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Map > Axmouth > History

The village of Axmouth dates from Roman times when a fortress could be found on 'Hochsdon Hill'. Indeed, some historical writers have supposed that Axmouth was the Roman station "Uxelis", a major point of presence in Roman Britain. The hill fort was for designed for defence from the west - from the Danmonii of Devon.

The manor of Axmouth is surveyed in the Domesday Book:
"The King holds Alesmunde. It is not known how many hides are there, nor for how much they gelded....... In desmesne is half a carucate, and four servants, and eight villains, and twelve cottagers, with six ploughs."

Stedcombe House was built in 1695 on the site of a former mansion which had been destroyed in the Civil Wars. Its situated amongst the wooded hills in the shadow of Hochsdon Hill overlooking the river Axe.

Bindon Manor was probably erected in the 15th Century on the site of an older structure, and was evidently of great importance indicated by its ancient domestic chapel, in which can be found an elaborate screen and piscina. It was occupied as a farmhouse during the 19th Century, but has been restored to its former glory by more recent owners.

There are many references to be found of Axmouth's former importance as a major port along the south coast. Right up until the late 19th Century, trading vessels sailed regularly to and from London. The advent of the railway, and the damaged caused to the harbour mouth led to its downfall. In 1869 a large part of the inner pier was washed away in a gale and effectively closed the harbour to large vessels. History writers tell of Axmouth boasting fourteen hotels in its busiest times as a port.

The famous Landslip which occurred on Christmas Day 1839 created great interest throughout the land. It is said that Queen Victoria viewed the effect of the landslip from sea on one of her journeys. People flocked to see the effects for months. The cottagers living in properties along the cliff witnessed heaving of the land under their homes in the early hours of Christmas Day. By the end of the day the land had moved to such an extent that an immense ravine had been formed and a reef had risen up in the sea. Most of the cottages were left in ruins, but the home of the Critchard family was found to have gone down in its entirety and remains of this house can still be seen today. The reef out at sea has long since disappeared, but the walk along the Undercliff still gives a rare glimpse of this incredible occurrence.

Axmouth church, St Michael's, has clear evidence of Anglo-Norman construction in its doorway and mouldings. There are several remarkable monuments in the church itself, including the robed figure of a priest in full length with a figure at its feet of either a lion or a dog, though to date form the 13th Century. The effigy has been held to be that of the Prior of Loders, Roger Hariel, vicar of Axmouth in the 1320s.