Dorset OPC


Dorset OPC

St Martins Church, Broadmayne
© Kim Parker 2010

The village of Broadmayne lies on both sides of the busy A352 Wareham to Dorchester road, two miles South-East of the latter, while the parish of Broadmayne is bordered by Warmwell to the East, Bincombe, Sutton Poyntz and Poxwell to the South, Whitcombe to the West and to the North by West Knighton, to which it is now annexed. In 1831 the population of the village was 277, almost doubling to 506 by 1871/2 and continuing to grow over the decades so that by 2001 it stood at 1,864.

Broadmayne is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as ‘Maine’. The name is derived from a Celtic word meaning a rock or stone, and probably refers to the numerous sarsens found to the North-East of the village. ‘Broad’, from the Old English word for large or wide, was added later to distinguish this manor from that of Little Mayne in the neighbouring parish of West Knighton. In Medieval times it was often known as Mayne Martel, in honour of the family who were Lords of the Manor here in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Through the years, possession of the manor passed to many famous Dorset dynasties, including the Talbot, Henning, Loder, Maber, Damer, Samways and Furmedge families. Besides these names of quality, there is one infamous name that is associated with Broadmayne – that of Bill Watch, the notorious highwayman who used to stable his horse here when he was robbing coaches along the Weymouth to London route.

In the Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, the final sentence of John Marius Wilson’s description of Broadmayne reads, “The church is not good”. There are few that would agree with that assessment of St. Martin’s Church today. It is a fairly recent building of Portland stone, having undergone a major restoration by John Hicks (from drawings by his apprentice, future author Thomas Hardy) in 1865/6, with the notable exception of the tower, which was built over two centuries, starting in the 13th century. Inside the church old features are complemented by more recent ones, such as the 13th century lancet windows filled with 19th century stained glass, and the font, with a 19th century pillar supporting a 15th century bowl. Other eye-catching features include beatific Victorian angel corbels by Richard Boulton, whose work is found throughout Dorset and as far afield as the Courts of Justice in Bombay.

Broadmayne Cottages and Graveyard
© Kim Parker 2010

The Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for Broadmayne is Emma Nixon

Emma is local to Broadmayne and is currently transcribing records as part of a local history project. Emma can be contacted by email by clicking on her name above, a correctly addressed email will be generated

Census 1841 Census [Keith Searson]
1851 Census
[Tony Cake]
1861 Census
[Glenda Lightowler]
1871 Census
[Keith Searson]
1891 Census
[Tony Cake]
Parish Registers Marriages 1667-1837 [Kim Parker]
Trade & Postal Directories  
Other Records Rectors of St Martin's, Broadmayne [Kim Parker]
PCC Wills Index [Kim Parker]
Photographs Photographs of Broadmayne Church [Keith Searson]
Monumental Inscriptions Broadmayne Roll of Honour [Kim Parker]
Links Broadmayne Millenium Project
Broadmayne Photographs
Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings 1663-1962. Marriages 1667-1980. Burials 1663-1927. Banns 1877-1981





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