The interesting photographs show the imposing Coach and Horses which still stands though long since ceasing to be run as a business and now divided into apartments. Though in the past the Coach and Horses was the focus of the important Coaching trade that passed through Charmouth. The building we see today replaced a much earlier Inn that stood on the same site until 1882 when it was destroyed in a fire. It was one of a number of fine thatched buildings that went the same way towards the end of the 19th Century in the village. It was originally called the “Three Crowns” when it was owned by William Edwards in 1809 and occupied by James Bradbeer who was also the postmaster. The earliest directory for Charmouth shows that in 1840 there were four coaches leaving and returning each day to the Inn from Exeter, London and Southampton. William Foss is shown as the Inn Keeper and the Census of the following year reveal him living with his wife and seven children at the property. In the same year, Charmouth was to have its Tithe Map produced which is very detailed and shows the building being owned by Bowden Gundry & Co.(Bridport Brewers) with a garden and outbuildings extending a considerable distance back from the Street.
Records for Charmouth show that in 1760 a Mail coach killed a man and in 1805 a Balloon coach overturned killing Ann Pitt. The Inn had a number of owners and tenants over the years, but the most famous was George Holly whose sign can be seen in the earlier photograph. He was to change the name to the present day “Coach and Horses” and in 1849 was presented with a silver coffee pot for paying for the funeral of a visitor whom accidentally drowned in the sea. With the opening of the Bridport Railway in 1858 there was to be a horse omnibus running from Lyme through Charmouth each day. In 1882 the old Inn was rebuilt but Holly did not return as he was unhappy with the owners about its replacement and instead he continued to live in " Charmouth House" at the junction of the Street and Higher Sea Lane, which he was already running as a hotel.
The landlords who followed were Ingram and then Pagan, who married Ingram's daughter. At Pagan's death his widow married Morgan, who kept the grocer's shop opposite and took over the licence. He also bought the Axminster bus from William, the son of George Holly and started the first motor 'bus". The stables that used to extend as far as The Lawn Tennis Courts were pulled down and modern garages and an annex to the hotel were built. In time it was to be the buses that were to replace the coaches and to this day still stop off near to the former “Coach and Horses”. It is fascinating looking through old Charmouth Guides that are full of adverts for Hotels and Guesthouses that have long since disappeared. Sadly, The Coach and Horses was to be one of those lost when it was no longer viable and was converted into apartments.