Hill Bottom lies in a deep-cut valley that winds its way down to Chapman’s Pool. There are only a handful of cottages there now including Bakehouse Cottage, Hill Bottom Cottage, Honeysuckle Cottage and Mermaid Cottage.
In Victorian times there was a Coastguard Station sited lower down the valley close to Chapman’s Pool, the foundations of which can stlll be seen (see satellite photo later). According to the National Coastwatch Institution, there were four cottages and a small shed – the washroom – which contained a large copper boiler. The Station was supplied by sea, and the long boat, used to bring supplies ashore, was housed in the boathouse, built in 1867 on the slipway, which still stands.
The Census returns from 1841 to 1891 listed the Coastguard men, all naval personnel, and their families who lived at Hill Bottom. The duty of the coastguard men was to patrol the coastal path and meet their counterparts on either flank. The Kingston Parish Registers also show the marriages of Coastguard men to local women, and the baptisms and burials of many children. The Coastguard station was re-sited in 1895 on St. Alban’s Head. Apparently the Army took over the old coastguard cottages during World War I.
In the Parish Magazine of November 1914, the Vicar of Kingston, Revd. Arthur Napier wrote:
I have been here for three years, and have only just discovered that what I thought was a part of my parish is not so. I refer to Hill Bottom; I have hitherto been given to understand that the cottages on the right-hand side (as one goes towards Chapman’s Pool) and the old coastguard cottages belonged to Kingston, but on investigation of the Worth Tithe Map, I find that all these cottages, together with those on the left-hand side, are in the Parish of Worth. The only difference that this discovery will make will be that I shall cease my periodical visitation of these cottages, and (in the New Year) my issue to them of the Parish Magazine, but I shall retain in the future for the dwellers in the cottages there the same interest and affection that I have had for them in the past.
In her book “In and Around the Isle of Purbeck”, Ida Woodward wrote:
The way to Chapman’s or Shipman’s Pool leads through Rentscombe [Renscombe] farm-yard and winds down a steep hill to a valley called Bottom. There is a stygian prefix attached to the name of this valley that is unnecessary to mention; it is sufficient to say that it was probably affixed on account of the malevolent manner in which the inhabitants treated shipwrecked mariners.