Charmouth, a village and a parish in Dorsetshire. The village stands on the coast, at the mouth of the river Char, under Charmouth Hill, adjacent to the line of a Roman road, 2 miles NE by E of Lyme-Regis, 5½ from Axminster station on the S.W.R., and 6 W of Bridport station on the G.W.R. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.) It is becoming a favourite watering-place on account of the purity of the sea and drinking water, the mildness of the climate, the beauty of its scenery, and its wild flowers. It occupies the site of the Cauca Arixa of the Romans, is itself an ancient place, and consists now of one long street or edificed road, with a sprinkling of villas on a declivity. It was the scene of two battles, in 830 and 840, between the Saxons and the Danes, and the scene of a narrow escape of Charles II. from capture, on the eve of his embarkation for France after the battle of Worcester. It is a coastguard station, was once a market-town, and contains an old cottage, originally part of an inn, in which Charles II. spent the night of his peril. Acreage of parish, 445; population, 535. Charmouth Hill is about 1000 feet high, and was called by Hutchins the Plynlimmon of Dorset. The ground rises from the sea in cliffs and dark slopes, and presents features of great interest to geologists. A part of the cliffs, rich in pyrites, ignited in 1531, and another part underwent a great landslip, with a shock like an earthquake, in 1839. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Salisbury; net value, £81 with residence. The church was rebuilt about 1836, and contains some monuments from the old church, which was re-edificed and beautified by Anthony Ellisdon in 1732. There is a Congregational chapel.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Charmouth St. Matthew|
|Poor Law union||Bridport (1896-)|
|Registration sub-district||Whitchurch Canonicorum|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register of baptisms, marriages and burials begins in 1653. The original register books are now deposited with the Dorset Archives Service, but have been digitised by Ancestry.co.uk and made available on their site (subscription required).
The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Charmouth, 1654-1812 is online.
Church of England
St. Andrew (parish church)
The parish church of St. Andrew, erected on the ancient site in 1836, is a building of flint and stone consisting of clerestoried nave of five bays with an eastern recess, aisles, north porch and a western tower containing a clock and 3 bells: the east window and six others are stained, and include several memorials to the Breton family: there are some interesting mural monuments, removed from the old church: the fine marble font was given by the Misses Stuart in 1886: the pulpit of Caen stone with Irish marble shafts was presented in 1885 in memory of Capt. Bullen R.N. and his wife: the church will seat nearly 300 persons.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Charmouth was in Axminster Registration District from 1837 to 1896 and Bridport Registration District from 1896 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Charmouth from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Charmouth (St. Matthew))
- Kelly's Directory of Dorset, 1889
- Hunt & Co.'s Directory of Dorsetshire, Hampshire, & Wiltshire 1851
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Dorset is available to browse.
Online maps of Charmouth are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the Dorset County Chronicle and the Sherborne Mercury online.
The Visitation of Dorset, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.