Place:Dartmouth, Devon, England

Alt namesDartmouth St. Petroxsource: parish until 1891
St. Petroxsource: another name for above
Dartmouth St. Savioursource: parish until 1891
St. Savioursource: another name for above
Dartmouth Townstallsource: parish until 1891
Dartmouth Townstalsource: another name for above
Townstallsource: another name for above
Ford in Townstallsource: hamlet in Townstall
Norton in Townstallsource: hamlet in Townstall
Old Millsource: hamlet in Townstall
Warfleetsource: hamlet in Townstall
TypeAncient parish, Civil parish, Borough (municipal)
Coordinates50.35°N 3.583°W
Located inDevon, England     (1835 - )
See alsoSouth Hams District, Devon, Englanddistrict municipality into which it was merged in 1974
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Dartmouth is a town and civil parish in the English county of Devon. It is located on the western bank of the estuary of the River Dart, which is a long narrow tidal "ria" that runs inland as far as Totnes. It lies within the South Hams District, and had a population of 5,512 in the 2001 UK census reducing to 5,064 at the 2011 UK census.

The town was an ancient borough, incorporated by Edward III, known formally as Clifton-Dartmouth-Hardness, and consisting of the three former parishes of Dartmouth St. Petrox, Dartmouth St. Saviour and Townstall which included the hamlets of Ford, Old Mill and Norton. It was re-formed under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. The town returned two members of parliament from the 13th century until 1835, after which one MP was elected until the town was disenfranchised in 1868. It remained a municipal borough until 1974, when it was merged into the South Hams district.

Dartmouth is home to the Royal Navy's officer training college (Britannia Royal Naval College), where all officers of the Royal Navy and many foreign naval officers are trained. This is the present-day reflection of Dartmouth's connection with the Royal Navy and with defence of Great Britain over the past millenium.

Image:Totnes RD small.png

Dartmouth Townstall

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Dartmouth Townstall was one of the three original parishes which formed Dartmouth in Devon, England. (Source: Wikipedia on Dartmouth, under the heading "Governance")

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Townstal (also Townstall) is an historic manor and ecclesiastical parish (later also civil parish) on elevated ground now forming part of the western suburbs of the town of Dartmouth in Devon, England. It includes the hamlets of Norton in Townstall, Old Mill, Warfleet, and Ford in Townstall.

St Clement's Church, the parish church of Townstall, was formerly the mother church of Dartmouth. Within the parish was situated the estate of Mount Boone (now the site of Britannia Royal Naval College), which in 1810 was the residence of John Henry Seale (1780–1844), later 1st Baronet, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth in 1838, lord of the manors of Stoke Fleming and Cornworthy, where the Seale family had resided for many generations. Also within the parish was the estate of Mount Galpin, in 1810 the seat of Arthur Holdsworth (1780–1860), MP, Governor of Dartmouth Castle.

During the reign of King Henry I (1100-1135) the manor of Townstal was inherited by William FitzStephen (son of William FitzStephen[1]), seated at Norton within the parish, who donated 1/3 of a knight's fee and the Rectory of Townstall Church, to Torr Abbey, shortly after the founding of the latter, "for the health of his own soul and of Isabell his wife and of Willaim de Berchlay". The manor remained in the FitzStephen family for three more generations, when on the extinction of the male line it passed to the Dauney family, when it became known as Norton Dauney. The Dawney family also died out in the male line on the death of Sir John Dauney of Boconnoc, Cornwall, and his daughter and sole heiress Emeline (alias Emme) Dauney, married Edward Courtenay (d.1372) of Godlington, second son of Hugh de Courtenay, 2nd/10th Earl of Devon (1303–1377) of Tiverton Castle. Thereafter Townstall descended with the other vast possessions of the Earls of Devon.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Townstal.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Dartmouth-History.

Research Tips

(revised Jul 2021)

  • Ordnance Survey Map of Devonshire North and Devonshire South are large-scale maps covering the whole of Devon between them. They show the parish boundaries when Rural Districts were still in existence and before the mergers of parishes that took place in 1935 and 1974. When expanded the maps can show many of the small villages and hamlets inside the parishes. These maps are now downloadable for personal use but they can take up a lot of computer memory.
  • GENUKI has a selection of maps showing the boundaries of parishes in the 19th century. The contribution from "Know Your Place" on Devon is a huge website yet to be discovered in detail by this contributor.
  • Devon has three repositories for hands-on investigation of county records. Each has a website which holds their catalog of registers and other documents.
  • There is, however, a proviso regarding early records for Devon. Exeter was badly hit in a "blitz" during World War II and the City Library, which then held the county archives, was burnt out. About a million books and historic documents went up in smoke. While equivalent records--particularly wills--are quite easy to come by for other English counties, some records for Devon and surrounding counties do not exist.
  • Devon Family History Society Mailing address: PO Box 9, Exeter, EX2 6YP, United Kingdom. The society has branches in various parts of the county. It is the largest Family History Society in the United Kingdom. The website has a handy guide to each of the parishes in the county and publishes the registers for each of the Devon dioceses on CDs.
  • This is the home page to the GENUKI Devon website. It has been updated since 2015 and includes a lot of useful information on each parish.
  • Devon has a Online Parish Clerk (OPC) Project which can be reached through GENUKI. 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.
  • Magna Britannia, Volume 6 by Daniel Lysons and Samuel Lysons. A general and parochial history of the county. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822, and placed online by British History Online. This is a volume of more than 500 pages of the history of Devon, parish by parish. It is 100 years older than the Victoria County Histories available for some other counties, but equally thorough in its coverage. Contains information that may have been swept under the carpet in more modern works.
  • There is a cornucopia of county resources at Devon Heritage. Topics are: Architecture, Census, Devon County, the Devonshire Regiment, Directory Listings, Education, Genealogy, History, Industry, Parish Records, People, Places, Transportation, War Memorials. There are fascinating resources you would never guess that existed from those topic titles. (NOTE: There may be problems reaching this site. One popular browser provider has put a block on it. This may be temporary, or it may be its similarity in name to the Devon Heritage Centre at Exeter.)
  • South Hams, Devon, A Genealogical Information Resource A collection of transcriptions of church registers and the 1841 census, plus a free lookup service in registers and other materials that have not been transcribed, for the South Hams District of Devon, England. The website states that its latest transcription was added 10 Nov 2018.