“Dorothy’s Diamonds” is the name given to two diamond-shaped stones set into the Sea Wall about 100m before you reach Sprey Point on the walk from Teignmouth to Smugglers Cove.
There are two explanations for the stones. The first is the boring one – that they were placed in the wall deliberately by the original engineers to act as a fixed point for taking measurements of the seawall and railway as it progressed.
The second is the more ‘romantic’ one – The Weird and Wonderful Tale of Dorothy’s Diamonds. The tale may be true or may be apocryphal – perhaps you can tell me.
This is the story of Dorothy’s Diamonds as told to me by an old archaeological acquaintance, Lawrence Kyle. Lawrence would spend most of the year in the Middle East searching for the real Mount Sinai and the origin of the Ark of the Covenant and then return to Teignmouth usually for the summer months to research and write up his work. He was reputedly warned off by Mossad because he was allegedly close to finding the site ….. but not where it should have been, which would have thrown the veracity of the Old Testament into considerebale doubt. Now searching for the lost Ark is of course an Indiana Jones pursuit so you may well question the credibility of any story coming from someone indulging in such pastimes, but here goes anyway.
The first part of the story is certainly verifiable. If you walk to Teignmouth along the sea wall then about 100 metres beyond Sprey Point you will see set into wall two diamond-shaped stones about half a metre apart. These stones were apparently donated during the construction of the wall by a lady called Dorothy who lived in the furthermost house along Holcombe Drive overlooking shag rock (maybe the same one visited by the parson and his clerk on that fateful stormy night). In the grounds of that house was a well, purportedly with mystical properties that led to it being used as a wishing well. For reasons unknown the well was demolished and the two diamond-shaped keystones were donated for the sea-wall construction. The story goes that if you now stand with one foot on each stone and make a wish which you truly, truly believe in then that wish will come true.
Many a time have my children stood across the stones but never have their wishes come true – but did they truly, truly believe?!!
As for Brunel, did he know Dorothy? Who knows?