1. What did Jane Austen write about Charmouth?
  2. Why did King Charles II flee to Charmouth after defeat at the Battle of Worcester?
  3. Does Charmouth have Britain’s oldest grocer’s shop?
  4. What were Charmouth’s defences against a threatened French invasion?

These are just four of the many interesting questions about Charmouth that are covered in the booklet Charmouth History Trail which is available from the Charmouth Stores, Morgans, the Heritage Coast Centre or download a copy of the free trail leaflet here.

Take a short walk now through our village and its history. The four places in Charmouth connected to the questions above are marked on this simplified map.


The Charmouth History Trail booklet will give you much greater detail about the history of the village, the buildings and the people who lived here or passed through. Largely based on research by local historians, it aims to inform and, hopefully, to entertain.

1. The Coach and Horses
The Coach and Horses is a Victorian building which has now been converted into six flats.

The Coach and Horses
The original thatched building, a coaching inn, was destroyed by fire in 1882. It is shown in this, one of the oldest photographs of the village c.1860.
coach and horses then
Jane Austen stayed here in the summer of 1803 and wrote about Charmouth in Persuasion.

2. The Abbot’s House

Abbott's House
This grade II* listed building, one of the oldest buildings in the village, dates back to the 16th century. It is believed to have been built for Thomas Chard, the last Abbot of Forde (1501-1539).
The Queens Arms
This photograph of c.1890 shows the building with fine railings and a woman wearing the traditional rural costume of the period.

3. Charmouth Stores

Charmouth Stores
This is believed to be one of the oldest continuously run grocer’s shops in the country. It dates back to at least 1816.
Prospect Place with Charmouth Stores
This photograph of c.1900 shows the stores together with the adjacent properties, collectively known as Prospect Place. Stanley House, with its stucco plasterwork and first floor oriel windows with leaded lights, is on the left of the photograph.

4. The Heritage Coast Centre

The Heritage Coast Centre
The Heritage Coast Centre, with free entry, is a must for visitors to the Jurassic Coast. Its collection of fossils include the ichthyosaur which starred in the BBC documentary “Attenborough and the Sea Dragon”.
The old cement factory
This photograph of c.1870 shows the Cement Factory which was built on this site in 1854. In the foreground is Battery Point, where four guns were placed in response to a feared French invasion during the Napoleonic war.