Wimborne St Giles
Wimborne St Giles is a hundred and parish situated in the well-wooded valley of the River Allen near the old royal hunting ground of Cranborne Chase, 12 miles North of Poole. The hundred contains West Woodyates parish, while the parish of Wimborne St Giles contains the eponymous village and the tithing of All Hallows. Formerly, All Hallows was the more important of the two villages. It was recorded as having a church in 1086, while at that time St Giles was merely a chapelry. In 1733 the two parishes were combined and All Hallows church was demolished in 1742, leaving only the lych gate and churchyard. Today Wimborne St Giles feels tranquil and secluded, away from busy roads, but the London to Weymouth coach road used to pass by the North of the village with its attendant noise and bustle.
One of Robert Ashley’s descendents at the time of Elizabeth I, Anthony Ashley (1551-1628), was a real character. He was to cabbages what Sir Walter Raleigh was to potatoes, which explains the presence of carvings of the vegetable on funereal monuments at Wimborne St Giles. Knighted at Cadiz for his services to the crown, Sir Anthony was disappointed not to receive a higher honour and famously kept back a huge diamond from the Queen that he had taken as booty and which by rights he should have given to her. She pursued him on the matter for years, but to no avail. He is commemorated by a sumptuous tomb in the church, but perhaps the row of charming red-brick almshouses he built in 1624 to house eleven poor widows is a more fitting memorial. Two generations later, his wish for grandeur came true when his grandson Anthony Ashley-Cooper, son of his daughter Ann Elizabeth and her husband John Cooper, was made the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury on the coronation of Charles II.
The 7th Earl of Shaftesbury (1801-1885) is the Anthony Ashley-Cooper we all learn about in school. One of the great Parliamentarians of the Victorian era, a major philanthropist and the leading spirit for social reform, he advocated universal education for children and fought for the abolition of child labour and the improvement of working conditions generally. He performed many charitable works and was one of the founders of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. Many of the rights we enjoy today are thanks to him. As well as his tomb in St Giles church, he is commemorated in the heart of London at Piccadilly Circus. Unveiled in 1893 and mistakenly known as Eros ever since, Alfred Gilbert’s life-sized statue of Christian Love was conceived to symbolise Shaftesbury’s philanthropic work, his bow positioned to point in the direction of Wimborne St Giles in tribute to him.
The new Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for Wimborne St Giles is
1841 Census [Kim Parker]
1851 Census [Kim Parker]
1861 Census [Kim Parker]
1871 Census [Kim Parker]
|Trade & Postal Directories|
Extracts from Hutchins, List of Rectors, Church History, Charity, etc.
Short History of the Church of All Hallows [Mervyn Wright]
St Giles Church Monumental
Inscriptions index [Jan Hibberd]
All Hallows Old Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions index [Mervyn Wright]
All Hallows New Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions index [Jan Hibberd]
|Records held at the Dorset History Centre
St Giles: Christenings 1595-1869. Marriages 1594-2006. Burials 1594-1922.
All Hallows: Christenings 1589-1731. Marriages 1600-1727. Burials 1598-1731.
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