Beaminster, Dorset Family History Guide

Beaminster is an Ecclesiastical Parish and a market town in the county of Dorset, created in 1849 from chapelry in Netherbury Ancient Parish.

Other places in the parish include: Parnham, North Mapperton, Wansley, Axknoll, Langdon, Marsh, and Meerhay.

Alternative names:

Parish church: St Mary

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1585
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1585

Nonconformists include: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan Methodist. 

Adjacent Parishes

  • Stoke Abbott
  • Netherbury
  • South Perrot
  • Corscombe
  • Mapperton
  • Chedington
  • Broadwindsor
  • Melplaish

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BEAMINSTER, pronounced Bemminster a small town, a parish, a subdistrict, and a district in Dorset. The town stands on the river Birt, near the confluence. of its headstreams, among high environing hills, 4¾ miles NW of Powerstock r. station, and 6 NNE of Bridport. It is a place of considerable antiquity; but it was burnt to the ground by the troops of Prince Manrice in 1644, and again much destroyed by fire in 1684 and in 1781; and it now presents a modern and neat appearance. It has a post office‡ under Bridport, a banking office., a hotel, a townhall, a church, a chapel of ease, an Independent chapel, a Wesleyan chapel, a free school, and almshouses with £173, and other charities with £99; and is a polling-place for the county. The church is later English and large; contains tombs of the Strodes of Parnham; has a tower nearly 100 feet high, with curious sculpture on the western side; and was restored in 1862. A weekly market is held on Thursday; and a fair on 19 Sept. A good trade exists in double Dorset or mould cheese; and the manufacture of sailcloth, sacking, and pottery is carried on. The Rev. T. Hood, father of Lords Hood and Bridport, was master of the free school; and Bishop Spratt the poet, and Russell who defended Warton's History, were natives.

The parish includes also the tything of Langdon, and the hamlets of Axknoll, Marsh, Meerhay, North Mapperton, Parnham, and Wansley. Acres, 5,118. Real property, £13,632. Pop., 2,614. Houses, 590. The property is much subdivided. The manor belongs to the prebends of Beaminster Prima and Beaminster Secunda in the cathedral of Salisbury. Parnham House, formerly the seat of the Strodes, now the seat of Sir Henry Oglander, Bart., is an old Tudor edifice, and contains a fine hall, with gallery of portraits. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £246. Patron, the bishop of Salisbury. The subdistrict comprises the parishes of Beaminster, Mapperton, Hook, North Poorton, and Poorstock. Acres, 11,901. Pop., 4,112. Houses, 912. The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Netherbury, containing the parishes of Nether bury, Stoke-Abbott, Broadwinsor, Burstock, Bettiscombe, Pilsdon, and Marshwood; the subdistrict of Evershot, containing the parishes of Evershot, Melbury-Osmond, Melbury-Sampford, Wraxall, Rampisham, East Chelborough, West Chelborough, Halstock, and Corscombe; and the subdistrict of Misterton, containing the parishes of Cheddington, South Perrot, Mosterton, Misterton, and Seaborough,-the two last electorally in Somerset. Acres, 53,764. Poor-rates in 1866, £10,116. Pop. in 1861, 13,587. Houses, 2,913. Marriages in 1866, 72; births, 420, of which 20 were illegitimate; deaths, 219, of which 71 were at ages under 5 years, and 10 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,020; births, 4,465; deaths, 2,821. The places of worship in 1851 were 31 of the Church of England, with 6,893 sittings; 7 of Independents, with 1,482 s.; 1 of baptists, with 194 s.; 9 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 758 s.; and 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 65 s. The schools were 24 public day schools, with 1,286 scholars; 24 private day schools, with 523 s.; 35 Sunday schools, with 2,127 s.; and 2 evening schools for adults, with 25 s. The workhouse is in Stoke-Abbott.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


Vision of Britain historical maps


County: Dorset
Civil Registration District: Beaminster
Probate Court: Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Netherbury in Ecclesia
Diocese: Salisbury
Rural Deanery: Bridport
Poor Law Union: Beaminster
Hundred: Beaminster
Province: Canterbury