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Whitechurch Canonicorum, Dorset

Historical Description

Whitechurch Canonicorum, a village and a parish in Dorsetshire. The village stands 5 miles WNW of Bridport station on the G.W.R., and has a post office under Charmouth; money order and telegraph office, Charmouth. It took its name from an alien monastery called Album Monasterium, a cell to St Wandragisil Abbey in Normandy, and was once a market-town. The parish includes four hamlets. Acreage, 4253; population of the civil parish, 837; of the ecclesiastical, 1235. The living is a vicarage, united with Marshwood and with Stanton St Gabriel, in the diocese of Salisbury; net value, £250 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Salisbury. The church is a fine cruciform building of stone with an embattled western tower. There is a small chapel of ease at Fish Pond Bottom, and a Congregational chapel at Morecombelake. On Conig Castle Hill, in the north of the parish, is an ancient entrenchment.

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 -
HundredWhitchurch Canonicorum 
Poor Law unionBridport1836 -
Registration districtBridport 
Registration sub-districtWhitchurch Canonicorum 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1558. 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 Whitchurch Canonicorum, 1538-1812 is online


Church of England

St. Candida and the Holy Cross (parish church)

The church of St. Candida and Holy Cross, mentioned in the will of Alfred the Great as "Witancercian," is a fine cruciform building of stone in mixed styles, and consists of chancel, nave of four bays with clerestory, aisles, transepts, south porch and an embattled western tower, with pinnacles, containing a clock, and 8 bells, which were retuned and rehung in 1926: the tower, south porch and aisles are Perpendicular; the south arcade, a fine specimen of Norman work, and the north arcade, transepts and chancel are Early English: in the north transept is an ancient tomb, the shrine of St. Candida, which, excepting that of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey, is the only shrine in England containing relics: the chancel contains a very curious and elaborately carved monument to Sir John Jeffery kt. of Catherstone, dated 1611: there are 312 sittings. Guntard, the first known rector of this parish, attended William the Conqueror on his deathbed.

Civil Registration

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

Whitechurch Canonicorum was in Bridport Registration District from 1837 to 1974

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Whitechurch Canonicorum 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.