The tiny village of Whitcombe lies alongside the main A352 between Broadmayne and Dorchester. It lies nestled between the parishes of West Knighton and Broadmayne on the east, West Stafford to the north and Winterborne Came to the west. It forms a rather narrow strip of land going southwards and to the Manor House and the famous stables. Not a parish in its own right, Whitcombe was extra-parochial and has its own church with registers beginning in 1762. The previous registers were destroyed in a fire at the farmhouse. Whitcombe lay in the hundred of Culliford Tree.
The tiny village of Whitcombe, Dorset
Recorded as Widecome and having a land measurement of two hides, King Athelstan gave it to the Abbey of Milton. At the dissolution of the monasteries it became property of the Crown. Later, about 1600, it was sold to a Mr Hull of Tolpuddle.
In 1645, then being in the hands of Mr Edmund Hull, it was sequestered, but continued in the Hull family until the death of Francis Hull, also of Tolpuddle whereupon it was sold to George Pitt of Stratfieldsaye. His grandson, William Morton Pitt subsequently sold it in 1790 to Thomas Weld of Lulworth Castle and by 1866 it had become the property of the Lionel Damer.
The little village is surrounded by ancient earthworks and is a place where time appears to have stood still. This is more apparent with the church where the memory of the famous Dorset dialect poet, William Barnes, lingers on. For it was here that he preached his very first sermon and also his last. In 1886 at the time of his death, he was rector of nearby Winterborne Came and preached his last in this little church. The church was restored in his memory.
The church at Whitcombe (redundant)
The parsonage of which Tristam Burt is recorded as being clerk was sequestered in 1645. In the return to the commission in 1650, it is recorded that it was supplied by a curate, at that time being Robert Buckland. Mr Tregonwell was the proprietor and Mr Thomas Burt the possessor. The rectory and chapel had previously been granted to Sir John Tregonwell through whose family it had descended and came into the Bankes family whose heir, John Strachen, sold it to Joseph Damer, Earl of Dorchester. Joseph Damer was the ancestor of Lionel Damer who subsequently inherited both Whitcombe and Winterborne Came.
Whitcombe was of course, well known for the stables and producing horses that have done very well in some of the nation's famous races.
Online Parish Clerk Project (external link) Whitcombe OPC
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