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Coordinates: 50°39′29″N 3°18′04″W / 50.658178°N 3.301008°W / 50.658178; -3.301008

Otterton Devon.jpg
Otterton is located in Devon
 Otterton shown within Devon
Population 700 (2001 census)
OS grid reference SY080851
Shire county Devon
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district EX9
Dialling code 01395
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament East Devon
List of places

Otterton is a village and civil parish in East Devon, England. The parish lies on the English Channel and is surrounded clockwise from the south by the parishes of East Budleigh, Bicton, Colaton Raleigh, Newton Poppleford and Harpford and Sidmouth.[1] In 2001 its population was 700, compared to 622 a hundred years earlier.[2]

The village[edit]

Armorial of Duke family of Otterton: Per fesse argent and azure, three chaplets counterchanged

The village is located on the east bank of the River Otter, east of the B3178 road and the village of East Budleigh. It is about a mile inland of Ladram Bay, on the Jurassic Coast. It was first settled by the Saxons and because of its favourable location and rich resources was by 1000 AD the centre of one of the major rural communities in Devon.[3]

The church, dedicated to St Michael, belonged to the monastery of Mont Saint-Michel at the time of the Domesday Book. After passing through ownership by Syon Abbey in the 15th century, the manor with the advowson was bought by Richard Duke (c.1515-1572) at the Dissolution.[2] Duke converted some of the monastic buildings into a mansion, part of which still exists to the north of the present-day church, which was rebuilt in 1869–71 by Benjamin Ferrey.[4] In 1786 the manor of Otterton, with several other manors, was sold by the heirs of the Duke family for the huge sum of £72,000 to Denys Rolle (1725-1797) of nearby Bicton, and of Stevenstone, the largest landowner in Devon. The properties acquired from the Duke family in this transaction included:[5]

Capital messuage, barton farm and demesne lands of Otterton and the manors and lordships of Otterton, Little Otterton, Budleigh Poleslow otherwise Higher Budleigh, Budleigh Syon otherwise Lower Budleigh, Collaton Rawleigh otherwise the Lower Manor, Dukes-Collaton, otherwise Collaton Abbott otherwise The Higher Manor, Dotton otherwise Docton and Hays otherwise Powershays otherwise Dukes Hayes; 4 water grist mills in Otterton and the advowsons of the churches of Otterton Budleigh, and Harpford with the free chapels of Withecombe, Fen Ottery rectory and Sheaf of Otterton and a fee farm rent of £13. 10s., payable out of the sheaf of Sidmouth, etc.

Burials in the churchyard ceased in 1986.[6]

The village, which includes cob and thatched cottages, is described at some length by Pevsner as "an instructive example of local building from the 16th century onwards".[4] It is the location of Otterton Mill, a watermill and craft centre.

The Budleigh Salterton Railway, which was open from 1897 to 1967, ran along the valley of the River Otter. The station known as East Budleigh was closer to Otterton, being just over the river from the village. The platform and station building survive as a private house.[7]

The parish[edit]

Otterton civil parish is bounded by the coast on the east and the River Otter on the west; these two bounds meet at the mouth of the river, just east of the town of Budleigh Salterton, after passing through the 57-acre (230,000 m2) Otter Estuary Nature Reserve - a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The northern parish boundary leaves the river near Colaton Raleigh and swings south to meet the coast at Peak Hill, west of Sidmouth.[8]

About ¾ of a mile west along the coast from Peak Hill is High Peak, a 157-metre high cliff. Excavations into the earthworks on top of this have shown habitation in the Iron Age, Roman period and in the 6th–8th centuries AD. Many of these earthworks have been lost to the sea by erosion.[2] The cliffs below High Peak have yielded rare fossils from the Middle Triassic age, for example Mastodonsaurus.[9]


  1. ^ "Map of Devon Parishes". Devon County Council. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Harris, Helen (2004). A Handbook of Devon Parishes. Tiverton: Halsgrove. p. 129. ISBN 1-84114-314-6. 
  3. ^ Millington, Gerald. "A History of the Otter Estuary, Ice-age to Saxon period. Budleigh Salterton, Otterton, East Budleigh.". Otter Valley Association. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  4. ^ a b Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (revision) (1989) [1952]. The Buildings of England: Devon. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 614–615. ISBN 0-14-071050-7. 
  5. ^ Devon Record Office 48/22/1/2 Conveyance dated 25 March 1786
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50472. p. 4373. 27 March 1986. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  7. ^ Catford, Nick. "East Budleigh Station". Disused Stations. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  8. ^ Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale map. Sheet 115: Exmouth & Sidmouth (2004)
  9. ^ "Educational Register of Geological Sites: Ladram Bay to Sidmouth". Devon County Council. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 

External links[edit]