Dorset OPC


Dorset OPC

Dewlish Church

Dewlish is a very picturesque village 7 miles north east of Dorchester. The Hamlet of Chebbard is one mile to the west. The population today is a mere 250. In 1748 Dewlish was spelt ‘Develish’. The main Dorchester to Blandford road, and on to London, passed through the village. Around 1750 the turnpike roads were constructed by an Act of Parliament and the road was then diverted east of the village, where the main road to London is today. There used to be a house at the turnpike, where road maintenance taxes were paid by coaches passing through the turnpike gate. The house was demolished in the 1950s.

During the late 19th century bones of a pre ice-age mammoth were uncovered in a prehistoric deposit on a hill above Pound Lane. A Roman villa, twice the size of the present Dewlish House, was unearthed. It had 24 rooms and mosaics of a leopard leaping on a gazelle in the centre of the floor.

Bronze age daggers and funeral urns have been found in the Barrows. Axe and arrow heads, now in the Dorchester Museum, were found on Manor Farm.

The church has 2 Norman doorways and a Norman font. In the church is a monument to Field Marshall Sir John Michel, who lived in Dewlish House. He commanded the last force to take Peking. He looted the Summer Palace in 1860, chartered a ship, and brought all the fixtures and household contents to Dewlish house. Then burnt down the Summer Palace! The main gates to Dewlish House, made of Chinese rust proof metal, are all that remain of the ‘loot’.

Parsonage farm

‘Betsey Caine’s Corner’ is known as such because of a suicide during the 19th century. Betsey Caine hung herself behind a door in the Parsonage Farm House and was buried under the wood on the road to Milborne St. Andrew. The door on the second storey was boarded up and remains so today. Mr Newberry Parsons was walking past the corner late one night and saw the ghost of Betsey sitting on the gate. He was the churchwarden for 40 years, so would not lie about anything like that. Betsey and Newberry were baptised on the same day in 1858.

In 1940 Dewlish was bombed by squadrons of German bombers and fighters. Just before D Day in 1944, the main American assault force onto Omaha Beach, trained and camped at Dewlish. They went straight from Dewlish to the ships at Weymouth.

The post of Online Parish Clerk (OPC) is currently vacant
If you would like to volunteer for the role, please contact the OPC Project Co-ordinator
Contributions of additional resource materials for the site are always welcome

Census 1851 [John Ridout]
1861 [Glenda Lightowler]
1871 [Terry Smith]
1881 [Terry Smith]
Parish Registers Baptisms 1627-1800, 1801-1900
Marriages 1633-1800, 1801-1900
Burials 1627-1800, 1801-1900
Other Records  
Photographs Photographs of the church and village [Jennifer Dando]
Photographs of Churchyard and memorial stones [Jan Hibberd]

Records held at the Dorset History Centre
[Ref PE-DEW]
Christenings 1627-1672, 1682-1684, 1698-1876.
Marriages 1634-1645, 1655-1668, 1700-1717, 1725-1957, 1968-1987.
Burials 1616-1644, 1653-1672, 1681-1684, 1697-1993.


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