Sidmouth, a town and a parish in Devonshire, with a junction station on the L. & S.W.R., 168 miles from London. Acreage of parish, 1563; population, 3758. The town has a post, money order, and telegraph office. It stands at the mouth of the river Sid, in a vale inclosed by lofty hills, terminating in the precipitous cliffs of Salcombe and High Peak, about 500 feet high, at the centre of the great sea-encurvature extending from the Isle of Portland on the E to Start Point on the W, and 6 miles SSE of Ottery St. Mary. Sidmouth was so important as a seaport in the time of Edward III. as then to send two ships to the siege of Calais, became so far blocked as to be accessible from the sea only by flat-bottomed boats and small fishing craft, rose into consequence in recent times as a sea-bathing resort, gave the title of Viscount to the family of Addington, was the deathplace in 1820 of the Duke of Kent, witnessed in 1827 the commencement of an abortive project for giving it a harbour by means of a tunnel and a pier, enjoys a remarkably pure and mild climate, enjoys also picturesque and romantic environs replete with objects interesting to loungers, artists, botanists, mineralogists, and geologists; has an esplanade protected by a wall 1700 feet long constructed to stop encroachment by the sea, is a seat of occasional petty sessions, publishes two newspapers, has a charming appearance with many fine residences, and has several hotels, numerous good lodging-houses, a bathing establishment with hot and cold baths, coastguard and lifeboat stations, an assembly-room, a literary institute, two banks, two churches, an endowed school, two other public schools, markets on Thursdays and Saturdays, and fairs on Easter Monday and the third Monday of Sept. New baths were opened on the Esplanade in 1895. Many women and children are engaged in making Honiton lace. There are Congregational, Wesleyan, and Unitarian chapels, and a Roman Catholic convent. The manor was given by William the Conqueror to St Michael's Abbey in Normandy, passed to Sion Abbey, and belongs now to the Balfour family. The living of St Nicholas is a vicarage, and that of All Saints is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Exeter; value of St Nicholas, £220 with residence; of All Saints, £180 with residence. St. Nicholas Church was rebuilt in 1861, and has a memorial window to the Duke of Kent, presented by the Queen in 1866. All Saints' Church was built in 1837, and is a building of stone in the Early English style; connected with this church is an iron mission-hall.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Sidmouth St. Nicholas|
|Poor Law union||Honiton|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Sidmouth from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Sidmouth (St. Nicholas))
Online maps of Sidmouth are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Devon online:
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.