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Welcome  to   


      Paignton Heritage Society  





   We care for Paignton's past, present, and future. 

Our aims are :

To preserve and open to the public all the heritage buildings in Paignton.

To encourage tourist and trade initiatives that will benefit Paignton.

To support local concern over critical planning applications.

To monitor the policies and plans of government, council, and developers.

Latest : Membership Secretary:  Iris Butler, 79 Winsu Avenue, Paignton TQ3 1QE

01803 526883


Newsletter - September 2021

Latest - see below re Oldway

Message from our Chair

What a joy it was to be able to meet as a Society for our first time in nearly two years when John Risdon entertained us with his talk on 'Galmpton & Churston - The Home Front 1939-45'.  I have never heard John speak before (although his reputation goes before him) and I was not disappointed.  It was the most interesting and informative talk I have heard in many years and I know that the audience felt the same.  It was a real pleasure too to see so many of our members and to be able to welcome new members. We are now hoping that John will be back to talk to us again next year on another fascinating subject.

Nick Pannell (our President) is our next speaker on Thursday, 16th September at 7.00pm.  Nick will be talking to us about 'The History of Palace Avenue'.

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Nick for the excellent article he wrote about the Heritage Society in a recent edition of Bygones in the Herald Express.

One of our recent successes has been the updating and reprinting of the Oldway booklet - which is now on sale in the Oldway Tea Rooms.  I would like to say a very sincere thank you to Tony Hill and Karen Chapman for updating this publication.  Everyone who has bought a copy has learnt something new about Oldway and it is also helping to raise the profile of our society.  

Those of you who have visited the Tea Rooms may, in future, like to go on a Wednesday or Saturday morning, when Karen (our Vice Chair) is volunteering behind the counter.  The Tea Rooms are really well supported and Kathy Hughes (Tea Rooms Manager) is now able to take a limited number of people on pre-arranged tours of the inside of the Mansion.


Our next big event is the Heritage Showcase and you will find more information about this in the newsletter.


Iris Butler, Chair


Committee Members

Committee members are:

Chair                                       Iris Butler

Vice Chair/Secretary            Karen Chapman

Treasurer                               Maggie Loates

Committee Members           Eileen Donovan

                                                Christine Watts

                                                Keith Masters

Anne Pentney

                                                John Pentney

                                                David Coaker

                                                Jim Milne


If you want to contact any of us, just e.mail

[email protected]

and your query will be forwarded.



Thanks to all of you who have re-joined recently.  Your support in these difficult times is very much appreciated.

For personal reasons, Keith Masters has decided to stand down as Membership Secretary for a while, although he will continue as a valued member of the Committee.  Our Chair, Iris Butler, will take on the role in the interim, but if there is anyone who is interested in helping out on a more permanent basis, please e.mail Iris on [email protected] or you can telephone her on 01803 526883.


Coverdale Tower

In the last newsletter I referred to the Tower as being 'listed and over a thousand years old'.  Our eagle-eyed member and local historian, Len Harwood, has taken me to task over this, and says:

'I was surprised to read in the newsletter that the Bishop's Tower is a thousand years old and was built by Bishop Osbern (1072 1103). That was shown to be completely wrong by Hal Bishop in his presentation to the Devonshire Association Transactions in vol. 144 at Torquay in 2012 (pages 119-188).  Hal Bishop does not tell the full story behind the construction of the Tower but he does mention the murder of Bishop Stappleton (1324-1326) and  that is where the real story lies. 

The details are set out in my papers 'Brief Time Line For Paington's Bishop's Tower' and 'Paignton's Bishops Tower - a background history'. 

In brief, it was in the reign of Edward II (1308-1326) when he was in dispute with his Barons and his estranged wife Issabella (the daughter of the King of France).  In 1324 Issabella was in Paris with her lover, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, and was planning to invade England to depose Edward in favour of their son (the future Edward III). The King asked Bishop Stappleton to set up the defence of the south west counties, which is probably when the construction of the Watch Tower (Coverdale Tower) began.  In 1326 Mortimer did invade, but in East Anglia and not in the South West.  There was support for Mortimer in England and there was rioting in London.  The King fled into Wales and Bishop Stappleton went to London to quell the riots, but on his way to seek sanctuary at St Pauls, he was set upon by the mob and murdered. The fate of the King is well known.  The new Bishop Grandisson continued with the building of the Tower.


