ILFRACOMBE, a seaport and watering-place in the Barnstaple parliamentary division of Devonshire, England, on the Bristol Channel, 225 m. W. by S. of London by the London & Southwestern railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 8557. The picturesque old town, built on the cliffs above its harbour, consists of one street stretching for about a mile through a network of lanes. Behind it rise the terraces of a more modern town, commanding a fine view across the Channel. With its beautiful scenery and temperate climate, Ilfracombe is frequented by visitors both in summer and winter. Grand rugged cliffs line the coast; while, inland, the country is celebrated for the rich colouring of its woods and glens. Wooded heights form a semicircle round the town, which is protected from sea winds by Capstone Hill. Along the inner face of this rock has been cut the Victoria Promenade, a long walk roofed with glass and used >for concerts. The restored church of Holy Trinity dates originally from the 12th century. Sea-bathing is insecure, and is confined to a few small coves, approached by tunnels hewn through the rock. The harbour, a natural recess among the cliffs, is sheltered on the east by Hilsborough Head, where there are some alleged Celtic remains; on the west by Lantern Hill, where the ancient chapel of St Nicholas has been transformed into a lighthouse. In summer, passenger steamers run to and from Ilfracombe pier; but the shipping trade generally has declined, though herring fisheries are carried on with success. In the latter part of the 13th century Ilfracombe obtained a grant for holding a fair and market, and in the reign of Edward III. it was a place of such importance as to supply him with six ships and ninetysix men for his armament against Calais. During the Civil War, being garrisoned for the Roundheads, it was in 1644 captured by the Royalists, but in 1646 it fell into the hands of Fairfax.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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