Breach House is situated just 300 metres up from the beautiful oyster-shaped
Lulworth Cove on a particularly spectacular part of the Dorset coast which is
now World Heritage Status.
the east is The Cove, fossil forest, Mupe Bay and the deserted village of
Tyneham along with some of the most beautiful walks across the army land.
the west is Durdle Door, a massive natural stone arch and the beautiful beaches
of St. Oswalds and Man 'O' War within twenty minutes walk.
'O' War Bay
Lulworth is a pretty, lively seaside village with useful local amenities
including a post office, village shop, fishmonger (local fisherman caught
lobster, crabs and fish), public house, church and Heritage Centre.
4 miles away is Wool with an inter-city direct train service to
London (Waterloo) taking just over two hours.
Bournemouth Airport is only 35 minutes away and Southampton
Airport is only 50 minutes away.
towns of Wareham, Dorchester, Weymouth, Poole and
Bournemouth are nearby and offer more extensive shopping and other
history of Lulworth...
Lulworth Cove or named Lulstead Cove in Thomas Hardy's 'Far From
The Madding Crowd', is one of the most famous beauty spots on the
South Coast of England, shaped like an almost perfect horse shoe it is
sandwiched between two gems of land formation and unique geological
structures. The rock-arch of Durdle Door to the west of
the cove and the Fossil Forest to the east, sitting up on
a ledge above the English Channel.
The surrounding countryside & coastline is some of the most beautiful and
unspoilt in Southern England, which has now been recognised as being
totally unique having gained World Heritage status in the last two years.
Lulworth has a permanent exhibition in the Heritage Centre showing the
history and geological importance of the East Devon & Dorset World
Heritage 'Jurassic' Coastline along with a standing stone
unveiled by Prince Charles in 2002.
In the past Lulworth has not just been home to dinosaurs
in a carboniferous forest and ammonites in the surrounding warm sea 65
million years ago, it has had many other famous and infamous residents and
visitors in more recent years.
Iron age man started by felling trees, forming field systems and building
a hill fort on Bindon Hill behind the cove along with burying their king
on the top of Hambury Tout beside the path to Durdle Door. The
Romans came and used the safe anchorage of the cove for their
ships and merchant vessels to supply the garrison and town of Dorchester –
some people say that they can still hear the rattle of the amour of Roman
legions marching over the hills behind Lulworth!
A community of Trappist monks escaping from France set up
home and built a little chapel in 1300's on the east of the cove at Little
Bindon before later moving inland to Bindon Abbey – other French exiles
stayed in Lulworth including King Charles X and legend
has it that Napoleon landed here to reconnoiter the
practicalities of invasion but while standing on a rock in the cove sighed
before turning his attentions on Russia! Sir Francis Drake
engaged the Great Spanish Armada along the coast nearby driving a Spanish
man-o-war on to the rocks west of St Oswald which is still called
Lulworth Castle was built in the early 17th century by
Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Bindon. He was a member of
the huge Howard clan who were in great favour at the court of
James I. Designed grand hunting James the first was a regular
visitor. During the Civil War, Corfe Castle and
Bindon Abbey were destroyed and Lulworth Castle was badly
damaged, in 1643 the estate was purchased by Humphrey Weld, a wealthy
Londoner and the family still own the estate. The Castle was seriously
damaged by a fire in 1929 and remained a shell until recently. The
parkland around Lulworth Castle has seen royal romps & romances, notably
that of the Roman Catholic Maria Anne Smythe who married
King George IV in a liaison outlawed by Parliament.
Catholic church of St Mary in the park was built by Thomas Weld
in 1786 - 87 to designs of John Tasker. and the family
tradition holds that they were only allowed to build a church if it did
not resemble one. Accordingly the family built a neo-classical building
that looks like a large garden temple. The interior has a central dome and
the four apses leading off this have half-domes. Most of the original
fittings remain including the marble altar obtained from Rome.
The Cove was and maybe still is a firm favourite with smugglers
being extremely sheltered, it could therefore be used in virtually all
weathers, and was of course the ideal spot to sink tubs. One, a hogshead
of French red, bobbed up in 1717, and was promptly seized, though it
proved to be 'poor thin stuff that will not keep'.
A couple of years later nearly a dozen smugglers were stopped near the
cove as they tried to run wine and brandy in the early hours of a summer's
morning. They fought like demons with flails, swords and clubs, and when
it looked like they'd lose the cargo, the smugglers staved in some of the
barrels, and made off with the remainder. The battle between smugglers and
revenue men went on for some twelve hours, and attracted people from four
parishes, who ran off with the abandoned barrels.
