There is an ancient pub in Osmington Mills called the Smugglers Inn, parts of which date from the 13th century. In the early 19th century, the landlord of the pub was the leader of the area’s most notorious gang of smugglers, Emmanuel Charles. It was said that the brandy imported by Charles was so disgusting that the locals refused to drink it, so it had to be transported inland to be redistilled. Charles had a sidekick nicknamed French Peter, real name Peter Latour, who used to anchor his ship, the Hirondelle, in the bay below the pub. One day Charles received a visit from an officer of the Preventive, the anti-smuggling force of the time, and plied him with drink, then told him terrifying tales about the ferocious nature of French Peter, so that when the latter turned up at the inn the Preventive was persuaded to hide in the chimney, only to be smoked out when the two smugglers set about lighting a fire in the grate, upon which he was sent back to Weymouth, still drunk and reeking of smoke.
Map of the area.
|Photo by Tim Marshall, via Wikimedia Commons|