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This timeline aims to list a selection of key events that have shaped Devon, not only in the political field but in social, cultural and enviromnental areas. Please let the Library service have any corrections and suggestions for additional events to include. In future versions it is hoped to be able to add appropriate links to source materials where possible.

See also the Devon book of days, a calendar of events for each day of the year.

400,000 bc. Acheulean hand axes deposited in Kent's Cavern
250,000 bc. Hand axes deposited in Axe Valley
60,000 bc. Middle Palaeolithic deposits in Kent's Cavern
38-27,000 bc. Upper Plaeolithic deposits in Kent's Cavern
10,000 bce. End of Devensian glaciation - last ice age
9,500-8,500 bc. Early Mesolithic deposits in Devon
8,500-5,500 bc. Later Mesolithic deposits in Devon
5,500-3,500 bc. Early Neolithic cultures in Devon
3,500-2,500 bc. Late Neolithic cultures in Devon
2,500-1,600 bc. Early Bronze Age cultures in Devon
1,600-1,200 bc. Middle Bronze Age cultures in Devon
1,200-600 bc Late Bronze Age cultures in Devon
600 bc. Iron Age cultures arrive in Devon
45. Roman conquest of Exeter area (approximate date)
75. Roman legions leave Exeter, civil settlement of Isca Dumnoniorum established (approximate date)
150. Exeter fortified with rampart (approximate date)
410. Roman legions withdraw from Britain
450. Inscribed memorial stones erected by Dumnonians from about 450 to 650
550. Constantine ruling in Dumnonia
675. Exeter area becomes part of kingdom of Wessex (approximate date)
680. St Boniface born in Crediton (approximate date)
682. Centwine of Wessex drives Britons in flight as far as the sea
722. Saxons defeated at the battle of Hehil, probably near Jacobstowe
739. Minster founded at Crediton
780. Saxons reach the Tamar (approximate date)
851. Devonshire first recorded as Defnascir in Anglo Saxon Chronicle when Danes defeated at Wicganbeorg
876. Danes occupy Exeter
893. Danes attack Exeter and north Devon
974. Benedictine abbey of Tavistock founded
1003. Exeter sacked by the Danes
1030. Benedictine abbey of Buckfast founded (approximate date)
1050. Bishop's see of Crediton transferred to Exeter
1068. Exeter besieged by the Normans, Rougemont Castle built
1086. Exon Domesday compiled. About 20,000 persons out of a total Devon popultion of some 70,000 accounted for
1136. Exeter besieged by King Stephen
1147. Second crusade left Dartmouth
1156. Earliest recorded reference to tin mining in Devon
1190. Third crusade left Dartmouth
1196. Torre Abbey founded
1205. First mayor of Exeter recorded - second only to Winchester in provincial cities
1211. Plymouth first mentioned in records
1303. First recorded mayor of Barnstaple
1346. Devon ports provide 88 ships for Crecy and Calais campaign
1348. Black Death reaches Devon, about one third of population died
1403. Plymouth burned by Breton raiders
1460. Stone bridge built at Bideford (approximate date)
1496. Devon rebellion against taxation
1497. Perkin Warbeck besieges Exeter
1525. Boethius Consolation of philosophy printed at Tavistock, the first recorded Devon printing
1536. Dissolution of the monasteries begins in Devon with priories in Barnstaple, Cornworthy, Exeter, Frithelstock and Pilton
1549 Jun 9. The introduction of the new prayer book opposed in Sampford Courtenay starting the Prayerbook Rebellion
1564. Exeter ship canal begun, the first canal with locks in England
1575. The first county map of Devon produced by Christopher Saxton
1580 Sep 26. The Golden Hinde sailed into Plymouth after Sir Francis Drake's three year voyage round the world.
1587. The first engraved plan of Exeter produced by Remigius Hogenberg after John Hooker
1588 Jul 20. The Spanish Armada was sighted off Plymouth.
1599. Tiverton clother Peter Blundell founds Blundell's School
1620 Sep 6. The Mayflower left for New England from Plymouth, where the Pilgrims had been
1628. Sir Ferdinando Gorges establishes colony of New Plymouth
1629. The poet Robert Herrick presnted to the living of Dean Prior
1643 Sep 5. Articles of surrender were signed and the Royalists took control of Exeter after a siege
1645. Exeter besieged by Parliamentarians
1646 Jan. John Fairfax captures Dartmouth
1682 Aug 14. Three Bideford women tried for witchcraft at Exeter were convicted and sentenced to death
1685. Devonshire Regiment raised
