LYME REGIS /ˌlaɪmˈriːdʒɪs/ is a coastal town in West
England , situated 25 miles (40 km) west of Dorchester and 25 miles
(40 km) east of
Exeter . The town lies in
Lyme Bay , on the English
Channel coast at the Dorset–
Devon border. It is nicknamed "The Pearl
of Dorset." The town is noted for the fossils found in the cliffs and
beaches, which are part of the
Heritage Coast —known commercially as
Jurassic Coast —a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site .
The harbour wall, known as "The Cobb", features in
Jane Austen 's
novel Persuasion , and in The French Lieutenant\'s Woman , a novel by
John Fowles , as well as the 1981 film of the same name
, which was partly filmed in Lyme Regis.
The town was home to Admiral Sir
George Somers , its one-time mayor
and parliamentarian. He founded the English colonial settlement of the
Somers Isles, better known as
Lyme Regis is twinned with St.
Bermuda . In July 2015
Lyme Regis was also 'tripled' with
Jamestown, Virginia to form the Historic Atlantic Triangle between
Lyme, St George's and Jamestown.
In the 2011 Census the town's parish and the electoral ward had a
population of 3,671.
* 1 History
* 2 Geography
* 3 Demography
* 4 Religion
* 5 Landmarks
* 6 Culture
* 6.1 Literature and films
* 7 Sport
* 8 Notable people
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 11 External links
In Saxon times, the abbots of
Sherborne Abbey had salt-boiling rights
on land adjacent to the River Lym, and the abbey once owned part of
the town. Lyme is mentioned in the
Domesday Book of 1086. In the 13th
century, it developed as one of the major British ports. A Royal
Charter was granted by King Edward I in 1284 when 'Regis' was added to
the town's name. The charter was confirmed by Queen
Elizabeth I in
John Leland visited the town in the 16th century and described it as
"a praty market town set in the rootes of an high rokky hille down to
the hard shore. There cummith a shalow broke from the hilles about a
three miles by north, and cummith fleting on great stones through a
stone bridge in the botom."
In 1644, during the
English Civil War
English Civil War , Parliamentarians withstood an
eight-week siege of the town by Royalist forces under
Prince Maurice .
The Duke of Monmouth landed at
Lyme Regis at start of the Monmouth
Rebellion in 1685.
On New Year's Day, 1915, the H.M.S. Formidable was torpedoed, the
first major U-boat loss of World War I. A local lifeboat delivered
bodies to the Pilot Boat Inn on Bridge Street. Lassie , the dog of the
Inn's owner, licked the face of Seaman Cowan, believed dead, and
seemingly aroused him back to life. The namesake of the cross-breed
became a legend of books, radio, film and television.
In 1965, the town\'s railway station was closed, in the Beeching Axe
. The station was dismantled and rebuilt at Alresford , on the Mid
Hants Watercress Railway in
Hampshire . The route to
Lyme Regis was
notable for being operated by aged Victorian locomotives. One of these
Adams Radial Tank engines is now preserved on the
Bluebell Railway in
Sussex . West Country Class steam locomotive No. 34009 was named "Lyme
Regis" after the town.
In 2005, as part of the bicentenary of
Admiral Nelson 's victory at
Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar , there was a re-enactment of the arrival of
the news aboard the
Bermuda sloop HMS Pickle . The actor playing the
part of Trafalgar messenger Lieutenant
Lapenotiere was welcomed at
Blue Lias cliffs at
Lyme Regis is a coastal town in West
Dorset , situated 25 miles west
of Dorchester and 25 miles (40 km) east of
Exeter . It lies in Lyme
Bay , on the
English Channel coast at the Dorset-
Devon border. In the
2011 census the town's parish had a population of 3,671. The town has
grown around the mouth of the River Lim (or Lym) which drops from a
plateau at around 200 metres before flowing around 5–6 km south and
southeast to the sea. Its name is of British origin and is likely
cognate with Welsh llif meaning flood or stream. Historically there
were mills along its length. Its lower reaches are followed by
sections of three recreational footpaths: the
Wessex Ridgeway ,
Liberty Trail and East
Devon Trail .
