Wembury timeline

Postcard of the unusual shaped cottage built by Sam Wakeham

Wembury has a diverse history: from holiday camp and inspiration for the famous Forsyte Saga to a major naval gunnery school.

800-1300

Founding of St. Werburgh Church above Wembury Beach.
 

1283

First mention of a mill at Wembury Beach.
 

1744

A local man is sentenced to spend seven years living on the Mewstone.
 

1813

The famous artist JMW Turner lands on the Mewstone and makes several sketches.
 

1818

Records report a short-lived furnace for barking nets close to Cellars Beach and a short-lived pilchard fishery.
 

November 1824

A terrible storm damages the Wembury mill and causes the brig 'John' to wash onto the Blackstone Rocks.
 

1833

Samuel Wakeham marries and settles with his family on the Mewstone. Protecting the island from poachers he also lives a dual life as a smuggler.
 

1890s

The mill at Wembury falls into disuse.
 

1909

Plans to build a huge passenger port here, stretching from Wembury Point to Gara Point, are rejected by the House of Lords.
 

1912

John Galsworthy visits Wembury in order to research his family history, this provides the inspiration for Soames Forsyte’s similar quest in 'Swan Song', Book 6 of the Forsyte Saga.
 

1927

The Langdon Estate sells the Mewstone.
 

1928

Wembury Point is sold and developed into two holiday camps.
 

1935

Ida Sebag-Montefiore gives Wembury Cliffs to the National Trust to protect them from development.
 

1939

The National Trust acquires Wembury Mill, now used as a café.
 

1940

The Ministry of Defence requisitions Wembury Point and builds a radar station, observation posts and anti-aircraft guns.
 

1956

The HMS Cambridge Gunnery School is established at Wembury Point.
 

2001

HMS Cambridge Gunnery School is decommissioned.
 

2006

The National Trust buys both Wembury Point and the Mewstone turning the latter into a nature reserve and returning the former to its natural environment.