Our Local History Society was started in September 2004 with the aim of furthering interest in the local history of St Marychurch and Babbacombe and to encourage participation in research to publish articles and pamphlets so that the history of the area is recorded. In conjunction with the Friends of St Anne’s Hall we are endeavoring to produce an archive of the area consisting of photos, memorabilia and recording memories from local inhabitants.
Although St Marychurch dates back to Saxon days there is evidence of a fishing community near Babbicomb beach in 1500. The Manor map dated 1775 is the earliest known large scale map of the locality and the only properties shown are a handful of cottages on the slopes near the beach. Again in the Tithe map dated 1840 there still no properties on the Downs but several on the Babbacombe slopes showing names of both Land Owner and Occupier.
St Marychurch has been a place of worship since Saxon times The Parish was founded between 637 and 690 A.D. and was called Sce Maria circean about the time of the Domesday Book, becoming Seintmariachurche in 1242. The Parish covered the areas now known as Babbacombe, Combe Pafford, Barton, Edginswell and Collaton Shiphay and was at one time far more important than Torquay.