Weymouth has been a port for many Centuries and evidence shows that Roman Galleys sailed up the River Wey as far as Radipole where they could be beached and cargo unloaded for transport to the Roman Town of Durnovaria (Dorchester). With the Roman capture of Maiden Castle having taken place in AD43 the estuary of the River Wey came into regular use as a port from about this date or just after, as the settlement at Durnovaria developed.
Mention of the Port is made for the first time in 1100 when the ports belonging to the two local, and rival, towns of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis were granted to the Convent and Prior of St Swithin of Winchester. For those readers who do not necessarily know the distinction, Melcombe Regis was the town on the land between the Inner Harbour and the Sea where the main shopping centre now stands.
A local charter of 1252 mentions the Port of Weymouth and in 1347 it supplied 15 ships and 263 mariners for the siege of Calais. During the 15th Century it prospered partly as a result of a substantial trade in pilgrims sailing to Spain. A dispute as to the ownership of the harbour was settled by the amalgamation of the two towns adjoining the harbour, Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, in 1571. In 1588 ships were supplied for the fight against the Spanish Armada and an iron chest reputed to have come from the captured Portuguese ship, San Salvador, a squadron flagship of the Armada, is exhibited in the Time Walk Museum in Hope Square. A majority of the trade through the port was of coastal origin but many ships went further afield to trade with the Continent, Mediterranean, West Indies and North America.
Commercial fishing remains a key activity within the port and in 1994 a new fish landing quay was constructed to enable the port to comply with EC regulations governing the landing of fish for human consumption. Electrical plug-in sockets have now also been added so that modern fish lorries do not need to run their engines for power during waiting/loading thus cutting down noise problems from the refrigeration generators. With the increased catches being processed within Port limits by the winter Klondyker fish factory fleet, Weymouth is now the Port with the largest annual fish tonnage in England and the third largest in the UK.
The port therefore has a recorded history of use dating back circa 1900 years to the Romans and we look forward to being able to serve you for many more years to come.
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