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Upway, Dorset

Historical Description

Upway, a village and a parish in Dorsetshire. The village has a station on the G.W.R., 141 miles from London, and 4 SSW of Dorchester, and a post, money order, and telegraph office under Dorchester. The parish includes Elwell hamlet, and comprises 1792 acres; population, 752. A large Celtic barrow is in the neighbourhood. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Salisbury; net value, £330 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Salisbury. The church is an ancient building of stone in the Gothic style, with an embattled tower. There are Congregational and Wesleyan chapels.

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 parishUpway St. Lawrence 
Poor Law unionWeymouth1836 -
Registration districtWeymouth 
Registration sub-districtUpway 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1654. 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 is an ancient and picturesque edifice of stone, the oldest portions of which, the tower and north aisle, belong to the Iate Perpendicular period, and date from about 1490: it consists of chancel, clerestoried nave, battlemented aisles, north porch and an embattled western tower with pinnacles, containing a clock and 6 bells: the east window is stained and contains some painted glass of Flemish work, but the rest is modern; the west window retains six fragments of its original glass: on the chancel walls are three quaint oak figures of Apostles, supposed to have once formed part of a rood screen and are affixed to the wall of the tower: the north arcade of the nave has graceful piers, the capitals of which are carved with twined wreaths of foliage: the south arcade, erected in 1838, is an excellent copy of the former: the north aisle has oak wainscot of the 17th century; by the doorway is a niche for a holy water stoup, and over the entrance lobby are the Royal Arms of George III. carved in oak: the pulpit of carved oak dates from the reign of Charles I. and is a fine example of its kind: the font is of Late Perpendicular date, but has been injudiciously scraped and cleaned: in 1838 the church was extensively repaired and altered, a clerestory being added to the nave, the south aisle erected, the chancel renovated and all the roofs renewed: in 1891 the western and north and south galleries were taken down, the organ removed, the tower arch opened, the font raised on a base of Portland stone and furnished with a cover, and the interior reseated with oak benches and chairs, and in 1906 the chancel was entirely rebuilt on an enlarged scale, so as to be 6 feet longer and 2 feet wider than the old, a new vestry and organ chamber added, and the whole refitted in oak and walnut, at a cost of £1,000: the work was carried out by local craftsmen at Upwey and Broadway, and the chancel dedicated by the Bishop of Salisbury, 24 June, 1907: there are now 300 sittings.

Civil Registration

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

Upwey was in Weymouth Registration District from 1837 to 1933

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Upway from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Upway 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.