"TORQUAY . . . is a handsome market town, seaport, and bathing place, delightfully situated on the strand and the picturesque acclivities of the shore of the northern recess of Torbay, in the parish of Tor-Moham, 22 miles S. of Exeter, . . Its terraces and suburban villas extend more than a mile westward, to the old village of TOR, or Tor-Moham; and such has been the rapid increase of buildings and population during the last twenty years, that they may now be considered as one town . . . . The Parish of Tor-Moham, or Tor-Mohum, comprises about 2000 acres of land, occupying most of that bold promontory which projects eastward into the English Channel, about three miles in length, and two in breadth, to Hope's Nose, the point which divides Torbay and Babbicombe Bay. . . . Torquay, which was merely a small fishing hamlet at the close of the last century, is now a large and handsome town, comprising with its western suburbs of Tor and Upton, about 9000 inhabitants. . . . The Parish Church at Tor-Moham, more than a mile west of the Quay, is an ancient structure, . . . It has an embattled tower, two galleries, and a good organ . . . C.H. Mallock, Esq., is the patron, and the Rev. J.H. Harris, D.D., is the incumbent. . . . " [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

Also known as Tormohun. A parish in Haytor Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Totnes and the Diocese of Exeter.

Peskett: "TORQUAY was originally a hamlet by the quay, but development from the late 18th century (the population of this parish increased over thirteen-fold between 1801 and 1851) has resulted in the town of Torquay embracing the whole parish of Tormohun and extending into the neighbouring parishes of St Marychurch and Cockington." (See also this Note on the Origins of Torquay.)


Archives & Libraries

Torquay Local Studies Library (archived copy) - a Torbay Council service.

Torquay Museum social history collection - a description.

Carpenter, Brian. Torbay Archive Service, Devon Family Historian, vol. 171, (2019) p.11. [Access facilities]



Pike, John R. Torquay, Torbay: a bibliographical guide. [Torbay]: Torbay Library Ser. (1973) 86p. [ISBN 0901842176]



Sir Richard Francis Burton – aka Ruffian Dick, Renegade Explorer and Sexual Scholar - by Amy Manikowski. (Here is a splendid Wikipedia entry for him.)

The Continuing Chronicles of Colonel Fawcett, by Larry Orcutt. (See also Percy Fawcett - Wikipedia.)

Star of mid-Victorian era who put Torquay on the map (archived copy), (William Kitson),  in Torbay Weekly.

Adams, Maxwell. John Kitson [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 44, (1912). pp. 40-41. [Transcript]

Adams, Maxwell. Briscoe Hooper [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 46, (1914), pp. 42-43. [Transcript]

Adams, Maxwell. James Brett Guyer [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 47, (1915), pp. 47-48. [Transcript]

Adams, Maxwell. Arthur Roope Hunt [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 47, (1915), pp. 49-51. [Transcript]

Adams, Maxwell. William Powell, M.B., F.R.C.S.  [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 51, (1917), p. 45. [Transcript]

Avery, Graham. Upon Visiting the Grave of Thomas Avery (1889-1917), Devon Family Historian, vol. 168, (2018) pp.12-13.

B., J. Obituary: Miss Hilda H. Walker. Devon Historian 15, (1977) pp.54-55. [Historian, 1900-1977]

Bonney, T.G. (ed.) A memoir of William Pengelly, of Torquay, F.R.S., geologist, with a selection from his correspondence. London; Murray (1897) xii, 341p: ill. [Plymouth Library - 920PEN]

Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.) Rt. Rev. William Robert Brownlow, D.D. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXIV, (1902), pp. 33-34. [Transcript]

Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.) Rev. Richard Robbins Wolfe, M.A. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXIV, (1902), pp. 37-38. [Transcript]


Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.) Paul Quick Karkeek [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXV, (1903), pp.38-39. [Transcript]

Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.) Charles Henry Wade [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXVI, (1904), p. 40. [Transcript]

Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.) William Henry Kitson [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXVII, (1905), p. 34. [Transcript]

Brooking-Rowe, J. (Ed.) The Baroness Burdett-Coutts [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXIX, (1907), p. 40. [Transcript]

Cozens, D.H. The Kitson diaries. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 33:1, (1974) pp.3-9; 33:3, (1974) pp.73-79; 33:4, (1975) pp.120-124 pp.1801-1815; 33:5, (1975) pp.159-165. [1758-1820]

Dornom, David A. Family Connections, vol. 112, (2004) pp.24-25. [Reminscences of a wartime evacuee in Torquay]

Duffin, Kenneth D. The Man From Tasmania, Budleigh Salterton: The author (2012) 159pp. [Charles Stanley Sharland, engineer of the Carlisle and Settle Railway, who died in Torquay] [DFHS Tree House Library]

Editors. Roscoe Gibbs. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 6:2, (1910) pp.49, plates: port. [Obituary notice.] [Historian] [Transcript]

Editors. John Stabb. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 10:1, (1918) pp.18-19, plates: port. [Photographer, 1865-1917]

Editors. Samuel Grose, M.D., F.R.C.S. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 11:2, (1920) pp.49, plates: port. [Member of Torquay Natural History Society, Naval surgeon, 1837-1919] [Transcript]

Ellis, Arthur C. Famous people who have lived or stayed in Torquay. [1922?] 9p. [Torquay Library - D920Pam]

Fawcett, Col. P.H. (ed. by Brian Fawcett). Exploration Fawcett. Journey to the Lost City of Z. W&N (2010) 336 pp.  [Illustrated edition of 1953 original.]

