List of people from Ilfracombe

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Ilfracombe is a town on the North Devon coast. This is a list of notable individuals who are associated with Ilfracombe in some way, listed alphabetically within categories.


  • Thomas Harriot – the quintessential Renaissance Scholar, who in September 1607 observed a comet from Ilfracombe which would later be identified as Halley's Comet.[1]




  • Damien Hirst – local patron, funder of the No 11 the Quay restaurant, also a new restaurant number 9 the Quay, and various properties and farms in the town[2]
  • Frank McEwen – OBE, Founder and Director of National Gallery of Rhodesia. Retired to Ilfracombe before his death.[3]
  • George Shaw – Turner prize shortlisted, artist has studio on Ilfracombe High St


  • Thomas Stukley – an English adventurer who served in combat in France, Ireland, and at the Battle of Lepanto, raised the son of Sir Hugh Stucley, of Afheton, near Ilfracombe [4]
  • James Bowen (1751–1835) – British naval officer and commissioner of the Royal Navy, was master of HMS Queen Charlotte at the Glorious First of June. Captained many R N first ships of the line, incl HMS Dreadnought, HMS Argot, nicknamed "Defender of Madeira". Rose through ranks to become rear-admiral, commanded fleet which rescued the British army from Corunna during the Napoleonic war.
  • Richard Bowen (1761–1797) – British naval officer, brother of Rear-Admiral James Bowen. He served with Lord Nelson and whilst standing next to Admiral Nelson was killed during the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
  • John Bowen (1780–1823) – a naval officer and colonial administrator born in Ilfracombe 1780, founded first British settlement of Tasmania 1803 at Risdon cove (renamed Hobart), died Ilfracombe 1827. Married the niece of the Duchess of Clarence.
  • Admiral Augustus E Down – was, like Bowen, commissioned lieutenant on deck after the sea battle "Glorious 1st July. he rose through the ranks to retire as Admiral. His son also Augustus joined the navy at 14, the tunic of the lad is on permanent display at the national Maritime museum, Greenwich"
  • Sir James Meek – married the daughter of Admiral Down settled in Ilfracombe 1802, he rose through the ranks of the Royal Navy and became in 1832 the Comptroller Victualer of the Royal Navy responsible for the disposition of the Navy ships throughout the world. Knighted for his services to the country after he wrote the report upon which the Free Trade Acts were based - the foundation upon which all world trade is now based.
  • Captain John Richards Lapenotière (1770–19 January 1834) – born in Ilfracombe, was a British Royal Navy officer who, as a young lieutenant commanding the tiny topsail schooner HMS Pickle, observed the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, participated in the rescue operations which followed it and then carried the dispatches of the victory and the death of Admiral Nelson to Britain.

Journalists and broadcasters[edit]






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  5. ^,AC/life.htm
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  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Robert Freke Gould The Builder Magazine June 1915, Volume I, Number 6 - Phoenix Masonry website
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  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 October 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)