Open main menu

DARTMOUTH, an ancient municipal borough and seaport town of England, in South Devon, 31 miles south of Exeter and 229 miles south-west of London by rail, is situated nearly opposite the town of Kingswear, at the mouth of the Dart, which here forms a secure harbour in the English Channel. The town stretches along the shore of the harbour, overhung by steep acclivities, and presents a picturesque appearance. Many of the houses belong to the Elizabethan period. Its principal building is St Saviour Church, a cruciform edifice of ancient date, containing a graceful rood-screen, a stone pulpit, and some interesting monuments. Dartmouth castle stands at the entrance of the harbour. As a seaport Dartmouth is now little used, but it occupied an important place in the early history of England. It was the rendezvous of the crusaders' fleet in 1190; and in 1346-47 it contributed 31 ships to the siege of Calais under Edward III. In later times several expeditions left its harbour for the exploration of the New World; and during the civil wars of the 17th century its occupation was hotly contested. The borough is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. It contains an area of 1847 acres (including part of the parish of Stokefleming), and in 1871 had a population of 5338 persons. Formerly it returned a member to Parliament, but it was disfranchised in 1868.