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The Parish Church of St. James
Swimbridge, towards West Irishborough seen from a public footpath between Possession Cross and Tower Farm, looking east-south-east

Swimbridge (historical spelling: Swymbridge) is a village in the English county of Devon. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) south-east of Barnstaple and twinned with the town of St.Honorine Du Fay in Normandy, France.

It was the home of the Rev. John "Jack" Russell who first bred the Parson Russell Terrier.


The name Swimbridge originates from the clergyman Sawin Birige, who founded a chapelry at Swymbridge in Anglo-Saxon times. Birige held lands around the village which were known as Birige.[1]


Before the changes to parish boundaries in 2003, at 7,280 acres (29.5 km2) it was one of the largest in North Devon.

The village is noted for its church (The Parish Church of St. James; tower ca. 1300) which has been described as a treasure house due to its fine carvings and memorials.

Jack Russell Terrier[edit]

The village was the home of the Rev. John "Jack" Russell who first bred the Parson Russell Terrier. The Reverend Russell is said to have brought his first terrier, Trump, whilst he was studying at Oxford University and then bred from her to eventually originate the Parson Jack Russell strain of terrier. John Russell died in 1883 and his grave can be found in the graveyard of St. James's Church; the village pub is named after him and his breed of terrier.


From 1873 to 1966, Swimbridge had a station on the Devon and Somerset Railway, which became part of the Great Western Railway and which ran from Taunton to Barnstaple. The alignment of the railway line through Swimbridge station is now part of the North Devon Link Road.


Leather Tanning was a major local industry until 1965.[1]


  1. ^ a b Dalling, Mervyn C., Our Village History, www.swimbridge.com, retrieved 4 February 2013 

External links[edit]

Media related to Swimbridge at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 51°03′10″N 3°58′13″W / 51.0529°N 3.9704°W / 51.0529; -3.9704