Guided Tour of St Marychurch

A report on the guided tour of St Marychurch – Saturday 7th September 2019. Written by Tony Warner.

A group of 13 members were met at the Cliff Railway Café by our guides Ian Cowley and John Lee from the Babbacombe and St Marychurch History Group.

The tour viewed many of the properties and churches in St Marychurch with wide-ranging information over the development of the area from the 1500’s, albeit people have lived here since the Saxon times.

Stopping at a number of vantage points Ian explained the development of the nearby Petit Tor Quarry, related Marble Works and showroom (now the local yacht club). He also told us of the interest shown by Prince Albert on a visit with Queen Victoria (hence the coat of arms on the front of the building), which led to a number of Petit Tor items now to be found in Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight.

John provided detailed information on The Parish Church of St Mary The Virgin, which we viewed externally, and the Roman Catholic Church Our Lady, Help of Christians and St Denis, where inside this extraordinary church Canon Michael Lock joined us.

Fore Street  – picture c/o Babbacombe and St Marychurch Local History Society

We continued our tour, finally viewing the ‘Tudor Cinema’ (now Bygones), the old Town Hall and The Furrough Cross United Reformed Church in Babbacombe Road from where we thanked Ian and John for a really excellent tour.

The morning was completed with excellent lunches for 5 of us at the Silver Goose in St Marychurch Precinct.