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‘COW TOWN’ ST. MARY’S HIGHER BRIXHAM 1850 -1900 PROJECT is supported by the Lottery Heritage fund.

During the Second World War Victorian sexton records were destroyed in the Exeter Blitz. Our project, recruited volunteers who recorded and mapped the hundreds of named Victorian burial headstones with dates of death. We researched family histories using internet resources (e.g., museum records and registers. We recorded their place of residence if in ‘Cow Town’, local schooling (if any), local work/profession, marital status, health, social circumstance and cause of death. A collection of local photographs have been produced of Victorian ‘Cow Town’.

The Heritage Lottery Fund Awarded a grant to 'The Friends of Brixham Libary' project entitled 'Cow Town 1850-1900 Brixham St. Mary's Grave Yard Project' .

We gained support and volunteers for the project using social media, press and leaflet distribution. Our findings have been recorded both digitally and on ‘hard copy’. We have produced a Key Stage 1 & 2 Victorian Higher Brixham educational pack downloadable from the website. A scale model of St. Mary’s church and Victorian burial ground circa 1900 has been made and is exhibited in the church.

The project hopes to show just how much our lives have changed in the 21st century compared with the Victorians of Higher Brixham or ‘Cow Towner’s’. Many people refer to ‘Cow Town’ but have no idea of what exactly the name refers to. Our community project has given people the opportunity to be involved and learn from our researches.

More about the project methodology , successes and problems.

Why is the project needed(.doc)

The Start(.doc)

The Plan of action(.doc)


Problems encountered (.doc)

Find out more (.doc)

Project Participants



Gallery for Exhibition pages