Updated on

Dorset Family History Guides - Free

DORSETSHIRE, or Dorset, a maritime county; bounded, on the NW, by Somerset; on the NE, by Wiltshire; on the E, by Hampshire; on the S, by the English channel; on the W, by Devon. About 10, 000 acres are disposed in orchards; about 190, 000 are under the plough; and about 400, 000 are meadow and pasture. Manufactures in flax, thread, hemp, cordage, sailcloth, woollens, worsted stockings, shirt buttons, and gloves, employ about 3, 000 persons. Fisheries of various kinds, but most largely of mackerel, are carried on along the coast, particularly near Abbotsbury and from Portland to Bridport. 

The county is governed by a lord-lieutenant, a high sheriff, about sixty deputy lieutenants, and about 210 magistrates; is in the south-western military district, and the western judicial circuit; and forms an archdeaconry in the diocese of Salisbury. The assizes and the quarter sessions are held at Dorchester. The county jail also is there, and a town jail is at Poole. The police force, in 1862, comprised 35 men for the boroughs of Blandford, Dorchester, Poole, and Weymouth, at an annual cost of £2, 251 a year; and 133 for the rest of the county, at a cost of £9, 322. The crimes committed were 36 in the boroughs, and 159 in the rest of the county; the persons apprehended, 31 in the boroughs, and 126 in the rest of the county. The known depredators and suspected persons at large were 201 in the boroughs, and 2, 494 in the rest of the county; the houses of bad character, 58 in the boroughs, and 262 in the rest of the county. 

Alphabetical List of Dorset Parishes