Thanks Len- good job you're on the ball.




Heritage Open Days - Kirkham House

'Heritage Open Days' is England's largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,000 local people and organisations, and thousands of volunteers. Every year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It's your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences- and it's all FREE.

We will be opening Kirkham House to visitors on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September as part of the Festival. Opening times are 11am to 4pm.


Paignton Heritage Venues Showcase

Also as part of the Heritage Open Days Festival, we are joining with The Palace Theatre, The Paignton Picture House and the Oldway Friends and Garden Volunteers to put on a Showcase of the heritage that Paignton has to offer, and a chance to hear what is planned for the future.

The Showcase will take place on Wednesday 15th September, and will be hosted by Chris Nicholls.  Doors open at 10am and the presentation will start at 10.30 am and end at about 12.45pm

Tickets are available from the Palace Theatre at £10.  All proceeds will be shared between the participants, so you will be supporting some good causes.


Trail Booklets

Thanks to Tony Hill and Karen Chapman, we have up-dated the Oldway booklet.  Packed with even more information and photographs of the Mansion, it is well worth a read. 

To obtain your copy go to -


The full range now includes -

Paignton - Harbour - Goodrington         £1.50

Paignton - Old Town (updated)                1.50

Paignton - Sea Front                                1.50

Paignton- Oldway (updated)                    1.50

Paignton - Medieval Paignton -

     Four Old Buildings                               1.00

Paignton - New Town (Victorian/

     Edwardian)                                           1.00

Preston - The Original Hamlet                 1.00


There is a charge of £2 to cover postage and packaging.         







An Audience at the Palace

Talks at the Palace have been very well attended.


The Autumn programme of talks is:

?       9th September- 'Storybook Dads' by Sharon Berry

?       7th October- 'The Old Saltway' by Colin Vosper

?       11th November- 'Born into entertainment' by Anne George

?       9th December- 'The Peintona Paladin'- a local history quiz hosted by our very own Iris and Karen.

Doors open at 10am for a 10.30 start.  Tickets are £3 for PHS members - £4 for non-members. 

When booking, members need to quote the password .


PHS website

Thanks to Heather Reed for her memories of Deller's Café, which we have reproduced on the PHS website.

Heather has also donated a postcard to our archives that we have never seen before.  It will be included in our online archive and appears to be of a stall set up in Palace Avenue.

The lady is promoting 'Success to our Shopping Week- What we Use', and her stall is advertising Cream Crackers 9½d, Soako, Cream Custard, Tate & Lyle Syrup and Simple Simon 9d. 

The photo was probably taken around the late 1920's, and the practice of running shopping weeks was started by the British Women's Patriotic League in 1923 to encourage shoppers to buy British and Colonial goods.



In the background is what appears to be a steam traction engine, with the name 'The Torbay Mill Co. Ltd' on its side.  This company is listed in Kelly's Directory as a milling company, located at the rear of Dartmouth Road and at 61 Winner Street.  They also had premises at 9a Market Street, Torquay, and St. Annes Road in Babbacombe  The wording on the vehicle says '?MPH Steel and Rubber Tyres'.

Anyone have any more information?


More please- photos of Great Uncle Fred in his ARP uniform with a few words about the stories he used to tell ?. we all have such a rich store of tales to relate!


Diary Dates

It was great to welcome John Risdon to our first monthly talk since March 2020.  John gave us a fascinating talk on Galmpton and Churston- The Home Front.

Thanks to those of you who managed to come to the talk- every effort is being made to keep you safe from Covid, and we appreciate your co-operation.

Our monthly Thursday meetings are as follows, all commencing at the NEW time of 7.00pm at The Gerston Hall, (behind the Gerston Chapel, opposite the Post Office)


16 Sep - Nick Pannell- The History of Palace Avenue

21 Oct - Ian Handford- The Preston Pharmaceutical business 'AAH'

18 Nov - Peter Marsden- The Mary Rose






Three Devon Cottages and a Glorious Revolution


Pepperpot Cottage

This delightful cottage stands on Southfield Road (No. 19), by the junction with Shorton Road. The Cottage's octagonal shaped roof and four tall chimneys give rise to its name 'Pepperpot'.  It is a Grade II listed building.

