The building of the Berry Head Hotel commenced in 1803. It was originally built by the Board of Ordinance as a military hospital in support of three Napoleonic war forts on Berry Head.
In 1823 being surplus to requirements of the military, it was leased to its builder Roger Hyne. It's most famous occupant was the Reverend Henry Francis Lyte the incumbent of All-Saints Church, Brixham.
Legend has it that following the successful visit of King William 3rd to celebrate the arrival in England of his predecessor William of Orange in 1686, he was so impressed with arrangements made by Reverend Lyte together with the work in the area that he gave the Berry Head and estate to him.
In his early days at Berry Head the vicar supplemented his income by educating 'the wayward sons of nobility' one of whom was later to become Lord Salisbury, three times Prime Minister in the Victorian Era.
Henry Francis Lyte was best known for his hymns. Praise my soul the King of Heaven and his most famous 'Abide with Me' which he actually wrote in the grounds of the house just prior to his death in September 1847.
The house was passed to his daughter Mrs Hogg and remained in the family until 1949 when it was turned into a Hotel.
There are many legends surrounding the Berry head linking it directly with Napoleon which can be not be substantiated.