Dorset OPC

West Parley

Dorset OPC

All Saints Church, West Parley

West Parley takes it name from the Saxon for Pear Tree Field, so it would seem certain that a settlement was established at that time with a church probably on or near the present site. The Normans rebuilt the church and re-used the old front, replacing the basin.

The Domesday Book entry reads - Ralph of Cranborne holds West Parley. Brictnoth held it before 1066. It paid tax for 2 hides. Land for 2 ploughs, which are there. 5 villagers, 4 smallholders and 2 slaves. Meadow, 25 acres; pasture 1 league long and 7 furlongs wide; woodland 4 furlongs long and 1 furlong wide. The value was and is 30s.

West Parley, in its original form, spread north as far as Three Legged Cross. It was 6 miles long and 2 miles wide. Most of the area was heath land with scattered farmsteads and it was not until the coming of the railway in 1866 that the population started to expand, eventually Ferndown and West Moors became parishes in their own right and the area became a dormitory for the Bournemouth/Poole conurbation. The parish now only encompasses the area around Parley Cross, the lane down to the church, Dudsbury as far as Dudsbury Camp and north as far as Ferndown Golf Course

The locality around the church retains much of its original charm with cottages, farm and the former rectory. It lies at the end of a mile long cul-de-sac lane adjacent to the River Stour and is well worth seeking out. A footpath from the church follows the river bank creating a very pleasant walk.

The oldest parts of the church are the 12c. nave and chancel arch, and the entrance doorway. As you walk up the pathway through the wicket gate, there is a sundial on an old wooden post on your right. The post is all that remains of a gallows which stood on Gibbet Firs at East Parley. Set into the east wall in a glazed and barred recess is a 14c. urn which, at one time, held the heart of the Lady of Lydlinch. She is said to have been the Lady of the Manor of West Parley, but on her marriage was forced to live at Lydlinch near Sturminster Newton. She claimed, however, that as her heart was in West Parley during her life it should be taken back there at her death. Acknowledgements to the church web site for the above brief details.

Other sites of interest include Dudsbury, an iron age hill-fort which is now used as a camp site by the Girl Guides Association. Six round barrows are recorded of which only three survive. Secular buildings include Wood Town Farm which dates to the 17th century and two 18th century farms Bramble Farm and Church Farm.

The urn said to have held the heart of the Lady of Lydlinch who endowed this church lay under the stone on which it now stands.

The Online Parish Clerk is Mervyn Wright please e-mail for any enquiries adding West Parley in the subject line

Parish Registers Baptisms 1726-1772, 1773-1812 [Keith Searson]
[Peter Relph/Keith Searson]
1831-1849, 1850-1861, 1862-1879, 1880-1906
[Keith Searson]
Marriages 1720-1835, 1836-1875, 1876-1912 [Keith Searson]
Burials 1720-1740, 1741-1812, 1813-1849 [Keith Searson]
Census 1815 Census
1828 Church Contributors
[Dorinda Miles]
1841 Census
1851 Census
1861 Census
1871 Census
1881 Census
1891 Census
Trade/Street Directories 1851 Hunts Directory
1867 Kellys Post Office Directory
[Dorinda Miles]
Monumental Inscriptions
Poll Book
Wills Will of George Christopher 1694 [Michael Russell]
Will of John Christophers 1739 [Michael Russell]
Hearth Tax
Maps The 1891 Ordnance Survey maps of the parish can be seen at the old-maps site, just enter 'West Parley' under place search
Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Baptisms 1715-1977. Marriages 1720-1984. Burials 1720-1967. Banns 1754-1982.


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