Dorset OPC

Bryanston

Dorset OPC


St Martin's Church, Bryanston
© Kim Parker/Dorset OPC 2014

Bryanston is a village, civil and former ecclesiastical parish on the River Stour bordered by Blandford Forum, Pimperne, Blandford St Mary, Winterborne Stickland and Durweston. It is thought Bryanston is one of the manors called “Blaneford” in the Domesday Book (1086). By 1286 the manor is variously described as “Blaneford Brian” and “Brianeston”. The name means “estate of Bryan” from Old English tun for estate and the first name of the lord of the manor here in the thirteenth century, Brian de l’Isle (or de Insula in Latin). The manor was then owned by the Rogers family for many generations until it was purchased by Sir William Portman in 1685. After more than two hundred years in the hands of the Portmans, most of the estate passed back to the Crown when three successive heads of the family died within a decade of each other and their fortune was decimated by death duties. The mansion and park was sold to an educational trust in 1928.

The architectural history of Bryanston is a tale of three country houses, two churches and a village that has reinvented itself. All that survives of the first country house are a few drawings. It was demolished in 1778 and replaced with a new mansion designed by James Wyatt, the most famous feature of which was an octagonal staircase over 9 metres in diameter. All that remains of it now is a service building and the magnificent gatehouse. It was replaced by a distinctive red brick building in the Georgian style designed by Norman Shaw, constructed between 1889-94 about half a kilometre away from Wyatt’s house, and is now part of Bryanston School.

Wyatt’s House was pulled down to make way for a new parish church. The old parish church of St Martin’s, now Portman Chapel, was left standing and is situated just a few metres from the new church of St Martin’s. Built c1745, it is an unusual building for a Dorset church, with it’s undifferentiated nave and chancel, rendered external walls, Palladian windows and wooden bell-cote above the western gable housing a clock and a small bell under a concave lead-covered cupola. It was built on the site of the medieval church of which almost nothing was retained. The new church of St Martin’s was completed in 1898 by E.P. Warren and combines elements of the Decorated and the Perpendicular styles. When the parishes of Bryanston and Durweston were merged, St Martin’s became the private chapel of Bryanston School.

Originally the parish church lay at the heart of the village. In medieval times it was a relatively large settlement - twenty-three taxpayers are recorded in the 1333 Subsidy Rolls - but by 1662 the number of households had dwindled to six. As the mansion and its dependencies occupied more and more of the area where the village had stood, the settlement of “Lower Bryanston” – that part of the village beyond the entrance to the park near the village inn – grew in importance. Then on 12 July 1731 at Blandford Forum an over-zealous tallow chandler’s apprentice set too hearty a fire under a soap boiling furnace. Supplies of furze caught alight and within an hour the whole town was ablaze. Sparks flew and Bryanston was also destroyed. The village arose from the ashes and is today a bustling place.


Bryanston Church
© Kim Parker/Dorset OPC 2014



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Census 1841 Census [Mari Viertal]
1851 Census
1861 Census [Ron Adams]
1871 Census
1891 Census [John Ridout]
1901 Census
Parish Registers Baptisms 1800-1900 [Caryl Parsons]
Marriages 1800-1900 [Caryl Parsons]
Burials 1800-1900 [Caryl Parsons]
Trade & Postal Directories  
Other Records  
Photographs  
Monumental Inscriptions  
Maps  
Records held at the Dorset History Centre
 
Registers
Christenings 1598-1643, 1649-99 & 1763-1973. Marriages 1599-1637 & 1756-1975. Burials 1599-1643,1661-97, 1764-91, 1813-88 & 1967.


Bryanston Church
© Kim Parker/Dorset OPC 2014


Bryanston Church
© Kim Parker/Dorset OPC 2014


Bryanston Church
© Kim Parker/Dorset OPC 2014


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