Thursday, 6 May 2010


The Vicar of Salcombe Regis near Sidmouth, Philip Avant, would have seen, from his own door, the French fleet riding in Torbay on 13th July 1690. Early in the morning several of the French galleys attacked Teignmouth. The French who landed ransacked and plundered the town. In the space of three hours they burnt and destroyed a hundred and sixteen houses, together with eleven ships and barks that were in the harbour. Philip Avant wrote these lines of sympathy with his neighbours, the people of Teignmouth, probably in the same year.

Upon Tingmouth, a Sea-Port Town in Devon;
lately burnt by the French (viz.) in the Month of July, 1690.

O Doleful July! Welcome heretofore,
When fraught with joys thou didst approach each door;

Fatal of late to Tingmouth! Now thou hast
Remov’d those Joys vouchsaf’d in Ages past.

A grateful Season, when the the joyful field
Afforded Food, plenty each house did yield,

The Seas vouchsaf’d Provisions heretofore,
But now the French have wasted all her store.

She which once flourish’d, now in ashes lies,
Not like these many days again to rise;

What was the fate of Troy in ruins laid,
When Priam’s Palace was to Greeks betrayed?

Sad without doubt, o’erwhelmed with grief and tears,
Devour’d by Flames, a doleful sight appears.

Such was the face of Tingmouth, such her fate,
When she sustain’d devouring flames of late;

Whenas she felt the Fury of the Gauls,
Sad is our Fate, when flames devour our walls.

Alas! how many destitute of Home
Wander that they under some roof do come!

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