Lyme Regis Discovery Trail - The Old Town

The church of St Michael the Archangel holds a commanding position above Church Cliff Beach on the eastern side of Lyme Regis.

There has been a church on this site since AD 774 when the land was granted to the monks of Sherborne. The church was updated and rebuilt by the Normans around AD 1120, retaining much of the original Saxon stonework.

The remarkable and enigmatic Lyme Tapestry, widely thought to be the work of Flemish weavers around 1490, hangs on the north side of the nave. The 10 church bells are known for their quality and in 1995, the longest continuous peal of Surprise Royal was undertaken, ringing for almost 12 hours, a real feat of endurance.

Mary Anning is buried in the churchyard with her brother Joseph. Their grave was recently restored. Mary is commemorated in a stained glass window provided by members of the Geological Society of London, an organisation which did not admit women until 1904.

The spiked church railings were famously used to display the heads and quarters of the rebels who were convicted in the ‘Bloody Assizes’ in 1685. They remained here until King James II was deposed in 1688 and any attempt to remove body parts would result in severe punishment.

The town’s war memorial is located in Georges Square. The memorial was enhanced in 2018 as part of the First World War centenary commemorations.

Points of interest 

Mary Anning’s Grave

Mary Anning’s grave is located in the churchyard of St Michael the Archangel’s Church in Lyme Regis, where she was buried with her brother Joseph.

The grave became hard to read, so in 2019 it was renovated and restored.

Her life is also commemorated with a stained-glass window in the parish church.

The Church of St Michael the Archangel

There has been a church on this site since at least AD774 when the land was granted to the monks of Sherborne, who needed a source of salt from the sea to preserve food.

The present building dates from Norman times and the remains can be found in the porch and the base of the 58ft tower where there is an excellent Norman arch.

The upper parts of the tower date from the 16th century and the nave was completed around 1506.

Georges Square

Georges Square offers a quiet haven in the middle of the old town of Lyme. The quaint little garden offers seating and is a place of quiet reflection.

The town’s war memorial, based in Georges Square, is owned and maintained by the town council who take care of the surrounding garden.

The exact date the memorial was built and inaugurated is unknown, but it is believed to have been consecrated in the early 1980’s. The memorial was enhanced in 2018 as part of the First World War centenary commemorations.  

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