Surnames in Devon records

The surnames COLDRIDGE, COLERIDGE and COLRIDGE are frequently confused in the parish, BMD and census records. To make matters worse, more spelling variants appear the further back you go. There are correctly transcribed entries for COLREDGE, COLDRIGE, COLDERIDGE and COLEDRIDGE in the online sources, and even stranger variants arising from transcription errors. By identifying the individuals in these records, they can be assigned to their proper family, and a pattern of surname usage emerges which is described in more detail below.


In parish records from the 1700s COLDRIDGE families are recorded in Doddiscombsleigh, Dunsford, Holcombe Burnell, Christow and the Exeter area. The Exeter family originated in Doddiscombsleigh, and it is probable that the Doddiscombsleigh branch came from Dunsford in the late 1600s.

In the Doddiscombsleigh records, the usual spelling in the early 1700s was COLRIDGE. Around 1750 the same Doddiscombsleigh families were recorded as COLERIDGE, and then mostly as COLDRIDGE through to the 1800s. Perhaps in these rural communities, before universal literacy, the apparent variance has more to do with changes in the record keeper, usually the rector, than actual changes in usage from one generation to the next.

By the late 1800s several Doddiscombsleigh COLDRIDGE families seem to have permanently adopted the spelling COLERIDGE. Of particular note are the families that moved to Newton Abbot and those that left the UK.

In the records for Dunsford, the early 1600s show entries for COLREDGE and COLRIDGE, with COLDRIDGE becoming the usual spelling from the late 1600s onwards. In the Dunsford records from 1700 to the mid 1800s the spelling COLRIDGE appears occasionally but COLERIDGE occurs very rarely.


In records from the 1700s and 1800s the surname COLRIDGE is mainly associated with the villages of North Bovey, Chagford and Moretonhampstead. Most COLRIDGEs appearing in the censuses outside of Devon were found to have originated in one of these villages, and the families recorded as COLDRIDGE in the Moretonhampstead censuses seem to be aberrant transcriptions of COLRIDGE. Despite the proximity of these villages to Doddiscombsleigh and Dunsford, no link has yet been found between the COLRIDGE and COLDRIDGE families.


In Devon records of the 1700s and 1800s the surname COLERIDGE is found around West Teignmouth, in the city of Exeter, and around Ottery St Mary. There were also COLERIDGE families in London and the home counties, most of whom appear to have Devon origins, but the connection between these COLERIDGE families and the COLDRIDGE families.

The Doddiscombsleigh COLDRIDGE family that moved to Exeter around 1800 and the Exeter COLDRIDGE families that moved to Newton Abbot were subsequently recorded as COLERIDGE, the change becoming permanent in later generations. Both the Doddiscombsleigh COLDRIDGE families and North Bovey COLRIDGE families who migrated to Canada in the mid-1800s subsequently became COLERIDGE, unlike the Dunsford COLDRIDGE families in Canada who retain the original spelling.


In records from the 1700s and 1800s there are a few COULDRIDGE families found in Exeter, Crediton and Teignmouth. They caused some confusion as they are occasionally transcribed as COLDRIDGE, although one family seems to have permanently adopted this spelling around 1900. None of the COULDRIDGE families in the Devon censuses appears to be connected to COLDRIDGE families on this web site.