Weymouth-Dorset.co.uk Local History

 Wyke Regis -

Wyke Square and Village

Wyke Regis is situated just west of Weymouth and the boundary of the ancient parish adjoins it. The parish of Wyke Regis was once quite extensive, reaching as far as Westham to the boundary with Radipole.

All Saints church, Wyke Regis, Dorset

All Saints, Wyke Regis

A church has stood on this site with its commanding views over Chesil Beach since as early as 1172. The first recorded priest was Nicholas Lungspi in 1263, but the present church of All Saints, Wyke Regis was built around 1455. The main door, on the south side, is thought to be the original. The font dates from the same time as the church building and is more ornate than those in other local churches. Perhaps that is not so surprising considering the importance of All Saints.

Above the main door there is a carving of the Royal Arms of Henry VIII, said to have been brought here originally from Sandsfoot Castle which lies within the parish.

All Saints was a very important church as can be imagined by its impressive size and style. It was the Mother Church to Weymouth and served the people of Weymouth until Holy Trinity was built by the harbour in 1836.

Its tower can be seen from some distance and has long been a landmark to mariners. It has seen many shipwreck disasters and being so close to the treacherous Chesil Beach, it has naturally been the serving church to those who have perished. In the churchyard many victims of Weymouth's most famous shipwreck, The East Indiaman, The Earl of Abergavenny, lie buried. The ship sank in Weymouth Bay in 1805 with the loss of hundreds of lives, including its Captain, John Wordsworth, brother of the poet, William Wordsworth.

The hub of village life in Wyke Regis was always The Square, in Chamberlaine Road at its meeting with Shrubbery Lane. Over time many events have taken place in the Square from street parties to celebrate Royal jubilees, to more local events. One important part of village life had many venues at one time - the local pub!

The Swan Inn, in the centre, now converted to private residence, is the taller white building on the right hand side of the photograph. Next door to that looking down towards the Albert Inn, is Hamilton House, believed to be the former home of the architect, James Hamilton. Adjacent to this was formerly an abattoir.

The Albert Inn (after the Swan in the picture, in the background) still remains today as the local and is now a listed building. To the left of the Albert Inn runs the old High Street, a quaint mixture of old houses in a twisting, turning lane. Coming back up to the square on the other side of Chamberlaine Road are a few 17th century cottages which are also now Grade II listed buildings.

Wyke Square 2003, Wyke Regis, Dorset

Old Wyke Square 2003

Old Wyke Square, Wyke Regis, Dorset

Old Wyke Square c.1905

Then comes the post office and general store on the corner, still in use today as it has been for a very long time, serving the local community. Along from here (to the left of it in the picture) is the Old Forge, where the village blacksmith would shoe the horses from nearby Manor Farm.

Baytree Cottages, Shrubbery Lane, Wyke Regis, Dorset

1 & 2 Baytree Cottages, - 1982

Further along is Shrubbery Lane where there is a small terrace of houses once known as Baytree Cottages. Baytree Cottages still had an outside toilet up until 1985 when they were sold. No.1 (right) was in the occupation of the same family of 4 generations, for nearly 100 years.

Baytree Cottages, Shrubbery Lane, Wyke Regis, Dorset

1,2 & 3 Baytree Cottages, - 2003

At this time, they were renovated and the land opposite them was also redeveloped into a housing estate. This land, enclosed by a tall wall, was formerly the site of Wyke House, which later became a hotel. Most of the wall was taken down in the redevelopment. Still it is necessary to negotiate the tight blind bend, partly formed by the wall, to get from one end of Shrubbery Lane to the other where the Baytree Cottages are.

From Shrubbery Lane coming back into Chamberlaine Road and back up towards the church, there still remains the old horse trough. It used to be said that unless you had fallen in the trough, you were not a true Wykite! Situated at the bottom of All Saints Road, a quick run down the hill and you were almost guaranteed to fall in it. Along just a little from the trough is what is now the Wyke Social Club on the site of the former New Inn.

Opposite the trough, on the corner of All Saints Road, was once situated the Church school where absenteeism was recorded for various local reasons such as a fox hunt in the parish, or most notably that of the time of the shipwreck of the Royal Adelaide in 1872. The building was pulled down in 1907 having been replaced by a new school in Victoria Road built in 1897. The present Memorial Hall was erected on the site.

Going up All Saints Road from the Memorial Hall and on the left hand side at the top where it meets Wyke Road, stands Manor Farm. Thought to have originally been built around the same time as the church, it was the farm of the Manor of Wyke Regis and an important part of life in the village.

Manor Farm, Wyke Regis, Dorset 1982

Manor Farm, Wyke Regis 1982

The farm employed many villagers, and its activities were centred on providing for the village. It continued as a working farm up until the late 1980's when the redevelopment in Wyke Square took place. The farmhouse was then renovated and the old barns became houses.

Manor Farm, Wyke Regis, Dorset 2003

Manor Farm, Wyke Regis 2003

No longer do the cows roam in front of the farmhouse, no longer do the old Shire horses pull a cart to deliver milk. The farm as it once was lies still, another building, and just another dwelling.

At work on Manor Farm, Wyke Regis, Dorset circ 1920's or 1930's

Working on Manor Farm approx. 1920-30's

This picture is of Sidney "Carter" Harris (1868-1943) who worked at Manor Farm for most of his working life. He was known as "Carter" Harris around the village and each morning at 5am, his two Shire horses, Warrick (pictured here) and Ben, would leave the farm making the short journey down All Saints Road into Wyke Square and to No.1 Baytree Cottages. Once there, they would use their hooves to "knock" on the door to awaken their master. Carter Harris would get up, take the horses back to the farm and do his day's work.

Sidney 'Carter' Harris with his shire horse, 'Warrick' at Manor Farm, Wyke Regis, Dorset

How much things have changed since his time. It's a wonder he doesn't turn in his grave, which is just across the road, overlooking Manor Farm.

 

Historical Parish Information

 

Parish Registers begin:

1676

Hundred or Liberty:

Wyke Regis & Elwell Liberty

Poor Law Union & Registration District:

Weymouth

Somerset & Dorset FHS Census Volumes

1841 - Vol.3 1851 - Vol.1 1891 - Vol.10

Online Parish Clerk Project (external link):

Wyke Regis OPC

 

All Saints Church (external link)

 

Smuggling

Shipwrecks

 

Wyke Road & Rodwell area of Weymouth

Abbotsbury

Fleet

Langton Herring

Portesham

Portland

Portland Breakwater and Harbour (with Nothe Fort)

Radipole

Sandsfoot Castle

 

Local Attractions and Places to Visit

Links

 

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