Brixham stands on the shores of a fine natural harbour, which is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the UK, and is sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly winds by Berry Head.
Brixham’s history goes back to remote ages, long before its mention in the Domesday Survey. It is particularly associated, however, with the landing of William of Orange in 1688, later to become King William III and also the anchoring in Torbay, in 1815, of HMS Bellerophon, with Napoleon on board, prior to his exile on St Helena.
Berry Head House, Brixham, which is now a fine modern hotel; was completed in 1809 for use as a hospital if Napoleon invaded. In 1834, the Revd Henry Francis Lyte made it his home, laying out its 41 acre grounds in a series of rock walks, much of which remains to this day. It was a combination of the peace of this beautiful house, its grounds and superb views across Torbay that inspired this famous poet and hymn-writer, in 1847, the year of his death, to write that loveliest of all hymns “Abide With Me”.