Sidmouth has a fascinating history, from a market town as early as 1200, to a fishing port during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and as a tourist destination from the mid-19th century.
With over 500 listed buildings, there are many interesting and remarkable historic buildings in Sidmouth. The Sid Vale Association has installed over 30 Blue Plaques in the town to commemorate notable buildings or buildings associated with former notable residents of Sidmouth’s historic past. We even have one here at the Royal York & Faulkner Hotel!
Here is a selection of historic buildings in Sidmouth that we think worthy of a pass by if you’re visiting Sidmouth:
Byes Toll House
Dating from the early 19th century, Sidmouth’s original Toll House, in Greek Revival style, controlled the eastern approach to the town. The toll house sits at the start of the Byes riverside walk and the original toll gate now hangs alongside the house.
Fortfield Terrace is a fine example of Georgian architecture. The terrace was built between 1790 and 1794 on manor land by Polish architect and speculative builder, Michael Novosielski. A double-headed eagle commemorates the stay of the Grand Duchess of Russia and her entourage in 1831.
No 4 Coburg Terrace and the Old Chancel
Peter Orlando Hutchinson (1810-1897), historian, antiquarian, author and watercolourist lived here from 1825 until 1866. The house is next door to the Old Chancel, a tower structure which is all that remains of the medieval parish church. Peter Hutchinson salvaged as much of the original medieval stonework as he could and added it, stone by stone, to his own garden.
The Old Ship Inn
Costa Coffee in Old Fore Street, formerly the Old Ship Inn, is one of Sidmouth’s oldest buildings dating back to the 14th century. Reputed to have been built in 1350, it has 1-metre thick cobb walls and may have once been a monastery – the original Dove Inn was built by monks at Otterton Priory. For many years it was a rendezvous for smugglers and a place for storing contraband.
St Giles and St Nicholas Church
Sidmouth’s parish church dates in part to the 15th century. Much of the church, except for the medieval tower was rebuilt in 1860. The architect was William White (1825-1900), a leading architect of the Victorian Gothic Revival. Pieces of Norman stonework were reused in the Victorian rebuilding. The 15th-century tower remains, and there is an ornate reredos by SS Teulon. A memorial window to the Duke of Kent was given by Queen Victoria in 1867.
To see a full list, details and locations of the Blue Plaques in Sidmouth click here. During the summer months, the Sidmouth Museum runs free guided strolls exploring the history of the town every Tuesday and Thursday.