After correction for Mesozoic and Tertiary opening of the Atlantic, Ordovician and Silurian – Lower Devonian paleomagnetic poles from Britain are significantly different to contemporaneous results from North America. Upper Devonian poles from the two regions are similar. The discrepancy observed in the Ordovician and Silurian – Lower Devonian data is interpreted as due to major sinistral transcurrent faulting during the Middle Devonian concurrent with the short lived Acadian Orogeny. Rate of motion on this fault (or faults) was approximately 9 ± 4 cm/y. A consequence of this interpretation is that the Caledonide ocean was apparently narrow during the interval Ordovician to Devonian. However, inaccuracies in the paleomagnetic data permit the opening and closing of small ocean basins (≤ 1000 km), which may be related to the more extended Taconic Orogeny.