WHEN the Town Mill Brewery called its first brew Cobb Ale, it had no idea the name was steeped in so much history.

Bosses of the Lyme Regis microbrewery have discovered a beer festival that started in the 14th century and lasted for around 250 years went by the same name.

The annual knees-up was held to raise money for the maintenance of The Cobb but according to the history books it was stopped in around 1610 by the Puritans.

The Town Mill Brewery is now hoping to revive the festival in some form and is appealing for more information about the historic event.

Julian Shaw, managing director of Lyme Bay Brewing Ltd, said: “It’s pure coincidence that our beer happens to be called Cobb Ale.

“It just seems like a really good opportunity for us to maybe make something of it next year.

“Lyme already has a lot of festivals so perhaps we could combine it with something else.”

Mr Shaw discovered the festival while researching the history of small breweries in Lyme Regis.

“Someone told us there were other breweries in the old days in Coombe Street, so we were down there looking for that sort of thing,” he said.

“Then we discovered that in Lyme Bay Kitchen in Coombe Street there was something mentioned on the wall about the Cobb Ale. It was an extract from a book.”

Mr Shaw enlisted the help of Lyme Regis Museum, which unearthed information in a book called Records of Early English Drama: Dorset and Cornwall.

The book said: “Annually at Whitsuntide, Lyme Regis held the Cobb Ale, a custom that probably fostered and confirmed the community spirit of the townsfolk and certainly raised funds for the maintenance of the Cobb and other civic projects.”

It continues said: “The Cobb Ale was the kind of celebration at which one would expect to find performers. The celebrations took place each year at about the same time and lasted between two and three weeks.”

John Fowles also referred to the festival in his book, Three Town Walks. He said it was held at the Cobb Hall in Coombe Street and celebrated the coming of the summer.

He added: “The drinking and games-playing it occasioned incurred the acute displeasure of the Puritans and about 1610 they killed the festival, probably as ancient as Lyme itself, for good.”

Anyone who has further information about the Cobb Ale festival is urged to email info@townmillbrewery.com