In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Paignton like this:
PAIGNTON, a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Totnes district, Devon. The village stands on the coast, at the central part of the semi-circle of Torbay, and on the Dartmouth railway, 5 miles S S W of Torquay; dates from remote times; is now a seat of petty sessions, and a fashionable watering-place; includes numerous newvillas and recent extensions; and has a head post-office, ‡designated Paignton, North Devon, a railway station with telegraph, a good inn, a coast-guard station, a piererected in 1838, a fine bathing beach, a church, four dissenting chapels, a national school, an endowed school with £30 a year, and charities £76. ...
The church is ancient; consists of nave, aisles, and transepts, with a tower; has a rich Norman door; is later English in the windows, and in the upper part of the tower; and contains a richly ornamented stone pulpit, and a screen of elegant tabernacle work. The dissenting chapels are for Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, and Plymouth Brethren. Cattle fairs are held on the 3d Monday of every month; a fair of three days' duration begins on Whit-Monday; an export trade in cider and cabbages is carried on; and vessels of 150 tons come to the pier. The parish contains also the hamlets of Blagdon, Collaton-Kirkham, Good-rington, Polsham, Preston, and Yalberton. Acres, 5,092. Real property, £16, 730. Pop. in 1851, 2, 746; in 1861, 3,090. Houses, 613. The property is subdivided. The manor belonged anciently to the bishops of Exeter; was conveyed by Bishop Veysey to the Earl of Pembroke; went by sale in 1644, to Sir H. Cary, in 1654 to S. Kelland, Esq.; and has long been held by the family of Templers. A palace of the Bishops stood adjacent to the churchyard; was last occupied by Miles Coverdale; and has left some slight remains. The parish is famous for very large and superior cabbages. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of Marldon, in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £665.* Patron, alternately Sir S. Northcote and J. Templer, Esq. The p. curacy of Collaton is a separate benefice.The sub-district contains also two other parishes. Acres, 10, 494. Pop., 4, 266. Houses, 872.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Paignton has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Torbay. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Paignton and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Paignton, in Torbay and Devon | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th July 2015
Click here for more detailed advice on finding places within A Vision of Britain through Time, and maybe some references to other places called "Paignton".