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Thornford, Dorset

Historical Description

Thornford, a parish in Dorsetshire, 3½ miles SW of Sherborne station on the L. & S.W.R., 4½ from Yeovil, and 2 from Yetminster on the G.W.R. It has a post and money order office under Sherborne; telegraph office, Sherborne. Acreage, 1465; population, 397. There is a parish council consisting of seven members. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Salisbury; net value, £160 with residence. The church is in the Perpendicular style and has been restored. There is a Wesleyan chapel. Roman remains are frequently discovered in ploughing. From the water opposite the church Harold sailed on his ill-fated voyage to Normandy. Caedmon the poet was born in this parish.

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 parishThornford St. Mary Magdalene 
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 dates from the year 1677. 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. Mary Magdalene (parish church)

The parish church of St. Mary Magdalen is an edifice in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave of three bays, north aisle, south porch, and an embattled western tower containing 5 bells, 2 of which were added in memory of the Rev. W. Roxby B.A. rector 1877-1906: there are memorial windows to the Rev. C. R. Dampier and the Rev. R. H. Wingfield-Digby, both former rectors, and to Mrs. Place: the reredos and pulpit are of stone, the former consisting of five panels, filled with Dr. Salviati's mosaics, and the latter of eight panels of inlaid marble: the church has been restored at a cost of about £1,000, and affords 220 sittings: at the entrance to the churchyard stands a stone and oak lych-gate, flanked by yew trees.

St. Mary Magdalen, Thornford
St. Mary Magdalen, Thornford
St. Mary Magdalen, Thornford
St. Mary Magdalen, Thornford

Civil Registration

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

Thornford was in Sherborne Registration District from 1837 to 1937 and Sturminster Registration District from 1937 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Thornford from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Thornford 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