1685 Sep 14. Monmouth rebels tried at Exeter
1688 Nov 11. Prince William of Orange entered Exeter with swords drawn, colours flying and drums beating
1688 Nov 5. Prince William of Orange lands at Brixham
1690. French ships bombard Teignmouth
1698. Samuel Darker sets up first permanent printing press in Exeter
1698. Thomas Newcomen of Dartmouth invents atmospheric steam pumping engine
1723. The painter Sir Joshua Reynolds born in Plympton
1731. Great fire in Tiverton
1741 Aug 27. Foundation stone of Devon and Exeter Hospital laid
1743 Aug 14. Fire destroys 460 houses in Crediton
1753. The first Devon turnpike trusts set up, for Exeter, Honiton and Axminster
1755. Carpet manufacture begun in Axminster by Thomas Whitty
1759. John Smeaton completes the third lighthouse on Eddystone Rock
1761. A nonconformist academy set up in Exeter
1769. William Cookworthy set up the first British porcelain factory in Plymouth
1782 Jul 29. Rebecca Downing burned at Exeter for poisoning her master
1792. Fashionable houses built on the beacon in Exmouth
1793 Jan 11. The radical Tom Paine burned in effigy in Exeter
1801. The population of Devon recorded as 340,308 in the first national census
1803. Landscaping of the Lawn at Dawlish begins
1806. Dartmoor Prison constructed at Princetown for French prisoners of war
1812. Plymouth bnreakwater begun by Rennie
1814. The Devon prophetess Joanna Southcott claims to be pregnant with Shiloh, the second Messiah
1815. Napoleon moored off Plymouth before tranportation to Saint Helena
1816. John Heathcoat set up lace manufactory in Tiverton
1820. Heytor Granite Railway opened
1823 Jul 19. The first cholera case reported in Exeter in an epidemic in which 440 were to die
1824 Jan 1. Plymouth Dock renamed Devonport
1839 Dec 25. 8,000,000 tons of soil slipped into the sea near Axmouth
1844 May 1. The first steam locomotive reaches Exeter
1848. The railway reaches Torquay
1849 Apr 2. The South Devon Railway completed to Plymouth
1855. Charles Kingsley's novel Westward Ho! Published
1855 Oct 20. The North Devon Railway opened from Bideford to Barnstaple
1859. Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge carries the railway over the Tamar to Cornwall
1860 Jan 3. First issue of Western Morning News, Devon's first daily newspaper
1862. Devonshire Association holds its first meeting
1863. 41,513 tons of copper ore produced in Devon, the peak year of production
1869 May 6. Public Libraries Act adopted at a public meeting in Exeter
1872. Devon County Agricultural Association formed
1884. John Babbacombe Lee unsuccessfully hanged three times for the murder of Mrs Keyes
1887 Sep 5. Theatre Royal, Exeter, destroyed by fire with loss of 160 lives
1889 Jan 24. Meeting of the provisional Devon County Council
1892 May 20. The final broad gauge railways in Devon converted to standard gauge over this weekend
1892 Aug 15. Torquay granted royal charter for incorporation as a municipal borough
1904. Motor cars first registered in Exeter
1905. The Royal Naval College built at Dartmouth
1914. The three towns amalgamated into Plymouth
1922. University College of the South West of England established
1925. The Elmhirsts acquire the Dartington Estate
1941 Mar 20. The Plymouth blitz at its worst. 336 civilians killed on 20 and 21 March
1942 May 4. 10,000 incendiary bombs dropped on Exeter
1943. Evacuation of the South Hams for invasion exercises
1944 Jun 6. American and British troops leave Devon ports for D-Day landings on Normady
1951 Oct 30. Dartmoor designated a national park
1952 Aug 16. River Lyn floods and drowns 31 people in Lynmouth
1955. University of Exeter receives royal charter
1961. Tamar Bridge opened to traffic
1974. Local government reorganisation abolishes county boroughs in Devon
1977. M5 motorway reaches Exeter
1987. North Devon link road opened
1992. University of Plymouth receives charter
1996. The first cybercafe in the south west opens in Exeter
1998. Local government reorganisation. Plymouth and Torbay become unitary authorities
2001. Foot and mouth epidemic in Devon


Creator: Devon Library and Information Services
Title: Devon timeline
Imprint: : Devon Library Services
Date: 2003
Format: Web page : HTML
Series: Devon timeline ; 0001
Ref. no.: WEB TIMELINE
Coverage: Devon . History . Timelines

Last Updated: 16/11/2006



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