Built in about 1840, some claim it was a toll-house for the old turnpike road to Torquay (the 'old way') at what was then the edge of Paignton.   It has been suggested that the rectangular recess on the Shorton Road side of the Cottage could have been where the toll charges were displayed. Others believe the building was simply a lodge to the larger property, Belle View House, at the rear.

The turnpike road was built by the Dartmouth, Torquay and Shaldon Turnpike Trust, to collect tolls from travellers using the route.

The term 'turnpike' refers the military practice of placing a pikestaff across a road to block and control passage. Upon payment of the toll, the pike would be 'turned' to one side to allow travellers through.  The Turnpike Trusts were responsible for the costs of improvements to, and maintenance of, the roads.  The Dartmouth- Shaldon turnpike road was 38 miles in length and was created in 1765.

The route of the turnpike road from Torquay to Paignton was

  • '? village of Kingskerswell, and through Southey Lane, by Chapel Hill, to the Hotel at Torquay. 

  • From Torquay by 'Fleet Mill' to the north side of the limekiln adjoining to 'Hoppaway Hill' in Tormohan

  • The south end of Chapel Hill in Tormoham parish, through Cockington parish, across 'Tuckingmill', alias Hollicombe Lake, into Paignton parish, and on to 'Cleatland Cross' in the same parish.'

    Today, we would recognise this route as:

  • '? from Kingskerswell, past Torre Railway Station, East St, Tor Hill Rd, Abbey Rd and Fleet St to Poulton's Hotel (later the Royal Hotel) on the Strand.

  • From the Strand, up Fleet St (the Fleet Mill was pulled down in 1835), to Pimlico (at the bottom of Stentiford Hill - formerly Hoppaway Hill) and a little way up Market St (the lime kiln was near the bend in Albert St- now the Union Square shopping arcade).

  • Join Union St to the Newton Rd and back to Torre Railway Station, across country through Chelston and Cockington, to join the A3022 at Livermead, then follow the main Torbay Rd to Preston.  Turn off onto the Old Torquay Road, Oldway Road, Southfield Road and Winner Street.  Then along Totnes Road to Claylands Drive (Paignton Zoo)- formerly Cleatland Cross.

    William, Prince of Orange

    In the days of Queen Elizabeth I, Devon was a prosperous, wealthy and mainly Protestant County- home to Elizabethans such as Drake, Gilbert, Grenville and Raleigh.

    But times changed, and some 85 years after the death of Elizabeth I, following the reigns of Kings James I and Charles I, an English Civil War, and then the reign of King Charles II, Devon found itself divested of much of its wealth and influence under the rule of the Catholic King, James II. 

    England was on the verge of a second civil war as Anti-Catholic riots broke out across the country.  Until June 1688, the Anglican daughter of James II (Mary) and her Protestant husband (William, Prince of Orange) were first in line to the throne.  But then James II had a son, (also called James) and the threat of a Roman Catholic dynasty frightened many in England.  And so it was that the 'gentlemen of the West' sought change and invited William of Orange to come to England.  William had fought in several European wars against the Catholic King of France, and was seen by many as a champion of the Protestant faith.

    The small town of Brixham, under the protection of Berry Head, was deemed a good choice for the Prince and his army to land.  William wanted to test out the mood of the people, and gauge their reaction to his presence in England, before he made any move to the seat of power- London.

    So on 5th November 1688, William of Orange and his force sailed into Brixham Harbour.  A Minister in his Fleet pulled out his Bible and spoke 'For the Protestant Religion, and Maintaining of the Gospel in the Truth and Purity thereof, are we all by the Goodness and Providence of God come hither, after so many Storms and Tempests.  It is the Prince of Orange that's come, a zealous Defender of that Faith which is truly Ancient, catholic and Apostolical, who is the Supream Governour of this very great and formidable Fleet'.  The Prince then climbed into a little boat, and is reported to have said 'Mine good people, I am come for your goods.  I am come for all your goods', to which the people of Brixham replied 'You'm welcome!'.

    This welcome followed William across the country as he began his slow journey to London and the Glorious Revolution.

