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Brixham, Devon

Historical Description

Brixham, a market and seaport town and extensive fishing station in Devonshire. The town stands at the southern point of Torbay, with a station on the G.W.R., 222 miles from London, and 4 NE of Dartmouth. It is a coastguard station, and a seat of petty sessions, and has a head post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.) designated Brixham, South-Devon. It consists of two parts, lower and upper, and extends fully 1½ mile from the quay up a valley. It is irregularly built, but occupies a picturesque site, and, had it been well edificed, would have been one of the most charming places in the county. The parish church in its upper part is an edifice of the 14th century, repaired in 1852 at a cost of about £700, and again in 1867 at a cost of about £1200, and contains several monuments, one of them to Judge Buller. The Freemasons' hall was erected in 1886. The market-house, built of stone in 1877 at a cost of about £3000, comprises market and public halls, magistrates' room, and local board and other offices. There are Conservative and Liberal Clubs. A recreation ground and an allotment garden for the poor have been laid out. The British Seaman's Orphan Home for the western part was established in 1861. Markets are held on Tuesday and Saturday. Some business is done in shipbuilding and ropemaking. About 200 sloops of between 30 and 40 tons are employed in trawl-fishing, and nearly 100 boats in hook-fishing. The exports are chiefly malt, and the imports coal and timber. The appearance of the fish-market on every week-day evening is very striking, and a peculiar mode of selling at it is the subject of a famous picture by Collins. The pier was built in 1808, the harbour is a refuge for vessels in stormy weather, and a breakwater was recently formed to increase the security of the anchorage. The Prince of Orange landed here in 1688. A handsome statue to him was erected in 1888 on the celebration of the bicentenary of his landing, at a cost of upwards of £800, the King of Holland contributing £100. A spring on the outskirts of the upper town was long celebrated for ebbing and flowing, but in consequence of changes on the ground near it, for a time lost its intermittent property, but lately it has returned. The parish includes also the hamlets of Boohay and Woodhush. Acreage, 5612; population of the civil parish, 7978; of the urban sanitary district of Lower Brixham, 6224; of the ecclesiastical parish of St Mary, with Churston Ferrers, 2106; and Lower Brixham, 6439. A fourth of the manor was purchased many years ago by twelve of the fishermen, and the shares of this were afterwards divided. A magnificent view of Torbay is obtained from Furzham. Traces of an ancient camp are at Berryhead. A large bone cave has been discovered, containing bone and flint objects of a kind involved in recent geological discussions. The living is a vicarage, united with the vicarage of Churston-Ferrers, in the diocese of Exeter; gross value, £503 with residence. Patron, the Crown. The Church of All Saints (Lower Brixham) is a plain building of stone erected in 1820; it was enlarged in 1872 and 1886, and in 1889 further alterations and additions were made. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter; net value, £77 with residence. Patron, the Crown. St Peter's Mission Church for seamen was erected in 1874. There are places of worship for Roman Catholics, Baptists, Congregationalists. Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and Plymouth Brethren.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDevon 
Ecclesiastical parishBrixham Virgin Mary 
Poor Law unionTotnes 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Brixham from the following:


Online maps of Brixham are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Devon online:

Villages, Hamlets, &c


Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of the County of Devon in the year 1564, with additions from the earlier visitation of 1531, is online.

The Visitations of the County of Devon, comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564, & 1620, with additions by Lieutant-Colonel J.L. Vivian, published for the author by Henry S. Eland, Exeter 1895 is online.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtTQ5
Post TownBrixham