The Old Vicarage, by Neil and Jean Baxter
Anyone could write a considerable pamphlet about their own house and some of it would be of interest to neighbours and fellow Kingswearians
Our house was built in 1885/6 as a vicarage, with Edward Appleton as architect, and the builders Messrs W B & H B Crocker of Torquay, costing with extras £785. It was owned by the church and occupied by the vicars of Kingswear until 1984. After being empty for a year, we bought it at an auction in The Royal Dart Hotel.
We have deeds of sale, hand-written, several on enormous sheets of vellum, from 1828 onwards for gardens, sometimes called Lavice's gardens on Church Hill and marked 70, 71,and 72, on the 'apportionment of tithes' records and maps (see left). There are ongoing records of owners (see below); e.g. in 1841 Mr Wm Wills was landowner of plot 70, cultivated by Wm Norcombe as a kitchen garden of 20 perches; plots 71 and 72, of 21 and 17 perches, were owned and cultivated by James Vosper, 71 as a kitchen garden, and 72 as a potato garden. By 1881 the three gardens had been purchased and combined to form the plot for the vicarage.
The first vicar to live in the new Vicarage was the Rev Frederick Walker and this is recorded in one of the 22 directories of Kingswear published between 1850 and 1939. These directories, published every few years, give a brief history of the village and list all the 'gentry' and the 'traders' and where they live (see right in 1856 … that is 150 years ago!). There are also records elsewhere of the number, sex and ages of all occupants of many of the houses. The succession of later incumbents is listed in the church up to the Rev Gould who was the last vicar to live in the Vicarage.
This photograph from the Historians' archives taken in 1886 shows the Vicarage half-built. The scaffolding is there and the building is up to first floor level. We have lived in the Vicarage, now The Old Vicarage, since 1986, and have tried to maintain but not to spoil the original house while updating it sufficiently for our needs.
This is the barest outline of The Old Vicarage. Kingswear Historians are accumulating in their archives all this type of information: it is available as documents such as the apportionment tithe maps, directories, maps and photographs, and in the Dartmouth Chronicles. All the information here is available through the Kingswear Historians and their archives.
If you are interested in the history of your house or terrace or street then the information is probably here in Kingswear. We will give you encouragement and help you in your research.