Bantham’s name describes its position – ‘ham’, a dwelling place, on the Bents, the sea grass found on the sand dunes.
Bantham’s history dates back to Neolithic times. There is evidence of a Bronze Age settlement and a Roman and post-Roman settlement including a trading port at Bantham Ham. It is a scheduled ancient monument recognised by Historic England because of its national importance.
For much of its history, Bantham was a farming and fishing village, although incomes were often supplemented by ‘wrecking’ – taking the spoils from ships that foundered in the often dangerous waters off Bantham’s coast.
By the 1800s, much of the village as you see it today was in existence. This includes the row of white-washed traditional cob cottages that run down to the beach, The Sloop Inn, which first dates from the 14 th century, and the coastguard station, as well as a smithy, a bakery and a shop.
Twentieth century additions include Coronation Boathouse, which was built in 1938 to celebrate the coronation of King George VI by the Estate’s owner at the time, Commander Evans. He also built Villa Crusoe, Cockleridge House and Ham Cottage to create homes for his three daughters.
Bantham has always been a private estate. Today, it is managed in the same careful and respectful way as its sister estate, Great Tew in Oxfordshire, in order to maintain the strong heritage and community of the village and its surroundings.