Dorset OPC

Coombe Keynes

Dorset OPC

Holy Rood Church, Coombe Keynes
All photographs on this page courtesy of Kim Parker, ©2010

Coombe Keynes  is a hamlet and parish some five miles west-south-west of Wareham, on the Wool to West Lulworth road. “Coombe” means “a place in the valley”, while the manorial addition of “Keynes” (pronounced “kaynes”) is derived from the Norman family de Cahaignes who held the manor, together with that of Tarrant Keyneston, in the twelfth century. As of 2001 the parish had only 79 inhabitants. It would seem that the population has been steadily declining for centuries, as when the Victorians remodelled the church, the south aisle was demolished. Originally, Coombe Keynes was the Mother Church for Wool, but it was made redundant in 1967 and now serves as a function room, managed by the Coombe Keynes Trust.

Holy Rood Church was designed by Dorchester architect John Hicks in 1861, preserving the thirteenth-century tower with its pyramidical, Purbeck stone roof from the previous building. Amongst the Church’s treasures was a beautiful and unusual pre-Reformation chalice with an octagonal foot and angels on the stem, which is now kept in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Today there are 22 houses in the hamlet itself and only 37 properties across the parish as a whole, including several farm buildings that have more recently been converted into dwellings. The picturesque cottages are built in a variety of materials, including grey limestone, dark brown heathstone and brick, and many are thatched. According to legend, Dairy Cottage is haunted by not one, but four ghosts. Three of them are women who were branded as witches – the fate of many independent-minded, but innocent women who refused to conform or kowtow to authority in olden times. The fourth is the ghost of a young girl who was murdered there in the 18th century and who is said to appear to spiritual and open-minded girls of a similar age.

Coombe Keynes Cottages

The new Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for Coombe Keynes is Ivan Gould
Please place the words 'OPC Coombe Keynes' as your subject for e-mails
(click on Ivan's name above to generate a pre-addressed email)

Census 1841 Census transcription [Pearl Blanking]
Parish Registers Baptisms 1592-1841, includes many Wool entries [Barry Chinchen]
Baptisms 1842-1879 [Valerie Robbins]
Baptisms 1813-1901
[Ivan Gould]
Marriages 1583-1840
[Barry Chinchen]
Burials 1586-1841
[Barry Chinchen]
Postal Directories  
Monumental Inscriptions Index of names on Burial Monuments [Brian Webber]
Other Records Coombe Keynes Roll of Honour [Kim Parker]
Maps The 1930 Ordnance Survey map of the parish can be seen at the old-maps site, just enter 'Coombe Keynes' under place search.

Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings 1585-1973. Marriages 1583-1975. Burials 1585-1810. Banns 1756-1967
Registration District
(for the purpose of civil registration births, marriages, deaths & civil partnerships)
1 Jul 1837-31 Mar 1937: Wareham
1 Apr 1937-31 Mar 1997: Poole
1 Apr 1997-30 Sep 2001: South Dorset
1 Oct 2001-17 Oct 2005: South & West Dorset


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