The Manor House, in spite of its name had nothing to do with the manor. Around 1802, the Dean and Chapter sold the Manor of Dawlish by to John Inglett Fortescue for the very low price of £9,755 as a sitting tenant. Fortescue had financial problems and sold the land to John Ede Manning in 1806 for £68,000. Manning built the house around 1808 and put it up for sale in 1810 as a modern Mansion House with 3 acres of lawn and pleasure ground and meadows. The house included large Drawing and Dining Rooms, seven bedrooms, servants’ quarters and two water closets, which at the time were a great innovation. Outside were a double coach house and four stables. It stood on the very edge of the old town

In 1811, the house description also included a Billiard Room, Wine Cellar and Ladies’ Morning Room. All rooms had stone or marble chimney pieces.
By 1815, Thomas Lloyd Baker of Gloucestershire was living in what was then called the Manor House.

In 1819, the Long family from Warwickshire took up residence until Miss Rose Ann Long died in 1871 age 78. The sales particulars of 1872 describe the house as “an old fashioned family residence with a circular carriageway sweep approach” with “pleasure grounds of unusual beauty, adorned with handsome timber and choice shrubs of mature growth, and including well formed lawns, numerous flower beds, a splendid rockery, extensive shady walks, two park-like enclosures of meadow intersected by a small stream with cascades…….Also, nine shops and cottages adjacent to the above.” The Conservatory was also built by this time.

By 1881, the Jackson family were owners. George William Collins Jackson, ex-Major of the 7th Hussars, was born in Madras and his wife, Catherine Price was heiress to the owners of the Holcroft Ironworks in Cardiff. Their son Harry Courtenay of 3rd King’s Own Hussars died at sea in 1885. The second son, George Wilfred was widowed twice and died in 1901.

Five of the eight daughters were living at the Manor House in 1891: Katherine, 34; Georgina, 32; Emily, 28; and twins Gertrude and Maude, 26. Their father had built a large ballroom onto the east side of the house supposedly for the entertainment of his daughters. By 1901 the two spinster sisters, Katherine and Georgina, were living at the Manor house with their orphaned nephew and niece, Wilfred and Maude, children of George Wilfred. Later their widowed sister, Maude also moved in with her daughter, Catherine. Miss Katy took charge of the house and menu, while Miss Georgina looked after the gardens. There were many pet dogs, including champion Clumber Spaniels and a donkey to keep the grass short.

During WW1, Maude and Katherine joined the Red Cross, while Georgina, known as Poppy, became a volunteer ambulance driver. Nephew, Wilfred was a Lieutenant in the East Kent Buffs and was killed in Belgium in April 1915.
Katherine died in 1929 and Georgina sold the house to pay off the death duties, eventually moving to Surrey with Poppy.

From about 1937 until 1946, the house was owned by Viscount Alfred Charles Harmsworth, who formed Amalgamated press in 1887 and started the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror newspapers and “changed the course of British Journalism”

Then it was bought by Dawlish Urban District Council with money raised locally and has been used as Council Offices and community centre ever since.