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.

3rd July 2023
“Dartmouth Then Dartmouth Now” 2nd Edition now available to buy

Dartmouth Then Dartmouth Now, by Hilary Sunman and Peter Prynn, was first published by DHRG in 2016, charting the transformation of Dartmouth’s shops and businesses since the 1960s. An updated second edition now looks at what happened next, after towns closed and people were locked down during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their conclusion is that Dartmouth continues both to change and thrive, with unique integrity and resilience. For further information, go to DHRG Books.

12th December 2022
Harry Inder, engineer and inventor

Harry Inder is recognised in Dartmouth as inventor of the town’s first motor car. But that’s not Harry’s only achievement. Barry Inder, his grandson, has been researching Harry’s wider contribution to Dartmouth’s shipbuilding and engineering history, and his other significant inventions. To read our latest article about Harry, please click here, or search the Archive for “Harry Inder”.

31st August 2022
HM Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022

The Dartmouth History Research Group marks with great sadness the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Earlier this year the Queen celebrated the 70th anniversary of her accession on 6th February 2022. To mark her Platinum Jubilee, DHRG researched the history of Royal Jubilees, and how they were celebrated in Dartmouth. To read the article, go to the “Social History” archive category where you will find it in the “Historic Events” section, or put 103194 in the search box.

30th June 2021
When War Came to the Dart

The Dartmouth History Research Group is delighted to announce the publication of When War Came To The Dart, by Hilary Sunman and Gail Ham. The book is the Group’s fortieth publication in thirty years and marks the 75th anniversary in 2020 of the end of the Second World War in 1945.

Many members have contributed to the book, which brings together material from the Group’s earlier publications about aspects of the war, with memories of local people and some new research, to tell the fascinating and dramatic story of the impact on local people of nearly six years of war.

Eight chapters tell the story of war in the Dart within a broadly chronological approach: preparations for civil defence and the experience of evacuation; the impact of the catastrophe of 1940; defences implemented in response to the invasion threat; the growing contribution of forces based in the Dart to the “Secret War” and the naval war in the Channel; the effects of German bombing raids 1940-1943; the arrival of US forces in the area in 1943 and the preparations for D-day (including Exercise Tiger); and the final phase of the conflict from the D-day landings in 1944 to eventual victory in 1945. The last chapter traces the local impact of the global conflict through names commemorated on local war memorials.

Drawing on a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, and including some previously unpublished material, the book provides a vivid local perspective on the war through the memories of local people and extracts from contemporary accounts such as newspapers, diaries and letters, combined with official records such as war diaries. A bibliography sets out the principal sources.

The 284 page book is in A5 paperback format, printed and bound to high quality standards, and features approximately 30 pages of photographs, maps and other illustrations.

How to Buy

When War Came To The Dart is on sale in the Dartmouth Museum, (the Butterwalk, Duke Street), the Dartmouth Community Bookshop (12 Higher Street), the Tourist Information Centre (Mayor’s Avenue), Browser Books (3 Foss Street) and Torre Records (6 The Old Market).

It can also be ordered directly from this website, price £10.00 (£7.00 to members of the Group). To buy, please contact us by email at

1st March 2021
Directory of Dartmouth Shops

The Group have been compiling a directory of the Dartmouth shops from the early 1900’s to the present day, based on information from early Directories, memories of older Dartmothians and recent records.The shops are recorded by street names and numbers where known. Separate files are included for north, central and south Dartmouth. Note that this database is still being compiled and is not yet complete.

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 🍰🏠📖#dartmouth #localhistory #historylovers ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
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
View on Facebook
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
View on Facebook
"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 ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
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 #DartmouthPicture: embroidery, St Clement's church, Townstal, with kind permission. ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook