The beauty of Babbacombe’s buildings

12 October 2020

Posted under: Hobbies & interests

St Mary the Virgin

We recently spoke with Ian Cawley, local Babbacombe resident and member of the Babbacombe and St Marychurch History Society to find out a bit more about the local history of the area and some of its most notable buildings that our new Renaissance community is a part of.


So, Ian, what is your favourite building in the local area? And why?

This is such a tough question to answer as there are so many fantastic buildings in the area, all of which are steeped in history as the area originally roots back to Saxon times. I would have to whittle it down to two, the St Marychurch Town Hall and the St Marychurch Parish Church.

The Town Hall was built in the 1850s and served as the District Council building for the St Marychurch area. It’s now been turned into apartments, but the original façade has been retained alongside a stunning stained-glass window, which must make a fantastic feature for the person living there.

The St Marychurch Parish Church is also a wonderful building with a rich history. Unfortunately, the original Church is now longer there having burned down several times and been bombed – more recently in 1943. Sadly, a number of children died in the bombing, so it’s a place that is very close to the hearts of local residents.


How would you best describe the character of the buildings in the area?

We have a great mix of buildings in the area. Most date back to the Victorian era as before that the area was mainly just a farming and fishing settlement. This does mean that we have some large Victorian villas, which are quite a sight.

We then experienced another flurry of building in the 1920s and 30s following the Second World War.


Do you know when buildings started to be built to overlook Portland Bill?

Well, the Hampton Estate was until 1912 a large private estate with a large manor house – that is now home to the Abbey School. The estate was sold off for housing on the death of the owner. The new housing was to be built within the walls of the Estate, with the houses in a square along the walls.

They faced each house in a North/ North East direction so that they looked out towards Portland Bill, which can be seen on a clear day, but this does mean that they get a little cold, and I should know as I live in one!

The building of the houses first started in 1914 but the rest were put on hold because on the war and were finished after.


What do you like most about living in the area?

The St Marychurch area has a fantastic community and has a real village feel. Of course, the lockdown was a challenging time for many, but the whole community came together and looked out for one another. Local shops the greengrocers, the butchers and the fishmongers all started home delivery to the whole area.


What are your top-tips for people to do?

There are so many great things to get out and enjoy – most of which are within walking distance from the new Renaissance community.

The South West Coastal Path is a fabulous walk and definitely one to do. I’d also recommend using the cliff railway to the beach, going to the Model Village and visiting Bygones museum, they have some really interesting exhibitions.

Or if you are just looking to sit and relax, there are some really good restaurants and bars in the St Marychurch shopping precinct.



Looking to enjoy a home by the coast in area with a rich history? Our Babbacombe community offers an exclusive collection of just 9 two-bedroom apartments at this sought-after seaside location. There are only two homes left to rent or buy, including beautiful ground floor apartments with private outside spaces from £380,000, get in touch to find out more: 01803 424 039 / [email protected]