Rampisham is a secluded village and parish, hidden in a fold of chalk upland alongside a deeply-bedded stream where beech trees flourish, two miles West-South-West of Evershot and 5 miles East by North of Beaminster. A 4m x 3m Roman pavement was found here in 1799, confirming the settlement’s ancient past. Popularly known as ‘Ransom’, the meaning of the name ‘Rampisham’ is uncertain. The second part, ‘ham’ is from the Old English word for enclosure, but the first part could refer to a human, an animal or a vegetable: a man called Ram, a ram or wild garlic. What is certain is that Rampisham lives up to Frederick Treves’ billing in his 1906 “Highways and Byways of Dorset” as one of the county’s most beautiful villages. From the picturesque thatched and whitewashed old post office next to a shallow ford, to the former schoolhouse designed by A.W.N. Pugin and the some-time ‘Tiger’s Head’ pub at the central crossroads, overlooked by the Manor House and the Church of St Michael and All Angels from a wooded knoll above the village, there is much to praise in Rampisham.
Just beside the porch in the churchyard are the remains of a 15th-century Ham Hill stone perpendicular cross. Carved into a square pedestal mounted on an octagonal base are scenes depicting the martyrdom saints, including St Thomas à Becket of Canterbury, St Edmund, St Stephen and St Peter. There is a Latin inscription to one Porter who died in 1516, while the date of 1606 is inscribed on another side of the platform. Also of note in the churchyard is the Drewe family stone table tomb from the mid-18th century. Only the name of Anne Drewe can be made out now. Across the road from the churchyard is a curious topiary menagerie of strange creatures and a chorus line of ballerinas.
Census [Jennie Roberts]
1851 Census [Royston Clarke]
1861 Census [John Ridout]
1871 Census [John Ridout]
1891 Census [John Ridout]
Marriages 1574-1846 (Philimores) [Emma Squires]
Burials 1731-1880 [Janet Courtney]
|Trade & Postal Directories|
|Other Records||Will of John Humber 1888 [Terry Pine]|
|Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings 1575-1868. Marriages 1574-1841. Burials 1575-1932.
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