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The main road in Chideock
Chideock is located in Dorset
 Chideock shown within Dorset
Population 550 [1]
OS grid reference SY423928
District West Dorset
Shire county Dorset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Bridport
Postcode district DT6
Police Dorset
Fire Dorset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament West Dorset
Website Village website
List of places

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Chideock (/ˈɪdək/ CHI-dək) is a village and civil parish in south west Dorset, England, situated close to the English Channel between Bridport and Lyme Regis. Dorset County Council's 2013 estimate of the parish population is 550.

Chideock's economy mostly comprises agriculture (arable and pastoral) and tourism. The parish includes part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site.

During much of its history Chideock has had a strong tradition of Catholicism; in the late 16th century four Chideock men were executed for their faith and became known as the Chideock Martyrs. There is a memorial to the men in the village.

The A35 trunk road passes through the village, which means the main street can have high volumes of traffic.


In 1086 Chideock was recorded in the Domesday Book as 'Cidihoc'.[2] In 1379-80 John de Chideock, a manorial lord, built Chideock Castle just north of the village.[2][3][4] 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.[4] During the Protestant reign of Elizabeth I the Arundell estate became Dorset's main centre of Catholicism,[5] and the locality witnessed considerable religious strife.[2] Four local Catholic men—John Cornelius, Thomas Bosgrave, John Carey and Patrick Salmon[4]—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.[2][4] 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.[4]

During the English Civil War Chideock was a royalist stronghold,[4] 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.[2][3][4] Chideock House Hotel may have been the headquarters of General Fairfax as he planned the castle's overthrowing.[citation needed] Parts of the castle remained standing until at least 1733[3] 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.[2][3]

File:Chideock, Catholic church of Our Lady of Martyrs and St. Ignatius - - 496533.jpg
Chideock's Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of the Martyrs and St Ignatius

In 1802 the Arundells were succeeded by the Weld family of Lulworth Castle who in 1810 built Chideock Manor.[2] 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 of the Martyrs and St Ignatius.[2]


Chideock is in the electoral ward of Chideock and Symondsbury, which encompasses much of the coast between Charmouth and West Bay plus inland beyond Symondsbury. The total population of this ward is 1,745.[6] This ward is one of 32 that comprise the West Dorset parliamentary constituency, which is currently represented in the UK national parliament by the Conservative Oliver Letwin.


Chideock is situated in the West Dorset administrative district approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) west of Bridport, 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Lyme Regis and 0.75 miles (1.21 km) inland from the English Channel. The parish includes the coastal hamlet of Seatown, which lies less than 1 mile (1.6 km) to the south on the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. Seatown has a long shelving pebble beach, with views up towards the hill which forms Golden Cap, the highest cliff 191 metres (627 ft) on the south coast of England. Fossilised ammonites and belemnites can often be found on the beach due to continued coastal erosion of the soft blue lias clays which make up the cliffs.


Dorset County Council's 2013 estimate of the parish population is 550.[1]

The population of the parish in the censuses between 1921 and 2001 is shown in the table below:

Census Population of Chideock Parish 1921—2001 (except 1941)
Census 1921 1931 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 548 542 610 559 560 650 690 600
Source:Dorset County Council[7]

Results of the 2011 census have been published for the combined populations of Chideock parish and the small neighbouring parish of Stanton St Gabriel; the combined population was 686.[8]


The A35 trunk road between Honiton and Southampton passes through Chideock, which in 1997 was the first village in Britain to have two speed cameras installed in response to perceived excessive speed.[9] The National Trust refused permission for a prospective bypass[9] over land it owns to the north of Golden Cap, citing its importance as an area of natural beauty. On 4 May 2010 a protest against the lack of a bypass was initiated by some residents and involved constant operation of a pedestrian crossing at the centre of the village for one hour's duration every week.[10] This campaign continued for a year and may result in restrictions on heavy goods vehicles in the village.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Parish Population Data". Dorset County Council. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Roland Gant (1980). Dorset Villages. Robert Hale Ltd. pp. 122–3. ISBN 0 7091 8135 3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Reginald J W Hammond (1979). Dorset Coast (4 ed.). Ward Lock Ltd. pp. 36–7. ISBN 0 7063 5494 X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Peter Booton (May 2012). "Booton Foot Trails: Chideock, Golden Cap and Seatown". Dorset Life Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. J.H. Bettey (1974). Dorset. David & Charles. p. 99. ISBN 0 7153 6371 9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Chideock and Symondsbury ward 2011.Retrieved 26 Feb 2015".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Parishes (A-L), 1921-2001- Census Years". Dorset County Council. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Area: Chideock (Parish). Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 22 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 Clive Aslet (2011). Villages of Britain: The Five Hundred Villages that Made the Countryside. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781608196722.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Protest pensioner halts A35 traffic in Dorset at
  11. Light at the end of tunnel for Dorset road campaign. Retrieved 7th Feb 2012

External links