Few, Janet. Terence John Leaman "Terry" 2 August. 1947 - 27 February 2023, Devon Family Historian, no. 186 (2023) pp.10-11.

Harpley, W. T.B. Horne MRCS. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 9, (1877) p.61. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. E.J. Gilman. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 9, (1877) pp.60-61. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. Humphrey Blackmore. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 9, (1877) p.60. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. James Tetley, M.D., F.R.C.P. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 10, (1878) p.62. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. H.W. Sole. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1883, Vol XV, p.58. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. R.P. Chaplin. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1884, Vol XVI, p. 53. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. John Tapley Harvey. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1884, Vol XVI, pp. 56-57. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. Robert Kitson [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1885, Vol XVII, p.65. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. H. Strangways Hounsell, M.D. [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1886, Vol XVIII, p.63. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. H. Charles William Peach [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1886, Vol XVIII, pp.64-66. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. Samuel Foster [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1887, Vol XIX, pp.43-44. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. John Edward Lee [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1888, Vol XX, pp.34-36. [Transcript]

Harpley, W. Edward Vivian. [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 25, (1893) pp.163-169. [Historian, 1808-1893] [Transcript]

Harpley, W. William Pengelly [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 26, (1894) pp.44-49. [Geologist, 1812-1894] [Transcript]

Harpley, W. William Lavers [Obituary] Trans. Devon. Assoc. 27, (1895) pp.37-38. [Philanthropist, 1815-1894] [Transcript]

Harpley, W. Townshend Monckton Hall. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 31, (1899) pp.51-52. [Geologist, 1845-1899] [Transcript]

Hartley, Rev. W. Richard Tonson Evanson MD [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 5, 1872, pp. 35-36. [Transcript]

Hartley, William Henry Tinney, QC [Obituary]. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 5, 1872, pp. 38. [Transcript]

Julian, Hester Forbes. Memorials of Henry Forbes Julian. London: Charles Griffin and Company Ltd. Exeter Street, Strand, W.C., (1914), illus, 374 pp. [Contents etc.]

Julian, Hester Forbes. William Pengelly, FRS. FGS. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 44, (1912) pp.157-191; 45, (1913) pp.423-444; 47, (1915) pp.257-284. [Geologist] [Index to Part I, Index to Part III] [Transcript of Part 1] [Transcript of Part 2]

Lawer, Diana. Boys Will Be Boys, Devon Family Historian, vol. 173, (2020) pp.6-8. [George Eales [c188-1907]

Markham, Peter. Thirty five years ago. Devon Life vol. 1 no. 7, (1965) pp.19; ill. [Personal reminiscences, 1930-1962]

Pengelly, W. Mitford, Miss Caroline Fox on the late Bishop Phillpotts, 1840. In Notes on slips connected with Devonshire,
Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1883, Vol XV, pp. 227-228. [Transcript]

Plant, Terry. The eternal north. [19760?] 66p. [Torquay Library - D929/PLA]

Plant, Terry. Saga of the twilight nights. Newton Abbot: Wotton [1973?] 107p: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library - 920/PLA]

Schneider, Albert Henry. Bert's life story: 1914 to date. [Torquay]: [A.H.Schneider] (1995) [ii], 29p: ill, ports. [Westcountry Studies Library - px920/SCH]

Treby, John. Runaway Apprentices, Devon Family Historian, vol. 134, (2010) p.33. [John Treby, charged in 1857 with absenting himself from his employment with J R Matthews, cabinet maker]

White, J.T. Devoniana, Part II: Art in Devonshire. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 15, (1883), pp. 447-452. [Index]

Colonel Timins [Obituary]. Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1875, Vol VII, p. 63. [Transcript]



Leathers, H.A. Monumental Inscriptions: St Mary Magdalene, Upton, Torquay and St Saviour, Torquay, (1974) [Devon FHS Library 929.5]

Seymour, D.J. Upton: the heart of Torquay: the story of its church & parish. Exeter: James Townsend & Sons (1963) [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 7/0001/SEY] [MI extracts]



Rendel, Margherita. Households in Torquay Headed by Women in 1851, Trans, Devon. Assoc., vol. 131, (1999) [SoG Library Box 16/Folder 8]

Susser, Bernard. Jews (Identified & Supposed) in the 1841-1891 censuses: Exeter (1841-1861), Falmouth (1851), Penzance (1851), Plymouth (1841-1891), Torquay (1851). Stroud (1881, 1891) transcribed by Harold Pollins, Studies in Anglo-Jewish History, vol. 1, (1996). [Contents now incorporated into the JewishGEN UK Database]


Church History

Torre, Torquay - from J. Stabb. Some Old Devon Churches (London: 1908-16).

