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

"TORMOHAM, a parish in the hundred of Haytor, county Devon, 5 miles S.E. of Newton Bushel, and 8 S.W. of Teignmouth. It is situated on Tor Bay, and comprises most of the promontory, which, projecting eastward into the English Channel, divides Tor Bay from Babbicombe Bay. The parish of Tormoham anciently belonged to William de Briwere, whose youngest daughter conveyed it in marriage to the Mohuns, who subsequently sold it to the Ridgways, and in 1768 the Earl of Donegal again sold it to Sir R. Palk, grandfather of its present owner, Sir Lawrence Palk, Bart.

The parish, which is about 3 miles long by 2 broad, includes the old village of Tor, or Tor Moham, and the watering-place and seaport of Torquay. The population in 1801 amounted to only 838, but in 1851 had increased to 11,474, and in 1861 to 16,419, of which number the greater part were in Torquay. Limestone is extensively quarried in the Park, Waddon and Haldon Hills near Torquay, and marble near Marychurch.

The living is a perpetual curacy annexed to that of Cockington, in the diocese of Exeter, value £190. The church, situated 1 mile W. of Torquay, was thoroughly repaired in 1849. In the interior are an antique font, carved screen, and several monuments. In addition to the parish church, are St. Luke's chapel-of-ease, the district parish churches of St. John's Torquay, St. Mark's Torwood, with St. Matthias chapel-of-ease, and St. Mary Magdalen or Upton, situated on the high road between Tor and Torquay, and recently erected into a district parish. There is also the licensed proprietary chapel called Trinity Chapel, Torquay. The parochial charities produce about £30 per annum, exclusive of the infirmary. There are chapels for Roman Catholics, Wesleyans, Independents, Baptists, and Unitarians, National and infant schools.

On a hill in this parish are the ruins of St. Michael's Chapel, also traces of a small chapel at Tor-Wood, built by Reginald de Mohun in 1251, and the remains of Tor Abbey, founded in 1196 by William de Briwere for Premonstratensian canons, but now forming part of the family mansion of the Cary family, which is situated in the south-western part of the parish. The parish comprises the two manors of Tor-Wood and Tor Abbey, the former the property of Sir Lawrence Palk, Bart., and the latter of R. S. S. Cary, Esq., who are proprietors of the whole of the land, with the exception of about 9 acres belonging to Lord Sinclair."

"TORQUAY, a township, chapelry, seaport, market-town, and watering-place in the parish of Tormoham, hundred of Haytor, county Devon, 6½ miles S.E. of Newton-Bushell, and 12 N.E. of Dartmouth, of which it is a subport. It is a station on the Torquay branch of the South Devon railway, and has regular communication by steam-packet with Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Southampton. Torquay is of recent growth, having consisted at the end of the last century of only a few fishermen's huts. It is now a thriving watering-place, and is well-built, owing to the abundance of a sort of transition limestone or marble, which is easily quarried, and is susceptible of as fine a polish as the best Italian marble.

This spot first attracted notice during the French war, when the officers and invalids belonging to the Channel Fleet were landed here to recruit their health, whilst the fleet anchored in Torbay. The town lies in a sheltered cove at the north-eastern extremity of Torbay, being built along the strand and up the acclivities of the hills which, on every side except the S., encircle it, giving to it an almost Italian climate, so that myrtles, fuchsias, aloes, citrons, &c., flourish in the open air. The lower part of the town, occupied chiefly by shops and business premises, is built round three sides of the small tidal harbour, which is about 500 feet long by 30 feet wide, and contains an area of about 8 acres. It has a quay and a pier, which is used also as a promenade. In this part of the town most of the streets are narrow and irregular; but on the slopes of the hills above are numerous terraces or tiers of marine villas, approached at either end by a winding road, and in other places by flights of steps, which also ascend to the upper tiers and the detached hills on either side. These latter are studded with houses surrounded by gardens, and often hidden in the luxuriant foliage of trees.

Here are all the requisites for a watering-place, including a club, with billiard and reading-rooms attached, assembly-rooms, bank, several hotels, a literary and scientific institution, subscription and circulating libraries, a museum of geology and natural history, and public and private baths of all kinds. The principal public buildings are the Townhall, in Lower Union-street, the Union-hall, also in Union-street, appropriated for public meetings, theatrical exhibitions, and popular lectures; the Torbay dispensary and infirmary, erected in 1850, and the new market-house, erected under an Act of Parliament obtained in 1849. The town is lighted with gas, and paved, and is now well supplied with water brought in iron pipes from springs in the neighbourhood. The sanitary regulations are under a local board of health, elected by the ratepayers. Petty sessions are held at the town-hall every Monday. Four guardians attend the Poor-law Board of Newton Abbott weekly. A little to the E. of the town on the Torwood road are the public gardens, comprising about 4 acres. Two weekly publications, called the Torquay Directory and South Devon Journal, and the Torquay Chronicle, are published in the town.

The parish church of Tor Moham is situated about one mile W. of the town; and on the road between Tor and Torquay is the district parish church of Upton, erected in 1849. There are besides, in the town, two chapels of the Establishment-St. John's, at Montpelier-place, and Trinity Chapel, at Park-hill; a Free Episcopal church, recently opened, and chapels belonging to the Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. The Roman Catholics attend the chapel at Tor Abbey, the seat of R. S. S. Carey, Esq., situated in the south-western part of the parish. There are several dispensaries and charitable institutions, and National and other schools.

In the limestone and marble quarries numerous fossil shells and madrepores, with remains of the extinct elephant and rhinoceros, are found, and on the beach a great variety of pebbles. Near the town is a curious cavern, called Kent's Hole.

A regatta takes place annually in July or August. Market-days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. A fair is held on Easter Monday."

"TORRE, a hamlet in the parish of Tormoham, hundred of Haytor, county Devon, 1 mile from Torquay. It is a station on the Torquay branch of the South Devon railway."

Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003