Dorset OPC


Dorset OPC

Wareham is an historic market town eight miles south-west of Poole and 17 miles south-east of Dorchester. It has been occupied since before Roman times and the main part of the town is situated on rising ground between the Rivers Piddle and Frome, close to where they enter Poole Harbour.

Wareham comprises parts of the parishes of Lady St Mary, Holy Trinity  and St Martin-on-the-Walls. St Mary's [pictured left and below] and St Martin's are both ancient churches of Saxon origins, the former being the resting place for Anglo Saxon kings as well as the Revd John Hutchins who wrote the History of Dorset. In Hutchins' time the church of St Martin's appears to have been in a somewhat ruinous state, but is nowadays used for services and contains early medieval wall paintings, along with an effigy of Lawrence of Arabia. The 14th century building of Holy Trinity is no longer used for worship but still stands and is used as a community cafe.

Unfortunately the town suffered a catastrophic fire in 1762 and registers prior to this date were lost. There has been a Catholic church at Westport (St Edward the Martyr) since 1889 and at one time there were three Nonconformist Chapels; Congregational in Chapel Lane, Wesleyan in North Street and Unitarian in South Street. Brick and clay manufacturing was a principal trade for many centuries. The population of the municipal borough in 1891 was 2141 persons, and in 2009 the population had grown to 5640.

Church of St Mary, from an etching in Hutchins 'History of Dorset'

The OPC for Wareham is Jenny Way
Click on the above link to generate a correctly addressed email

Census 1841 Holy Trinity & Lady St Mary, St Martin Parish,
1881 Lady St Mary Parish, St Martin Parish & Holy Trinity 
Workhouse Residents 1861 & 1881
The parish of Holy Trinity includes Arne (up to 1894) & Stoborough.
Parish Registers
The majority of these transcriptions have been kindly donated to the OPC Project by Mr Barry Chinchen. Note that the transcriptions include non-conformist registers as well as the Anglican Parish Registers.
Baptisms 1731-1750, 1751-1770, 1771-1790, 1791-1815, 1816-1841
Marriages  1594-1791, 1792-1841, 1842-1847 (Lady St Mary)
Burials 1731-1812  Holy Trinity & all churches 1583-1757, 1758-1781, 1782-1815, 1816-1841
Arne parish records are available on the Parish page for Arne.
Postal Directories Description of Wareham from Pigot's 1830 DirectoryPigot's 1842/44 Directory, Kelly's 1842 Directory, Slaters Directory 1852/53, Harrod's 1865 DirectoryKelly's Directory 1923
Extract from Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)
Mayors & Clerks Mayors of Wareham  from 1336-2007
Clerks & Recorders 1703-2007
Monumental Inscriptions Wareham United Reformed Church Monumental Inscription index [Jan Hibberd]
War Memorial Photograph and list of those commemorated on the Wareham Cenotaph and details of War Graves
Wareham Court Leet A short history of the Wareham Court Leet
Wills Wills for Wareham Residents proven at  Blandford (Archdeaconry Court of Dorset)
PCC Wills Index [Kim Parker]
Abraham Baker 1785-1848 [Mike Russell]
Wills of various Wareham residents not included above, Thomas Brown 1741, Frances Bythewood 1741/2, Lewis Cockram of Stoborough 1733, Mary Cockram of Worgret 1822, William Cribb 1777 and Thomas Garland of Worgate 1828 [Ros Dunning]
17th Century Records Protestation Returns of 1641
Hearth Tax of 1662-1664
People and Places Rev. John Hutchins – The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset
Extract from Cuckoo Pounds and Singing Barrows
Loss of the Wareham and Poole Passage Boat 
Chafins Charity School
Noise Abatement Notice 1839
Dorset Chronicle excerpts
Maps The 1891 Ordnance Survey maps of the parish can be seen at the old-maps site, just enter 'Wareham' under place search.
For modern location maps visit:-
Street plan of  Wareham at the end of the 18th century John Calcraft's map of Wareham. Taken from Hutchins 'History of Dorset'.
Links Wareham Town Council Website

Ruins of the church of St Martin, from Hutchins


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