The other famous girl of Lyme, besides Mary Anning, was Jane Austen, who lived with her parents at Bay Cottage, the white house near the harbour. Here it is supposed that Persuasion was written. Captain Coram, the bluff seaman and tender-hearted philanthropist who spent his small fortune on the Foundling Hospital, and. Sir George Somers, who colonized the Bermudas, were both local worthies. The latter died in the West Indies, but his body was brought home to Dorset and buried at Whitchurch Canonicorum.
The beautiful coast west of the Cobb is described in the next chapter, but mention must be made of the Landslip Walk. Several falls of the cliff, here resting on a precarious foundation of sand and blue has clay, have from time to time occurred and have produced this wide tract of broken and tumbled ground, only to be equalled in its picturesque confusion by the better known Undercliff in the Isle of Wight. The greatest “slip” took place in 1839 on Christmas Day and the country people were awakened during the night by loud and continuous noises like the rumble of distant artillery. It was found the next morning that a chasm nearly a mile long and about 400 feet wide had been formed parallel with the shore. This subsidence continued for a couple of days and took with it, without loss of life, several cottages. The wildly erratic disorder has been covered with a lovely profusion of flowers and plants in the sheltered valleys and ravines of this miniature Switzerland, and the whole undercliff as far as Rousdon and beyond is a wonderland of beauty.
Uplyme, three-quarters of a mile beyond the station, is in Devon. This may have been one of the pleas put forward a few years ago when strenuous efforts were made to get Lyme Regis transferred to the western county. The pretty village is about a mile and a half from Lyme Esplanade on the Axminster road. The church has been judiciously restored, but there is nothing of great interest to be seen apart from the old yew tree in the churchyard. Not far away is a beautiful old manor house called the “Court Hall”; it is now a farm house. The fine porch and queer old chimneys make a picture worth turning aside to see.