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Help and advice for Teignmouth 1868

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[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)]

"TEIGNMOUTH, a parish, a seaport, market town, and fashionable watering-place in the hundred of Exminster, county Devon, 6 miles N.E. of Newton Bushel, and 13 S. of Exeter, of which city it is a subport. It is a station on the South Devon railway. The town, which is sheltered by hills, is situated at the N. side of the mouth of the river Teign, on the coast of the English Channel. It comprises the two parishes of East and West Teignmouth, and is a place of great antiquity, being the Saxon Tegntun. In 970 it was burnt by the Danes, and in 1338 and 1690 by the French, who in this last attack succeeded in destroying 116 houses, with 11 ships in the harbour. During the siege of Calais in 1348 it supplied 7 ships.

It sent members to the council at Westminster in the reign of Edward I., and returned members to parliament in the 14th of Edward III., but was never incorporated. It is now governed by the local magistrates, and by two portreeves chosen annually for either manor at the courts leet and baron. The manor of East Teignmouth anciently belonged to the see of Exeter, but was alienated to the Courtenays of Powderham, and now belongs to the Earl of Devon, and that of West Teignmouth to Lord Clifford. Although the old town is irregularly built, and some of the streets are narrow and ill-paved, it is a rapidly improving place, containing many good shops and numerous modern villa residences, the latter situated principally at the N.W. end of the town, where the land lies high, commanding extensive views of the sea and river.

It has no manufactures, but a considerable coasting trade, also a good Newfoundland trade and home fishery for whiting, soles, turbot, mackerel, and pilchards on the coast, and for salmon in the river Teign. The principal exports are granite from the Haytor quarries, timber, bark, cider, manganese, pipe and potters' clay, which two last amount to some 50,000 tons annually, and are dug principally in the adjoining parish of King's Teignton, and brought down to the quay in lighters, and thence shipped to the Staffordshire potteries. The imports are of culm, coal, deals, iron, groceries, &c. Much of the prosperity of the town, however, depends upon the influx of visitors in the season for sea-bathing, for which it is admirably adapted, having a broad sandy beach, and every accommodation.

The population of the town is about 6,000, including the suburb of Shaldon, which is connected by a bridge of thirty-four arches supported on iron trusses, and extending a length of 1,671 feet, with a swing bridge over the main channel to allow the passage of ships. It has two commodious quays, called Old and New, a custom-house, coastguard watch-house, court-house where petty sessions are held fortnightly on Mondays, public assembly rooms built in 1826, and containing a spacious ballroom 70 feet long, billiard rooms, and other apartments; a theatre built in 1849, and situated in Northumberland-place, public baths on the beach, a new market house, several good hotels, lodging houses, circulating libraries, and reading rooms, also two branch banks, ship-building yards, maltings, breweries, and two free dispensaries. In front of the town is the Den, or Dene, an open grass plat of several acres running parallel with the sea. This open space forms a promenade of about three-fourths of a mile in length, and serves as a course for the races, which take place annually in August. At one end of the Den is the lighthouse erected by the harbour commissioners in 1845, 31 feet high, with a fixed light visible for 9 miles. About 1 mile from the town, and near the Exeter road, is the cemetery for the united parishes of East and West Teignmouth.

The living of East Teignmouth is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Exeter, value £135, in the presentation of the Vicar of Dawlish, to which parish it was once annexed, and that of West Teignmouth is a vicarage, value £157, in the presentation of the Vicar of Bishops-Teignton. Both churches have been rebuilt within the present century. East Teignmouth Church is a cruciform structure, dedicated to St. Michael, and situated on a cliff overlooking the sea; West Teignmouth Church, dedicated to St. James, is a spacious octagonal structure built on the site of the old cruciform one in Bitton-street; it has a tower at one corner containing four bells and a clock, and the centre is surmounted by an octagonal dome lantern. The Independents, Wesleyans, Roman Catholics, and Plymouth Brethren have chapels.

There are spacious National schools for the united parishes, also Sunday and other schools, partially endowed by Coleman and Elwell. The Teignmouth Gazette and Times are published weekly. The charities, arising principally from the parish lands, produce about £19 per annum. In the neighbourhood the cliffs are of New Red sandstone, and attain an altitude of from 150 to 200 feet. The mate is so genial that the myrtle and other exotics flourish in the open air. East Teignmouth gives the title of baron to the Shore family. A regatta takes place in August.

Saturday is market day. Fairs are held on the third Tuesday in January and the last Tuesday in February and September."

Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003