    William's first night in England is said to have been spent at Peter Varwell's home, a small house in Middle Street, Brixham, while his army of some 15,400 men and 1,000 officers and 78 field officers spent a cold, frosty night above Brixham on Furzeham Common.

    The next day, the order was given to march towards Exeter.  The army, in three 'lines', set off through the lanes to Churston and on to the high road, later to become part of the Dartmouth to Shaldon turnpike road.  The present main road was not made until the 1840's and William's army travelled along the old Brixham Road and along a ridge that is now the Ring Road.

    On leaving Brixham, William headed inland, and along the route people came to see the great army. Despite the cheers, many still remembered the Bloody Assizes of Judge Jefferies that were held following the Monmouth Rebellion three years earlier, so cheers were tinged with fears.

    Farmer Webber of Staverton came to give his support to the Prince, and he brought a cart loaded with apples, calling to the soldiers to help themselves as they passed, wishing them 'God Speed'.


    King William's Cottage

    After a march of about six miles, William and his army approached the small village of Yalberton.  Here William is said to have taken refreshment  in a cottage now known as King William's Cottage.  The long and low thatched cottage, with a little cobbled path leading to the front door, probably looks today much the same as it did in 1688.

    The owner of the Cottage was so proud of the royal visit that he had 'an ornamentation' (a larger plaster memorial) affixed to the ceiling above the place in which the Prince sat- though sadly it is now long gone.

    The 16th century cottage is Grade II listed.

    Parliament House

    Now refreshed, the Prince then marched a further three miles to Longcombe, just outside the hamlet of Aish.  Here he met some of the 'gentlemen of the West', who had been responsible for inviting the Prince to England.  Included in this group was Sir Edward Seymour of Berry Pomeroy- described as 'foremost among the Tory gentlemen of England', Sir Edward was also a privy counsellor and opponent of James II.  The meeting is known as the future King's first Parliament on English soil.  It was agreed that the gentlemen would 'come out for the Prince' at Exeter and, at the suggestion of Edward Seymour, would there form an 'association' binding them to the service of the Prince.

    It is believed that William spent his second night in England at the cottage which, from then onwards, was referred to as 'Parliament House'. 

    At the front of the House is the Parliament Stone bearing the inscription 'William, Prince of Orange, is said to have held his first Parliament here 6th November 1688'.

    The House is now a Grade II listed building, but originally it is thought to have been four cottages.  Inside it has retained many of its original features, including a circular staircase made of stone.

    Accounts of the route the Prince took vary- some say that the Prince then marched to Paignton, where he was 'proclaimed to the people of Paignton' from a stone in front of the West Door of the parish church.  In honour of this, it is said that the old Posting House on Fore Street (now Church Street) was renamed the 'Crown & Sceptre' (later changed to 'Crown & Anchor').  He then marched to Newton Abbot where the proclamation was again read.  Then, as they say, the rest is history.  William III and Mary were crowned as joint monarchs in Westminster Abbey on 11th April 1689.


    'The Prince it is that's come' by Joyce Packe

    'A Paignton Scrapbook' by Peggy Parnell

PHS website

Have you looked at our re-vamped main website lately?





Paignton Green Covenant

The covenant below was agreed unanimously by Torbay Council at its meeting on 27 September 2012 following consultation with Paignton Heritage Society:

“Torbay Council covenants with all inhabitants of the wards of Blatchcombe, Clifton with Maidenway, Goodrington with Roselands, Preston and Roundham with Hyde (“the Paignton Wards”) that for a period of 100 years beginning on the date of this deed it will not on the land shown edged red on the plan attached erect or permit the erection of any permanent structure without any such proposal first obtaining the majority of votes in a referendum of the persons who at the day of the referendum would be entitled to vote as electors at an election of councillors for any of the Paignton Wards and are registered as local government electors at an address within the Paignton Wards.  For the purposes of this covenant ‘permanent structure’ shall mean any structure intended to remain on the land for a period greater than 6 months in any period of 12 consecutive months.  This covenant shall not apply to the installation, construction or renewal (whether by statutory undertakers or otherwise) of any media for the supply or removal, electricity, gas, water, sewage, energy, telecommunications, data and all other services and utilities and all structures, machinery and equipment ancillary to those media”.