^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page




Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings





Parish Records




War Memorials




DAWLISH is a parish town, local board district, and bathing place, delightfully situated near a fine
bay of the English Channel, between Exmouth and Teignmouth, nearly 3 miles N. of the latter, and 11 miles S. by E. of Exeter. Its parish, (which includes the small hamlets of Cockwood, Middlewood, Westwood, Holcomhe, East Town, Shattern, and Lidwell) is in Newton Abbot Union, county court district, Teignbridge petty sessional division. Eastern division of the county, Exminster hundred, Exeter archdeaconry, and Kenn rural deanery. It had 4241 (1749 males, 2492 females) inhabitants in 1871, living in 831 houses, on 5512 acres ; in this area is included 495 acres of water. The Local Board district had 3622 inhabitants in 1871.  It is crossed by the Great Western Railway, which has a station on the beach.


At the beginning of the present century Dawlish was only a small fishing village. It lies in a picturesque valley opening to the sea, and a rivulet, which runs through a beautiful lawn, is crossed in several places by small bridges of stone or iron. The soil and buildings belong to many freeholders ; the manor and estate, which had been held for a long period by the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, being sold, in the early part of the present century, to various purchasers, under the powers of the act for the redemption of the land tax. Large quantities of mackerel, herring, and other fish are taken on the coast, and the neighbourhood is celebrated for orchards and excellent cider. Dawlish beach is comprised within a cove, about 1½ miles in extent, formed by the lofty projecting cliffs of Langstone on the east, and the Parson and Clerk  rocks on the west. The principal residences are on the beautiful terraces on the beach, the Strand, and
Teignmouth Hill, all commanding extensive prospects ; as also do Barton and Plantation terraces.


The sea bathing here, from the slight inclination of the beach and the firmness of the sands, is of the best description and the climate is said to be milder than that of any of the Devonshire watering places, especially in the winter months, when the town is usually thronged with respectable visitors. The town has greatly improved during the last few years ; villa residences of a good class, are being erected on the estate of F. J. Pidgley, Esq., under the superintendence of Mr. G. S. Bridgman, an architect of Torquay, and it is intended to erect upon Dawlish Park, the estate of Mr. W. Hatcher, smaller middle class residences. A holiday fair is held in the town on Easter Monday, and a regatta in August.

The Baths on Dawlish beach

The baths on Dawlish beach

Courtesy Devon County Council



The Local Board was formed on March 24, 1860, and consists of 12 members, to whom Mr. J. S. Whidborne is clerk, Mr. Ellis, surveyor, and Mr. C. Tapper, inspector. Mr. William Staddon is town crier. The Town Hall and Court House, in King Street, was built in 1853. Petty Sessions for this district of Teignbridge petty sessional division are held here every Thursday; the magistrates usually attending are the Right Hon. the Earl of Devon, the Rev. W. H. Palk, Sir John L. Duntze, Bart., P. Merrick Hoare, Esq., C. J. Wade, Esq., C. Tonge, Esq., Col. Germon, C. H. Turner, Esq., and Lieut.-Col. Savile. Mr. J. S. Whidborne is their clerk.


The Public Baths are on the beach, and have a handsome front of Doric architecture. They have two saloons, and the baths are supplied with water from the sea, and may be used either cold, or heated by a steam apparatus. The Coastguard Station, for a chief officer and 9 men, was built on the East Cliff in 1869. Gas Works were established in 1847, at the cost of about £2000, raised in £5 shares ; 55. Id, is charged per 1000 cubic feet of gas. Mr. F. P. Davies is secretary, and Mr. Thomas Slade, manager.



