Hermitage is a small village and civil parish
situated in the Blackmore Vale under the scarp of the Dorset Downs,
6 miles (9.7km) South of Sherborne and 4 miles (km) North-West of Cerne Abbas.
In former times this was a heavily wooded area and a popular hunting venue for
royalty - part of what was known as Blackmoor Regis. The Forest of Hartleigh,
which stood within the confines of the present parish, was famed up to at least
the thirteenth century for its massive trees, supplying timbers for the repair
of the Abbey buildings at both Cerne and Sherborne.
Their Priory stood on land occupied by the house adjacent to the
church, known as Church Farm. The present church, dedicated to St Mary, consists of
chancel, nave and south porch and is built on a 14th century plan. The walls are of
local rubble with freestone dressings and the roofs are covered with stone and slates.
There is a single bell, dating from 1795, hanging in the small stone bell-turret above
the West wall, its oaken bell-wheel skilfully re-made in 1990. The gargoyle just
below it is probably medieval.
“Arise, arise, ye subterranean winds!” According to John Marius Wilson’s 1872 Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales, that’s precisely what happened here in 1585. A large spot of ground was said to have been removed by the force of a subterranean wind and carried a considerable distance, retaining trees and hedges on it entire, and leaving a great hollow where it had been. Whether this is true or not, nobody knows, but no doubt it was a popular tale at the annual fair held at Hermitage every August 26th. More recently, Hermitage has been prized for its tranquility. During the second World War, being one of the least turbulent spots in the country, Bournemouth Art Gallery chose Hermitage as the place to store its treasures and the church was adorned with many of its valuable paintings.
1841 Census [Mari Viertel]
1881 Census [Jon Baker]
1891 Census [Jon Baker]
1901 Census [Keith Searson]
Baptisms 1733-1860 [Rachel Kent]
Marriages 1605-1714, 1717-1860 [Rachel Kent]
Burials 1721-1970 [Rachel Kent]
|Trade & Postal Directories|
|Monumental Inscriptions||St Mary's Monumental Inscription index [Jan Hibbed]|
|Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings 1712-1747, 1760-2000. Marriages 1713-1741, 1763-1837. Burials 1712-1747, 1760-1991.
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