Seaton and Beer


"SEATON and BEER, the former a pleasant retired village and sea bathing place, on the western side of the mouth of the river Axe, and the latter a large fishing village, about a mile to the west, on a small cove or creek, which runs to the English Channel through a deep narrow glen; are distant from 2½ to 3½ miles S. of Colyton, and from 19 to 20 miles E. of Exeter. They are in the parish of Seaton, which contains 4120 acres of land, and had 1497 inhabitants in 1801, and 1996 in 1841, of whom 765 were in Seaton, and 1231 in Beer tithing. . . . Beer was formerly notorious for smuggling, and was the birthplace of that celebrated smuggler, "Jack Rattenbury, the Rob Roy of the West," . . . Great quantities of fish are caught at Beer, and many of the women and girls are employed in making lace. . . . The scenery on the coast from here to Sidmouth, is probably the finest on the southern shores of Devon. . . . Sir W.C. Trevelyan, Bart., is lord of the manor of Seaton, . . . The Walronds were long seated at Bovey House, and were lords of the manor of Beer, which passed with their heiress to the late Lord Rolle, whose trustees now hold it . . . Seaton Church (St. Gregory,) is an ancient structure, with a tower and four bells; and the living is a vicarage, . . . now held by the Rev. C.J. Glascott, B.A. . . . " [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Colyton Hundred, and the Archdeaconry and Diocese of Exeter.


Archives & Libraries

Seaton Museum - newspaper article.



Clarke, Margaret. John and Dulcie Restorick, Devon Family Historian, vol. 161, (2017) p.46.

Deakes, C.D.G. Memories of Jack Rattenbury - Rob Roy of the west, Devon Life, vol. 10, no. 89, (1973) pp.38-39; ill. [Jack Rattenbury, smuggler, 1778-1836]

Hathaway, Eileen. Smuggler: John Rattenbury and his adventures in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall 1778-1844 (including Memoirs of a smuggler, 1837). Swanage: Shinglepicker Publs. (1994) 189p: ill, maps; 23cm.

Miller, Mary Emily. William Walton: a true son of Emmanuel. Typescript (1984) 15p. [Westcountry Studies Library - px974.4/SEA/MIL]

Mugford, W.E. Ministers of Seaton. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 5:3, (1908) pp.83-85. [See vol.4, p.262, and vol.5, p.42.] [Henry Paynter, -1646]

Rattenbury, John. Memoirs of a Smuggler, compiled from his diary and journal, containing the principal events in the life of John Rattenbury, of Beer, Devonshire, commonly called the "Rob Roy of the West". Sidmouth: Harvey (1837) iv, 108pp; 19cm. [Index]

Skinner, A.J.P. John Rattenbury, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 8, no. 4, (1914) pp.123. [From Seaton and Lyme Regis PRs]



MIs for the parish church, and for St Michael, Beer, are included in the Incledon index - see under Cemeteries on the main Devon page.

Pulman, George P.R. The Book of the Axe. Bath: Kingsmead Reprints (1969) pp. 868-893. (Reprint of 3rd edition, 1875.) [Lookups]


Church History

Radford, Arthur Locke. The Walrond Screen in Seaton Church, Reprinted from the Transactions of the Devonshire Association (1915) 6 pp.

Mather, G. History of the parish church of St. Michael, Beer. Gloucester: British Publ. Co. [1969?] 24p. [WCSL p726.5/BEE/NAT]

Troup, Frances B. A forgotten page of the ecclesiastical history of Seaton. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 30, (1898) pp.331-349. [1556-1664] [Index]

Windeatt, Edward. Early non-conformity in the neighbourhood of Seaton. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 17, (1885) pp. 298-312. [1556-1664] [Index]

Notes on Seaton Parish Church, (1973). [SoG Library DE Tracts Box]

Seaton United Reformed Church, Cross Street, Seaton, Devon: the history of this church's origin and growth. Seaton: The Church (1994) 47p. [Westcountry Studies Library - px285.2/SEA/SEA]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1584 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1584 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library.

The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering (as of June 2004): Marriages 1754-1839, Burials 1813-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

A (modern) BMD Register for Beer from Phil Curtis' Beer website.

Other churches and chapels (with pre-1840 records):

  • Congregational Chapel, Fore Street, Beer: Registers for 1788-1835 (C) in PRO RG 4/2401
  • Wesleyan Chapel: Registers for c1809-37 - see Axminster (PRO RG 4/512)

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1584-1838, and Marriages 1584-1837.

