Budleigh’s history and heritage

As you might expect from a town set along the Jurassic Coast, Budleigh Salterton is full of history and you can find fossils dating back millennia along the beach.

Raleigh Country

Raleigh Country named after the renowned explorer Sir Walter Raleigh is the name given to the stretch of land from Sidmouth to the Exe Estuary which includes Budleigh Salterton.

The heart of Raleigh Country is East Budleigh, the birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh, who was born there on the site of the current Hayes Barton farm. The Raleigh family were important members of the community, Sir Walter’s father was the church warden and the oldest memorial in the church yard is dedicated to his first wife, Joan. You’ll also find a Raleigh pew on the left side of the nave, which dates back to 1537.

It is believed that Sir Walter spent much of his youth in and around Budleigh Salterton and likely was introduced to sailing because of the town’s strong fishing and maritime industry.

Salt country

As well as being part of Raleigh Country, Budleigh Salterton gets its name from the salt that was mined and produced there. It’s something that was recorded as far back as the Domesday Book, which noted that salt panning was a hugely important part of life here, hence the name Salterton. It is believed that the practice went back far longer, as there is some evidence to suggest that the region was being mined for salt as far back as the Iron Age.

The town’s original name was Salterton or Salterne and at one time the whole parish fell under the priory of nearby Otterton.

Learn more at local museums

Learn more about Budleigh Salterton’s history and heritage by visiting the Fairlynch Museum where you’ll find a host of historical figures who have not only called the town home but also visited throughout the years, including Edward VIII when he was Prince of Wales and authors like H G Wells. In more recent years, notable residents have included the late writer Dame Hilary Mantel, who was the president of the Budleigh Literature Festival and presenter Andrew Marr.

Learn more about local fossils and geology

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