The parish contains the manors of Beaminster Prima and Secunda, both till lately forming prebends in the Cathedral of Salisbury; the former valued in the king's books at £20. 2. 6., and the latter at £22. 5. 7½. The Living is a vicarage, annexed to that of Netherbury: the great tithes have been commuted for £220, and those of the incumbent for £300. The church, founded in honour of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, is a stately edifice in the later style of English architecture, with a fine tower 100 feet high, richly ornamented with sculptured designs of the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and other subjects of scriptural history. There is a place of worship for Independents. The free school was founded in 1684, by Mrs. Frances Tucker, who endowed it with £20 per annum for the master, leaving also £30 per annum for apprenticing boys: the endowment now produces about £140, and the number of scholars is 100. The Rev. Samuel Hood, father of Lords Hood and Bridport, was master of the school early in the eighteenth century. An almshouse for eight aged persons was founded in 1630, by Sir John Strode, of Parnham, Knt., the income of which amounts to £20. Gilbert Adams, Esq., in 1626, gave £200 to the poor; and the Rev. William Hillary, in 1712, bequeathed the reversion, after ninety-nine years, of land in the parish of Carscombe, worth £35 per annum, for the benefit of twelve distressed families. The Knowle estate, in the parish, has been in the possession of the Daniels since the reign of Henry VIII., and there is a burial-ground for the family upon it. Dr. Thomas Sprat, Bishop of Rochester; and the Rev. Thomas Russel, Fellow of New College, Oxford, who distinguished himself by his defence of Warton's History of English Poetry, were natives of the town.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.