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Holwell, Dorset

Historical Description

Holwell, a parish in Dorsetshire, on a branch of the river Lidden, 6 miles SE of Sherborne station on the L. & S.W.R. It includes the hamlet of Buckshaw, and till 1844 was part of Somerset. There is a post office under Sherborne; money order office, Bishops Caundle; telegraph office, Sherborne. Acreage, 2423; population, 377. The parish was part of Blackmore Forest, and had within its limits the principal lodge of that forest. King John appears to have visited Holwell at several times, probably for hunting. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Salisbury; value, £340 with residence. Patron, Queen's College, Oxford. The church, excepting the chancel, is Later English, and was restored in 1885.

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 unionSherborne1835 -
Registration districtSherborne 
Registration sub-districtYetminster 

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. Laurence (parish church)

The parish church of St. Laurence, restored in 1885, at a cost of about £1,400, is a building of stone in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave of four bays, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower. with pinnacles, containing 5 bells : there are memorial windows to members of the Warry family and to Mr. Robert English, many years churchwarden: there are 220 sittings.

St. Laurence, Holwell

Civil Registration

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

Holwell was in Sherborne Registration District from 1844 to 1937 and Sturminster Registration District from 1937 to 1974

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Holwell 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.

Visitations Heraldic

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

DistrictWest Dorset
RegionSouth West
Postal districtDT9
Post TownSherborne