The first record of Teignmouth (meaning mouth of the stream) was in 1044.
There were originally two villages, East and West Teignmouth, separated by a stream called the Tame.
Teignmouth as a whole was a significant port by the early 14th century, second in Devon only to Dartmouth. It was significant enough to have been attacked by the French in 1340 and to have sent seven ships and 120 men to the expedition against Calais in 1347.
During the 17th century, Teignmouth ships suffered from raids from Dunkirkers, which operated as privateers from Flemish ports. It is possible that smuggling was the town's most significant trade at this time, though cod fishing in Newfoundland was also of great importance.
In July 1690, after the French admiral Anne Hilarion de Tourville defeated an Anglo-Dutch fleet at the Battle of Beachy Head, the French fleet was anchored in Torbay and some of the galley fleet travelled the short distance up the coast and attacked Teignmouth. This was the last invasion of England (though not of Britain). French Street with its museum is named in memory of the occasion.
In the late 18th century, privateering was popular in Teignmouth, as it was in other Westcountry ports.
A tea house was built on the Den in 1787 amongst the local fishermen's drying nets. The "Amazons of Shaldon"—muscular women who pulled fishing nets and were "naked to the knee"—were an early tourist attraction for male tourists.
The Newfoundland fisheries continued to provide the main employment into the early 19th century and, fortuitously for the town, as those fisheries declined the prospect of tourism arose. By 1803 Teignmouth was called a "fashionable watering place", and the resort continued to develop during the 19th century. Its two churches were rebuilt soon after 1815 and in the 1820s the first bridge across the estuary to Shaldon was built; George Templer's New Quay opened at the port; and the esplanade, Den Crescent and the central Assembly Rooms (later the cinema) were laid out. The railway arrived in 1846 and the pier was built 1865-7.
Until 1852 Teignmouth was legally part of the Port of Exeter.
The First World War had a disruptive effect on Teignmouth, as elsewhere: over 175 men from the town lost their lives and many businesses did not survive.
By the 1930s the town was again thriving, and with the Haldon Aerodrome and School of Flying nearby, Teignmouth was advertised as the only south coast resort offering complete aviation facilities.
During the Second World War Teignmouth suffered badly from "tip and run" air raids. It was bombed 21 times between July 1940 and February 1944 – in these raids 79 people were killed and 151 wounded; 228 houses were destroyed and over 2,000 damaged.
Teignmouth still receives considerable numbers of holiday makers. It is twinned with the French town Perros-Guirec.
Since 1999 the town has hosted a summer folk festival.
Above: The New Quay, 1827
Above: 19th Century Teignmouth
30 Northumberland Place, Teignmouth