In the early years of the 18th century the local venturer at Lulworth was
one Charles Weeks, who lived at Winfrith, and who had
developed a particularly shrewd way of defrauding the revenue. He would
buy seized goods at legitimate auctions, and mix in the smuggled article
for onward shipment, often to London. When an officer challenged Weeks to
produce receipts showing that duty had been paid, Weeks could often do so.
When he couldn't, he would threaten the officer with litigation; on the
pittance paid by the government, no customs officer could afford a legal
action, so the smuggler escaped.
Smugglers are said to have stored contraband in a cave at the most
easterly point of Mupe Bay. In 1906 it can be reached following the coast
from Lulworth, and by descending the cliff the moment the bay is reached.
The cave is at the foot of the precipice, at a spot where a little channel
has been cleared between the boulders for a boat to land.
The Lulworth men evidently took no chances of being identified by the
local customs authorities: on a tombstone in Weymouth's Bury Street
cemetery there is the following inscription:
Sacred to the memory of Lieut. Thos Edward Knight, RN, of Folkestone,
Kent, Aged 42, who in the execution of his duty as Chief Officer of the
Coastguard was wantonly attacked by a body of smugglers near Lulworth on
the night of 28th of June 1832, by whom after being unmercifully beaten he
was thrown over the cliff near Durdle Door from the effects of which he
died the following day.
Writers to have been drawn by Lulworth's charms include John Keats
who wrote the poem 'Bright Star, Would I Were Stedfast' while
visiting in 1819. Rupert Brooke and Bertrand
Russell, have also visited Lulworth for inspiration and the
Georgian playwright John O'Keeffe found his model for
John Barleycorn in the Red Lion, now no longer a pub but
a private house called Churchfields, in West Lulworth.
Thomas Hardy had Troy swim in Lulworth
Cove, Lulstead or Lulwind Cove in 'Far From The Maddin Crowd'
– "Troy came to a small basin of sea enclosed by the cliffs. He
undressed and plunged in. Inside the cove the water was uninteresting to a
swimmer, being smooth as a pond, and to get a little of the ocean swell,
Troy presently swam between the two projecting spurs of rock which formed
the pillars of Hercules to this miniature Mediterranean." Later on
Hardy wrote a 1920 Poem commemorating Keats's visit to Lulworth Cove
'At Lulworth Cove a Century Back'.
Had I but lived a hundred years ago
I might have gone, as I have gone this year,
By Warmwell Cross on to a Cove I know,
And Time have placed his finger on me there:
'You see that man?' -- I might have looked, and said,
'O yes: I see him. One that boat has brought
Which dropped down Channel round Saint Alban's Head.
So commonplace a youth calls not my thought.'
'You see that man?' -- 'Why yes; I told you; yes:
Of an idling town-sort; thin; hair brown in hue;
And as the evening light scants less and less
He looks up at a star, as many do.'
'You see that man?' -- 'Nay, leave me!' then I plead,
'I have fifteen miles to vamp across the lea,
And it grows dark, and I am weary-kneed:
I have said the third time; yes, that man I see!'
'Good. That man goes to Rome -- to death, despair;
And no one notes him now but you and I:
A hundred years, and the world will follow him there,
And bend with reverence where his ashes lie.'
Paddle-steamers with specially strengthened bows brought the wider public
right in onto the beach at the Cove in Victorian times.
T.E.Lawrence who used the pseudonym Shaw to avoid
publicity after his return from North Africa, where he was better known as
'Lawrence of Arabia'. bought the cottage not far from
Lulworth at Clouds Hill and it became his 'earthly
paradise' where he found the peace and quiet he needed to work on
'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' which was published in 1926. Then in 1935,
after spending many years in the Air Force away from the cottage, Lawrence
was discharged at the age of 46 and returned to Clouds Hill to live out
his days. Five days later he was killed in a crash on his motor cycle when
returning to Clouds Hill from Bovington Camp nearby and was buried in the
The tiny rooms of Clouds Hill are as Lawrence left them with simple and
austere furnishings, some of which he made himself. The cottage reflects
his complex personality and monastic way of life. The crowded book room is
lined with shelves from floor to ceiling. Under the roof is the music
room, which contains Lawrences's wind-up gramophone with its huge horn
curling over a leather sofa. His 78rpm. records are still there, as are
photographs relating to his Arabian campaign.
The domineering house called Weston now hidden in the
trees near the cove, designed for a friend by the famous architect
Sir Edward Lutyens became home for the stars when Sir
Lawrence Olivier and Vivienne Leigh spent the
first night of their honeymoon there although they were apparently
somewhat upset by being woken early in the morning by the lady of the