The Deanery of Honiton: CD-ROM CD041, Exeter, Devon FHS (2013). [Axminster Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Axmouth Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1603-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Chardstock Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Colyton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1538-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Combpyne Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1757-1836, Bur: 1796-1847; Cotleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Dalwood Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Farway Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Gittisham Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1838, Bur: 1800-1837; Hawkchurch Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1838; Honiton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Honiton Ind, Bur: 1774-1837; Kilmington Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Membury Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Monkton Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1814-1842; Musbury Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Northleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1756-1836, Bur: 1813-1837; Offwell Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Seaton & Beer Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1839, Bur: 1813-1837; Shute Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Southleigh Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1756-1837, Bur: 1800-1837; Stockland Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1640-1837, Bur: 1813-1837; Thorncombe Bapt: 1813-1837, Mar: 1754-1837, Bur: 1813-1841; Uplyme Bapt: 1813-1839, Mar: 1754-1838, Bur: 1813-1837; Wambrook Bapt: 1813-1904, Mar: 1754-1836; Widworthy Bapt: 1813-1840, Mar: 1754-1954, Bur: 1790-1837.]


Description & Travel

Seaton Town Council website.

Seaton Tourist Information Centre website.

Section on Seaton and Beer  from Samuel Lewis: A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831), provided by Mel Lockie.

P J Curtis provides a very informative Beer Village Home Page, with good coverage of various aspects the village's history.

Beer Quarry Caves web-site.

Beer Village Design Statement, from East Devon District Council.

Bird, Sheila. Seaton, Axmouth, Colyton, Colyford, Beer and Branscombe companion (2nd rev. ed.), Lyme Regis, Bird of Freedom (1988) 56p: ill, map. [ISBN 0951223623] [Westcountry Studies Library pB/SEA/1986/BIR]

Burnham, E.J. A Guide to Seaton and District: Including Axmouth, Colyford, Colyton, Beer and Branscombe. (1912) [Westcountry Studies Library, Devon & Exeter Inst., Plymouth Central Library] [Available on CD from ArchiveCD]

Chapple, Arthur J. Walk Beer with me, Seaton, A.J. Chapple (1995) 56p: ill, map; [ISBN 095146924x] [Westcountry Studies Library p720.9/BEE/CHA]

George, Eric A. Seaton, East Devon's friendly resort. Devon Life vol. 8 no. 63 (1971) pp.28-32; ill.

Munford, George F. Bright and bracing Seaton, Beer, and neighbourhood: visitors' guide & companion - 8th ed. (1908) 40, 87p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/SEA/1908/MUN]

Munford, George Frederick. Seaton, Beer and neighbourhood: through the famous landslip to the gates of Devon, the valley of the Axe. - 3rd ed. Yeovil: Whitby & Son (1893) 100p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/SEA/1893/MUN]

Stirling, D.M. Beauties of the Shore: or A Guide to the Watering Places on the South East Coast of Devon. Comprising copious illustrations of the Antiquities, History, Topography and Scenery of the following parishes; Seaton, Axmouth, &c. &c., Exeter, W. Roberts (printer) (1838) vi + 191pp + 6pp list of subscribers + 3 pages of adverts. [Index]

The Seaton Guide. Seaton: J.Newbery (1878) 24p. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/SEA/1878/SEA]

Beer Parish Council. Beer official guide, London, J. Burrow (1952) 20p: ill, maps [Westcountry Studies Library pB/BEE 3/1952/BEE]

Seaton, The Gateway of Devon: Official Guide (1968). [Devon FHS Library p942.35/SEA]

You can see pictures of Seaton and Beer which are provided by:



Seaton and Ditrict Directory. Honiton: East Devon County Press (1938).



The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.



Beer is one of the growing number of places for which the Devon Heritage website provides census or parish register transcriptions, articles, and/or illustrations, etc.

Peskett, H.M. The Wadham family estates, Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries 31, 1968-70, pp. 238-45. See also 32, 1971-73, pp. 93-94. [Raymond: 14-18th c.; of Wadham and Seaton, Devon, and Merifeld, Somerset.]

Skinner, A.J.P. Pedigree of family of Walrond of Bovey, Seaton and Beer, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 39, (1907) pp.264-266.

Skinner, A.J.P. Pedigree of Walrond of Bovey. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 5:2, (1908) pp.48. [Refers to T.D.A., (1907), p.264.