Terry Leaman's Torquay's Churches page.

The Web-site for All Saints Torre, Torbay provides historical and other information about this modern parish in Torquay.

History of Torbay Methodist Churches (archived copy) by Lorna Smith.

Airy, Basil Reginald. A brief history of St. John's, Torquay, Torquay, Andrew Iredale (1902) 42p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library s726.5/TOR/AIR]

Ashworh, Edward. A Paper on Torre Abbey. Exeter Diocesan Architectural Soc. Trans. 2 ser, v. 1, (1867) pp.55-60. [Index]

Boggis, Robert James Edmund. The history of St. John's, Torquay. Torquay: Devonshire Press (1930) xii, 301p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - 726.5/TOR/BOG]

Boggis, Robert James Edmund. St. John's Church, Torquay: a short description, Gloucester, British Publ. Co. (1939) 16p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library p726.5/TOR/BOG]

Ellis, Arthur Charles. Some ancient churches around Torquay, with other notes on the respective parishes, Torquay, Torquay Directory (1936) 16pp. [Westcountry Studies Library s726.5/DEV/ELL]

Ellis, Arthur Charles. The Story of Torre Abbey, Torbay County Borough, Torquay (1960?) 160p: ill. [SoG Library - DE Tracts Box]

Ferguson-Davie, Patrick. St. John's Church, Torquay: a short guide and history, Gloucester, British Publ. Co. (1949) 20p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library p726.5/TOR/FER]

Jenkins, John. Torre Abbey: Locality, Community, and Society in Medieval Devon. Academia (2010) [Download]

Seymour, Deryck John. Torre Abbey: an account of its history, buildings, cartularies and lands. Torquay]: [The Author] (1977) xvi, 303p, [40]p, plates:ill. [ISBN 0950594903]

Smith, Lorna Ruse. Forward on the Pilgrim Way: a brief history of Central Church, Torquay. [Devon]: [L.R.Smith] (1986) 18p: ill. [ISBN 0950446815]

Watkin, Hugh R. A short description of Torre Abbey, Torquay, Devonshire: With illustrations and revised ground plan. Torquay: Fleet Printing Works. Third Edition (1912) illus. 62 pp. [Preface]

Watkin, Hugh R. Original charters granted to Thorre Abbey. The ransom of Richard I. Torquay Natural History Soc. (1936) pp49-57: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - 346.0438/TOR/WAT]

Watkin, Hugh R. The Abbots of Thorre. Torquay: Torquay Natural Hist (1937) 60p. [Westcountry Studies Library - 283.0922/TOR/WAT]

Rooke, R.H. The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady: a guide to its history and treasures, Torquay, The Church (1988) 18p: ill, maps. [Westcountry Studies Library p726.5/TOR/ROO]

Rouse, Anthony. St. John's Church, Torquay: a short guide and history, Gloucester, British Publ. Co. (1958) 24p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library p726.5/TOR/ROU]

Watkin, H.R. The use of a Norse standard of measurement by the Normans in eleventh and twelfth century buildings, as exemplified in the structure of Torre Abbey and the churches of Kingskerswell and Cockington. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 46 (1914) pp. 326-345. [Index]

Central Church, Torquay, [Torquay?], [The Church?] (1976) 24p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library p726.5/TOR/CEN]

Chelston Methodist Church: 100th anniversary, 1886-1986. Chelston: Methodist Church (1986) 28p. [Westcountry Studies Library - p287.1/TOR/CHE]


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1637 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1637 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library - for details see Parish Registers in the Devon & Cornwall Record Society's Collection (archived copy).

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

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

  • St Saviour Roman Catholic, Torre Abbey: Registers for 1785+ (C), 1789+ (M), 1788+ (D), 1793+ (Confirmations) are with the Incumbent, Church of the Assumption, Banner Cross, Abbey Road, Torquay
  • Independent/Congregation Chapel, Lower Union Lane or Carey Street: Registers for 1834-37 (ZC) in PRO RG 4/454
  • Wesleyan Chapel, George Street, Torquay: Registers for 1813-37 (ZC) in PRO RG 4/1223; c1811-37 see also Brixham, Kingsbridge, Teignmouth, in PRO RG 4/842, 1088, 1220
  • Wesleyan Chapel, Tormoham: Registers for c1813-37 see Teignmouth, in PRO RG 4/1220

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1637-1739, Marriages 1637-1743, Cary Street Independent Chapel Christenings 1834-1837, St Andrew Scotch Presbyterian Church Christenings 1863-1875, Wesleyan Chapel Christenings 1813-1836.

