Teignmouth - Encyclopedia

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TEIGNMOUTH, a seaport and market town in the Ashburton parliamentary division of Devonshire, England, at the mouth of the river Teign, on the English Channel, 15 m. S. by E. of Exeter, by the Great Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 8636. Two parishes, East and West Teignmouth, form the town. It lies partly on a peninsula between the river and the sea, partly on the wooded uplands which enclose the valley and rise gradually to the high moors beneath Heytor. The Den, or Dene, forms a promenade along the sea-front, with a small lighthouse and a pier. St Michael's church in East Teignmouth was rebuilt in 1824 in Decorated style, but retains a Norman doorway and other ancient portions; of St James', in West Teignmouth, the south porch and tower are Norman. There are a theological college for Redemptorists, and a Benedictine convent, dedicated to St Scholastica. The entrance to the harbour has been improved by dredging, and the two quays accommodate vessels drawing 13 ft. at neap tides. Pipeclay and china clay, from Kingsteighton, are shipped for the Staffordshire potteries, while coal and general goods are imported. Pilchard, herrings, whiting and mackerel are taken, and salmon in the Teign. Malting, brewing and boatbuilding are also carried on. East Teignmouth was formerly called Teignmouth Regis, and West Teignmouth, Teignmouth Episcopi.

Teignmouth (Tennemue, Tengemue) possessed a church of St Michael as early as 1044, when what is now East Teignmouth was granted by Edward the Confessor to Leofric, bishop of Exeter, and an allusion to salterers in the same grant proves the existence of the. salt industry at that date. Teignmouth is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but in 1276 what is now West Teignmouth appears as a mesne borough held by the dean and chapter of Exeter; what is now East Teignmouth continuing with the bishop, who was accused in that year of holding in his manor a market which should be held in the borough. The bishop's manor was alienated in 1550 to Sir Andrew Dudley, but West Teignmouth remained with the dean and chapter until early in the 19th century. In the middle ages Teignmouth was a flourishing port, able to furnish 7 ships and 120 mariners to the Calais expedition of 1347, and depending chiefly on the fishing and salt industries. In the early part of the 17th century the town had fallen into decay, but it speedily recovered, and in 17 4 4 could contribute twenty vessels to the Newfoundland shipping trade. The borough was never represented in parliament, nor incorporated by charter. The Saturday market, which was held up to the 19th century, is mentioned in 1220, and was confirmed by royal charter in 1253, together with a fair at Michaelmas. Teignmouth was burned by French pirates in 1340, and was again devastated by the French on the 26th of June 1690.

See Victoria County History, Devonshire; The Teignmouth Guide and Complete Handbook to the Town and Neighbourhood (Teignmouth, 1875).

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