Smuggling was a way of life for many during ages past.  It was often thought that it was as dangerous a job to be a customs officer as it was to be a smuggler.  With most people apathetic to smuggling in the 19th Century, it was seen more as a national pastime than an illegal enterprise.  It was not just the drunken rogues that you associate with Disney’s ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ that were involved; the clergy, Lords of the Manor as well as the customs officers themselves were often involved.  Even the Mayor of Weymouth was a known smuggler at one stage who kept his officers sweet, quite literally in this case, with bribes of sugar and sherry.  It is a well known fact that the smugglers coming ashore on Chesil Beach could judge their position by picking up a handful of shingle. The beach grades itself with potato sized stones to be found at the Portland end of the beach, and stones the size of peas at West Bay. This picture shows cobbles from Portland on the pea-shingle beach at Abbotsbury. The site Smugglers Britain has some great stories involving local smugglers as well as the local region.  All Saints’ church in Wyke Regis has the misfortune to house some smuggling gravestones.

Osmington Mills, with its aptly named pub ‘The Smugglers’, was the dwelling of the Charles family, a renowned gang of local smugglers.  Not to give the game away back then, the pub was known as ‘The Crown’.  Some interesting stories regarding this local villain are detailed at this Weymouth Local and Family History website where you can read about generations of smuggling. 
Another famous local smugglers was Jack Rattinger.  He operated on the Devon Dorset shorelines and now has an award winning scrumpy named after him which can be purchased at The Esplanade.
The Esplanade, Weymouth Seafront Slideshow: Rob’s trip to Weymouth was created with TripAdvisor TripWow!