Stalbridge, Dorset

Historical Description

Stalbridge, a small town and a parish in Dorsetshire. The town stands on an affluent of the river Stour, with a station on the Somerset and Dorset railway, 116 miles from London, and 6 E by N of Sherborne. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Blandford. It was known at Domesday as Staplebridge, contains a beautiful ancient cross, about 30 feet high, and has four inns, two banks, and a fortnightly market on Thursday, and fairs on 6 May and 4 Sept. The parish includes four tithings. Acreage, 5882; population, 1705. There is a parish council of eleven members and a chairman. The manor belonged to Sherborne Abbey; passed to the Seymours, the Audleys, the Boyles, and the Walters, and belongs now to Lord Stalbridge. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Salisbury; gross value, £900 with residence. Patron, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The church is a stone building in the Perpendicular style, and has been enlarged and restored at great cost. There are Congregational and Wesleyan chapels. Stalbridge gives the title of Baron to a member of the Grosvenor family.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5

Administration

The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Dorsetshire
Civil parish Stalbridge
Diocese Salisbury
Ecclesiastical parish Stalbridge St. Mary
Hundred Brownshall
Poor Law union Sturminster (1835-)
Registration sub-district Stalbridge (1837-1901)
Registration sub-district Sturminster (1911-)

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.


Census Records

We have transcribed the following census returns for Stalbridge:

YearClassPieceDistrict(s)
1841 HO107 293 1, 3 and 4 detached, 3, 3a, 4
1881 RG11 2085 6, 7, 8
1891 RG12 1631 6, 7, 8
1901 RG13 1969 6, 7, 8
1911 RG14 12202 14

Church Records

The parish register of baptisms, marriages and burials begins in 1690, the earlier registers having been lost at some period. 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).

We have transcribed most of Stalbridge Parish Register. Currently we have Baptisms 1690-1921, Marriages 1690-1921, and Burials 1693-1950 available.

The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Stalbridge 1690-1812 is online.


Churches

Church of England

St. Mary, Church Hill (parish church)

The parish church of St. Mary is a building of stone, chiefly in the Late Perpendicular style, stands on a commanding position at the north end of the town, and is a conspicuous landmark in the vale of Blackmore; it consists of chancel, nave of three bays, aisles, transepts, organ chamber and vestry, south porch and an embattled western tower, with pinnacles, containing a clock and 6 bells: it was considerably enlarged in 1840, and in 1866 the tower was entirely rebuilt at a cost of £2,000 by the late Rev. W. Boucher, of Thornhill: further work to the North and West sides of the church yard, and levelling of ground was carried out by Mr George Curtis, the local master mason, in 1874 at a total cost of £83 13s 0d. In 1878 the church underwent an entire restoration under the direction of Mr. T.H. Wyatt, architect, when it was reseated with open benches and the length of the nave increased by one bay: in 1926 the bells were rehung and retuned (one being recast), at a cost of £450 by Messrs. Mears and Stainbank: in 1928 the roof timbers were extensively replaced and protected against dry rot and beetles; there are 500 sittings. The body of Sir James Thornhill, the famous artist, was interred in the crypt on the 10th of May, 1734 although the exact location is now unknown due to the later 19th century alterations.

St. Mary, StalbridgeNorth aisle of St. Mary, Stalbridge
St. Mary, StalbridgeNave of St. Mary, Stalbridge
St. Mary, Stalbridge

Congregational

Congregational Chapel

The original Congregational chapel was erected in 1662, in Guggleton Street (now Station Road), almost opposite the present building, which was built in the 19th century. The entrance to the old chapel later became the town pump house, which can still be seen today.

Stalbridge Congregational ChurchOld Congregational Church entrance, and later pump room

Methodist

Stalbridge Methodist chapel

Stalbridge Methodist chapel


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Stalbridge was a sub district in the Sturminster Registration district from 1837 to 1901. It contained the following parishes:
Caundle Stourton, later Stourton Caundle, Fifehead Magdalen, Lydlinch, Marnhull, Stalbridge, and Stock Gaylard. It later became a part of the Sturminster sub district until 1974.


Clergy

A list of the Patrons and Rectors of St Mary, Stalbridge


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Stalbridge from the following:


Genealogy

We have a database containing genealogical information for many of the major North Dorset families. It contains data from census, parish registers, and other sources.


Maps

Online maps of Stalbridge are available from a number of sites:


Monumental Inscriptions

We have photographed many of the headstones in St. Mary's Church graveyard.


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the Dorset County Chronicle and the Sherborne Mercury online.


Photographs

The Swan Inn, StalbridgeRed Lion Court (formerly the Red Lion Inn)
Stalbridge High StreetStalbridge Cross

Population

Civil parish population statistics for each decenial census:

YearMalesFemalesTotal
19017177881505
18917879241711
188181010031813

Protestation Returns

The Protestation returns for Stalbridge are available on the Dorset OPC web site.


Villages, Hamlets, &c

Thornhill


Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Dorset, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.