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IN this view, from a painting by J. D. Harding, the characteristic features of the
coast of Devon are moat happily expressed; and the manner in which the subject is
treated at once displays the feeling of the artist to appreciate, and his ability to depict,
the most beautiful scenery of the English coast. The simplicity of truth is not here
outraged for the sake of pictorial effect, but the whole composition is at the same time
appropriate, natural, and pleasing.

Sidmouth is situated on the southern coast of Devonshire, about 15 miles south-
east of Exeter, and 158 south-west of London. It derives its name from the little stream
called the Sid, which there discharges itself into the sea. The town is situated at the
end of a beautiful vale, and is sheltered on the east, west, and north by ranges of
hills, which are cultivated to their very summits. It occupies the margin of a small bay,
bounded on the east by Salcombe Hill, and on the west by Peak Hill, each more than
600 feet above the level of the sea at low water. The undulating and richly-cultivated
vale through which the Sid meanders is screened towards the north by the Gittisham
and Honiton Hills. On the south it commands an extensive view of the sea. It has a
bold and open shore, and many of its newest houses are built near the beach, which is
protected from the encroachments of the sea by a natural rampart of shingly pebbles,
that rises in four or five successive stages from near low-water mark, and terminates
in a broad and commodious promenade about one- third of a mile in length. Sidmouth
has two suburbs, respectively called the Western Town and the Marsh. It has a weekly
market on Saturday, and two annual fairs — the one on Easter Tuesday, the other
on the Wednesday after September 1. The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas. Its
revenues were granted, in 1205, by Bishop Marshall, to the monastery of St. Michael,
in Normandy, to which the priory of Otterton was a cell, but afterwards reduced, with
those of the other alien priories. The beauty of its situation, the mildness and salubrity
of the air, and the conveniences afforded for sea-bathing, have caused Sidmouth to
be much frequented within the last forty years as a watering-place ; and there are now
many private residences or the nobility and gentry erected in its immediate vicinity, the
proprietors of which, attracted by the beauty of the scenery, and the mild, sheltered
character of the situation, reside there during the greater part of the year ; thus giving a
superiority to the society, which the visitor cannot always find in sea-bathing towns of a
much larger population.

Sidmouth is a place of great antiquity; and in 1348 it supplied three ships and
sixty-two mariners to the great fleet of Edward III. It has been said that there was
formerly a good harbour at Sidmouth, but that it became so choked up with sand that no
ships could enter. This account, however, is considered by the Rev. Edmund Butcher
to be inaccurate. He says that no sand has destroyed its harbour; and he is of opinion
that there never was one of any magnitude at the place. He, however, thinks that there
might have been a kind of natural basin, in which the small vessels of former times
might have rode, or even discharged their cargoes, with less risk than is at present
incurred by vessels which unload on the beach.

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