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Netherbury, Dorset

Historical Description

Netherbury, a village and a parish in Dorsetshire. The village lies on the river Brit, 1½ mile SSW of Beaminster, and 5 miles from Bridport station on the G.W.R. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office. The civil parish contains also the tithings of Ashe, Bowood, and Melplash, and part of the hamlet of Loscombe. Acreage, 6274; population, 1454. It is divided into two ecclesiastical districts - Netherbury-cum-Solway (population, 1071) and Melplash (412). There is a parish council consisting of eleven members. Upper and Greater Stroude, Hatchlands, and Slape are the chief residences. The old manor house, called Melplash Court, formerly the seat of the More family, is now a farmhouse. The land is very fertile, and is watered by numerous streamlets traversing wooded ravines. A considerable area is occupied by cider orchards. There is a flax and tow manufactory. The living is a vicarage, united with the chapelry of Ashe, in the diocese of Salisbury; value, £175 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Salisbury. The church is Early Perpendicular, in good condition, with a tower and chancel. It has been restored, and contains a monument to one of the More family. The great tithes used to form the endowments of the three prebendaries connected with the parish-the prebendary of "Netherbury-in-Terra," "Nether-bury-in-Ecclesia," and " Slape "-but are now in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The unendowed prebends as canons still occupy their stalls in the Cathedral Church. The vicarage of Melplash is a separate benefice. There are four dissenting chapels-one in Netherbnry, one in Weytown, and two in Solway Ashe.

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 parishNetherbury St. Mary 
HundredBeaminster Forum and Redborne 
Poor Law unionBeaminster1836 -
Registration districtBeaminster 
Registration sub-districtNetherbury 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1580. 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 Netherbury, 1592-1839 is online


Church of England

St. Mary (parish church)

The parish church of St. Mary is a building of stone, in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave of four bays, aisles, south porch, vestry and an embattled western tower, containing a clock and 6 bells: in the south aisle is a mutilated recumbent alabaster effigy, under a canopy, to one of the More family, and there are three stained windows and a Norman font: an organ chanber was built in 1894, at a cost of £200, and the organ was renovated and enlarged in 1906 at a cost of £200: the church affords 400 sittings.

Civil Registration

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

Netherbury was in Beaminster Registration District from 1837 to 1937 and Bridport Registration District from 1937 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Netherbury from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Netherbury 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

Ashe or Ash

Visitations Heraldic

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

DistrictWest Dorset
RegionSouth West
Postal districtDT6
Post TownBridport