The town is noted for fossils found on its beaches and in the cliffs
which are part of the
Heritage Coast —known commercially as the
Jurassic Coast —a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site stretching for 153 kilometres
(95 mi), from
Orcombe Point near Exmouth in the west, to Old Harry
Rocks in the east. The coastal exposures provide a continuous
Cretaceous rock formations,
spanning approximately 185 million years of the Earth's history.
Localities along the
Jurassic Coast include a large range of important
Blue Lias rock is host to a multitude of remains from the early
Jurassic, a time from which good fossil records are rare. Many
remains are well preserved, including complete specimens of important
species. Many of the earliest discoveries of dinosaur and other
prehistoric reptile remains were made in the area around Lyme Regis,
notably those discovered by
Mary Anning (1799–1847). Significant
Dimorphodon , Scelidosaurus
(one of the first armoured dinosaurs) and
Dapedium . The town holds an
Mary Anning Day and
Fossil Festival. A fossil of the
world's largest moth was discovered in 1966 at Lyme Regis.
People collecting fossils in
Lyme Regis at the fossil festival
Landslip, east of
To the southwest are Poker's Pool, Seven Rock Point and Pinhay Bay
and to the northeast is
Charmouth . The coast is subject to large
landslips that expose the Jurassic-age fossils which can be found on
the beaches. "The Dowlands Landslip" occurred on 24 December 1839, 3
miles (4.8 km) west along the coast in Devon, in an area belonging to
Bindon Manor. About 45 acres (18 ha) of wheat and turnip fields were
dislodged when a great chasm more than 300 feet (91 m) across, 160
feet (49 m) deep and 0.75 miles (1.21 km) long was formed. The crops
remained intact on the top of what became known as "Goat Island" among
the newly formed gullies. On 3 February 1840 a smaller landslip
occurred nearby. The phenomenon attracted many visitors, and farmers
charged sixpence to view it. The area is now known as The Undercliff
and is of interest because of its diverse natural history.
In 2005, work began on a £16 million engineering project to
stabilise the cliffs and protect the town from coastal erosion. The
town's main beach was reconstructed and re-opened on 1 July 2006. On
the evening of 6 May 2008, a 400 metres (1,300 ft) section of land
slipped onto the beach between
Lyme Regis and Charmouth. Police
described the landslip as the "worst for 100 years". It necessitated
the diversion of the
South West Coast Path
South West Coast Path inland between Lyme Regis
Charmouth via the
Lyme Regis Golf Course. Landslides caused
devastation to the town in 2008.
In the 2011 census the town's parish had 2,431 dwellings, 1,770
households and a population of 3,671.
The population of the parish in the censuses between 1921 and 2011 is
shown in the table below.
CENSUS POPULATION OF LYME REGIS PARISH 1921—2011 (EXCEPT 1941)
Dorset County Council
The 2012 mid-year estimate for the population of the parish is 3,637.
St Michael's Church
The parish church of St Michael the Archangel, above Church Cliff,
dominates the old town. Dating from the 12th century, it was
originally a tripartite structure with an axial tower.
added around 1200 and two aisles were added in the 13th century. A new
church was built east of the tower and transepts early in the 16th
century and the old chancel and aisles removed. The old nave was
shortened in the 19th century.
Mary Anning is buried here and
commemorated in a stained-glass window provided by members of the
Geological Society of
London , an organisation that did not admit
women until 1904.
Bethany Chapel, an independent Evangelical church, celebrated its
centenary in 2014.
The Cobb, with boats grounded in the harbour at low tide
View from The Cobb
The first record of the Cobb, the town's harbour wall, is in a 1328
document describing it as having been damaged by storms. It was made
of oak piles driven into the seabed with boulders stacked between. The
boulders had been floated into place, tied between empty barrels. A
1685 account describes it as, "an immense mass of stone, of a shape of
a demi-lune, with a bar in the middle of the concave: no one stone
that lies there was ever touched with a tool or bedded in any sort of
cement, but all the pebbles of the see are piled up, and held by their
bearings only, and the surge plays in and out through the interstices
of the stone in a wonderful manner." The Cobb wall provides a
breakwater to protect the town from storms and separates Monmouth and
Cobb Gate beaches.
The Cobb was of economic importance to the town and surrounding area,
creating an artificial harbour that enabled the town to develop as a
port and a shipbuilding centre from the 13th century onwards.
Shipbuilding was significant between 1780 and 1850; nearly 100 ships
were launched, including the 12-gun Royal Navy brig HMS Snap.