Torquay St Andrew Scotch Presbyterian Church Baptisms for 1876-1950 are in the 5-CDROM LDS British Vital Records Index (1538-1888), (Item #50028).

Tormoham Marriage Register Devon Family Historian 36 (1985) pp.8-10.

Terry Leaman offers lookups for Ellacombe parish baptisms (6 Sep 1869 to 1 Nov 1874).

Torquay Burial Index. CD 085 - Devon FHS (2015). [over 49,000 burials in Torquay Cemetery + over 12,000 burials in Torquay Churchyards.]

Deanery of Ipplepen: Photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850. CD - Devon FHS (2012). [An index of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parishes of: Abbotskerswell Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1756-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Berry Pomeroy Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Brixham All Saints Baptisms (1826-1839), Marriages (1826-1837), Burials (1831-1832); Brixham St Mary Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Broadhempston Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1681-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Churston Ferrers Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1835), Burials (1800-1837); Cockington Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1780-1834); Coffinswell Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1857); Denbury Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1800-1837); Ipplepen Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1843), Burials (1813-1837); Kingskerswell Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Kingswear Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1755-1837), Burials (1780-1837); Littlehempston Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1731-1837), Burials (1813-1840); Marldon Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Paignton Baptisms (1813-1841), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Paignton Independent Burials (1826-1836); Staverton Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Stoke Gabriel Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Torbryan Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1838), Burials (1813-1854); Tormohun Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Torquay St Marychurch Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Wolborough Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1839), Burials (1813-1837); Woodland Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1755-1835), Burials (1813-1838).]


Description & Travel

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

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

Home Page for Torbay Council, providing general and historical information, as well as pictures and

Torquay, from Wikipedia.

Virtual Tour of Torquay - from Halien.

Modern photographs,  old pictures, and very early stereoscopic views  of Torquay, from Terry Leaman.

Bygone Torquay, from Terry Leaman.

Old Transport in Torquay, from Terry Leaman.

Views & Scenery of  Torquay - pictures from a book published by C. Way c1876, provided by Terry Leaman

Torquay (archived copy) - from Devon Online.

Barber, Chips & Sally. Torquay. Exeter: Obelisk Publications (1992) 32p: ill, map. [ISBN 0946651582]

Blewitt, Octavian. The panorama of Torquay. - 2nd ed. London: Simpkin & Marshall (1832) ix, 288p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/TOR 7/1832/BLE] [Lookups] [Index]

Carrington, N.T. The Teignmouth, Dawlish and Torquay guide. Teignmouth: E.Croydon (1830) 230p: folded map. [Westcountry Studies Library - DEV/1829/CAR]

Evans, John, AM. (1799). An excursion into the West of England during the month of July 1799. In Four Letters to a Friend, Letter II, The Monthly Visitor and Entertaining Pocket Companion, Vol. 8, London: H D Symonds, pp. 140-157. [Index]

George, Eric A. Torbay - Devon's Riviera resorts. Devon Life vol. 7 no. 56 (1971) pp.28-33; ill.

George, Eric A. Quiet corners of Torquay. Devon Life vol. 8 no. 65 (1971) pp.18-19; ill.

Gosling, Ted. Britain in old photographs: Torquay, Sutton Publishing (1996). [ISBN 0-7509-0730-4]

Hall, C.R. Torquay in its Medical Aspect as a Resort For Pulmonary Invalids, Torquay and London, (1857) ix + 165 p. [Index]

Haseler, H. and Cornish, H. Scenery on the Southern Coast of Devonshire: Comprising Picturesque Views at or near the Fashionable Watering Places, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth, Dawlish, Teignmouth, and Torquay, Sidmouth, John Wallis (1819) 30p., 30 plates.

Kerr, Joye C. Illustrated guide to Torquay and neighbourhood. Bristol: Mardon, Son & Hall (1884) 32p: ill, maps, plates. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/TOR 7/1884/KER]

Noble, W.B. A Guide to the Watering Places on the Coast, between the Exe and the Dart; Including Teignmouth, Dawlish and Torquay, Teignmouth, E. Croydon (1821) 203 pp.

Poulton-Smith, Anthony. The English Riviera: Paignton, Brixham & Torquay Through Time. Amberley Publishing (2012) 96pp. [ISBN-10: 1445609479]

Presland, John. Torquay: The charm & history of its neighbourhood, Chatto & Windus (1920). [Devon FHS Library 942.35/TOR]

Retallick, Leslie. Pictorial Torquay. Pinhoe, Exeter: Obelisk Publications. [ISBN 0946651868].

