It seems incredible that so many weeks ago I wrote a local history article on the very beginnings of the town we live in and that the Journal printed it. Since then, I have taken you on a journey from thousands of years ago to more recent times.

Readers of the Journal have told me just how popular these articles are and they have been a real joy to put together and I hope it has increased your knowledge of the history of Exmouth and perhaps inspired you to find out more. It is often said, that “all good things must come to an end” and so it is with these local history articles. My wife and I are shortly moving from Exmouth to Wellington in Somerset to be nearer our family and I am therefore resigning my position at Exmouth Museum. I am sure you will appreciate that it would be too difficult to continue as a volunteer at the museum without being on the spot so it is with great sadness that I write this last article; but thank you the readers for being part of the column’s success by reading it. Thank you also to everyone who has assisted me with these articles.

So, how to finish off then? Well, I thought we might just have a summary of the history of Exmouth up to the present day over the last 82 weeks as I am sure you have probably forgotten most of it!

From the fishermen at The Point thousands of years ago we moved to the Bronze Age who built the beginnings of Woodbury Castle and ancient burial mounds called barrows, of which there are local examples on the commons and that wonderful discovery of the 4000 year old bronze age sword on the Pole Sands, a replica of which is on display at the museum. They were followed by the Iron Age folk. The Romans invaded these shores firstly in 55BC but never really settled in Exmouth, having made Exeter their main garrison city.

The Anglo Saxons were certainly in the district as there is evidence of their early settlement around St John’s in the Wilderness Church and Littleham Church. The Normans invaded in 1066 and we see the Domesday Book of 1086 that set out all the land holdings.

At this time of course all of Exmouth as we know it was underwater and one came up a small creek from the estuary to a landing place now known as Mona Island. It was not until the mid 18th Century that the land started to be drained and then we saw the first house be built on The Beacon and Exmouth started to take shape. The Parade was constructed about 1790 and Rolle Street and Strand were developed from 1868 following the bread riots in the town. In the mid 19th century the railway arrived and the docks were created, both of which added to Exmouth’s prosperity. Much of the town’s development has been due to the Rolle family and continues though that family in the form of the Clinton Devon Estates. A lot of Exmouth’s fine buildings have gone, and I am sure you could list your own. One that remains is the Clapp’s Café building, pictured, that my family were the first owners of in 1868 and owned continuously until 1967.

Where does Exmouth go from here? With the population increasing and house building on every corner there are lots of questions in this regard. It has changed significantly over the many years I have been in the town and will change more as the years go on. In the meantime please support your museum and perhaps replace me as a volunteer!

I wish you all and Exmouth all the best for the future.

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