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THEN & NOW; CHRIS ROBINSON compares pictures of the past to the Plymouth of today.


OUR Then picture takes us back to the tail end of the nineteenth century, when there was still a working mill below the ancient church of St Werburgh. The main part of the present structure is almost a thousand years old, having been built by the Normans in 1088, however there was a wooden Saxon structure here before that time and so there has been a church of some kind on this coastal site for some considerable time. One wonders what it looked like then and can only marvel at the lack of change in this view over the last century or so. Indeed we can be fairly sure it hasn't changed that much since the celebrated English artist JMW Turner was here sketching the Mewstone some 200 years ago.

William Beer was the local farmer who ran the mill back in the 1890s, but it would appear that it fell into disuse not long after that. Today, reincarnated as the Old Mill Cafe and run by the National Trust (the Wembury cliffs were gifted to the organisation by Ida Sebag-Montefiore back in 1935 to protect the area from development ) this is a popular resort with surfers, daytrippers and school children, for whom the rocks pools and wildlife are an endless source of interest.

More recently, in 2006, the National Trust added to their portfolio here with the acquisition of Wembury Point and the Mewstone, so hopefully this view will see little change in the foreseeable future. |Pics and text from Around Plymouth Then & Now, available later this month.

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Publication:The Plymouth Herald (Plymouth, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2020
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