St Gregory's church, Dawlish

St Gregory's church, Dawlish

© Richard J. Brine

The Parish Church (St. Michael and St. Gregory), is at the upper end of the village, three quarters of a mile from the beach, and was all rebuilt, except the tower, in 1824-5, at the cost of about £6000. The tower contains six bells. The work of thorough restoration was commenced in 1873, and finished in 1875, under the direction of Mr. James P. St. Aubyn, of London, at a cost of £7000. The heavy and inconvenient galleries and the old high pews were removed, and the nave fitted with low seats. The chancel was built at the expense of Mr. Hoare; the chancel, aisle, organ loft and vestry correspond, and form an imposing group. The east window, the gift of Mrs. Strickland and Miss Hoare, is filled with stained glass, executed by Dixon, of London, in memory of their mother. There are also 6 other stained glass windows, all designed and executed by Mr. Drake, of Exeter. The pulpit, of carved Bath stone and very handsome, is the gift of Mrs. P. Rashdall, the widow of the late vicar. The church will now accommodate 1100 persons. There are two monuments by Flaxman, one in memory of Lady Pennyman (died 1801), representing four females kneeling round an urn and the other in memory of the wife of William Hunter, Esq., representing Grief weeping over an urn. The Register dates from 1654. The living, a vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £20 5s., and now at £440, is in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, and incumbency of the Rev. Orlando Manley, M.A. The tithes were commuted in 1839, the vicarial for £440, and the rectorial for £360. Mrs. Burrell is lessee of the latter under the Dean and Chapter. A handsome Chapel of Ease (St. Mark) was built in the lower part of the village, in 1849-50, at the cost of about £2000, raised by subscription. Charles Hoare, Esq., contributed £1800 towards the building, and £1000 for its endowment. The first stone was laid May 15th, 1849, and the chapel was opened early in 1850. It has a tower crowned by a small spire, and has 100 sittings, all free. The Congregational Church, in the Strand, was built in 1870, at a cost of £3300, and has 600 sittings. The Wesleyan Chapel, erected in 1861, has accommodation for 300 persons. The Plymouth Brethren have also a place of worship here.

The School Board was formed on October 26, 1874, and consists of the Rev. O. Manley (chairman), Mr. Ferris (vice), the Rev. J. N. Lightfoot, and Messrs. Lee, Pike, Tapper, and Manning. J. S. Whidborne, Esq., is their clerk. They have schools in Dawlish and at Cockwood. The new Board School in the Park, which will accommodate 310 children, was opened, in January, 1877, at a total outlay, including architect's fees, &c., of £2692, the site having cost £530, and the building £1822. Mr. Hayward, of Exeter, was the architect, and Mr. F. Slocombe, of Teignmouth, the  builder.


The Dispensary, at the corner of Queen Street, was established in 1855, and has an endowment of £10 a year, given by William Cosens, Esq. Mr. A. Cumming is consulting surgeon ; Miss Heard, matron ; Messrs. Baker and Parsons, medical officers ; Mr. Cutcliffe, dispenser; and Mr. W. H. Discombe, secretary and collector. The Dawlish Cottage Hospital, in Regent Street, was opened in 1871, and has 6 beds. It is supported by voluntary contributions. Miss West is matron ; Messrs. F. M. Cann and Parsons, acting medical officers ; Mr. I. Stephens, honorary secretary and manager. The Cosens Institution was founded and endowed in 1869, by William Cosens, Esq., for the benefit and improvement of the working men of Dawlish. The management is vested in trustees, and there are 100 members. The Working Men's Association is opened every evening. Mr. J. Dean is secretary and treasurer. The Dawlish, Teignmouth, and Newton Dispensary is at Teignmouth. (See Teignmouth.) The Royal National Lifeboat Association has a branch at Dawlish. C. Tonge, Esq., J. P., and John Pike, Esq., are honorary secretaries and treasurers, and Mr. Phelan, collector. Mr. T. Friend, Strand, is the hon. district agent of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society. The Freemasons Lodge (Salem No. 1443) meets at the Town Hall on the third Wednesday in the month. The Fire Engine Station is at the Town Hall, and the keys are kept at Mr. John's, Queen Street.


Post, Money Order, and Telegraph Office, and Savings Bank, at Mrs. Emily Pessell's, Park Street.

Railway, Great Western, John Dunster, station master



^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page