Branscombe timeline

Take a trip back in time over 1000 years and discover more about the history of Branscombe.

    1133 to 1160

    St Winifred

    The church of St Winifred is built.





    The Old Forge at Branscombe, Devon

    Branscombe Forge is believed to have been built.




    1600s to 1800s

    Close view of part of one of the costumes worn by Ellen Terry at Smallhythe Place.

    Branscombe becomes a major source of handmade lace.




    1700s to 1800s

    Paleolithic flint tools

    Branscombe develops major industries using limestone to create fertiliser and flint for early gunpowder weapons.




    A view from the hills looking over Branscombe beach, Devon

    The infamous local smuggler Jack Rattenbury is born.




    Remains of farming equipment at the Weston Plats, Branscombe in Devon

    Branscombe becomes well known for its potato farming on cliff plots also known as ‘plats’.




    The famous smuggler Jack Rattenbury was born in Beer, the village next to Branscombe

    Jack Rattenbury publishes a sensationalised account of his life, ‘Memoirs of a Smuggler’.



    The women of Beer and Branscombe helped to make the wedding dress of Queen Victoria

    The women of Branscombe and Beer help make the wedding dress of Queen Victoria.



    Early potatoes grown at Trehill Farm, Marloes Peninsula

    Potato production on the Weston Plats starts to compete with Jersey.




    1939 to 1945

    Map-Makers exhibition

    A secret factory is established at Branscombe, manufacturing aircraft components and shells. Thankfully it is never discovered and not targeted by German warplanes.


    The remains of the old storage sheds at the Weston Plats, Branscombe in Devon

    The last of the Weston Plats are abandoned and soon become overgrown.



    March 1965

    The Manor Mill at Branscombe, Devon

    John and Clement Ford donate the main Branscombe estate to the National Trust as a way of paying death duties.



    The Bakery in Lacock Village, Wiltshire

    Branscombe’s bakery, the last traditional bakery in Devon, is closed.





    The Manor Mill interior at Branscombe, Devon

    The National Trust restores the machinery in the Manor Mill to full working order.




    Allotments in bloom at Wembury, Devon

    Community allotments are established in Branscombe.




    January 2007

    The salvaging of the Napoli near Branscombe, Devon

    The MSC Napoli, a 62,000-ton cargo ship, is deliberately beached in Lyme Bay, off Branscombe.





    A view of the sea at sunset

    The Napoli salvaging operation is finally completed.





    The rebuilt storage sheds of the Weston Plats, Branscombe, Devon

    The Weston Plats are opened to the public.





    Flooded fields and roads in Branscombe

    Branscombe experienced the worst flooding in 50 years. The National Trust has to spend £14,000 on repairs.