The Weymouth of today was originally two towns, Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, the former being the oldest of the two towns was granted its first charter in 1252 and the name comes from the little Rivre Wey which empties into Radipole Lake on northwest of the twon, whereas Melcombe was on the north side of the inlet and was a wool poor in 1310 and the Regis was added in 1336.
Both of these towns had a stong competition between then for importance and this could turn into real hate and the rivalry between the two over trade, smuggling and piracy caused Elizabeth I to combine the two of them in 1571 to make the base of what is now the modern town on Weymouth.
In 1588 a major sea battle between the Spanish and English fleets took place off of Portland and a lot of local ships went out and fount and the San Salvador was captured and brought into Weymouth where she was looted and even the Mayor is said to have run off with the pay chest!
A memorial in the gardens opposite the Pier Pavilion commemorates John Endicott and Richard Clark "captain and pilot of Weymouth who in 1583 sailed thence to join Sir Humphrey Gilbert's voyage of discovery to Newfoundland". Endicott and five other men purchased a part of North America that was 60 miles wide and stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific which included Massachusetts and Salem and he sailed there in Abigail. In 1649 John Endicott became the Governor of Massachusetts Bay in 1649 until he died in 1665.
It was in 1773 that the first notable holiday resort was opened and business started to pick up considerably when George III spent some time here convalescing in 1789 and the bathing cart he used is in the Town Museum. He was a regular visitor to the town and a statue of him was put up near the beach.
Sir Christopher Wren was a Member of Parliament for Weymouth and Sir Francis Bacon sat for Melcombe.
The Nothe Fort was constructed in 1860 as a part of the defences to Portland Harbur and was designed and built by the Royal Engineers to house a 12 gun battery of huge canons which were later adapted for more modern guns and it remained active until 1956 when the Coastal Defence was abandoned and in 1961 it was sold to the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and has been opened t the public.
Opposite the Royal Hotel is a monument commemorating the sailing from Weymouth and Portland of the American Assault force which included the US Ist Infantry Division and also some units of US Rangers, they saw the worst of the D-Day fighting with more than 2,000 casualties on Omaha Beach and the plaque records that 517,000 men and 133,093 vehicles embarked here by the 14th Major Port, US Army from 6th June 1944 until 7th May 1945 when the war ended.
Today Weymouth is a popular seaside resort and the harbour has a large number of yachts and cruisers there, as well as a small fishing fleet and the Channel Island Ferry, Condor has a high speed hydrofoil Service there.