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Cranborne Chase, Dorset

Historical Description

Cranborne Chase, an ancient forest in Dorsetshire, Hants, and Wilts. It was connected with the New Forest, extended to the vicinity of Salisbury, Wilton, Tisbury, Kingsettle, Blandford, Wimborne, Ringwood, and Fordingbridge, and was traversed by the British Ridge Way. It belonged in the time of King John, and from that of Edward IV. to that of James I., to the Crown, was given by James I. to the Earl of Pembroke, and passed through several noble families to Lord Rivers. It lay for many ages unenclosed, but was ultimately divided into eight distinct walks, and so late as 1828 it contained 12,000 deer and six lodges, under the management of a ranger. It still forms an extensive wooded tract, chiefly on the Wilts hills, and it presents many a piece of pleasant scenery.

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


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

Ancient CountyDorsetshire 
DioceseBristol1542 - 1836
DioceseSalisbury1836 -

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

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Dorset is available to browse.


Online maps of Cranborne Chase are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

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