A guide to Torquay containing general history and antiquities ... miscellaneous directory. Torquay: E. Cockrem & W.Elliot (1841) 89, [13], plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/TOR 7/1841/GUI]

The Torquay guide containing a description of the town, and of the most remarkable objects in the neighbourhood. Torquay: Edward Croydon (1841) 179p: folded map. [ISBN Westcountry Studies Library - sB/TOR 7/1841/TOR]

The Torquay guide containing a description of the town, and of the most remarkable objects in the neighbourhood. (3rd ed.) Torquay: Edward Croydon (1848) 160p: folded map. [Index]

Cockrem's tourists' guide to Torquay and its neighbourhood. Torquay: E.L. Seeley (1864) 220pp: maps. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 7/1864/COC] [Index to 1856 edition]

The handbook for Torquay and its neighbourhood, ... London: Hamilton & Adams [1853?] viii, 287pp. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/TOR 7/1853/HAN] [Index]

Handbook for Torquay; or Visitors Guide ... Torquay: Matthews, 14 Strand, 1856, illus., 95pp. [Index]

Torquay illustrated. - pocket ed. Torquay: Grogan Brotthers [1894] 96p: ill, folded map. [Westcountry Studies Library - pB/TOR 7/1894/TOR]

Pearson's gossipy guide to South Devon including Torquay, Teignmouth...Salcombe etc, London, C. Arthur Pearson [1900] 180p: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library sDEV/1900/PEA]

A pictorial and descriptive guide to Torquay, Paignton, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Totnes and other South Devon resorts (14th ed), London, Ward, Lock & Co. (1934) xxxii, 132p, 48pls: maps. [Westcountry Studies Library B/TOR 7/1934/PIC]

Westley's tourists guide to Torquay and its neighbourhood. Torquay: Arthur Westley (1881) xx, 185pp: map. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 7/1881/WES]

The Torquay Pictorial: An Illustrated Guide to the Queen of Watering Places and Neighbourhood, Torquay Directory Newspaper and General Printing Co, Ltd (1890) 56 pp.

Nelson's guide to Torquay and Exeter, including Dawlish, Teignmouth, Exmouth and Sidmouth, London, Thomas Nelson & Sons (1908) 64pp, 3pls: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library B/TOR 7/1908/NEL]

Spotlight on Torquay. Devon Life vol. 1 no. 5, (1965) pp.12-19; ill.

You can see pictures of Tormoham which are provided by:



Transcription of the entry for Torquay, Paignton and Neighbourhood in Pigot's Devonshire Directory of 1830.

Transcription of the description given in White's Devonshire Directory of 1850.

Full entry for Torquay transcribed from "Kelly's Post Office Directory of Devonshire for 1856" by Terry Leaman.

Torquay entry from Pigot's Directory of Devon 1822,  by Terry Leaman.

Trade Directory and List of Householders transcribed from "McKenzie's Torbay Household & Business Directory 1911-12" by Terry Leaman.

The Torquay and Tor Directory, Containing the Names and Residences of the Nobility and Gentry inhabiting or visiting Torquay and Tor . . ., Torquay, E. Cockrem (1844) 23 pp.

Torquay and Tor Directory and General Advertiser - 1845-1846, CD-ROM, Archive CD (2003).

J.W.Hill and Co.'s historical and business directory of Torquay with the towns and parishes within fifteen miles. London;Torquay: J.W.Hill & Co. (1869) [10], 283, [12]p. [Westcountry Studies Library - s380.1025/DEV/1869] [Available as CD081 from DFHS]

Torbay Household and Business Directory. Torquay: Torquay Times (1910-11).

Kelly's Directory of Torquay and Paignton. Kelly's Directories (1928-67) [19 eds.]


Emigration & Immigration

Bouquet, Michael. Passengers from Torquay: Emigration to North America, 1849-1859. In Ports and Shipping in the South-West, ed. H. E. S. Fisher, pp.131-148, Dept. of Economic History, University of Exeter, (1970).



Karkeek, Paul Q. A Story about Torre Abbey. in Collectanea Curiosa Devoniensia. Trans. Devon Assoc., 1879, Vol XI, pp. 343-344. [transcript]



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



This parish is one of the small but growing number of Devon towns and parishes for which the Devon Heritage website provides articles, illustrations, and/or name listings.

[Editor]. Mystery Inscription - solved, Devon Family Historian, vol. 166, (2018) p.12. [William Henry Trant, d 1859]

Dancer, Marcia. Sad Discovery, Devon Family Historian, vol. 114, (2005) pp.37-39. [Chapple Family]

Leaman, Terry. Never Give Up, Devon Family Historian, no. 153, (2015) pp.28-30. [William Henry Hooper, b. 1872]

Lethbridge, Henry James. Torquay & Paignton: The making of a modern resort, Chichester, Phillimore (2003) 160 pp. [ISBN 1 86077 260 9] [Henry Lethbridge died before completing the book and the last chapter and the copyright is attributed to Anne Lethbridge. The book contains a lot of information on the Palk family]

Noble, Peter. All The Nice Girls Love A Sailor, Devon Family Historian, vol. 165, (2018) pp.8-9. [The Woolacott sisters' marriages]

Retallick, Leslie. Torre Abbey: Torbay's oldest and most historic building. [Torquay]: Torbay Borough Cncl (1991) [28]p: col.ill, map, table. [ISBN 0901842061] - Includes pedigree of Cary family.

