Dr Thomas Bartow of Crediton and Colebrooke


Thomas Bartow was a doctor in the middle of the seventeeth century who lived in and around Crediton and Colebrooke.


Born in Awliscombe near Ottery St Mary in 1636, his father Peter is reputed to be a descendant of the Bertaut family that fled from Brittany to England in 1572. When aged 32 Thomas obtained a licence to practise as a surgeon throughout Devon, stating he had studied medicine 10 years and up.


He is believed to have married three times; one is documented, in 1671 to Grace Snell in Lapford. He had ten children, baptised in Crediton or Colebrooke churches.


His most famous son was John (born 1673) who after schooling in Crediton went to Christ College, Cambridge. He later became vicar of Pampisford Cambridgeshire, but in 1702 went as a missionary to New York where he founded St Peter’s Church, Westchester. He died in 1726, leaving many descendants in North America.

Thomas’s daughter Elizabeth, baptised in Colebrooke in 1679, married surgeon John Hoskins in St Ive, Cornwall in 1704. They moved to London where he was associated with Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals until his death in 1735. 

In Colebrooke Thomas Bartow probably lived at Keymelford as there are deeds showing he rented land there from the Tuckfield family. I have not come across any records about his work as a doctor.

His will was proved in 1690. He probably died in the debtors’ gaol in Stoke Canon as there is a burial entry for St Mary Magdalene, Stoke Canon:

“Thomas Bartow Gent. a prisoner was buried in ye alley in ye Chancell ye 28th  December 1690”.