The Devon Historic Market & Coastal Towns Survey

Totnes from the air in 1990. The town’s development can be seen in its layout. The circuit of the Saxon walls can be seen as well as the Norman castle that was built on top of earlier residential properties. The medieval church dominates much of the town centre and the market square is also prominent. Medieval tenement strips (‘burgage’ plots) can be seen on either side of the main street, inside and outside the walls. Early 20th century suburban terraces are set out in ranks on the slopes below the castle (Photo: Frances Griffith, Devon County Council).Devon has a rich heritage of historic urban centres. Many were at the forefront of English commerce in the medieval and post-medieval periods. Some originated before then as Royal strongholds in the Saxon and Norman periods. All have and continue to provide a variety of services to their rural hinterlands as well as being ‘home’ to many of Devon’s citizens. Their architecture, archaeology and street plans tell the story of their origins and how they have developed over three millennia of town life in Devon.

Working wHistoric England Logoith Historic England (formerly English Heritage), the Cornwall Archaeological Unit, AC Archaeology, South West Archaeology and SLR Consulting, we have undertaken an extensive urban survey of 17 of Devon’s historic market and coastal towns. Each survey outlines the history and known archaeology of each town, as well as describing their character and how their historic development can still be seen in the present layout.

Map of Torrington showing the character types visible in the present townscape.

The Overview report, Background and Methodology report and final reports for the towns listed below can be downloaded by clicking on this link.

  • Barnstaple
  • Bideford
  • Credition
  • Cullompton
  • Dartmouth
  • Exmouth
  • Great Torrington
  • Honiton
  • Kingsbridge
  • Newton Abbot/Kingsteignton
  • Okehampton
  • Seaton
  • South Molton
  • Tavistock
  • Teignmouth
  • Tiverton
  • Totnes