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Charminster, Dorset

Historical Description

Charminster, a village and a parish in Dorsetshire. The village stands on a branch of the river Froom, adjacent to the G.W.R., 2 miles NNW of Dorchester station. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Dorchester. Acreage, 4395; population of the civil parish, 1450; of the ecclesiastical, 1775. The parish contains also the hamlets of Burton and Forston, and the county lunatic asylum. There is a Working Men's Club and Institute. The living is a vicarage, united with the vicarage of Stratton, in the diocese of Salisbury; value, £300, in the gift of the Bishop of Salisbury. The church is very good. There are Wesleyan and Free Reformed Methodist chapels. Dolfeton House is the chief residence.

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 -
Ecclesiastical parishCharminster St. Mary 
Poor Law unionDorchester1836 -
Registration districtDorchester 
Registration sub-districtMaiden Newton 

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

Church Records

The parish register of baptisms, marriages and burials begins in 1561. 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).

The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Charminster, 1561-1812 is online.


Church of England

St. Mary (parish church)

The parish church of St. Mary, built in the latter part of the 12th century, is a stone edifice, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, divided from the nave by massive Norman arches, south porch, and an embattled western tower, with pinnacles, containing a clock and 5 bells: the tower was built by Sir Thomas Trenchard, of Wolfeton, about 1500: there are monuments with elaborate carvings, probably to members of the Trenchard family: the church was restored in 1896, when four small Norman windows were discovered in the clerestory, and the west window filled with stained glass, by Captain and Mrs Dymond, as a memorial to their son: the church affords 500 sittings.

Civil Registration

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

Charminster was in Dorchester Registration District from 1837 to 1949 and Weymouth Registration District from 1949 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Charminster from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Charminster 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

Burton (Charminster)

Visitations Heraldic

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

DistrictWest Dorset
RegionSouth West
Postal districtDT2
Post TownDorchester