Worthy, C. Devonshire Parishes: or the antiquities, heraldry and family history of twenty-eight parishes in the archdeaconry of Totnes (2 vols), Exeter, W. Pollard (1887). [Chap. XXVII: Tor-Mohun - Lord William BRIWERE; MOHUN; RIDGWAY; Earls of Londonderry; PALK; CARY, including Sir Henry CARY of Cockington; COCKINGTON; MALLOCKS of Cockington, including Roger MALLOCK, Mayor of Exeter] [Index]


Historical Geography

Hunt, Arthur R. The Raised Beach on the Thatcher Rock: Its Shells and their Teaching. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. XX, 1888, illus. pp. 225-253.. [Index]

Hunt, Arthur R. The Ripplemark Controversy. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. XXXIX, (1907), pp. 179-193. [Index]

Hunt, Arthur R. Torbay and its Raised Beaches. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 45, (1913), pp. 377-393. [Index]

Pengelly, W. The Metamorphosis of the Rocks Extending from Hope Cove to Start Bay, South Devon. Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1879, Vol XI, pp. 319-342. [Index]



Bygones - Victorian Museum.9archived version

Caught in the Web - Bytes of Torbay's Past (archived version) - extensive historical and biographical material.

Torquay wartime memories by a St Olave old boy, Kenneth Alford Haines.

Brief history and photograph of St Faith's Home For Girls, Torquay, provided by The Children's society.

Barber, Chips. Torbay In Colour . Obelisk Publications (1998) 32 p. [ISBN-13:978-0946651313]

Born, Anne. The Torbay towns. Chichester: Phillimore (1989) xiii, 160p: ill, maps. [ISBN 0850336945]

Brixey, A (i.e. W.S. Morrish) The story of Torbay from the earliest times to 1804. London: H.W.Wood [1909] 148p:map [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 1/0001/BRI]

Denes, Gabor. The story of the Imperial: the life and times of Torquay's great hotel. Newton Abbot: David & Charles (1982) 158p: ill. [ISBN 0715380516]

Duffy, Michael. The Channel Fleet in Torbay in 1800. In Devon Documents (ed. T. Gray). Tiverton: Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, Special Issue (1996) [ISBN 0925836203] pp.66-68.

Dymond, Robert and T.T. White. A chronological record of events relating to Torquay and neighbourhood. [Torquay]: Torquay Directory [1881] 75p. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 7/0001/DYM]

Ellis, Arthur Charles. An historical survey of Torquay from the earliest times, as illustrated by finds in Kent's Cavern, down to the present time. Exeter: The Author (1930) 506p: ill, ports. [Westcountry Studies Library - sxB/TOR 7/0001/ELL]

Goaman, Muriel. Kent's cavern. Devon Life vol. 5 no. 40, (1969) pp.18-19; ill.

Gosling, Ted. Britain in Photographs: Torquay. Littlehampton Book Services.

Holgate, Mike. Torquay Then and Now, 2011. The History Press Ltd (2011) 96 pp. [ISBN-10: 0752463179]

Hopkins, Glenda. A glance at the history of Torbay. Devon Life vol. 9 no. 77 (1972) pp.34-37; ill. [1587-1956]

Hunt, Arthur Roope. On some large Aplysiæ taken in Torbay in 1875. Trans. Devon. Assoc. Vol. IX. (1877), 400-403. [Index]

Karkeek, Paul Q. The story of Torbay. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 25, (1893) pp.249-260. [Index]

Karkeek, Paul Q. A short chapter from the story of Torbay 1667. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 27, (1895) pp.226-233. [Index]

Langmead, Sidney R. The Ellacombe Book: Portrait of a Torquay Parish, Tiverton, Halsgrove Press (2000) 160p. [ISBN 1-84114-020-1] [Index]

Lethbridge, Henry James. Torquay & Paignton: The making of a modern resort, Chichester, Phillimore (2003) 160 pp. [ISBN 1 86077 260 9] [Henry Lethbridge died before completing the book and the last chapter and the copyright is attributed to Anne Lethbridge. The book contains a lot of information on the Palk family]

Morgan, Nigel. The social tone of Torquay in the 1920s. in Devon Documents (ed. Todd Gray) (1996) pp.129-131.

Nelson, T. Torquay and Neighbourhood, T. Nelson and Sons (1867) 24 pp.

