Kimmeridge, a village, a parish, and a vale in Dorsetshire. The village stands half a mile NE of Kimmeridge Bay, and 4 miles SW by W of Corfe Castle station on the L. & S.W.R. It has a post office under Wareham; money order office, Corfe Castle; telegraph office, Creech. Acreage, 995; population, 147. The property belonged to Ceme Abbey, was given by Henry VIII. to the Uvedales, passed to the Clavells, and belongs now to the Mansel family. The bay is a semicircular inlet, about three-fourths of a mile wide, bounded by cliffs of the Kimmeridge shale formation, and contains beds of bituminous coal called Kimmeridge coal. The living is a donative in the diocese of Salisbury; value, £100 with residence, in the gift of the owner of Smedmore. The church is partly Norman. The vale opens from the sea, between Encombe Point on the E, and Gad Cliff on the W, a distance of 4 ½ miles; is girt inland by receding hills, in the form of an amphitheatre, composed of oolite stratum. This is a combination of clay and bitumen, bums with a bright flame, emitting considerable heat and a disagreeable odour, and was used at Wareham for producing by distillation a volatile mineral oil, asphalt, grease, and a manure. The clay also yields alum, and the Clavells had works for extracting the alum till 1745, and made a pier for conducting the commerce connected with their works. Bracelets made of the Kimmeridge coal were found in an ancient burial-place at Dorchester in 1839, and are believed, from the monumental evidences of the burial-place, to have belonged to the Romano-British period. Small disks of the same substance, popularly called Kimmeridge coal money, are found in various parts, about a foot below the surface of the soil, and these are regarded by the common people as coins or amulets of the ancient inhabitants, but by antiquaries as refuse pieces from Roman fabrication of beads, bracelets) and other ornaments.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Poor Law union||Wareham and Purbeck (1836-)|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The register dates from the year 1694. The original register books are now deposited with the Dorset Archives Service, but have been digitised by Ancestry.co.uk and made available on their site (subscription required).
Church of England
St. Nicholas (parish church)
The parish church (not dedicated) is a small and plain edifice of stone, in the Norman and Decorated styles, and consists of chancel, nave, south porch, and a small western bell-cote containing one bell: the church was the burial place of the Clavells, of Smedmore, to whom there are a number of inscriptions; there are 115 sittings.
Kimmeridge was in Wareham Registration District from 1837 to 1937 and Poole Registration District from 1937 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Kimmeridge from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848
- Hunt & Co.'s Directory of Dorsetshire, Hampshire, & Wiltshire 1851
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Dorset is available to browse.
Online maps of Kimmeridge are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the Dorset County Chronicle and the Sherborne Mercury online.
The Visitation of Dorset, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.