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Canford Magna, Dorset

Historical Description

Canford, Great, or Canford Magna, a village and a parish in Dorset. The village stands on the river Stour, near the S.W.R., 2 miles E of Wimborne-Minster. The parish contains also the village of Little Canford, and the tithings of Kinson, Longfleet, and Parkstone, extends southward to Poole harbour, and includes part of Poole borough. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Wimborne. Acreage, 7846; population of the civil parish, 1416; of the ecclesiastical, 1194. The manor belonged once to John of Gaunt, belongs now to the Wimborne family, and is of great extent. The mansion on it, Canford Hall occupies the site of an Ursuline convent, is an edifice in the Tudor style, built in 1826 for Lord de Manly, includes remains of the convent kitchen, with two huge fireplaces, and has a very fine hall. A gallery, connected by a cloister with the mansion, contains Assyrian sculptures from Nineveh, and drives go through fir woods to the vicinity of Poole. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury; value, £327 with residence. Patron, Lord Wimborne. The church has Norman features, particularly in the tower, and contains monuments by Bacon to the Willetts of Merly; it was restored in 1876 and 1878.

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 -
Poor Law unionPoole1835 -
Registration districtPoole 
Registration sub-districtCanford 

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

Church Records

The parish register of baptisms, marriages and burials begins in 1656. The original register books are now deposited with the Dorset Archives Service, but have been digitised by and made available on their site (subscription required).


Church of England

dedication unknown (parish church)

The ancient parish church (dedication unknown) is an edifice of Norman date, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, north and south porches and a low tower containing 6 bells: there are several monuments and brasses, and memorial windows to Sir Joshua John Guest bart. d. 26 Nov. 1852, and Augustus F. Guest esq. d. 23 May, 1862; and in 1897 two stained windows were placed in the aisles to Lady Charlotte E. Schreiber, widow of Charles Schreiber esq. M.P. and previously Sir J.J. Guest bart. by the Viscount and Viscountess Duncannon: the whole church was restored, the west end rebuilt and porches erected in 1876-78 by the 1st Baron Wimborne: in 1910 additional repairs were carried out, and an oak screen placed in the church by Lady Wimborne: there are 250 sittings.

Civil Registration

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

Canford Magna was in Poole Registration District from 1837 to 1933

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Canford Magna from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Canford Magna 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.

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Knighton (Canford)
Little Canford
Oakley (Cranford)

Visitations Heraldic

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

RegionSouth West
Postal districtBH21
Post TownWimborne