Weymouth-Dorset.co.uk Local History

Osmington, Osmington Mills and Ringstead

Osmington Village

An Osmington Cottage

Church of St. Osmund, Osmington

Coming into the village of Osmington from Weymouth, on the left hand side of the road there was a row of bungalows, but they have recently been pulled down and houses built. This land is where the pub, The Plough, once stood. John Notley ran The Plough in 1848 and by 1871 the landlord was William Bagg. It was pulled down during the last century and the bungalows built in its place became known as Plough Cottages.

The parish church is dedicated to St. Osmund. A former Osmington parish incumbent, the Reverend Charles Coates (1788-1813), noted for his history of Reading, was chaplain to the Prince Regent.

Perhaps Osmington's most famous visitor was the painter, John Constable. He was a good friend of the Archdeacon John Fisher, rector of Osmington and so Constable spent many holidays at the Vicarage. During his time spent at Osmington, he painted many of his famous paintings. He painted the village, Osmington Mills, Weymouth Bay and Portland Bill. His best known painting of the area is Weymouth Bay that now hangs in the National Gallery, although it is actually a painting of Bowleaze Cove. He married Mary Bicknell, and spent his honeymoon here in 1816.


Osmington Mills

James Champ and son Richard outside front of Smugglers Inn

James Champ and his son Richard Champ. Front view

Osmington Mills is away from the village down a long winding road. It is on the coast high up on the clifftop. The most notable thing about Osmington Mills has to be the Smuggler's Inn. Nestled down below the surrounding cottages and houses in its own little valley, it is in an idyllic spot with a stream running down to the sea. This lovely old pub with parts said to date from the 13th century was once the home of the leader of the most notorious gang of smugglers in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries, Emmanuel Charles.

The Charles family intermarried many times with the Seaward and Champ families who were also involved in smuggling activities. Emmanuel Charles was running the pub, alongside smuggling, during the 1790's and he made some additions to the building.

Please see the Smuggling page for much more information on the Charles and Champ families, which led to the present name of the Smugglers Inn.

Ann,James and Richard Champ outside rear of Smugglers Inn

Ann, James & Richard Champ - Picnic Inn, Rear View

A related family, also heavily involved in smuggling, took over the running of the pub about 1840. First known of the family to run the pub was Ann Champ who was the landlady according to the 1841 census. By 1848 she had passed it on to her son James Champ. The old pictures here show some of the Champs outside the pub, which was then known as the Crown. At some time it changed its name to the Picnic Inn before becoming the Smugglers Inn as it is today.

Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills 2003

The Smugglers Inn 2003



Ringstead Bay

Ringstead Bay

Ringstead Bay next to Osmington Mills and part of the parish of Osmington was the ideal landing spot for smuggled goods. The smugglers of Osmington Mills used this small bay frequently and some of them lived here too.

Ringstead is reached by a small toll road off the main road just before Poxwell, coming from Weymouth, going through the hamlet of Upton.

Historical Parish Information


Parish Registers begin:


Hundred or Liberty:

Culliford Tree

Poor Law Union & Registration District:


Online Parish Clerk Project (external link)

Osmington OPC

Family History




Nearby Parishes and Places


Bowleaze Cove


Lulworth, East & West, and Lulworth Cove




Sutton Poyntz



West Knighton

West Stafford



Local Attractions and Places to Visit



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