Winterborne Kingston

My Story of Winterborne Kingston
Jill Morley

Winterbo(u)rne Kingston is a small parish in Dorset two miles north east of Bere Regis (Beer) and six and a half miles south-south east from Blandford. The parish contains 2,515 acres that combines Muston, Turberville and Kingston. Both Kingston and Muston are well represented in the Domesday book. Winterborne Kingston consists of Kingston, which is two thirds of the western area of the parish, and Turberville (later called Abbots Court Farm) to the east and still further east is Muston. Winterbourne is a tributary of the River Stour and as the name implies, flows only in the winter. Kingston or King's Winterbourne means the King held land here.

At one time the family of Whitewells held of the king, one carucate of the land, which is as much as a team could plough. The main part of the village lies around a number of small roads with the Saint Nicholas Church as its centre. Dedicated to Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in the year 394, known for his acts of kindness, the first Santa Clause, patron Saint of Children, Sailors and the poor and the outcast. It was built around the 14th century, although some parts are believed to be as old as the 12th century. The west tower of the church contains four bells, three by John Wallis that have inscriptions, "Feare God," "Prayse God," "Love God." In the churchyard 20 paces south of the church tower can be found the graves of many of our Arnold ancestors.

The village had two meeting houses, one built in 1839 by the Wesleyan Methodists and the other in 1846 by the Independents, and both held about 200 people.  

Ichnieid Street runs through the village that was built by the Romans some 1,500 years ago. Muston farmhouse is 920 yards east of the church; it is a two-storey brick house with slated roof. The farm was built in the 17th century on the remains of the medieval hamlet of Winterborne Muston of which remains can be still found today. About another 200 yards east is a one-storey house with an attic, brick wall and a thatched roof. Most of the cottages in Winterbourne Kingston were single storeyed with attics, cob walls, thatched roofs, all had chimney stacks and open fireplaces.  There was a malt house in the village that was built in the 18th century it was owned according to the Deed of lands 1776 - 1794 by Oake, Sheppard and Billett. The malt house was a long room with two upper floors and a malting kiln at one end, the floor was made of perforated bricks supported on iron beams. Also built around this time was Abbot's Court dairy, a brick house and barn and 'The Greyhound Inn' is 240 yards north of the church which has cob walls and tiled roofs and 80 yards further east is a house formally know as the 'Bush Inn'.

The village has many small roads, which all lead to the church and school in the centre. In 1841, 567 inhabitants lived there. The living was a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Bere Regis, in the jurisdiction of the court of the Dean of Salisbury. (Kelly's Directory of Dorset 1848)

Dorset had many true cottage industries related to the clothing trade. Button making (buttony) developed in the 1680s in the villages with Blandford the main centre. As the 1851 census shows many of the women were button makers in Winterborne Kingston. Most of the Men in this area worked as Agricultural Labourers. The farms in this area were small dairy farms, which supplied dairy products to the London markets.  There were also limekilns, which were an important part of the agricultural scene, they produced lime for spreading on the land. Barley was one of the main crops, and the production of malt for the brewing of beer in Dorsetshire and London Breweries. Other trades people in the area were carpenters, bricklayers, blacksmiths and shoemakers.

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