Branscombe timeline

St Winifreds church, Branscombe is worth a look

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

1133 to 1160 

The church of St Winifred is built.


Branscombe Forge is believed to have been built.

1600s to 1800s

Branscombe becomes a major source of handmade lace.

1700s to 1800s

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


The infamous local smuggler Jack Rattenbury is born.


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


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


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


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

1939 to 1945

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


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

March 1965

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


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


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


Community allotments are established in Branscombe.

January 2007

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


The Napoli salvaging operation is finally completed.


The Weston Plats are opened to the public.


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