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Paignton History!

Originally the Celtic settlement of Paega's town, Paignton was referred to as 'the manor and borough of Peynton' in the 17th Century. It remained a small fishing village until the early 19th Century, with big merchant and fishing fleets preferring the more sheltered quays of Torquay and Brixham. Around the time of the construction of its new harbour in 1837, Paignton was described as a "neat and improving village and bathing place". After a seawall had been built to protect its sandy shores from erosion, the foreshore was bought from the Duchy of Cornwall in the late 19th Century for £256.00!

Paignton residents have long been known as 'pudden' eaters, referring to the pudding that was baked to mark the granting of the town's charter in the 13th Century. A simple recipe consisting of suet, flour, raisins and eggs, the Paignton Pudding has been made on several important occasions since, notably the opening of the railway line to Paignton in 1858, and more recently at the 200th anniversary of the birth of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Paignton became renowned as a seaside resort once the railway reached it in the late 1800s. It still retains that family-friendly feel that has appealed to visitors of all ages for centuries, and the colourful beach huts, very popular with tourists and residents alike, still align its promenades.

Architecturally, Paignton has some really interesting buildings tucked away. Oldway Mansion is a particularly stunning house that was built in the 1870s for Isaac Singer, of Singer sewing machine fame. Much of the house was rebuilt by Isaac's son Paris in the early 1900s, when it earned the nickname of Little Versailles due to its ornate interior. The 17 acres of beautiful grounds, originally designed by French landscape artist Duschesne, are the perfect place to relax with a picnic, or watch a game of croquet on the lawn. The mansion has starred in a number of films including the 2004 movie Churchill: The Hollywood Years starring Christian Slater. Along the seafront in Paignton, the beautiful buildings of the Palace Hotel and what is now the Inn on the Green were built around the same time as Oldway for two of Isaac Singer's other sons.

Hidden along a small street in Paignton town centre is the medieval stone building Kirkham House, which dates from the 14th Century. The house, managed by English Heritage, is laid out in a medieval style with replica furniture. It is also known as Priest's House, and was probably at one time owned by an important local official. Nowadays it is open to the public at certain times of the year. One fine example of a building in the local red sandstone is the Bishop's or Coverdale Tower, located on one of the back streets near the Palace Theatre. This was once the residence of Bishop Coverdale, the man responsible for publishing an English translation of the Bible in 1536.