Heritage Matters and the “Ron and Norah Driver Youth Heritage Prize”

Prizes for Heritage Matters, the arts competition organised by the Society and sponsored by it, Lyme Regis Museum and the Town Mill, were presented on Saturday the 19th September at the Jubilee Pavilion. Scores of entries were received from pupils at Woodroffe School, St Michael’s Primary School and Mrs. Ethelston’s School and we believe that the competition really succeeded in raising the profile of the town’s heritage amongst its young people.

The Jubilee Pavilion will have an exhibition of the three first prize winners (one from each school) and those entries which were “Highly Commended” for the remainder of ArtsFest. All the other entries are on show at The Hub in Church Street.

The best overall entry was awarded the Ron and Norah Driver Youth Heritage Prize by the Society. This went to Polly Howarth Yates of Woodroffe School (shown left with her mixed media composition). Polly’s concept was that a town’s heritage is  shown in what is thrown away. Her picture shows the huge Black Ven landslip of 2008 which brought down some of the contents of the old rubbish dump. Polly used small items from the dump mixed with pictures from the town’s history (e.g. Mary Anning, John Fowles, Thomas Coram) to form the landslip in her picture which was created on an old woodedn panel on which she had transcribed the history of the dump. Great concept and wonderful execution. It is hoped that, following its display during ArtsFest, Polly’s work will be on display for a while in the Museum.

Another great concept came from Lila and Evelyn Churchill of Mrs Ehelston’s School who won the first prize there. Their Belmont House was a painted box (right) and the inside of the box was decorated with extract of information about John Fowles life and works together with information written in their own hands about their great-great grandfather who was John Fowles’ gardener in the later years of his life.

The first prize winner for St Michael’s School was Lucy Waplington with a painting of the Cobb (left).



Belmont Public Open Days

The restoration of Belmont by the Landmark Trust is nearly complete and, in line with their promise when they applied for Planning Permission/Listed Building Consent, the Trust will be opening the house to the public. The Society has been involved in discussions with the Landmark Trust on the restoration of Belmont for several years and has fully supported what they plan to put in place. Now is an ideal opportunity to judge if we were right.
The restored frontage is above and details of the opening times are below.
Belmont Public Open Days: Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September 2015 – 10am to 4pm
No booking required.

Heritage Matters Competition

For more information click here to go to our Heritage Matters page.

Another chance to see …..

On Friday 27th March, Keith Shaw will present his illustrated talk, “Monique Bellingham – Lyme’s Canadienne” to the Charmouth History Society.

If you missed this talk last year then come along to The Elms on The Street, Charmouth at 7pm to hear the fascinating story of this French Canadian who came to Lyme in the 1820s with her four beautiful Irish daughters and lived here until her death in 1856.

This time, the talk will include more about Monique’s daughter Henrietta (above) and her children who lived in Charmouth for some years.

Lyme through the year – a photographer’s view

On Tuesday 24th February, well respected local photographer Peter Wiles will give a presentation of his photographs depicting Lyme during the different seasons and the varying weather we all know so well. The presentation will, as usual, be at Woodmead Hall and start at 2.30pm.

Entry costs £1.50 including refreshments and everyone is welcome.

Attendees will also be able to purchase some of Peter’s cards and his 2015 calendar at reduced price. The Society’s new booklet, Historic Houses of Lyme Regis Part 3 will also be available for purchase at member’s prices.

Coffee Morning at the Alexandra Hotel

Anyone who has an interest in the natural and architectural heritage of Lyme Regis may well be interested in coming to the Society’s annual Coffee Morning at the Alexandra Hotel on Friday 30th January.  The event starts at 10.30 am and is your chance to meet the Society’s committee, to see our publications and to talk to other members.

Everyone is welcome and admission is by donation with free coffee and biscuits or you can buy a home-made should you wish.

What next for Lyme’s eroding coast

We know that the Jurassic Coast is constantly eroding.  It can change overnight as the two pictures below of Black Ven taken in March and May 2008 show. What is the future?





On Tuesday 30th September,Richard Edmonds, Earth Science Manager for the Jurassic Coast Team will give an illustrated talk about recent changes to coast and cliffs around Lyme Regis and consider what the future may bring.

