[Illustration: AXMOUTH FROM THE RAILWAY.]
A road by the east bank of the Axe leads in a mile to Seaton, which is at the actual Axe mouth. This is a town almost without a history, although it still makes the not-proven assertion that it is the site of Moridunum. Some years ago the townsmen, with the idea that the label is the principal thing, stuck the word along the Esplanade wall in letters of black flint. Although the claim is not an impossible one, the probabilities point to the junction of the two great roads, the Fosse Way and the Icknield Way, near Honiton, as being the actual site of the Roman station. The remains of a villa of this period, together with various relics, pottery and coins, were found sometime ago at a place called Hannaditches just outside the town, so that the ubiquitous Latins were at any rate here.
Seaton is quite a different town to Lyme; it has practically no ancient buildings and the few old cob cottages that made up the original village have entirely disappeared. A “restoration” of the church in 1866 destroyed most of the old features, including a beautiful screen. The main fabric belongs to the Decorated period with some Perpendicular additions and very scanty remains of the original Early English building. The hagioscope in the chancel appears as a window in the outer wall. The Perpendicular tower replaces an older erection on the south side, of which the base alone remains. A flat gravestone in the churchyard has the following curious inscription:—
Starre on Hie
Where should a Starre be
But on Hie?
He now doth lie
Sleepinge in Dust
Yet shall he rise
More glorious than
The Starres in skies
The main streets of the town are pleasant enough, though most of the houses are small and of the usual lodging-house type. Seaton depends for its deserved popularity upon its open position, in which it differs from most Devon and Dorset resorts; its bracing air, due to the wide expanse of the Axe valley, and above all to the beautiful surrounding country. Treasure hunts along the beach for garnets and beryls are among the excitements of a fortnight in Seaton.