Pearce, Frank.The Book of Torbay. Halsgrove Press, Tiverton (1999). ISBN 1841140295. [Index]

Pengelly, E.W. The History of the Discovery of Fossil Fish in the Devonian Rocks of Devon and Cornwall. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. II, Part II, (1868), pp. 423-442. [Index]

Pengelly, W. The Submerged Forests of Torbay, Trans. Devon. Assoc.,Vol 2, Part 4, (1865), pp. 30-42. [Index]

Pengelly, W. The Literature of Kent’s Cavern, Torquay, Prior to 1859. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. II, Part II, (1868), pp. 469-522. [Transcript]

Pengelly, W. The Literature of Kent's Cavern, Part II, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. III, (1869), pp. 191-482. [Transcript]

Pengelly, W. Notes on the Machairodus Latidens Found by the Rev. J. MacEnery in Kent's Cavern, Torquay. Trans. Devon Assoc. Vol. V. (1872), 165- 179. [Index]

Pengelly, W. Notes on a Tooth of Machairodus Latidens in the Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 5 (1875), pp 247-260. [Index]

Pengelly, W. Mitford, Miss Mary Russell in Notes on slips connected with Devonshire,
Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1877, Vol IX, pp.354-360. [Transcript]

Pengelly, W. The Literature of Kent's Cavern, Part IV, Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1878, Vol , pp. 141-181. [Transcript]

Pengelly, W. The Literature of Kent's Cavern, Part V, Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1884, Vol XVI, pp. 189-434. [Transcript]

Pengelly, W. Kent's Cavern and Glacial or Pre-Glacial Man, Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1884, vol. XVI, pp. 480-488. [Index]

Pengelly, W. Happaway Cavern, Torquay, Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. XVIII, (1886), pp. 161-170. [Index]

Pike, John R. (John Richard). Torquay: the place and the people: a centenary history. Torquay: Torquay Centenary Committee (1992) x, 180 pp. ill. ISBN: 0951993003.

Pike, John R. Torquay. Torquay: Torbay Borough Cncl (1994) 95p: ill. [ISBN 1869986113]

Pike, John and Thompson, Mike. A Torbay Century, The Breedon Books Publishing Company Ltd (2002) 160, 200 ill. pp. [ISBN 1 85983 344 6]

Poulton-Smith, Anthony. Not a Guide to Torquay (2012?). [ISBN 978-6-7524-6882 2]

R.G.R and K.R.R. Tales of Torquay. Torquay: Devonshire Press [1930?] 45p, 8 pls. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 7/0001/TAL]

Retallick, Leslie. Torquay of Yesteryear. Obelisk Publications (2002) 32 p. [ISBN-13:978-1903585214]

Rothwell, Catherine. Torquay in Times Past. (1990) [ISBN 0861573048] [DFHS LOC 193]

Russell, Percy. A history of Torquay and the famous anchorage of Torbay. Torquay: Torquay Nat.His.Soc. (1960) xiii, 206p, 32pl: ill, maps. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 7/0001/RUS]

Seymour, D.J. Upton: the heart of Torquay: the story of its church & parish. Exeter: James Townsend & Sons (1963) [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 7/0001/SEY] [Index]

Skelton, Gladys, and Widgery, Frederick J. Torquay, the charm and history of its neighbourhood. London, Chatto & Windus (1920) 189 pp. illus., col. plates.

Somervail, Alexander. Somervail, Trans. Devon. Assoc., Vol. XXVIII (1896), pp. 533-546. [Index]

Starkey, F.H. A relic of old Torquay. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 36:03, (1988) pp.94-97. [1790-1800]

Stevens, E.N. and R.S. Casley. The theatre, Abbey Road, Torquay 1863-1933. [Torquay]: The Authors [1955] [176]p: ill, map. [Westcountry Studies Library - s792/TOR/STE]

Thomson, Spencer. Torquay: past and present: a sketch. London: J. & A.Churchill (1877) 48p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/TOR 7/0001/THO]

Watkin, Hugh R. Historical pictorial souvenir of Torquay, Devonshire. Torquay Natural History Soc. (1920) 68p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 7/0001/WAT]

White, J.T. Devoniana, Part I. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 13, (1881), pp. 191-200. [Index] [On Torwood Grange, but also on Bishop Miles Coverdale and Paignton.]

White, J.T. The history of Torquay. Torquay: Directory Office (1878) xi, 403p, plates: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - B/TOR 7/0001/WHI] [Lookups] [Details of DFHS Facsimile CD]

Worth, R.N. Side lights on the early history of Torquay. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 25, (1893) pp.261-270. [Index]

Torquay and Neighbourhood, Nelson & Sons, Printers (1868) 35 pp.

Worthy, Charles. Devonshire Parishes. Exeter: William Pollard (1887) - Vol. 2, pp. 307- 346.

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter, and the Ockenden Convalescent Home, Torquay: 1928 Annual Statements, Exeter, W.V. Cole & Sons (printers) (1929) xvi + 102 + xviii pp.

The fleet in Torbay - 1910 style. Devon Life vol. 5 no. 39, (1969) pp.41-42; ill.

Centenary bygones: Torquay 1892-1992. Torquay: Herald Express. (1992) [24]p: ill(some col). [Westcountry Studies Library - pxB/TOR 7/1892/CEN]

Your Devon? Tormohun alias Tormoham (Torquay), Devon Family Historian, No. 81 (Feb. 1997) pp. 32-33.

