on to become land steward and surveyor to the Dean and Canons of Windsor.

The Branscombe map is both accurate and beautifully executed. Alongside the map, Law drew up a detailed list of all the farms, with the names, acreages and use of the fields. The list distinguishes between copyholders and leaseholders and gives all their names. It is an invaluable document and precedes the tithe map by nearly half a century. The only drawback, for someone using the map today, is that he didn’t include land that was privately owned and thus not part of the manor.

The map has been divided into four sections for viewing:

North West

North East

South West

South East

About the apportionments

This complete copy of the apportionments is intended to be used with the map. If you open two browsers you can view the map sections in one and the apportionments in the other.

Click here to view apportionments.


We are very grateful to John Draisey of the Devon Record Office who was able to digitise the Law map for us, and to Angela Doughty of the Cathedral Archives in Exeter for permission to put the map and apportionments on our website.