A History of St. Andrew`s Church, Charmouth

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In memory/of the Rev./Mr.EDWARD BRAGGE,M.A./late Rector of this parish./Obt. August 15 1747,aet.70./Also/MARTHA his wife./Obt.March 3,1769,aet.68/Their Sons out of a/Filial Duty and Respect/cause this to be erected/Anno Domini 1769.

Joseph and his son Edward Bragge were Rectors of Charmouth for 74 years. There is a magnificent memorial to the latter by the Altar with the families coat of arms. The founder of the Bragge family was Matthew who purchased the parish of Thorncombe from Queen Elizabeth in 1576. The families connection with Sadborow where they built a fine house remained until 1922. The family were Patrons of the church and a number were Vicars there. The first of these being John, the son of Richard Bragge, from 1580 until 1647. It was William Bragge who was elected M.P. For Bridport in 1681. He was a friend of John Pole whose family had earlier owned Charmouth and in 1685 was M.P. for Lyme Regis. William Ellesdon , a Royalist, who had nearly succeeded in assisting Charles11 escape from Charmouth in 1651 was patron and no doubt a friend of the Bragges when Joseph was chosen to be the Vicar in 1673.  The parish records show him marrying local girl Joane Mabel in the same year, which may well account for his taking up the living here. The parish records show them having at least 10 children, many of who, were to live their lives in the village. Joane was to die in 1704 and her husband four years later after 35 years of service. On his death, his son Edward was to take on his role and was to be the Vicar for 39 years, mainly under the patronage of William`s son Anthony Ellesdon, who lived in the Manor House opposite the church. Edward married Martha Trayte in 1730 and was to have five surviving sons - John (1735-), William (1737-1785), Lucius (1739-1786), Joseph ( 1731-1807 and Edward (1733-) it was they who erected the fine memorial to both him and his wife in the church. When Edward died he is reported to have had his coffin made from his dining room table which he lved so much.
The fine building at the top of the Street now called Lutrell House was built for Edward Bragge in 1735 according to the historian, Reginald Pavey, although what we see today was considerably altered at the end of the 19th century with its large bow windows masking the Georgian front. The Poor Rates show various members of the Bragge family owning houses in the village. It is John who leaves Cockwell and Hanscombe Farms in Whitchurch and the house now called Well Head to his son, William in 1807, a Surgeon from Bristol who takes up that position in the village. He lives at "The Court" with his wife Hester Mary and have a son William Joun Bragge who is shown living there before his death in 1839.

William Bragge son Edward born 1737
William Bragge surgeon died 1825 aged 59
Edward Bragge Rector 1708-1747
5 sons Joseph born 1731, Edward 1733
John 1735 William 1737 Lucius 1739'
March 7th 1792 " at a special vestry this day it is unanimously agreed that the Poor of this Parish shall be inoculated, the Small Pox being already in the Parish and in the neighbourhood and that Mr. Bragge shall inoculate them - Parish Register.
Luttrell House, where the Bragges lived.
Luttrell House, where the Bragges lived.
Memorial in St. Andrews Church for William Bragge

Floor Grave. - Beneath this stone/lieth the body of/WILLIAM BRAGGE/WILLIAM BRAGGE son of William Also his wife
William John Bragge(1804-1839) was born to William (1766-1825) and Mary (died in 1838)


Tithe no. 66 on the 1841 map was the property owned by William John Bragge, son of William and Mary Bragge. His memorial stone can still be seen on the floor of St. Andrews Church by the Altar. THe property which was rebuilt by Mrs Stuart is now known as the Court.
An extract of John Bragge`s Will of 1807 leaving his property in Charmouth to William Bragge

Charmouth. To be sold in fee,  by auction by mr. Fowler,
At the George Inn, in Charmouth on Wednesday the 25th day of September,1839, at six o clock in the evening,
All those two dwelling houses adjoining each other, pleasantly situated in the Centre of the delightful Watering Place of Charmouth, with a Court in front, and an extensive Walled Garden, of a superior description behind, well stocked with choice Fruit Trees.
One of the dwelling houses is in occupation of Doctor Thomas, and consists of a drawing and dining room of good dimensions, six bedrooms, with a two stall stable, and other requisite Offices. The other was in the occupation of the late William John Bragge, Esq, and comprises a dining room, five bed rooms and various convenient offices attached and the garden is occupied by Mr. Moore.
Dr. Thomas and Mr. Moore are yearly tenants. The occupancy of the former commenced on the 27th August, and that of the latter at Lady Day. Possession of the House in which Mr. Bragge resided May be obtained on completion of the purchase.
For viewing the premises application May be made to the respect Tenants and to Susanna Stuckey, and further particulars to Mr. Moore, Solicitor, Yeovil, Somerset

Part of Forde Abbey’s holdings until its dissolution in 1539, the Manor of Thorncombe was purchased in 1577 together with the patronage of the parish church from the Earl of Oxford by John Freake and Matthew Bragge. The Bragge family’s connection with Sadborow continued until 1923 when the estate was broken up and sold to pay death duties following the death of Captain John Bragge in 1922,

Bishop Secker's Survey of Charmouth in 1736

An interesting insight into the Bragges time in Charmouth can be seen in a Survey undertaken by Bishop Secker in 1735 of his Diocese in Dorset. He writes that it was augmented by Mr. Ellesdon, the patron and the incumbent Mr. Edward Bragge was a good Tory resident. It was a large Parish about 60 houses. Many Presbyterians and a Meeting House whose teacher was Mr. Robert Batten. No Papists. He remarks that it was a very handsome church.

The Presentation of Rev. Edward Bragge on the death of his father Joseph. in 1708 by Anthony Ellesdon.