Skinner, A.J. Family of Walrond of Bovey, Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries 11, 1920-21, pp. 18-24. [Raymond: Walrond and Oke family extracts from the parish registers, 18-19th c.] [Index]



Bradford, J.G., Windyer Morris, G.T. & Radford, Arthur L. The Badges of King Henry VII - notes 68, 69 & 70. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, illus. p. 57. [Transcript]

Drake, Wilfred. The Badges of King Henry VII. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, illus. p. 57. [Transcript]



Barber, Chips. Seaton & Axmouth. Obelisk Publications (2004) 32 p. [ISBN-13:978-1903585443]

Barber, Chips and Barber, Sally. Around & about Seaton and Beer featuring Colyton, Colyford and Branscombe. Pinhoe, Obelisk (1993). ISBN: 0946651779

Davidson, James Bridge. Seaton before the Conquest. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1885, Vol XVII, pp. 183-188. [Index]

Chapple, Arthur J. Beer in smuggling times. [Seaton]: A.J.Chapple (1991) 64 pp. ill. ISBN: 0951469223 (pbk).

Chapple, Arthur J. Beer in time and tide. [Seaton: A. J. Chapple] (1987) v.86 pp. ill.

Chapple, Arthur. The Vinedesser, (1990). [Devon FHS Library 823/CHA] [A story of winemaking in Beer in the Middle Ages]

Gosling, Ted. Around Seaton and Sidmouth in old photographs. Sutton (1991) 159 pp. ISBN: 0862999499 (pbk).

Gosling, Ted. Seaton, Axminster & Lyme Regis in Old Photographs. Sutton (1992) 159p. [ISBN 0-7509-0102-0] [Index]

Gosling, Ted. Colyton and Seaton in old photographs. Stroud: Sutton (1994) 160 pp. ill., ports.

Gosling, Ted. The Book of Seaton: Celebrating a Devon Seaside Town, Tiverton, Halsgrove Press (2002) 160 pp. [ISBN: 1841141925] [Index]

Gosling, Ted and Marshall, Geoff. Seaton, Axmouth & Colyford Through Time, Amberley Publishing (2010) 96 pp. [ISBN-13: 978-1445601274] [Then and now photographs]

Hutchinson, P.D. Honeyditches. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1885, Vol XVII, pp. 277-280. [Index]

Pulman, George P.R. The Book of the Axe. Bath: Kingsmead Reprints (1969) pp. 836-857. (Reprint of 3rd edition, 1875.) [Lookups]

Scott, John and Gray, Gladys. Out of the darkness: a brief history of the old quarry, Beer, J. Scott & G. Gray [1990?] 21 pp. [Westcountry Studies Library: p622.35/BEE/SCO]

Tims, Mervyn. The Beer Tragedy of 1864, Devon Family Historian, no. 152, (2014) pp.16-17. [Lists 19 infant deaths presumed due to a measles outbreak]

Wallis, Steve. Sidmouth to Beer Through Time, 2011. Stroud Gloucestershire, Amberley Publishing (2011) 96 pp. [ISBN-10: 1848689004]



View a map of the boundaries of this town/parish.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SY247905 (Lat/Lon: 50.709238, -3.067808), Seaton and Beer which are provided by:


Merchant Marine

Chapple, Arthur J. Beer in Smuggling Times. [Seaton] A.J.Chapple (1991) [ISBN 0951469223] [BL YK.1991.a.12160]


Names, Personal

Seaton and Beer contributors to a 1678 brief for the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral.

Surnames in the Trade's Directory for Seaton and Sidmouth, 1869, transcribed by Michael Steer.



Scott, John and Gray, Gladys. Out of the Darkness: A Brief History of the Old Quarry, Beer, Axminster Printing Co. Ltd. (n.d.) 21 pp.

Skinner, A.J.P. Salt officers of Seaton. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 5:3, (1908) pp.85-87. [From Seaton parish registers and monumental inscriptions, 1706-1745.]

Seaton And Beer Apprentices Register - 1803-1834, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF A370). [Foreword]


Probate Records

Transcript of the will of William Wilkins (1784), by Philip Steer, provided by Bev Edmonds.



Schooling in Beer - from the Beer Home Page (archived page).

Killick, Jock Bowden. The history of Beer Church of England (voluntary aided) primary school, Devon. Exeter (1960) 159p. Thesis (Dip.Ed.) - Exeter University, Institute of Education. [Exeter Univ. Library]



Andrews, C.K.C and Wilkin, W.H. Seaton and Beer: Army Rate of 1648-49/50. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 20, 8 (1939) pp.365-368, 368-370.