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West Orchard, Dorset

Historical Description

Orchard, West, a parish in Dorsetshire, on an affluent of the river Stour, 3 miles NE of Sturminster Newton station on the Somerset and Dorset Joint railway, and 5½ SSW of Shaftesbury. Post town, Shaftesbury. The parish comprises 669 acres. Population, 115. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the rectory of Fontmell Magna, in the diocese of Salisbury. The church is a small Gothic structure, rebuilt in 1878.

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 districtShaftesbury 
Registration sub-districtFontmell 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 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

dedication unknown (parish church)

The church (dedication unknown) was re-built, with the exception of the chancel, in 1878, and consists of chancel, nave, south porch, and a western turret containing 2 bells: it will seat 80 people.

West Orchard churchWest Orchard church

Civil Registration

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

West Orchard was in Shaftesbury Registration District from 1837 to 1937 and Sturminster Registration District from 1937 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for West Orchard from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of West Orchard 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.

DistrictNorth Dorset
RegionSouth West
Postal districtSP7
Post TownShaftesbury