Weymouth-Dorset.co.uk Local History

Warmwell

The parish of Warmwell is intersected by the A352 and the A353 at what is known as Warmwell Cross. The old crossroads, which were once here, have been replaced by a roundabout. The small village straddles the bends of the B3390 road to Affpuddle. Quaint old buildings, some thatched, line the roadside. The name of the village is derived quite literally from a warm well.

Village and Parish of Warmwell, Dorset

Warmwell Village looking South

The old school and schoolhouse built in 1863 and dated as such can be seen in the picture above at the end of the row of thatched cottages.

The parish of Warmwell is different to others and is not a typical Dorset village. Not only has its population always been small, but it has features untypical of others and is rich in its uniqueness. Several farms, a mill, the village, a great heath, watercress beds, a quarry and once an airfield used by the RAF during the Second World War, the station of which has been converted into a house.

Coming into the village from Warmwell Cross along the twists and turns of the narrow road, the church dedicated to the Holy Trinity lies to the right with a trackway leading down to the Old Rectory.

Holy Trinity Church, Warmwell, Dorset

The Church of Holy Trinity, Warmwell

The church dates in part from the 13th Century with a 15th century tower. Within the churchyard are many memorials to those lost during the Second World War, mostly those serving with the RAF, but also some prisoners of war. This area is maintained by the War Graves Commission. During the war, not far away, there was an aerodrome where the fighter planes took off. A Portland stone, table type monument standing in the churchyard is on English Heritage's listed buildings and commemorates the late Henry Vie who died in 1691 (right of centre beside the wall in the picture above).

A track leads down the hill and round to the Old Rectory standing in the shadows of the church.

Old Rectory, Warmwell, Dorset

The Old Rectory,Warmwell

Perhaps the most interesting building in the parish of Warmwell is the old Manor House, Warmwell House. The Manor of Warmwell was originally held by the de Warmwell family and one Geoffrey de Warmwell is recorded as having interests in several places locally. It then came to the Newburghs and then to the Trenchards of Wolfeton from 1526. Sir Thomas Trenchard was the first of the line to hold it and in 1618 Sir George Trenchard settled it upon his son John. John Trenchard's daughter Jane, married John Sadler, a man fluent in Oriental languages and a Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Warmwell House, Warmwell, Dorset

Warmwell House, Warmwell (side view)

John Sadler came into possession of the Manor and Warmwell House in 1662. It is said that he died 'having been much disordered in his senses'. Maybe he was not so much 'disordered in his senses' but rather ahead of his time in some way. Perhaps he was at that time a modern-day Nostradamus. For, as he lay ill in bed in 1661, with his wife at his bedside, along with the local minister and a servant, Thomas Gray, he began to foretell the future. The events he foresaw were the Plague and Great Fire of London (1666) and the Monmouth Rebellion, all of which came true in the fullness of time. His own house, Salisbury Court, was burnt in the Great Fire of London at which point he retired to Warmwell and remained there to live out his days.

Not long after the demise of John Sadler, the Richards family came into possession of the Manor and Warmwell House in 1687. This was an ownership that was to span 3 centuries. Finally, after a long succession, in 1806, William Richards, having inherited Smedmore House, sold the Warmwell estate. The new owner's daughter married Captain Augustus Foster and the estate eventually descended through her to her husband. It remained in the ownership of the Foster family until 1935 whereupon it passed to Lord Ellenborough.

Warmwell contains several English Heritage listed buildings besides Warmwell House. The stables and a Lodge belonging to the estate and Nos. 1 and 2 Rose Cottages, a pair of estate cottages standing beside the main road through the village. The old mill and mill house further into the parish are also Grade II listed and date from the late eighteenth century.

Historical Parish Information

 

Parish Registers begin:

1641

Hundred or Liberty:

Winfrith

Poor Law Union & Registration District:

Dorchester

Somerset & Dorset FHS Census Volumes

1841 - Vol. /1851 - Vol.3 /1891 - Vol.10

Online Parish Clerk Project (external link)

None at present

Warmwell Directories for 1851, 1855, 1859, 1875, 1889, 1895 transcriptions

 

Nearby Parishes and Places

Broadmayne

Osmington, Osmington Mills & Ringstead

Owermoigne

Poxwell

West Knighton

West Stafford

Whitcombe

 

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