Place:Weymouth, Dorset, England

Alt namesWeymouth and Melcombe Regissource: official name of borough
TypeChapelry, Civil parish, Borough (municipal)
Coordinates50.6°N 2.467°W
Located inDorset, England
See alsoWyke Regis, Dorset, Englandancient parish in which it was a chapelry
Uggscombe Hundred, Dorset, Englandhundred in which it was located
Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, Dorset, Englandmunicipal borough established 1920
Weymouth and Portland District, Dorset, Englanddistrict municipality 1974-2019
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Weymouth is a seaside town in Dorset, England, situated on a sheltered bay at the mouth of the River Wey on the English Channel coast. The town is 11 kilometres (7 mi) south of Dorchester and 8 kilometres (5 mi) north of the Isle of Portland. The town's population was 52,323 in the 2011 UK census. The town is the largest settlement in Dorset following the unitary authorities of Bournemouth and Poole.

Weymouth originated as a settlement on a constricted site to the south and west of Weymouth Harbour, an outlying part of Wyke Regis. The town developed from the mid 12th century onwards, but was not noted until the 13th century. By 1252 it was established as a seaport and became a chartered borough. Melcombe Regis developed separately on the peninsula to the north of the harbour; it was mentioned as a licensed wool port in 1310. French raiders found the port so accessible that in 1433 the staple was transferred to Poole.

Melcombe Regis is thought to be the first port at which the Black Death came into England in June 1348, possibly either aboard a spice ship or an army ship.

In 1635, on board the ship Charity, around 100 emigrants from the town crossed the Atlantic Ocean and settled in Weymouth, Massachusetts. More townspeople emigrated to the Americas to bolster the population of Weymouth, Nova Scotia and Salem, Massachusetts (then called Naumking).

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Weymouth, Dorset.

Image:Weymouth at 1900 small.png


In their early history Weymouth and Melcombe Regis were rivals for trade and industry, but the towns were united in an Act of Parliament in 1571 to form a double borough. Both towns have become known as Weymouth, despite Melcombe Regis being the main centre. In modern times they reunited into a single municipal borough known as Weymouth and Melcombe Regis in 1920. The villages of Upwey, Broadwey, Preston, Wyke Regis and Radipole were absorbed into the borough in 1933. The parish of Chickerell remained outside the borough.

The District of Weymouth and Portland was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, and merged the borough of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis and the nearby Portland Urban District.

Under the local government reforms on 1 April 2019, the district was abolished, and the county of Dorset (excluding Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole) became a unitary authority. Weymouth is now administered by Dorset Council at the higher tier, and Weymouth Town Council (successor to the district council) at the lower tier.

Dorset Research Tips

One of the many maps available on the website A Vision of Britain through Time is one from the Ordnance Survey Series of 1900 illustrating the parish boundaries of Dorset at the turn of the 20th century. This map blows up to show all parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. The internal boundaries on this map are the rural districts which are indicated in WeRelate's "See Also" box for the place concerned (unless it is an urban parish).

The following websites have pages explaining their provisions in WeRelate's Repository Section. Some provide free online databases. Some are linked to Ancestry.

  • GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Dorset, but it has left the 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes to UK Genealogy Archives which presents facts differently. Neither GENUKI or UK Genealogy Archives deal with the more modern civil parishes.
  • FamilySearch Wiki provides a similar information service to GENUKI which may be more up-to-date, but UK Genealogy Archives may prove more helpful.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has
  1. organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts and rural and urban districts up to 1974
  2. excerpts from gazetteers of the late 19th century outlining individual towns and parishes
  3. reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
  • The contents of the Victoria County History is provided by British History Online for many English counties, but not for Dorset. Instead they have provided the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England (RCHME Inventory Volumes) published in 1972 in five volumes covering the county in geographical areas. Thes articles describe buildings rather than towns and villages, but may be of use in researching a manor-owning family.
  • More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.


UK censuses are taken every ten years in the years ending in "1". There was no census in 1941. Details are not made available for 100 years after a census. A number of online databases (both paid and free) provide transcriptions of censuses up to 1911. Most of these provide information for an individual or a family. Many also provide images of the originals and thus allow browsing of a page or perhaps a whole enumeration district. The 1921 census was published in January 2022. It is available at FindMyPast with a charge additional to the usual subscrition to view the manuscript entries (there is no extra charge to view the index).

The Dorset Online Parish Clerks provides a good number of 19th century census transcriptions as well as lists of baptisms, marriages and burials as recorded in the parish. The formal Home Office Numbers (those starting with HO used in 1841 and 1851), the Registrar General Numbers (starting with RG in later decades, and the Enumeration District Numbers are included. There is an illustrated article to introduce each parish.

The 1841 census differed from the later ones in two different ways.

  • The question "where born" was to be answered either with the words "in county" (or "y") or "out of county" (or "n") with perhaps a more specific place in the case of those born abroad.
  • Ages for adults (usually those over 15, though some enumerators gave specific ages up to 20) were rounded down to the nearest 5 years. (i.e., for persons aged 15 years and under 20 write 15; 20 years and under 25 write 20; 25 years and under 30 write 25; and so on up to the eldest interval.

From 1851 onwards people were asked for the county and civil parish in which they were born whether in or out of the county, and ages were expressed exactly (in months for infants).

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Weymouth, Dorset. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.