Chideock & Seatown, Dorset - Historic Village and World Heritage Site
Chideock, Dorset (pronounced chiduck) is one of the villages recently visited by Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages series on Channel 4. The village of Chideock and the hamlet of Seatown have a very long history. The scenery surrounding this village is incredible, from the rolling hills and fields of Chideock to the dramatic cliffs and Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast of England, at Seatown.
Chideock is only a mile from Lyme Barn and is easily accessible by car, bus or by foot. There is a great walk to Chideock from Morcombelake which enjoys fantastic views of the surrounding hills and countryside.
Places to Eat & Drink
They cater for all tastes, The Anchor is perfect if you wish to dine right next to the sea. The George Inn (featuring wood fired Pizzas every Thursday) and The Clockhouse are both refurbished country pubs.
In 1086 Chideock was recorded in the Domesday Book as 'Cidihoc' In 1379–80 John de Chideock, a manorial lord, built Chideock Castle just north of the village. During the Middle Ages ownership passed to the Catholic Arundell family, who used it to provide refuge for priests and loyal followers during subsequent religious persecution.
During the Protestant reign of Elizabeth I the Arundell estate became Dorset's main centre of Catholicism, and the locality witnessed considerable religious strife. Four local Catholic men John Cornelius, Thomas Bosgrave, John Carey and Patrick Salmon were martyred in the late 16th century; their trial took place in the main hall of what is now Chideock House Hotel and they were executed in Dorchester. The men became known as the Chideock Martyrs. A fifth man, Hugh Green, who became Chideock's chaplain in 1612, was tried and executed in 1642. All five were beatified on 15 December 1929.
During the English Civil War Chideock was a royalist stronghold, and the castle changed hands more than once before it was ultimately left ruinous in 1645 by parliamentarian forces under the Governor of Lyme Regis, Colonel Ceeley. Chideock House Hotel may have been the headquarters of General Fairfax as he planned the castle's overthrowing. Parts of the castle remained standing until at least 1733 but only some of the moat can be seen today; it is in a field, accessed by Ruins Lane, and marked by a crucifix as a memorial to the martyrs.
In 1802 the Arundells were succeeded by the Weld family of Lulworth Castle who in 1810 built Chideock Manor. The Welds were also Catholic and in 1870-2 Charles Weld designed and built the village's Roman Catholic church in an unusual Romanesque style. It is dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, and St Ignatius and remains in trust to the Weld family.
Chideock Castle in Ruins circa 17th Century.