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Fontmell, Dorset

(Fontmell Magna)

Historical Description

Fontmell, a village and a parish in Dorsetshire. The village stands 4 miles S of Shaftesbury, and 5 N by E of Shillingstone station on the Somerset and Dorset railway. It has a post and money order office of the name of Fontmell Magna, under Shaftesbury; telegraph office, Iwerne Minster. The parish includes also the tithings of Bedchester and Hartgrove, and bears the name of Fontmell Magna. Acreage, 2896; population of the civil parish, 637; of the ecclesiastical, 752. The living is a rectory and a vicarage, united with the perpetual curacy of West Orchard, in the diocese of Salisbury; value, £420 with residence. The church was built in 1864 on the site of a previous edifice, in the Later English style, and is richly ornamented. There is a Wesleyan chapel.

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 -
HundredSixpenny Handley 
Poor Law unionShaftesbury1836 -
Registration districtShaftesbury1837 - 1937
Registration districtSturminster1937 - 1974
Registration sub-districtFontmell 

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

Church Records

The parish register of baptisms, marriages and burials begins in 1653. 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

St. Andrew (parish church)

The parish church of St. Andrew, standing on an eminence, is an edifice of stone, principally in the Perpendicular style, and consists of chancel, nave, aisle, south porch, and an ancient and lofty embattled western tower of Norman date, with pinnacles, and containing a clock with chimes and 6 bells: the stained east window was given by the first Lord Wolverton, in 1862, in memory of Sir Richard Plumptre Glyn (who rebuilt the church); the west window is a memorial to George Carr Glyn, 1st baron Wolverton. d. 24 July. 1873; and there are other windows to Maj. Richard Riversdale Glyn, who died and was buried at Aden, in 1859. and Riversdale Robert Glyn, buried at Hastings, in 1829, both sons of the first Lord Wolverton: the church was restored in 1862: there are 250 sittings.

St. Andrew, Compton Abbas St. Andrew, Compton Abbas
St. Andrew, Compton Abbas

Civil Registration

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

Fontmell Magna was in Shaftesbury Registration District from 1837 to 1937 and Sturminster Registration District from 1937 to 1974

For births, marriages, and deaths in Fontmell from 1837 to 1937 you should search for the Shaftesbury Registration District.
For births, marriages, and deaths in Fontmell from 1937 to 1974 you should search for the Sturminster Registration District.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Fontmell from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Fontmell 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


Visitations Heraldic

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