When War Came to the Dart
DHRG Book No. 40
This book combines the memories of local people with official records and other contemporary accounts to chart the impact as the communities of the Dart were immersed in war.
Dartmouth Then Dartmouth Now
DHRG Book No. 39
Hilary Sunman and Peter Prynn describe, with many photographs and illustrations, how Dartmouth shops have changed since the 1960s. Updated second edition now available.
Thomas Newcomen of Dartmouth￼
DHRG Book No. 38
This concise book tells the story of the quiet ironmonger from Dartmouth who changed the world by inventing the Newcomen engine, paving the way for James Watt, and for Richard Trevithick, the fiery Cornishman who built the first steam locomotive.
St John the Baptist Church: Catholics in Dartmouth, 1782-2012
DHRG Book No. 37
This booklet explains the history of the Catholic mission in Dartmouth from 1782, when Catholic priests returned to the town for the first time since the Reformation, to the time of writing.
DHRG Book No. 36
Bayards Cove is one of Dartmouth’s oldest and most scenic locations, and this book contains a wealth of information about the fort, the quay, and the buildings that stand upon it.
DHRG Book No. 35
This booklet traces the history of the Wadstray farms. There have been land transactions, intermarriage, social interaction and legal disputes. They would have played a part in the village life of Blackawton and the town of Dartmouth and some had connections with other nearby towns and villages. The book provides insights into the lives of the people, their homes and workplaces.
The Commando Raids on Sark in 1943￼
DHRG Book No. 34
Eric Preston’s book describes two raids on German-occupied Sark carried out by allied commandos in December 1943, crossing the Channel from Dartmouth in small, fast boats under the cover of darkness.
John Davis – Master Navigator, 1543-1605
DHRG Book No. 33
Davis, along with Sir Humphrey Gilbert, was one of the foremost navigators and explorers of his time, who knew Dartmouth as his home port. This is a more detailed account of John Davis' life and work, based on research by Ray Freeman.
Up the Hill to Townstal￼
DHRG Book No. 32
History has tended to neglect the Dartmothian suburb of Townstal “up the hill”. Eric Preston's book corrects this omission and provides a mass of detailed information about Townstal's development.
Blackpool Sands ￼
DHRG Book No. 31
Blackpool Sands, two miles to the south west of Dartmouth, is steeped in history. The remains of a prehistoric forest lie beneath the beach, and in 1404 it was the site of a memorable battle between English yeomen and yeowomen and an invading force of Bretons and Frenchmen. The English won!
A River to Cross
DHRG Book No. 30
Dartmouth's Lower Ferry was already operating in 1365; the Higher Ferry was opened with much ceremony in 1831. This book traces the fascinating history of Dartmouth's ferries, all of which still operate today.
John Flavel: A Famous Dartmouth Puritan￼
DHRG Book No. 29
Ray Freeman’s book summarises the life and legacy of John Flavel in Dartmouth, including the Flavel Church, built and opened in 1896, and the modern Flavel Centre.
Sports People of Dartmouth￼
DHRG Book No. 28
Alan Coles owned and edited the Dartmouth Chronicle from 1962-1968. He scoured the annals of the Chronicle to find the local sports people who, albeit briefly, were headline news in bygone years.
The Torbay Paint Company￼
DHRG Book No. 27
This book plots the origins and development of the Torbay Paint Company until it was taken over and closed down in 1961. It will be of interest to anyone who wishes to understand more about the industrial and commercial development of Dartmouth and Torbay.
William Veale, Master Mariner, 1791-1867￼
DHRG Book No. 26
Written by William Veale’s great, great, great granddaughter, Linda King, the book provides a fascinating insight into the extraordinary career of William Veale and more generally life at sea during the 19th century.
The History of the Castle Hotel, Dartmouth￼
DHRG Book No. 25
Ray Freeman's history of the Castle Hotel, Dartmouth spans humble beginnings as two private houses in 1639, and several rounds of expansion and refurbishment. Its many famous visitors include King Edward VII when he was still the Price of Wales.