Well-sited for trade with France, the port's most prosperous period
was from the 16th century until the end of the 18th century. In 1780,
the port was larger than the
Port of Liverpool
Port of Liverpool but the town's
importance as a port declined in the 19th century because it was
unable to handle the increase in ship sizes.
The Cobb has been destroyed or severely damaged by storms several
times; it was swept away in 1377 when 50 boats and 80 houses were also
destroyed. The southern arm was added in the 1690s and rebuilt in 1793
after it was destroyed in a storm the previous year. It is thought
that mortar was used in the Cobb's construction for the first time in
this rebuilding. It was reconstructed in 1820 using Portland Admiralty
Roach , a type of
Portland stone . After the
Great Storm of 1824 ,
Richard Spencer RN carried out pioneering lifeboat design
work in the Cobb harbour.
A building on the Cobb has been converted to house a marine aquarium
displaying local fish and marine life from the
Jurassic coast. Its
primary attraction is
Thicklip grey mullet , which have been trained
to accept food by hand. Interior of the mill
Town Mill, a watermill dating from 1340, has been restored to working
order and produces flour. It is powered by water from the River Lym
via a leat running along a lynch . The
Domesday Book records a mill at
Lyme in 1086, so the site could be much older. Town Mill Brewery
opened in part of the mill in March 2010.
Near the Town Mill on the site of an old chapel dedicated to St Mary
many alleged ectoplasms have been sighted in the corridors and cold
Coade stone ammonites Main article:
Lyme Regis Museum
The museum was built on the site of
Mary Anning 's birthplace and
family shop off Bridge Street. It houses a collection of local
memorabilia, historical items and exhibits explaining the local
geological and palaeontological treasures. It was formerly known as
the Philpot Museum. Set into the pavement outside the museum is an
Coade stone work, in the form of ammonites reflecting the
palaeontology for which the town is famous and commemorates Eleanor
Coade , who had an 18th-century artificial stone factory in
seaside home, Belmont House, in the town.
Fossil Museum is in the former church where Mary
Anning was baptised.
Thanksgiving Day has been held since Parliament decreed, at the end
English Civil War
English Civil War , a day of celebration and prayer in Lyme to
commemorate its victory over the long siege of the town by the
Royalist forces. The celebration includes residents dressing in period
costume to parade through the streets. The samba band Street
Heat, in the twilight parade marking the end of the 2006 'Lyme Regis
Annual events in the town include the
Lyme Regis Carnival and
Fossil Festival (in conjunction with the
London Natural History Museum ), and
Mary Anning Day. The traditional
conger cuddling event takes place during Lifeboat Week. The carnival
and regatta, organized by volunteers, takes place over a week in
Lyme Regis Gig Club regatta also takes place during
Bonfire night celebrations include a torchlight procession, bonfire
on the beach and firework display. A Christmas Tree Festival has more
than 30 trees decorated and displayed in
Lyme Regis Baptist Church. An
Easter bonnet parade takes place each year in the town on Easter
Sunday. A May Day fete has stalls and entertainment from different
Lyme Regis is the home of B Sharp, a music charity for young people.
B Sharp organises music workshops, performances, training and
signposts progression routes beyond B Sharp. It also organises an
annual Busking Festival open to all performing artists, now in May and
an open air 'Big Mix' festival in July to showcase young people's
The Marine Theatre, operated by the charity Lymearts Community Trust,
stages a variety of live events. Marine Theatre in
In 2012 graffiti artist
Banksy stenciled an origami crane on a wall
adjacent to the River Lym at the intersection of Mill and Coombe
LITERATURE AND FILMS
The Cobb featured in
Jane Austen 's novel Persuasion (1818) and in
the 1981 film The French Lieutenant\'s Woman , based on the 1969 novel
of the same name by British writer
John Fowles . The poet Tennyson is
said to have gone straight to the Cobb on his arrival, saying, "Show
me the exact spot where Louisa Musgrove fell!" The town also featured
A.S. Byatt 's 1990 novel Possession , which won the
Booker Prize ,
as well as the 2002 film adapted from it.
Lyme Regis is the setting
for much of the historical novel Remarkable Creatures by Tracy
Chevalier , of which fossil hunter
Mary Anning is a protagonist.
