Dorset OPC

Hinton Parva

alias Little Hinton or Stanbridge

Dorset OPC

St Kenelm Church, Hinton Parva
© Kim Parker/Dorset OPC 2011

Hinton Parva is a tiny leaf-shaped civil parish, and anciently an ecclesiastical one too, through whose water-meadows the River Allen flows, three miles North of Wimborne Minster. Measuring barely three-quarters of a mile by half a mile, the parish contains only a mill, two farms and the tiny hamlets of Hinton Parva and Stanbridge, with the now redundant church situated in the latter. ‘Hinton’ is thought to mean ‘monks’ farm’, from Old English ‘hiwan’ and ‘tun’, perhaps with reference to the monastery at Wimborne Minster of which Hinton Parva is reputed to have once been a chapelry. The Latin addition ‘Parva’ for ‘little’ distinguishes this place from Hinton Martell. ‘Stanbridge’, as the parish is sometimes called, could mean ‘stone bridge’ from Old English ‘stan’ and ‘brycg’, or ‘causeway through marshy ground’, since the Wimborne to Cranborne road crosses low-lying land by the River Allen here.

The manor is not mentioned in its own right in the Domesday Book of 1086, but may have been included with Hinton Martell. At the time of Richard Lionheart it was in the hands of a family to whom it seems to have given name, the Hinetons. By the reign of Henry VI it had passed to the Pauncefort family, but it is not clear why. During the reign of the boy king Edward VI it was held by the Brent family and then passed in quick succession to the Paulet and Hobby families through the marriages of heiresses in the reign of Elizabeth I. Licence was granted to Giles Hobby to alienate the property to Giles Stagg. The Staggs were Lords of the Manor for several generations until their line came to an end and the manor passed to the Lewen family, then again through marriage of the heiress to the Glyn family. They built their family seat, Gaunts House, in Hinton Martell, but after the Great War were forced to sell a lot of property here and elsewhere to pay the staggering death duties then in effect.

In 1860 Sir Richard Glyn took down the old church and replaced it with what is considered to be a fairly typical estate church. Built of stone in the neo-Romanesque style, it retains the Norman chancel arch and consists of chancel, nave, transepts, south porch supporting a spire and a tower containing 4 bells. To celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, stained glass windows, a new font, lectern and chalice were presented by Sir R.G. Glyn. The Rectory, a fine 19th century building with a Sunday School room attached, sits opposite the church on the busy road between Wimborne and Cranborne, for many years the home of Carr John Glyn, England’s longest serving rector. North of St Kenelm’s, are three attractive estate cottages in the same neo-Romanesque style as the church.

Formerly there was a Norman church here, which John Hutchins in his ‘History and Antiquities of Dorset’ described dismissively as “a very small stone building, dedicated to St Kenelm, consisting of one aisle, and having one bell, but containing nothing remarkable.” What is remarkable is the dedication to St Kenelm, a Saxon boy-saint murdered at the age of seven who was venerated throughout England in medieval times and was even mentioned in the Canterbury Tales. There are only seven churches in England dedicated to him. Over the west door of Hinton Parva’s St Kenelm’s is a 12th century sculpture of an angel holding a book to his breast with his right hand, a cross in his left hand and standing next to a giant butterfly. It has been suggested that this is a representation of Kenelm himself. Sadly it cannot be viewed today as the church is locked and abandoned, and parts of the churchyard so overgrown that the monuments beneath have all but been reclaimed by Mother Nature.

St Kenelm Church, Hinton Parva
© Kim Parker/Dorset OPC 2011

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If you would like to volunteer for the role, please contact the OPC Project Co-ordinator
Contributions of additional resource materials for the site are always welcome

Census 1841 Census [Emma Squires]
1851 Census [Keith Searson]
1861 Census [Keith Searson]
1871 Census [Keith Searson]
1881 Census [Keith Searson]
1891 Census [Jon Baker]
1901 Census [Keith Searson]
Parish Registers Baptisms 1621-1812 [PR] [Kim Parker]
Burials 1820-1939 [PR] [Jon Baker]
Trade & Postal Directories  
Other Records  
Monumental Inscriptions  
Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings 1621-1980. Marriages 1816-1975. Burials 1813-1987.





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