Hawley’s Fortalice, Dartmouth’s First Castle￼
DHRG Book No. 24
In the late 14th Century John Hawley, then Mayor of Dartmouth, began to build the town’s first castle, or “fortalice”, at the mouth of the river. Terry Edwards’ work with English Heritage led him into researching this ancient fortress, and he pieced together an impressive picture of how the structure would have looked some 600 years ago.
The Secret War from the River Dart
DHRG Book No. 23
During the Second World War small boats of the Royal Navy carried out clandestine missions on the German occupied coast of France. This is the story of the 15th MGB (Motor Gun Boat) Flotilla which carried out such missions between 1941 and 1944, operating out of Dartmouth. The author, Lloyd Bott CBE DSC, was an officer with the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve and was First Lieutenant in MGB 502, one of five boats in the Flotilla.
A Dittisham Boy’s Story￼
DHRG Book No. 22
Ewart Hutchings was born in Dittisham in 1894. His book provides a vivid first-hand account of a Devon way of life that has now disappeared, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Ewart soon found himself fighting the German army in France, which he describes graphically. Later in life he returned to Devon and wrote this book for his grandchildren.
Wadstray House: A History
DHRG Book No. 21
Wadstray House is about three miles from Dartmouth, in the parish of Blackawton. Using diaries, photographs and personal reminiscences, Irene O’Shea tells the story of a modest, elegant home with a varied history from 1788 onwards.
DHRG Book No. 20
This book tells the tale of a group of patriotic Frenchmen who fled to England in a small boat to join the Free French forces, enabling a daring raid on a German signal station at Pointe de Plouezec in Brittany in November 1942. The raiding party, in their high-speed Motor Torpedo Boat, departed from and returned to Dartmouth. The original book was written in French by Michel Guillou, an amateur historian, and has been translated into English for DHRG.
Sir Thomas Wilton JP, CA, 1861-1929￼
DHRG Book No. 19
Thomas Wilton moved to Dartmouth in 1884 as manager for the Cwmaman Coal Company. Later he set up his own coaling company, followed in 1911 by the Wilton Steam Shipping Co. He was twice elected Mayor of Dartmouth, and in 1919 he was knighted for his services during the First World War. Written by his grandson, the book describes his career and contribution to the town.
Dartmouth Industry and Banking 1795–1925
DHRG Book No. 18
This was the last book Ivor Smart wrote for the Dartmouth History Research Group. As with all his other publications, it was meticulously researched, and contains quite an astonishing amount of historical detail, describing the business of banking in Dartmouth over 130 years, including dramatic events such as the sudden failure of the Dartmouth General Bank in 1824.
River Dart Pilotage
DHRG Book No. 17
Dave Griffiths encountered many tense moments during his years as a River Dart pilot, piloting commercial vessels over 200 feet in length up to Totnes, and moe recently manoeuvring 500-foot cruise liners in and out of the harbour. He recounts his stories here with a sense of humour that makes the book an enjoyable read.
The Newcomen Road
DHRG Book No. 15
In 1861 the Dartmouth Corporation agreed to go ahead with an ambitious plan prepared by engineer William Bell to build a new modern highway sweeping down from Southtown as far as the Quay. The eventual implementation was far more modest, but nevertheless the Newcomen Road vastly improved Dartmouth’s accessibility. Ivor Smart’s inimitable account of the political and commercial wranglings that beset the project provide a fascinating insight into how Dartmouth was run 150 years ago.
The Development of Dartmouth Millpond to 1846
DHRG Book No. 13
Ivor Smart’s diligent and thorough research provides a detailed account of how the area around where Market Square is today, originally a tidal creek and later a mud bank and mill pond, gradually - over more than 700 years - became a major part of today’s town.