Lyme Regis Football Club was formed in 1885 and celebrated its 125th
anniversary in 2010. To mark the event,
Tony Cottee was made club
patron; he is a former
West Ham , Everton and
England striker. The
club, known as 'the Seasiders', is situated at the Davey Fort Ground
Charmouth Road; it has three senior teams and five junior teams.
The senior teams play in the
Exeter League and Perry Street ">
Ammonite-design streetlamps reflect the town's location on the
* List of place names with royal patronage in the
* List of
* List of places on the
List of fossil sites
List of fossil sites
* ^ A B "Parish Population Data".
Dorset County Council. 14 March
2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
Ralph Wightman (1983). Portrait of
Dorset (4 ed.). Robert Hale
Ltd. p. 163. ISBN 0 7090 0844 9 .
* ^ A B Sir Frederick Treves (1905). Highways and Byways in Dorset
(1 ed.). MacMillan and Co., Ltd. p. 268.
* ^ Fowles, John (1990).
Lyme Regis Camera (First American ed.).
Boston, Toronto, London: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 136–9. ISBN
* ^ Ekwall, E. 1981. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English
Place-names (4th edn) Oxford
* ^ Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale Explorer map 29,
Lyme Regis &
* ^ "
Dorset and East
Devon Coast". UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
2001. Retrieved 14 January 2007.
* ^ Benton MJ, Spencer PS (1995).
Fossil Reptiles of Great Britain.
Chapman & Hall. ISBN 0-412-62040-5 .
* ^ "The Undercliff", Philpot Museum website, Lyme Regis. Accessed
* ^ "Popular beach reopens for summer". BBC News. 1 July 2005.
Retrieved 5 July 2006.
* ^ "Landslip is \'worst in 100 years". BBC News. 7 May 2008.
Retrieved 7 May 2008.
* ^ "Town fears more landslides". BBC News England. 8 January 2003.
Retrieved 5 July 2006.
* ^ "Area:
Lyme Regis (Parish), Dwellings, Household Spaces and
Accommodation Type, 2011 (KS401EW)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office
for National Statistics . Retrieved 2 March 2014.
* ^ "Area:
Lyme Regis (Parish), Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key
Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics
. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
* ^ "Parishes (A-L), 1921-2001- Census Years".
Council . 17 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
* ^ "Lyme Regis".
Dorset County Council. 3 February 2014. Retrieved
3 March 2014.
* ^ Betjeman, John, ed. (1968) Collins Pocket Guide to English
Parish Churches; the South. London: Collins; p. 175
* ^ Fowles John (1991). A Short History of Lyme Regis. Dovecote
Press. pp. 34–35. ISBN 0-946159-93-9 .
Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium
* ^ Town Mill, Lyme Regis
* ^ "News & Events". www.townmillbrewery.com. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
* ^ James Rattue (1986). "Some Wells in the South and West - 1".
Retrieved 28 January 2016.
* ^ Jo Draper, "The (New) Three Cups," All Over The Town, Journal
Lyme Regis Society, June 2007
* ^ "Architectural Appraisal and Assessment of
Three Cups Hotel, Broad Street, Lyme Regis" - Forum Heritage Services
* ^ "The Royal Lion Hotel". Haunted Britain. Retrieved 1 December
Lyme Regis Museum: About Us Archived 24 January 2010 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ http://www.bsharp.uk.com
* ^ http://www.marinetheatre.com/
* ^ "Banksy\'s graffiti crane found in Lyme Regis". BBC News.
Retrieved 15 January 2016.
* ^ Hilliam, David (2010). The Little Book of Dorset. Stroud,
Glos.: The History Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7524-5704-8 .
* ^ Article by John Vaughan, Monthly Packet (1893). Quoted in Hill,
Constance (1923) . "Chapter 13: Lyme". Jane Austen: Her Homes & Her
Friends. Ellen G. Hill (illustrator) (3rd ed.). John Lane, The Bodley
Head . p. 140. Retrieved 1 September 2006.
* ^ Hilliam, David (2010). The Little Book of Dorset. Stroud,
Glos.: The History Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-7524-5704-8 .
* ^ A B Hilliam, David (2010). The Little Book of Dorset. Stroud,
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* ^ Chessell, Antony (2009). The Life and Times of Abraham Hayward,
QC. Lulu Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4092-2467-9
* ^ The Craftsman. XIX (2): 37. February 1964. Missing or empty
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