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Charmouth, Dorset

Historical Description

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.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDorsetshire 
DioceseBristol1542 - 1836
DioceseSalisbury1836 -
Ecclesiastical parishCharmouth St. Matthew 
HundredWhitchurch Canonicorum 
Poor Law unionBridport1896 -
Registration districtBridport 
Registration sub-districtWhitchurch Canonicorum 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

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 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.

Civil Registration

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:

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:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the Dorset County Chronicle and the Sherborne Mercury online.

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Dorset, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.

DistrictWest Dorset
RegionSouth West
Postal districtDT6
Post TownBridport