Francis Frith's Around Torbay, Tiverton, Halsgrove Press (1999) 90 pp. [ISBN 1859370632]

Edwards, Leigh et al. Torquay United: The Official Centenary History 1899-1999, Exeter, James Townsend & Sons (1999). [SOG Library: DE/L 104]


Land & Property

Brooking Rowe, J. (ed.) Schedule of Deeds in the Possession of the Cary Trustees at Tor Abbey. In: Tenth Report of the Committee on Devonshire Records. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. XXXIII, (1901), pp. 151-186. [Index]



Map of the area from OldeMaps (circa 1950).

OS 1:500 1888 Town Plan of Torquay, provided by the National Library of Scotland. (The plan consists of 11 sheets - to examine an individual sheet select the appropriate extent in the little grid covering Torquay and click on "Zoom to selected map extent.)"

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

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX909643 (Lat/Lon: 50.468343, -3.538649), Tormoham which are provided by:


Merchant Marine

Pike, John. The maritime history of Torbay: bibliographical notes and chronology. Devon Historian 29, (1984) pp.32-34.

Pike, John R. (John Richard). Tall ships in Torbay: a brief maritime history. Bradford on Avon: Ex Libris (1986) 142 pp. ill., 1 map, facsims. ISBN: 0948578033 (pbk).


Military History

Torquay's World War I Memorial.

Listing of Torquay's World War II Dead, mainly taken from additions to the Torquay WWI memorial, and on the St Marychurch World War I Memorial.

Noble, Peter. Grandpop's Memories of WW1, Devon Family Historian, vol. 156, (2015) p.17

Noble, Peter. Granpop's Memories of WW2 - A Near Miss!, Devon Family Historian, vol. 157, (2016) p.33.

Noble, Peter. My Childhood Memories of Those We Forget, Devon Family Historian, vol. 169, (2019) pp.10.


Names, Geographical

Alexander, J.J. The place-names of Torbay. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 64, (1932) pp.539-542.

Potter, Alex. Torquay in the Great War, Barnsley, Pen and Sword Books (2015) 176 pp. [ISBN-13: 978-1473822702]


Names, Personal

Protestation Return of 1641/42 from Devon Heritage.

Torquay Names from a pre-1830 edition of Pigot's Directory.

Torquay, Paignton and Neighbourhood entries from Pigot's Directory of Devon 1830, Pigot's Directory 1844 by Terry Leaman.

Directory of Tradesmen at Torquay and Tor, from Blewitt's Panorama of Torquay (1832).

Tormoham Apprentices Register - 1803-1836, Exeter, Devon Family History Society, (Booklet & PDF A438). [Foreword]



The Torquay Local Studies Library, Lymington Road, Torquay, has an index to death notices in The Torquay Times and South Devon News, from the late nineteenth century to the 1960s.

Stevens, E.N. (comp.) The Torquay Directory, 1848-1858: letters to the editor. [Torquay]: [E.N.Stevens] [1993] [146]p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - pB/TOR/1848/TOR]

Stevens, E.N. (comp.) The Torquay Directory, 1859-1869: letters to the editor. [Torquay]: [E.N.Stevens] [1994] [140]p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - pB/TOR 7/1859/TOR]

Stevens, E.N. (comp.) The Torquay Directory, 1870-1880: letters to the editor. [Torquay]: [E.N.Stevens] [1994] [104]p: ill. [Westcountry Studies Library - pB/TOR 7/1870/TOR]



Biographical accounts of the artisans and a listing of the workers at the Torquay Potteries are provided on the Torquay Pottery Collectors Society Website and its Ancestry page.

Iron Foundries in Torquay - listing by Terry Leaman.

Pengelly, W. Printing at Torquay, Mr. R. N. Worth on the History of. In Notes on Slips connected to Devonshire, Trans. Devon Assoc., 1881, Vol XIII., pp. 304-308. [Index]

Salsbury, Alan. A History of the Torbay Lifeboats. Tiverton: Halsgrove Press (2002) 160pp. [ISBN 1 84114 166 6]

Thomas, D & E.Lloyd. The Old Torquay Potteries: From Castle to Cottage. Ilfracombe:Arthur H. Stockwell (1978) 319p, plates: ill. [ISBN 0722311036]


Probate Records

Transcription of the will of Thomas Winded (1818) by Pam Jackson, provided by Sandra Windeatt.

Transcription of the abstract of the will of Joanna Sleep (1810) by Ian Hearder.

Will of Nichlas Minto (1832), transcribed by Ros Dunning.

Pike, John. A generous benefactor: Francis Garratt of Ellacombe. Devon Historian 41, (1990) pp.28-29.


Public Records

Torbay Borough Archives: A List of the Principal Documents and Other Records Held. Torbay: Torbay County Borough (1973).


Social Life & Customs

Morgan, Nigel. The Social Tone of Torquay in the 1920s. In Devon Documents (ed. T. Gray). Tiverton: Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, Special Issue (1996) [ISBN 0925836203] pp.129-131.