In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Lifton like this:
LIFTON, a village, a parish, a district-district, and a hundred, in Devon. The village stands in the valley of the river Lid, about a mile from its influx to the Tamaer, at the boundary with Cornwall, and near the Lann ceston railway and the Bude canal, 4 miles E by N of Launceston; was known, before the Conquest, as Lysiston; is a seat of petty sessions; and has a post office, designated Lifton, North Devon, a railway station, a good inn, and fairs on 15 February, Holy Thursday, and 29 October.The parish contains also the hamlets of Lifton Down, Crosstown, Beara, Lower Cookworthy, Higher Cookworthy, Tinney, and West Week. ...
Acres, 5,982. Real property, £7,904; of which £500 are inn mines, and £470 in quarries. Pop. in 1851,1,667; in 1861,1,441. Houses, 325. The decrease of pop. was caused by lessened demand for labour in manganese mines, by junction of farms, and by introduction of agricultural machinery. The property is divided among a few. The manor was held by Earl Godwin; passed to subsequent Earls of Kent and Westmoreland; went afterwards to the Harrises and the Arundells; and, with Lifton Park, belongs now to H. Bradslhaw, Esq. Lime stone, lead ore, and manganese are among the minerals; and the limestone is worked. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £491.* Patron, H. Brad shaw, Esq. The church is ancient, in tolerably good condition; consists of nave, S aisle, and chancel, with a lofty tower; and contains monuments of the Harrises and others. There are chapels for Baptists, Wesleyans, and Bible Christians, and a charity school for girls.The sub-district contains also eight other parishes, and is in Tavistock district. Acres, 22,947. Pop., 3,975. Houses, 829.-The hundred contains twenty-one parishes and part of another. Acres, 133,300. Pop. in 1851,15,847; in 1861,15,433. Houses, 2,827.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Lifton has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of West Devon. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Lifton and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Lifton in West Devon | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 05th August 2015
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