A Wrens-Eye View of Wartime Dartmouth ￼
DHRG Book No. 12
Ray Freeman tracked down nearly 30 Wrens who served in Dartmouth during the Second World War, and persuaded them to contribute their own personal recollections. Their tales range from the hilariously funny to those describing the shock and horror of war. Together, these memories provide a vivid account of wartime Dartmouth.
We Remember D-Day￼
DHRG Book No. 11
Compiled for the 50th anniversary of D-day, Ray Freeman gathered together the memories of people who were involved in the great events of June 1944. She included contributions from civilians, British servicemen and women, people of the South Hams who were turned out of their homes and farms to allow practice landings to take place on Slapton beach, and members of the US and Allied forces.
Wrecks off the South Devon Coast
DHRG Book No. 10
Diver Tony Aylmer's enthusiasm for the underwater world enabled him to write this fascinating little book about wrecks that lie on the seabed between the mouths of the rivers Erme and Dart. His tales of local shipwrecks cover nearly 200 years, from HMS Ramillies, which foundered off Bolt Tail in 1760, to the English Trader which came to grief at the mouth of the Dart in 1937.
Oldstone: the story of a Ruined Mansion￼
DHRG Book No. 9
“As a descendant of the last family to live at Oldstone before the fire of 1895, I have felt inspired to gather together what information I could as to the history and lives of the generations who have lived there.” In this booklet, Ursula Dimes charted the long story of this site from the mid 13th century, when it was gifted to Torre Abbey, to the ruins that remain today.
The Story of Warfleet
DHRG Book No. 8
Warfleet Creek and the land and houses immediately surrounding it, including Gallants Bower, were once part of a manor and parish quite separate from Dartmouth. Ray Freeman’s story spans the period from the 14th century to the comparatively recent acquisition of Gallants Bower by the National Trust.
The Newcomen Memorials in Dartmouth
DHRG Book No. 7
Ivor Smart’s research was as meticulous as ever in this account of the town’s attempts to commemorate one of its most famous sons, engineer Thomas Newcomen. None of these proposals came to fruition until the 1960s when one of Newcomen’s original steam engines was carefully reconstructed in a purpose-built engine house, ensuring that Thomas Newcomen and his association with Dartmouth are not forgotten.
The Free French at Kingswear
DHRG Book No. 6
This book contains a detailed account of the activities of the 23rd MTB Flotilla (motor torpedo boats), one of several Coastal Forces Flotillas based in Dartmouth and Kingswear during the Second World War. Manned by the Free French navy, the flotilla would cross the Channel at night to attack enemy shipping off the French coast and around the Channel Islands.
The Guildhalls of Dartmouth
DHRG Book No. 5
The present Dartmouth Guildhall dates from 1849, as the stone over the entrance proclaims. There have been no less than four previous sites to which the term "Guildhall" is applicable. Ivor Smart traces their history, providing a great deal of information about Dartmouth’s development over many centuries.
Brownstone: A Devon Farm Through Seven Centuries
DHRG Book No. 4
This book tells tales of hunting, cock fighting, a great fire and various shipwrecks near Brownstone over the years, and also the building of the still prominent Day Mark tower in 1864.
The Residences of Thomas Newcomen
DHRG Book No. 3
Ivor Smart’s book contains much detailed information about the Newcomen family, their houses, and Dartmouth in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Dartmouth Cottage Hospital
DHRG Book No. 2
The late Dr Giles Keane wrote this history of Dartmouth and Kingswear Cottage Hospital starting from its beginnings in 1887 to 1991. A second edition of this booklet, published by the League of Friends to bring the history up to 2014, is available from Dartmouth Museum.
The Holdsworth & Newman Families
DHRG Book No. 1
Ray Freeman’s first booklet for DHRG tells the stories of the Holdsworth and Newman families, interrelated by marriage, who had a major influence on the affairs of Dartmouth and the surrounding areas from the 17th century onwards. Both contributed immensely to the development of Dartmouth.