The creation of the Borough of Charmouth in 1290

Click on Charmouth Home to return back.
A small section of the stone wall dating back to the 14th century which stretches along the boundary of the properties to the north of the Street.
The first really detailed map of Charmouth is the 1841 Tithe Map of which this is only a part. It clearly shows the Burgage plots stretching back from the street on both sides with the stone boundary wall to the north and bank to the south.
 

The Cartulary held at the Abbey today provides a picture of the extent of the estates that it owned. The Cartulary includes evidence of purchase as well as exchange to create a cohesive block of lands around Forde Abbey. Monkton Wylde in Wootton Fitzpaine was exchanged for land in Leigh in Winsham. Land management is revealed in the Cartulary with the creation of a borough in the Manor of Charmouth between 1290 and 1297. and the reciting of the church granted in 1281 following the destruction of the previous church by the sea. The monk's established their methods of farming with granges worked by lay brothers. By the mid 13 th century granges were established in the principle estates at Tate, Charmouth, Street, Leigh.. etc. Thomas Chardes lavish living quarters are revealing the substantial landowners. Cartulary was compiled in the third quarter of the 15 th century. It was lost and bought back by Roper family for £235 at Phillips in1911.

Grant by brother William, abbot of Forde, desiring to improve the manor of Charmouth (Cernemue), that the vill of Charmouth shall be a free borough within the following bounds: on the east side of the vill all that place called Sevenaker by the water below the road from Charrereystone up to the road between Charmouth and Bridport, then along the watercourse which runs to the monks' mill; from there along the course of the river to the sea and to the chapel of the vill; thence along the road ascending to le pillory and then to the cross which stands on the road to Lyme above Radehorne; on the west side of the vill as far as le Sheote by the corner along the ditch to the bank adjoining Sevenaker on the north side.
Grant to those wishing to build within these bounds plots measuring 4 perches by 20 perches, by the view of the monks' bailiff, rendering 6d a year for each burgage in equal portions at Michaelmas and Easter. Holders of burgages present and future will have the freedom of residing there, returning with their chattels or of returning the licence and their houses, as well as giving, assigning, bequeathing or mortgaging them to whomever they wish except religious, Jews or ecclesiastics without their licence, together with the power to transfer these into which ever use it pleases them, saving only for the monks' compensation in all things.
They will owe suit to the monks' court twice a year on the Tuesday following Hockday and on the Tuesday following Michaelmas in the guildhall (gyhalda) of Charmouth and not at other times unless an unforeseen event occurs and they make a reasonable excuse or unless they are at sea or in very remote parts; and that they might enjoy the liberties everywhere such as the monks are able to give justly and guarantee properly. The burgesses owe suit to the monks' mill at Charmouth and will have priority at the mill (stemphri) after the corn of the miller. If any harmful dispute arises within the bounds of any of their messuages the litigants will have free power to settle between them­selves; the monks will have no claim to customary due or compensation, saving in all things royal jurisdiction and privilege. None of the monks will have the power to distrain unless in default of the bailiff of the burgesses; saving for the monks and their successors amercements and rents from each burgage collected from the vill by the said bailiff. It is forbidden for anyone to sell untreated animal skins in the vill unless he is of the rank and authority (lima et lagha) of a burgess.
Grant also that every burgess may keep a draught animal in the common pasture, namely from the road adjoining the moor of Geoffrey Heron (Heyrun) extending west to the land of Stephen Pain (Payn) and along the bounds of Stephen's land as far as the ditch on the land formerly of Robert Russell (Rosel) and from this ditch up to Langmoresgeth and then along to la Strippam adjoining the land of Geoffrey Heron (Heyron) and finally along the bounds of the land of Stephen Pain (Payn) to the said road, paying each year on the eve of Michaelmas Id for each head in the guildhall to the monks and their successors for ever. The monks may distrain for amercements and arrears of rents and take and keep goods and chattels until the arrears have been settled.
Witnesses: Robert de Wootton (Wadton), Walter de Luveney (Loweyngay), William de la Berne, Richard Gardener (de Gardino), [blank] de Cotley (Cutehegh).

The internal details, supported by the palaeographical evidence of the original (Devon Record Office ED/M/300) and deeds 44-6 in the cartulary suggest the date (and not 1320 as in Hutchins, Hist. Dorset ii. 223). The original charter was witnessed also by Robert de Cotley, Stephen de Hogchester (Hoggeshurste) and Walter Welsh (le Walays).