“Lyme’s Eroding Coast” will start at 2.30pm in Woodmead Halls and is organised by The Lyme Regis Society in co-operation with Lyme Regis Museum and the Heritage Coast U3A. Entry is free for members of all these organisations and £3 for visitors.


The new sea wall is open

After many many months of hard work from the contractors, the new sea-wall to the east of the town is open extending the promenade for a few hundred metres. They have done an excellent job and, as well as protecting many homes and the Charmouth Road from potential land slippage, the new wall will be a huge asset for the town in allowing easier access to the fossil hunting areas of the beach and, hopefully, reducing the number of stranded visitors that need to be rescued by the lifeboat or coastguards. When the promised steps to Charmouth Road car-park are completed the benefits will increase further by giving a safer access to the town.

Well done to all involved!

Below is a view back along the wall towards Lyme and a picture of an ammonite found by the Museum’s geologist, Paddy Howe, in the site excavations. How appropriate that it is a “Bucklandi” named for one of the area’s famous geologists of old.


One last picture. Has anyone any idea what this large concrete block at the end of the walk-way is for?

Unveiling the D-Day plaque

On 7th June the Mayor, Sally Holman, unveiled a new plaque at Cobb Gate which commemorates the men of the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment of the uS Army who were billeted in Lyme prior to taking part in the D-Day landings. Hopefully, the Society will be able to include this new plaque in the next edition of Signs of History.

A large group of visitors and local people gathered at Cobb Gate shortly after 1pm for the ceremony and then the official party processed to Marine Parade for a service in the shelters.
To mark the D-Day commemorations, The Society raised the Stars and Stripes outside Woodville on Silver Street which was the headquarters of the US Army in Lyme. This is shown below together with a picture of the fly-past which took place on the 6th June; the 70th anniversary of the landings.

Marking the Monmouth Rebellion by Diana Shervington

I am campaigning to the Dorset District Council or the Dorset County Council. What I want them to do is install a plaque at the entrance of Stile Lane. Here it was on the llth June, 1685, that the Duke of Monmouth and his motley army came up from the shore where they had landed from three ships. It is important for any town that has suffered a rebellion for the events to be remembered.

Lyme Regis was the scene of that ill-fated expedition. James, Duke of Monmouth, was the natural child of Charles II and Lucy Walters of Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire. They lived in great style at The Hague and were very friendly with the Dutch Prince. Monmouth was also popular and well-liked in the west country.

At that time Lyme had a large number of dissenters who suffered from religious persecution and who were ready to rise up and fight the battle of the Lord against Popery and arbitrary power. It was well known that the great body of the inhabitants of Lyme were a hardy and turbulent race of people who cherished strong antipathy to the existing government. But the Mayor of Lyme and his Town Council were staunch Parliamentarians who sent a message to Exeter asking the King for troops.

I feel that the inhabitants of Lyme, tourists and school parties would love to hear
about this rebellion which ended with twelve so-called rebels being hanged, drawn and quartered on 12th September, at the instigation of Judge Jeffreys on what we now call Monmouth beach.

James, Duke of Monmouth, had arrived in Lyme from a 32-gun frigate on
Thursday, 11th June. He landed on the sand beside the Cobb. He and his 82
followers then knelt down in a short act of devotion before they entered the town by way of Stile Lane (left). Plenty of men in the town were recruited into Monmouth’s army. The Duke had issued a Declaration of his Intentions which was very damning, both here and in Weymouth. He sent 40 men to subdue Bridport – which they did but then started plundering the inhabitants. Monmouth’s army marched to Axminster and so on to Sedgemoor where on Monday, 6th July, was fought the last battle on English soil, a battle which blasted Monmouth’s hopes for ever.

These events, I believe, deserve to be commemorated on a plaque at the entrance
to Stile Lane. I hope the District Council will comply!

The Society’s Committee support Diana’s campaign for a plaque to commemorate Monmouth’s entry into Lyme.

This article first appeared in the Society’s Spring 2014 Newsletter.

For those who don’t know Diana Shervington, there is a recent article on her at