Dorset OPC


also known as Kingston Lacy

Dorset OPC

St Stephen's Church, Pamphill
© Kim Parker/Dorset OPC 2015

Pamphill is a leafy village set around a spacious communal green and cricket pitch, formerly a chapelry of Wimborne Minster, but since 1922 a parish in its own right and now called Kingston Lacy. The name may mean ‘hill of a man called Pampa’ from an Old English personal name, or else it is a tautological duplication of ‘hill’ for which both ‘pamp’ and ‘hyll’ are Old English words. Kingston means ‘king’s farm’ and Lacy is a manorial addition. 

The parish is bounded by Witchampton to the North, Wimborne Minster to the East, Canford Magna and Corfe Mullen to the South and Sturminster Marshall and Tarrant Keyneston to the West. Within the parish lie the settlements of Abbottstreet, Barford, Bradford, Chilbridge, Cowgrove, Hillbutts, Little Pamphill, Pamphill Green, St. Margaret’s, Stone and Tadden, as well as Kingston Lacy Estate itself.

Kingston Lacy Manor was awarded to John de Lacy in 1229, one of the original twenty-five barons charged with overseeing Magna Carta in 1225. It contained a hunting lodge to the north of the present house and continued to be leased to the Lacys in Medieval times and afterwards to those in royal favour, including in the 15th century the Beauforts, descendants of John of Gaunt and, through Margaret Beaufort (mother of King Henry VII) who grew up here, progenitors of the Tudor Dynasty. By 1603 the lodge was a ruin. King James I gave the estate to Sir Charles Blount, who later sold it to Sir John Bankes, with whose family it was associated until Sir Ralph Bankes bequeathed it to the National Trust in 1981.

The Bankes made Kingston Lacy their primary residence after Corfe Castle was destroyed by the Parliamentarians in 1645. So impressed were the Parliamentarians by the resistance of “Brave Dame Mary”, who held the castle for years and repelled several siege attempts until she was betrayed by one of her own captains, that they gave her all the keys of the castle as a token of their respect. They then blew the castle up, allowing the residents to take away only what they could carry. Today, the keys and some of the treasures rescued from the castle can be seen in the beautiful country house built by Sir Roger Pratt for Sir Ralph Bankes between 1663 and 1665.

In 1236 a church dedicated to St. Stephen had been built by John de Lacy, but by 1573 it had fallen into such disrepair it was abandoned and the residents of Pamphill had to attend services in Wimborne Minster. That changed in 1907 when Henrietta Bankes completed construction of a beautiful Arts & Crafts style church at the end of a wooded lane whose lofty trees had been planted in 1846 when a new church was first mooted. The building is noted for its use of local materials, including Studland sandstone, Purbeck stone and oak wood from the Kingston Lacy estate.

Other buildings of note in the parish include the 13th century chapel of St. Margaret & St. Anthony, originally part of a leper colony, the school and almshouses built by Reverend Aldrich Swann of Kington Magna in 1698 with a bequest from Roger Gillingham of Middle Temple, which now houses a primary school and Fitche’s Bridge, a mid-19th century brick construction spanning the River Allen.

Kingston Lacy House
© Kim Parker/Dorset OPC 2015

The post of Online Parish Clerk (OPC) is currently vacant
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 1901 Census [Keith Searson]
1911 Census [Kim Parker]
Parish Registers Baptisms
Trade & Postal Directories Extracts from the Kelly's Trade Directory 1895 [Dorinda Miles]
Other Records Will of Charles Christopher 1909 [Mike Russell]
Photographs Photographs of Pamphill and Kingston Lacy [Kim Parker]
Monumental Inscriptions  
Records held at the Dorset History Centre
There are no parish registers held at the Dorset History Centre. There were no Burials, since the ground was never consecrated.





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