West Teignmouth, Devon Family History Guide

West Teignmouth is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Devon, created in 1842 from chapelry in Bishopsteignton Ancient Parish.

Alternative names:

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1706
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1615

Nonconformists include: Plymouth Brethren and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

TEIGNMOUTH, a sea-port and market-town, comprising two parishes, called East and West, in the union of Newton-Abbott, hundred of Exminster, Teignbridge and S. divisions of Devon, 15 miles (S. by E.) from Exeter, and 187¾ (W. S. W.) from London; containing 4459 inhabitants, of whom 2883 are in West Teignmouth. This is stated to have been the first landing-place of the Danes, who, having slain the governor, were encouraged by this omen of success to pursue their warlike purposes throughout the island. The town has been twice destroyed by fire, first by a French pirate, in 1340, and subsequently, on July 26th, 1690, when the French, having effected a landing, proceeded to ransack the churches, and burnt 116 houses, with a number of ships and small craft lying in the harbour. In commemoration of this calamitous event, one of the streets still retains the appellation of French-street; and the original brief granted for the relief of the sufferers is now in the possession of the Jordan family. Alarmed at the threat of a similar attack, in 1744, the inhabitants obtained permission to erect a small fort on the beach of East Teignmouth, and petitioned the admiralty for the requisite supply of ordnance. In Camden’s time the eastern town was called Teignmouth-Regis, and the other Teignmouth-Episcopi, the manor of the latter having belonged to the see of Exeter until alienated by Bishop Vesey.

The town is situated, as its name implies, on the navigable river Teign at its influx into the sea, and occupies a gentle declivity at the foot of a chain of hills, by which it is sheltered on the north and west. The two parts are separated by a small rivulet called the Tame. East Teignmouth, which is the more modern, is almost entirely appropriated as a watering-place, in which respect it is considered equal, if not superior, in fashionable repute to any on the Devonshire coast. Its situation is beautiful, and in the vicinity are prospects, particularly from Little Haldon, of great and deserved celebrity; the cliffs are of a reddish colour, and of considerable height, and at the southern side of the river’s mouth is a singular elevation called the Ness. On the strand fronting the sea are carriage-drives, promenades, and an extensive lawn. The public rooms, built by subscription, form the centre of a crescent, and comprise spacious assembly-rooms, with apartments for refreshments cards, and billiards; the façade of the building is decorated with an Ionic portico over a Doric colonnade. There are also a public library, and some bathing establishments. A regatta takes place about the month of August.

West Teignmouth is the port and principal seat of business. It had risen to some importance at an early period, having sent members to a great council in the reign of Edward I., and contributed seven ships, with 120 men, towards the expedition against Calais, in 1347. The town, with its quay and dockyard, situated on the curve formed by the sudden expansion of the river, is irregularly built; the principal streets are neatly paved, and lighted with gas. A post-road through it from Exeter to Torquay is continued by a modern bridge over the Teign, said to be the longest in England, and which is constructed of wood and iron, with a drawbridge at one end for the passage of vessels. A quay was formed in 1820, by G. Templer, Esq.; and in a small dockyard here, sloops of war and vessels of upwards of 200 tons’ burthen have been built. The harbour is safe and commodious, though somewhat difficult to enter, on account of a moveable bar or sand bank, which shifts with the wind. In the middle of the last century, a large number of vessels, of from 50 to 200 tons’ burthen each, were employed in the trade with Newfoundland, and some business of this description is still carried on; coal and culm are imported in large quantities, and the home fishery at present occupies a considerable number of the inhabitants. By means of a tramroad and a canal, which latter joins the Teign at Newton-Abbott, and is navigable thence to the sea at Teignmouth, a communication has been effected with the granite-quarries at Haytor and the clay-pits of Bovey, which greatly facilitates the export of granite and pipe and potters’ clay. The Teignmouth and Exeter portion of the South Devon railway was opened in May 1846.

A grant of a market and a fair was obtained in the reign of Henry III., by the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, for East Teignmouth, where is a commodious markethouse, which belongs to the Earl of Devon, lord of the manor. The market is on Saturday, principally for provisions; and fairs are held on the third Tuesday in January, the last Tuesday in February, and the last Tuesday in September. The government of West Teignmouth is vested in a portreeve, who is annually elected by a jury of twelve, at a court leet and baron held by Lord Clifford, lord of the manor; at which court also a townclerk, four constables, two bailiffs, and other officers are appointed. In East Teignmouth, a reeve and two constables are elected by the court there, and two constables by the parish. East Teignmouth comprises 530a. 3r. 1p.: the living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £127; patron, the Vicar of Dawlish; appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter: the great tithes have been commuted for £50, and those of the perpetual curate for £90. The church, which is dedicated to St. Michael, was almost rebuilt in 1821. The living of West Teignmouth is a vicarage, in the gift of the Incumbent of Bishop’s-Teignton: the impropriate tithes have been commuted for £13, and the vicarial for £157. The church, which is dedicated to St. James, is a spacious modern octagonal structure, with a tower at the west side, and surmounted in the centre by a lantern. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic Methodists. Teignmouth confers the title of Baron on the family of Shore.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Parish Records


England, Devon Bishop’s Transcripts, 1558-1887

England, Devon and Cornwall Marriages, 1660-1912

England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912

England, Devon, Plymouth Prison Records, 1821-1919

Exeter Marriage Licenses 1523-1631

Exeter Burial Records

Devon Cemetery Photos

South Hams Memorial Inscriptions

Appledore Burials 1844-1970

Devon Calendars of Prisoners

Devon Convicts Transported to Australia 1782-1821

Records for England

Births and Baptism Records

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Marriage Records

England Marriages, 1538–1973

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Death Records

England Death Records, 1998-2015

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660

Non-Conformist Records

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977


England and Wales Census, 1841

England and Wales Census, 1851

England and Wales Census, 1861

England and Wales Census, 1871

England and Wales Census, 1881

England and Wales Census, 1891

England and Wales Census, 1901

England and Wales Census, 1911


United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

War and Conflict

Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners’ Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United Kingdom, World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920

Newspaper Archives

British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices

British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries


  • County: Devon
  • Civil Registration District: Newton Abbot
  • Probate Court: Court of the Peculiars of the Bishop of Exeter (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Exeter
  • Rural Deanery: Pre-1848 - None, Post-1847 - Kenn
  • Poor Law Union: Newton Abbot
  • Hundred: Exminster
  • Province: Canterbury