St MARY CHURCH, BABBACOMBE & WATCOMBE
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The ancient Parish of St Mary Church, before it was incorporated into Torquay in 1900, encompassed a huge area which included Babbacombe, Combe Pafford, Watcombe, Edginswell, Barton and Shiphay Collaton,
Babbacombe and St.Marychurch are still very much village-like within the town and still retain much of their own character, both still have individual, privately owned small shops.
The Babbacombe area was at one time the centre of quarrying for Torquay and Petitor marbles, and its associated marble works where the marble was cut, worked, carved and polished before being used either in local buildings or sent further afield for use., including St. Barnabas' Chapel on Norfolk Island, nr New Zealand.(apparently the first bishop of Melanesia, was John Coleridge Patteson who was from Torquay.)
At nearby Combe Pafford the Watcombe Potteries were founded in the late 19th century and although no longer in existence their products, along with the other various Torquay Potteries, are still avidly collected today and some of the earlier and even later rarer pieces are fetching large sums of money. There is a Collectors Club called The Torquay Pottery Collectors Society and it is based at Torre Abbey
Babbacombe boasts a raised promenade , it is the highest promenade in England, and gardens along the cliff top, it has two beaches, Oddicombe -reached by a cliff railway and Babbacombe beach with its cottages, public house and hotels nestling in the cliffs. The Beach at Babbacombe is still remembered for a tragic murder on Nov 14th 1884 of Emma Keyse, which took place in a house on the beach and the man accused, John Lee, who has been immortalised as "the man they could not hang".
It is the two churches, see below, that give St Marychurch its destinctive sky line with the square tower of the Parish Church and the spire of The Catholic church virtually side by side.
The Anglican Parish church of St Mary, which was, before its destruction by German bombers on 30th May 1943, supposed to have been one of the oldest churches in Devon . Registers exist from 1510. The Church was rebuilt after WW2 using the original foundations
The Roman Catholic Church of St Marychurch, dedicated to Our Lady Help of Christians and St. Denis is located just behind the Parish Church in Priory Road. This church was consecrated in 1869
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John Lee & Babbacombe Beach
Directory entries for St Mary Church