This is the story of the origin of Once upon a time Lyme Regis was little more than a pretty English seaside town with a good climate and a wonderful place to come home to. That was until, one day, when walking down a narrow street I had a kind of vision – I saw cobblestones. I heard the tramp of marching feet, the clink of armour, the sound of harsh voices shouting in a strange accent. This all passed in a split second and then once again I was walking down the familiar Sherbourne Lane hearing the cries of the seagulls. This incident inspired me to investigate the history of Lyme and I read avidly the many and varied books that had been written on the subject, and what a revelation it was!

So much seemed to be packed into such a tight place. In 1644 in the Civil War, puritan Lyme suffered an 8 week siege by Royalist forces during which much of the fighting occurred around Sherborne Lane. Despite superior forces the Royalists were eventually repelled after suffering heavy losses. This is just one of many dramatic incidences in the life of the town.

  • Did you known that in Elizabethan times the Cobb was the third largest port in the country after London and Bristol, trading all over the known world? 
  • Did you know that Drake’s ship the “Revenge” at the time of the Spanish Armada was probably built  in the Lyme shipyard?
  • Did you know that the Monmouth Rebellion started in Lyme when the Duke of Monmouth sailed into the harbour one June day in 1685 and stayed 3 days recruiting in this town well known for its protestant sympathies?

  • Did you know that after a period of steep decline Lyme’s fortunes were revived when a celebrity doctor wrote a pamphlet extolling the virtues of drinking sea water for health (!) encouraging many 18th century aristocratic visitors?

I could add many more “did you knows” however, for the sake of brevity, here’s a few sound bites – Jane Austin danced in the Assembly Rooms and set “Persuasion” in Lyme. Franz Liszt played the piano here. Jack Rattenbury, famous smuggler, plied his trade on this coastline. Barnes Wallace tested his bouncing bomb in Lyme Bay and the home base for the pigeons of the French resistance was a loft in Lyme in a house previously owned by the brother of Lord Lister (Baron Lister of Lyme Regis).

These are just a few of the facts and incidents covered in Lyme History Walks, and we haven’t even mentioned Mary Anning, the famous fossilist yet!

In a 1 ½ hour walk I strive to bring together a depth of historical insight and entertainment which introduces many of the colourful characters and incidents in Lyme’s history from the middle ages to the present day. Oh… and by the way, did you know that the Royalists in the siege of Lyme employed a “witch” to rain curses on the pious puritans of the town?... all to no effect.  As so often, Lyme triumphed and survived.