Place:Dawlish, Devon, England

Alt namesDouelissource: Domesday Book (1985) p 80
Doulessource: Domesday Book (1985) p 80
TypeTown, Urban district
Coordinates50.583°N 3.467°W
Located inDevon, England
See alsoExminster Hundred, Devon, Englandhundred of which Dawlish was a part
Teignbridge District, Devon, Englandmodern district in which it now located
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Dawlish is a town and civil parish in the Teignbridge District on the south coast of Devon in England, 12 miles (19 km) from the county town of Exeter. During the 18th century, it grew from a small fishing port to become a well-known seaside resort. The population at the 2011 census was 13,161.

The area covered by Dawlish today was part of the ancient division of Devon called Exminster Hundred. From 1894 until 1974 it was made up of the two parishes of East Dawlish and West Dawlish. It was absorbed into the Teignbridge District in 1974.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Before Dawlish itself was settled, fishermen and salt makers came down from the higher ground where they lived, to take advantage of the natural resources available on the coast hereabouts. They built salterns to produce salt and stored it in sheds nearby. The unpredictable nature of the stream, Dawlish Water, during floods is likely to have led to nearby Teignmouth being the preferred site for salt-making, and the practice stopped at Dawlish during the Anglo-Saxon period (AD 400–1000).

The earliest settlement at Dawlish grew up almost a mile away from the coast, around the area where the parish church is today. There is evidence of early settlements at Aller Farm, Smallacombe, Lidwell and at Higher and Lower Southwood, where the ground would have been fertile and not subject to flooding.[1]

The land that includes present-day Dawlish was granted by Edward the Confessor to Leofric, later the first Bishop of Exeter, in 1044. After the Norman Conquest, Leofric gave the land to the Diocese of Exeter, which held it until it was sold, in 1802.

Little of note happened at Dawlish until the end of the 18th century,[2] when seaside locations on the south coast started to become popular with the wealthy, mainly caused by George III making Weymouth in Dorset his summer holiday residence from 1789. In May 1795, the antiquarian and topographer John Swete spent some time in Dawlish and reported that although not long ago it had been no more than a fishing village, and the best lodging house would not cost more than half a guinea per week, it was now so fashionable that "in the height of the season, not a house of the least consequence is to be hired for less than two guineas a week, and many of them rise to so high a sum as four or five."

In the first decade of the 19th century the land between the original settlement and the sea was "landscaped"; the stream was straightened, small waterfalls were built into it, and it was flanked by a broad lawn and rows of new houses: The Strand on the north side and Brunswick Place on the south. The entire layout survives remarkably unchanged today,[3] despite severe damage caused by a torrent of water coming down Dawlish Water from the Haldon Hills on the night of 10 November 1810.[2]

Also worth noting are Manor House and Brook House (both about 1800) and some of the cottages in Old Town Street surviving from the old village. Dawlish's transformation from a fishing settlement to a watering hole for Victorian celebrities is documented at the Dawlish Museum.

The railway

In 1830, Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed a railway, which operated on a pneumatic principle using a 15-inch iron tube. One of the pumping stations was in this town. The line ran right along the sea-front of the town, but Brunel ensured that the line was carried across the mouth of the stream on a small granite viaduct, leaving access to the beach.[3] The atmospheric railway opened on 30 May 1846 and ran between Exeter St. Davids and Newton Abbot. The first passenger train ran in September 1847, but the project was besieged with problems mainly with the leather sealing valve, which after 12 months use needed replacing at a cost of £25,000. South Devon Railway directors abandoned the project in favour of conventional trains: the last atmospheric train ran in September 1848.

end of Wikpedia contribution

In February 2014 the small granite viaduct across a stream was washed away by a storm leaving the railway tracks suspended in mid-air. The line through Dawlish is the main line between London and Cornwall and trains had to be diverted over other lines further inland until the repair could be made. This was accomplised in May 2014 and the scenic mainline route just above the beach at Dawlish is now usable again. The re-opening ceremony was typical of anything that might have been put on in the 19th century. (Source: viewer of BBC Television News) [Further discussion in Wikipedia under Transportation. Wikipedia also has a photograph of the Dawlish seafront showing the railway track.]

Registration Districts

From 1894 until 1974 Dawlish was split into the two parishes of East Dawlish and West Dawlish for registration purposes.

Research Tips

  • Ordnance Survey Maps of England and Wales - Revised: Devonshire Northand Devonshire South illustrate the parish boundaries of Devon when rural districts were still in existence. The maps publication year is 1931. The maps blow up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. These maps are now downloadable for personal use.
  • GENUKI has a new map feature on its individual Devon parish pages. Each parish page includes an outline map of parishes in the region of the one under inspection. By clicking on this map the user is taken to a blow-up of Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file] provided by R. J. P. Kain and R. R. Oliver of the History Data Service of Colchester, Essex (distributed by UK Data Archive).
  • Devon County Council's Record Offices and Local Studies Libraries are being reorganized and amalgamated to form the Devon Heritage Services, comprising the Devon Heritage Centre (Exeter) and the North Devon Record Office (Barnstaple). These developments, which are described in Historical Records: A New Future for Devon's Heritage, do not affect the other major Devon archive, the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, or the Local Studies Library, which are located in Plymouth and come under the Plymouth City Council. (Devon FHS report that Plymouth Record Office has just aquired new premises.) There is a guide entitled Which heritage centre or record office should I visit? which is provided to explain the organization further.
  • Devon Family History Society Mailing address: PO Box 9, Exeter, EX2 6YP, United Kingdom. Specialized contacts for membership, publications, queries, etc. The society has branches in various parts of the county. It is the largest Family History Society in the United Kingdom.
  • Devon has a Online Parish Clerk (OPC) Project. Only about half of the parishes have a volunteer contributing local data. For more information, consult the website, especially the list at the bottom of the homepage.
  • GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Devon as well as leading to a collection of 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes. Devon is one of the counties on the GENUKI website that has recently (summer 2015) been updated. The maps described above are just one of the innovations.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki provides a similar information service to GENUKI which may be more up-to-date. An index of parishes leads to notes and references for each parish.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has
  1. organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts and rural and urban districts of the 20th century
  2. excerpts from a gazetteer of circa 1870 outlining individual towns and parishes
  3. reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
  • More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Dawlish. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.