Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charmouth, Dorset, England - September 16, 2010

Home to about 1,700 souls, Charmouth, at the mouth of the River Char is in the county of Dorset.  It faces onto Lyme Bay, part of the English Channel and dates back to the Iron Age and a Celtic tribe named the Durotriges. The name Charmouth probably originated in Saxon times from 'Cerne' meaning stony river.
The cliffs above the beach are a noted source of Jurassic fossils making the area part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, a 95 mile stretch of the south coast extending from Purbeck island in the east to the Exeter region in the west.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Charmouth was a noted resort numbering among its visitors the novelist Jane Austen. The buildings running along Charmouth's street vary in age, some of the smaller cottages are 17th and 18th century while further up the hill the Regency era predominates. 
Although the Queens Armes Hotel, a grade II listed building, looks like a Georgian house it is actually an early 16th century house that was re-faced in the 18th century. It once belonged to Forde Abbey and Catherine of Aragon is believed to have lived there for a while. In the 17th century, after the house became an inn, it gave shelter to the fugitive King Charles II in September 1651, when, in disguise, he came looking for a boat to take him to France following his defeat at the Battle of Worcester. 
Almost exclusively a residential community the only sign of commercial activity was a fossil shop on the beach which also sold some snack goods. More snapshots here.

No comments: