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Dawlish, Devon

Historical Description

Dawlish, a town and a parish in Devonshire. The town stands at the mouth of a rivulet of its own name, on the coast, and on the G.W.R., 201 miles from London, and 3 NNE of Teignmouth. It was known in Domesday Book as Doelis or Doules; it remained till about 1790 a small fishing village half a mile up the rivulet; and it is now a handsome, picturesque, and fashionable watering-place, extending down to the beach, and presenting three sides of a quadrangular area to the sea. It partly occupies a fine valley, flanked by heights, and partly rejoices in a grand cove about 1½ mile wide, encircled by old red sandstone cliffs from 80 to 100 feet high, and terminated on one side by the Langstone Cliffs, on the other by the fantastic rocks called the Parson and Clerk. It is a seat of petty sessions, of a local board consisting of 12 members, and a school -board of 7 members. It has a coastguard station, a head post office, a railway station, four hotels, two churches, three dissenting chapels, public baths, assembly rooms, circulating libraries, reading and billiard rooms,two clubs, and publishes two weekly newspapers. There is an annual regatta and a pleasure fair on Easter Monday. The railway station is ornamental, and the railway viaduct across the rivulet has an Egyptian character. The parish church, at the upper end of the town, was rebuilt in 1825 at a cost of nearly £6000, and was restored and enlarged in 1873-75 at a cost of £8000. St Mark's, in Brunswick Place, was built in 1850. Under the Divided Parishes Act of 1885 detached parts of the parish of Kenton, amounting to 739 acres, were also added to this parish. Acreage, 5370 of land and 811 of tidal water and foreshore; population of the civil parish, 4925; of the ecclesiastical, 4524. The manor belonged at Domesday to the see of Exeter, and belongs now to the Dean and Chapter. The living is a vicarage, united with the chapel of ease of St Mark's, in the diocese of Exeter; gross value, £566 with residence. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The railway between Dawlish and Teignmouth traverses alternately five short tunnels and four spaces overhung by lofty cliffs, and was momentarily overwhelmed at one point in 1853 by the fall of a mass of about 4000 tons, which carried a piece of it into the sea.

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 parishDawlish St. Gregory 
Poor Law unionNewton-Abbott 

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

Church Records

Findmypast, in association with the South West Heritage Trust, Parochial Church Council, and Devon Family History Society have the Baptisms, Banns, Marriages, and Burials online for Dawlish

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Dawlish from the following:


Online maps of Dawlish 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

Westwood (Dawlish)

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 districtEX7
Post TownDawlish