Place:Beer, Devon, England

Alt namesBearesource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 35
Berasource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 35
Beresource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 35
Coordinates50.7°N 3.1°W
Located inDevon, England
See alsoSeaton and Beer, Devon, Englandcivil parish in which Beer was located 1866-1894
Axminster Rural, Devon, Englandrural district in which the town was located 1894-1974
East Devon District, Devon, Englandcovering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

The village of Beer is in southeast Devon, England, on Lyme Bay. Since 1974 it has been part of the East Devon District. The population of the electoral ward called Beer and Branscombe was 1,824 at the 2011 census.

Prior to the formation of district municipalities in Devon in 1974, Beer was in the Axminster Rural District. Between 1866 and 1894 it was part of the civil parish of Seaton and Beer. The two communities have been separate parishes since 1894. Before 1866 Beer had been a tithing or a chapelry within the parish of Seaton.

Beer lies about two kilometres west of Seaton, about 35 kilometres east of the city centre of Exeter and 13 kilometres east of Sidmouth.

The village of Beer is situated on the 95-mile long Jurassic Coast, and its picturesque cliffs, including Beer Head, form part of the South West Coast Path. It is a pretty coastal village that grew up around a smugglers' cove and caves which were once used to store contraband goods. Many of the buildings are faced with flint, a hard glassy stone found in the local chalk rock.

The name is not derived from the drink, but from the old Anglo-Saxon word "bearu" ("grove"), referring to the original forestation that surrounded the town. A brook winds its way in an open conduit alongside the main road down to the sea.

Historically, the main sources of income for the village include fishing and lace production. There was also an important stone quarry about 3/4 miles west of the village. There is no harbour and boats are winched up the beach. Fresh fish is sold nearby. Nowadays small electrically driven winches using steel cables or tractors are located on the beach to haul boats in. Higher up is an old manual capstan operated by up to 20 men, now disused.

The shape of the coastline allowed local seafarers to operate in weather conditions when other towns could not, because it is protected from the prevailing westerly winds by Beer Head and the chalk cliffs which are the furthest outcrop of limestone on the southwest coast.

Devon Library's Local Studies Service provides an extract from Devon by W.G.Hoskins (1954) which expands on Beer's industry in the 19th century.

Registration Districts

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 Beer, Devon. 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.