Charminster is a parish and scattered village two miles north west from the centre of Dorchester and on the opposite side of the River Cerne. A Roman mosaic pavement has been unearthed in the village. The 12th century church of St Mary has massive Norman arches dividing the aisles from the nave and a 15th century bell tower.  There are monuments to the Devenish and Trenchard families. The registers date from 1561. The River Cerne flows under the church.

Wolfeton house at Charminster was the home of the Trenchards from 1480 until the late 18th century. It is associated with many tales of supernatural activities.

Within the parish was also the County Lunatic Asylum which had an extensive range of buildings and could accommodate up to 720 inmates.

Dorset County School is also situated in the parish as well as a National School built in 1874. The soil is gravel and much of the land is rich pasture, ideal for dairy stock. The area is 4095 acres and the population in 1891 was 1450 persons which included 121 officers and 483 inmates of the asylum.

Photographs Carol Few

The Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for Charminster is Carol Few
You may contact her by e-mail if you have further queries

Census 1841 Census
1851 Census [John Ridout]
1861 Census

1871 Census
1871 Census - Dorset County Asylum
Parish Registers Baptisms  1700-1716
Marriages 1561-1812
Postal Directories
Photographs Photographs of the church and village
Maps The 1891 ordnance survey maps of the parish can be seen at the old-maps site, just enter 'Charminster' under place search.
For modern location maps visit:-

For a 1920s map of the area click on the thumbnail opposite


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