Exmouth originated as mediaeval fishing village and ferry station with settlement concentrated in the inland villages of Withycombe Raleigh and Littleham. This is why the oldest existing buildings are not in the centre of modern Exmouth but are set back from the coast.
Two of the oldest buildings that can currently be seen in Exmouth are almost certainly Littleham Parish Church and St John in the Wilderness.
Littleham Parish Church of St Margaret and St Andrew has a chancel from no later than 1250 and there may have been a church in Littleham as early as 1146.
The present church of St John in the Wilderness is mid-14th to mid-15th Century, though this is possibly the third building on this site.
Some of the other oldest existing buildings in Exmouth include:
- The first six houses on the Beacon (1792)
- A La Ronde (1798)
- Point-in-view (1811)
- The Temple at the Imperial Hotel (1824)