Welcome to the Dartmouth History Research Group

Welcome to the Dartmouth History Research Group

The Dartmouth History Research Group is a small voluntary and community group, founded in 1991. We research the history of Dartmouth and surrounding villages and make it available to the general public through publications, events and this website, to promote public understanding of local history and heritage. The “Dartmouth Archives” section provides resources enabling you to explore the rich and fascinating history of Dartmouth and the local area, and discover more about local people and places. It contains an extensive collection of documents and records, built up by members of the Group over several years and still growing. Other sections of the website tell you more about us and about what we do.

Come and join us for

“History & Cake”

Monday 4 December 2023

10:00 am to 12:00 noon

It was great to see so many people at our event at the Flavel on Saturday 18 November, “A History of Dartmouth in Four Houses”. At our next meeting there will be a chance to follow up in more detail any other questions you may have on how to research the history of a house in Dartmouth and the surrounding area, and to discuss anything and everything historical.

There will also be a short talk by one of our members – and, last but not least, cake! Everyone is welcome. If you are new to the group and plan to come, it would be helpful if you could let us know by emailing enquiries@dartmouth-history.org.uk so that we have some idea of numbers. We look forward to seeing you!

Join Us

Membership of DHRG is free and open to all and everyone is welcome at any of our meetings. We usually meet on the first Monday of each month in the Church Hall, Baptist Church, Carey Road, Townstal, 10.00 – 12.00 noon (see the “Contact” page for more details). Our next meeting will be on Monday December 4th 2023, see above. As arrangements may change at short notice, please let us know if you plan to come to any of our meetings.

Our Books

The DHRG has published many books and booklets about aspects of the history of Dartmouth and surrounding villages. Books and booklets are sold at a price sufficient to cover our costs. Please go to the “DHRG Books” section of the website to see what’s available and for information about how to purchase our current titles. Out of print titles are free to download as PDFs from this website.

Latest DHRG News

19th September 2023          Death of Ray Freeman, founder and first chair of the Dartmouth History Research Group

The Dartmouth History Research Group is very sad to hear of the death last night of Ray Freeman, aged 99. Ray died peacefully at Lincombe Manor in Torquay where she had been looked after for the past few years. We extend our sincere condolences to her family and friends.

Ray was the founder and first chair of the Group. She was a history teacher and came to Devon in 1964. After retiring to Dartmouth, she devoted herself to researching the town’s history, publishing several books, notably “Dartmouth and its Neighbours: A History of the Port and its People” in 1990, updated in 2007. In 1991 she brought together a group of friends and colleagues interested in exploring local history and became the first chair of the Group. Under her leadership the Group made rapid progress – Ray wrote several books for the Dartmouth History Research Group on a wide range and topics and was involved in preparing and editing others. When the Group’s website was first set up she made much of her extensive collection of research material freely available for others to use.

Ray has left the Group a tremendous legacy in her extensive published work and in all her painstaking and careful research. Everyone interested in the rich history and heritage of Dartmouth and the surrounding area will continue to benefit from her hard work and very considerable achievement.

DHRG on Facebook

Thank you to everyone who came to our event, "A History of Dartmouth in Four Houses" at the Flavel last Saturday, and a special thank you to our speakers and to everyone who helped. Everyone welcome at "History & Cake" on Monday 4 December 2023, 10am-12noon, Baptist Church Hall, Carey Road, Townstal, to discuss history, and eat cake! More info ondartmouth-history.org.uk 🍰🏠📖#dartmouth #localhistory #historylovers ... See MoreSee Less
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Looking forward to our event this Saturday, 18 November, 1.30-4.30pm at the Flavel Centre, Dartmouth, "A History of Dartmouth in Four Houses", entry free, just come along. Find out about 500 years of our history and discover sources you can use to research the history of a house. We look forward to seeing you!#dartmouth #localhistory #flavel ... See MoreSee Less
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Rolling on rapidly from Halloween is Bonfire Night. Guy Fawkes' "Gunpowder Treason" against King James I in 1605 created a date in the calendar still with us over 400 years later. Dartmouth's historic town accounts regularly mark the ringing of the bells of St Saviours on November 5th. In 1636, 2s6d was "paid to the Ringers for beere"; by 1766 the payment had gone up to eighteen shillings! It seems likely that celebrations included bonfires although there's no mention of them in the accounts. In the 19th century newspapers reported many public events, though 1883 in Dartmouth was a damp squib, because it "rained in torrents" all night! If you're celebrating, stay safe and dry! #localhistory #dartmouth #guyfawkes ... See MoreSee Less
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"When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning or in rain?"Today Hallowe'en is a time for kids to have fun tricking and treating, but in Dartmouth 421 years ago, witchcraft was a serious matter. In 1601-2, Michael Trevisard, a fisherman, his wife Alice and his son Peter, who lived in Hardness, were all accused of witchcraft before Sir Thomas Ridgway, a Justice of the Peace. Their accusers were all people who lived in the vicinity, and their suspicions of the Trevisards were longstanding. Unpleasant, not to say awful, things had happened, and their neighbours thought Michael, Alice and Peter were responsible. Frustratingly, the surviving records don't tell us what happened. For more information, see our website:dartmouth-history.org.uk/dhrg_archive/102734_0.pdf ... See MoreSee Less
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Join us on a journey into the past at a special event, "A History of Dartmouth in Four Houses", on Saturday 18 November at the Flavel Centre, Flavel Place, Dartmouth, from 1.30-4.30pm.Discover 500 years of Dartmouth's history. Learn how to research the history of your home and the people who lived there. Short talks about four houses in Dartmouth; opportunities to ask questions and find out about sources of local information.Everyone welcome, admission free, light refreshments provided. No need to book, just turn up. For more information, see our website dartmouth-history.org.uk#localhistory #DartmouthPicture: embroidery, St Clement's church, Townstal, with kind permission. ... See MoreSee Less
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