Dorset OPC


Dorset OPC

Holy Rood Church

The village of Wool stands near the south bank of the River Frome and is a mile and a half northwest of Coombe Keynes. It is generally agreed that Wool derives its ancient name of Welle from the springs that abound there. Woolbridge (over the River Frome) is medieval in origin; the present bridge is a stone structure dating mainly from the 16th century with some later brick repairs. The village of Wool is today spread out and is made up of a pleasant mix of old and modern properties.

Holy Rood church sits conveniently in gently rising ground in what is now the south part of Wool, although there is a tradition among villagers that the church originally formed the central point in the village. The church was a parochial 'chapel of ease' belonging to Coombe Keynes until 1844, when Wool became a separate parish. The chapelry of East Burton was transferred from Winfrith Newburgh to Wool in 1923.

In 1974, the mother church at Coombe Keynes was declared redundant, so Holy Rood church became the parish church of Wool, East Burton and Coombe Keynes. There is no definite date for the founding of Wool church, but the earlier parts appear to date from the 1320s. A rather unique feature of Wool church is the 13th century tri-sected chancel arch.

The church font dates from the 15th century and is adorned with a quatrefoil within a circle. The aisle contains several interesting artefacts; a George III coat of arms bearing the name of a past churchwarden J Brown, a small glass-fronted case holding a flute (one of the original instruments played in church before the organ was introduced), and a shepherd's crook can be found leaning against a window frame (formerly the property of a local shepherd - Walter Trevett - who used to pump the church organ). Holy Rood church has several beautiful stained glass windows bearing dedications (see “Photographs” section).

Just over a mile from Wool village lie the ruins of a medieval Cistercian abbey, known as Bindon Abbey. The abbey was built on this site in 1172, the land being provided by Roger de Newburgh and his wife Matilda. Much of the stone from Bindon Abbey was used to build Lulworth Castle.

Wool has several links to "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" by Thomas Hardy. The ruins of Bindon Abbey feature in the book as the place where the sleep-walking Angel Clare carried Tess and placed her in an empty stone coffin. Woolbridge Manor House has been identified as 'Wellbridge House', where Tess and Angel Clare spent their doomed honeymoon.

Holy Rood Church Entrance

The new Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for Wool is Ivan Gould
Please place the words 'OPC Wool' as your subject for e-mails (click on Ivan's name above to generate a pre-addressed email)

Census 1841 Census [Justin Standfield & Rob Andrews]
1851 Census
[Ivan T Gould]
1861 Census [Ivan T Gould]
1871 Census
[Ron Adams]
1881 Census [Ivan T Gould]
1891 Census [Ron Adams]
1901 Census [Ivan T Gould]
1911 Census [Ivan T Gould]
Parish Registers Baptisms 1733-1841 [Barry Chinchen] 1813-1860, 1860-1905 [Ivan Gould]
Confirmations 1925-28 & 1941-43 [Ivan Gould]
Marriages 1745-1841 [Barry Chinchen] 1813-1847, 1837-1921 [Ivan Gould]
Marriage Banns 1836-1912, 1913-1922 [Ivan Gould]
Burials 1733-1841 [Barry Chinchen] 1813-1894, 1895-1963 [Ivan Gould]
Postal Directories Extracts from Hunts Directory 1851
Kelly's Directory 1880
Kelly’s Directory 1895
Bailiffs, Mayors & Rectors The Vicars of Holy Rood church can be found online here
Memorials Names on the War Memorial in Wool churchyard

Military Graves
There are a number of military graves in the churchyard of Holy Rood church in Wool. A transcription of the inscriptions is online
Photographs Several photographs of the church and village can be viewed online here.
Other Fire in Wool 1689
Maps The 1891 ordnance survey maps of the parish can be seen at the old-maps website, just enter 'Wool' under place search.
For modern location maps visit:-

Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings 1585-1959. Marriages 1583-1975. Burials 1586-1963.


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