Nether Compton & Over Compton

St Mary's Tyneham
St. Nicholas, Nether Compton

Nether Compton and Over Compton are small villages, located just on the Dorset side of the county border with Somerset, a few miles from the towns of Yeovil to the west and Sherborne to the east.

The name Compton probably derives from the Anglo-Saxon ‘cum’, meaning a narrow valley or combe, and ‘ton’, meaning settlement. This place had three royal charters from Saxon Kings, granting land to the Church in Sherborne. In the Domesday Book, Compton was a prosperous agricultural community, although it is not clear as to where this settlement was. As the names suggest, Over Compton is on higher ground than Nether Compton; separate villages were referred to in 1163 as ‘Superior’ and ‘Parva’.

The church of St. Nicholas at Nether Compton dates from the 13th century while St. Michael’s at Over Compton is from the 15th century, possibly replacing earlier buildings

.In 1736, the Goodden family acquired the manor of Over Compton and this family has had a major influence over the affairs of both parishes, as landowners and by their control of appointments to the two churches.

Compton House is sited close to St. Michael’s and, together with two specimen trees and a sweeping drive, makes an attractive setting. The interior of St. Michael’s has a series of memorials to the Goodden family, including a life-like statue of Robert Goodden in the “Goodden family pew” –which is a large side chapel, off the nave. The church also has “hatchments”, painted coats of arms which, on the death of a family member, were displayed during the mourning period.

St. Nicholas’ church in Nether Compton is larger, with the nave, chancel and porch dating from the 13th century and an attractive carved stone screen. The tower holds five bells, the earliest dates from the 15th century, one dated 1585, two dated 1658 and one modern.

St. Michael's Church, Over Compton

The church was restored in 1885, around the time when the Gooden family were creating what is now the village green. The village school was set up in 1847, close to the church. Perhaps the nearby malthouse functioned like the one in Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd”.

The Comptons had a reputation as being strongly Protestant and then as a focus for Non-Conformists and there was an Independent chapel near the Half Way House, on the Yeovil Road. This building is now used as a house.

More recently, the Goodden family had found it difficult to maintain their estate. A Butterfly Farm was established near to Compton House but this proved not to be viable. The House has been sold off and is being converted into a series of houses and apartments.

Sources:- .Annette Sandison: “Over and Nether Compton : Records and Traditions of Two Dorset Parishes”  Sherborne 1977.  Printed by Sigma Reprographics, Yeovil. Booklets available in the two churches.

The Online Parish Clerk for Nether & Over Compton is Allan Gillard

Census Nether Compton1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901

Over Compton 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901
Parish Registers Nether Compton Halfway House Non-Conformist Chapel
Baptisms 1858-1879

Nether Compton
Baptisms 1753-1812, 1838- 1848, 1851-1865, 1866-1880
Burials 1753-1812, 1838-1877,1878-1897, 1898-1915

Over Compton
Baptisms 1838-1880
Burials 1838-1878, 1879-1897
Postal Directories Nether Compton
Kelly's 1880, Kelly's 1907

Over Compton
Kelly's 1907
Other Records Nether Compton Halfway House Chapel Member Register
St Nicholas Church Monumental Inscription index [Jan Hibberd]
Photographs Photographs of the villages
Useful Links


Other information Nether Compton Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Over Compton Records
held at the Dorset History Centre
Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings: 1538-1541, 1561-1662, 1691-1879
Marriages: 1541, 1561-1647, 1655-1662, 1716-1837
Burials: 1538-1541, 1561-1647, 1655-1994
Banns: 1754-1820

Christenings: 1538-1879
Marriages: 1541-1680 & 1696-1837
Burials: 1538-1776 & 1813-1837
Christenings: 1726-1995
Marriages: 1726-1837
Burials: 1726-1995

Christenings: 1726-1812
Marriages: 1726-1837
Burials: 1726-1812

Christenings & Burials: 1813-1837
Maps The 1891 Ordnance Survey maps of the parish can be seen at the old-maps site, just enter 'Nether or Over Compton' under place search. For modern location maps visit:-


Visitors to Dorset OPC

shopify site analytics

Privacy Policy

Copyright (c) 2018 Dorset OPC Project