Lyme Regis Town history
Lyme Regis more than lives up to the impression created by its regal name which it owes to a Royal Charter granted by Edward I in 1284. Its intimate size is misleading. Over the years, it has played a hugely important role in both national and world affairs, mainly due to its connection with the sea which has always been central to its development.
Indeed, Lyme's best-known feature is a powerful reminder of the town's commercial origins. The Cobb, the magnificent curving harbour wall dating from the Thirteenth Century, was designed to protect precious shipping from stormy seas and precipitated the development of a thriving trading port.
During the Civil War, Lyme, supporting the Parliamentarian cause, was attacked by Royalists who laid siege to the town. The siege lasted two months and many lives were lost.
Just a few years later, in 1685, the ill-fated Duke of Monmouth landed on the beach to claim the Royal crown. His subsequent capture at the Battle of Sedgemoor led to the demise of twelve local men who had supported him.
Lyme Regis is the birthplace of Thomas Coram. Born into a poor family, he rose through the ranks and became a successful sea captain in the 18th Century. Coram's greatest legacy was not his seafaring prowess. It was his care and concern for humanity, and particularly children. Coram hob-nobbed with the glitterati of his day - including Handel, Hogarth and even the King himself - and raised thousands of pounds to set up a home for 'foundlings' - orphans - that still exists in London today as the Thomas Coram Foundation. The Parish Church contains a memorial window to him.
Mary Anning, who at the age of 12, shocked the scientific world with the discovery of a thirty foot ichthyosaurus fossil, firmly putting Lyme Regis on the map, is buried in the churchyard.
The Town’s historic past is reflected in its rich heritage of Civic Regalia. From the 13th Century Town Seal to the Mayor’s Regalia and the Ceremonial Maces; each piece has a fascinating story to tell.
Mayor Sally Holman with a Macebearer