Recent Presidents


David Fursdon MA FRICS FRAgS, Lord Lieutenant of Devon. Photo of David Fursdon, Lord Lieutenant of Devon 2017–2018

David Fursdon came to Devon with Catriona in 1979 after an early career in the civil service, a short commission in the Gurkhas and a degree from St John’s College, Oxford, to improve the fortunes of his 750 year-old family estate at Cadbury, in Mid-Devon. After a spell teaching geography, debating and cricket at Blundell’s School, he went to the Royal Agricultural University and qualified as a rural surveyor. He worked in Devon as an equity partner of Stags and then became President of the CLA in 2005.

Since then he has been a board member of the Crown Estates, English Heritage, the SW Regional Development Agency, The National Trust, the Historic Houses Association, the Duchy of Cornwall Rural Committee and the Affordable Rural Housing Commission. He chaired the SW Board for London 2012, and the Government’s Future of Farming Review, and is currently Chairman of Beeswax Dyson Farming Ltd, and the SW Rural and Farming Network.

He was High Sheriff of Devon and is now Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of the County.

June 2017: Inauguration conference, held in Buckfast

October 2017: Symposium, “The Making of the Devon Landscape”


Dr Todd Gray, BA PhD FRHistS MBE. 2016–2017

Dr Todd Gray is a historian who was born in New England in 1958. He has served the Devonshire Association as chairman of the History Section and as a member and chairman of the Council.

Doctoral supervision at Exeter University was undertaken with Professor Joyce Youings, former President of the Association and a keen enthusiast of Devon’s history. Since that period his publication of more than 40 titles on the history of Devon has demonstrated an unrivalled knowledge of the documentary sources in the county and across Britain. He has conducted field work in every village, town and city in Devon and has given some 1,000 lectures in every corner of the county. He has also curated more than 12 exhibitions for the City of Exeter and was responsible for the loan of the Royal Salt, the only item of the Crown Jewels and Plate to be exhibited outside London.

The promotion and safeguarding of the local archive service remains a key interest as has been the underpinning of the county’s historical community through service with the Devon & Cornwall Record Society (chairman), Friends of Devon’s Archives (chairman), the Devon Family History Society (president), Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries (committee member) and the Devon History Society (committee member).

Research, publication and lecturing has made Dr Gray the most visible Devon historian since W G Hoskins.

June 2016: Inauguration conference, held in Cullompton

October 2016: Symposium, “Historians, their Manuscripts, and the Creation of History”

May 2017: President’s Walk & Talk


Dr Tom Greeves, MA PhD. 2015–2016

June 2015: Inauguration conference, held in Tavistock

April 2016: Symposium, “Science Meets Art — Aspects of 175 Years of Photography in Devon”


Mr Chris Cornford, BA (Hons) MSc PhD FGS. 2014–2015

June 2014: Inauguration conference, held in Barnstaple

April 2015: Symposium, “Devon’s Potential Energy Budget — 2030”


Mr Andrew Cooper, BSc. 2013–2014

June 2013: Inauguration conference, held in Kingsbridge

April 2014: Symposium, “Devon – Wild Wealth and Human Health”


The Revd Peter Beacham, OBE. 2012–2013

June 2012: Inauguration conference, held in Torquay

April 2013: Symposium, “The Inspiration of Devon”