The Petre Family

After the many centuries of control by the Abbots of Forde Abbey, the Manor was briefly owned by the Crown and in 1564; Queen Elizabeth sold it to Robert and William Caldwell for just £25.5s.1d, and in the same year Sir William Petre was to purchase it. The original Charter was included in the deeds to the Manor and in 1853 it was copied out by Matthew Liddon to prove his ownership of the foreshore. It is very long and seems to apply to all the lands and buildings in the village. A comprehensive survey was instigated by Sir William soon after he bought it and can be seen amongst the rental books for the family now kept in the Devon Record Office in Exeter. It details all the tenants and their lands and buildings at that time and provides an insight into the village during the transition from the Abbey.
Sir William was immensely wealthy and used his position as Secretary of State for King's Henry VIII, Edward, Queen's Mary and Elizabeth to increase it with the dissolution of the monastic estates. He was known to have 36,000 acres in Devon alone.
The house he had built, Ingatestone in Essex is still home for his descendants. He died in 1572 and briefly his son Sir John Petre owned Charmouth. Altogether they were to be landlords for just 10 years, but there is a record of this time in the Deeds to several houses in the village which detail Sir John giving 2000 years leases on them. Amongst them is “The Elms” on the Street that shows that on 27th April 1575 he leased it to Richard Piers of Lyme. It is described as "Manns Tenement" after the person who had previously occupied it and was just a cottage with an acre of land.
The family tree for the Petres detail that Sir William's daughter, Dorothy married Nicholas Wadham of Branscombe in Devon and with their combined wealth were able to build and endow Wadham College in Oxford which still has statues of them both above it's Gateway. Another branch of the Wadhams were also to become Lords of the Manor of Catherstone, which adjoins Charmouth. In 1590 they added to their Estate by purchasing Newlands in Charmouth from their cousin, Sir John Petre.

Sir William Petre (1505-1572)
Sir John Petre (1549-1613)
Sir William Petre (1505-1572)
Ingatestone Hall in Essex is still home for the descendants of Sir William Petre.
A page from the detailed Survey taken by Sir William Petre in 1564 of his Charmouth Estate which is now amongst the rental books for the family kept in the Devon Record Office in Exeter
Wadham College in Oxford which still has statues of the Dorothy and Nicholas Wadham who were its benefactors above it's Gateway
Another branch of the Wadhams were Lords of the Manor of Catherstone, which adjoins Charmouth. The porch to the original building can still be seen adjoined to the right of the main house.
A statement by Lieutenant Matthew Liddon , in the Royal Navy, Lord of the Manor of Charmouth in the County of Dorset dated February 1853
That Queen Elizabeth in the 6th year of Her reign (1564) granted the Lordship and Manor to Robert and William Caldwell, Gentlemen and their heirs with all their rights , members, liberties and appurtenances whatsoever to the late dissolved Monastery of Ford in the County of Devon belonging and all tenements, heriditaments and also the Advowson of the Recory and Church of Charmouth with their rights and appurtenances and all messuages, mills, dove houses, lands, tenements, commons, wastes, marshes, waters, fishing places, fishings, warrens, rents and services, rents of free men and of customary tenements , fee farms and of Knights fee marriages escheats relief heriots fines amerciaments court lets view of Frank pledge and all the same Courts appertaining chattels Wayved strays chattels of felons Bond men and women and fairs markets tolls customs and all other the rights jurisdictions franchises privileges emoluments and heritaments with the appurtenances of whatsoever nature general or special or by whatsoever manner they are known in Charmouth or elsewhere in the same County to the said Manor in any way belonging or as member so fully and freely as any other Abbott or Prior of Ford or any others the said Lordship and manor were possessed or seized or ought to have enjoyed by virtue of any Charter, Gift or confirmation or any Letters Patent by us or by any of our Progenitors Kings of England before this had made or granted or confirmed or by reason or by virtue of any lawful prescription use or custom heretofore had by whatsoever lawful means right or title and also so fully freely and in as ample manner and form as we or any Progenitors the Lordship and manor before said and all and singular the premises to the said Lordship and manor appertaining and every parcel thereof we have had and enjoyed and the same had and enjoyed as we or they ought to have and enjoy as unto the manor aforesaid belonging and appertaining.