Dorset OPC

East & West Orchard

Dorset OPC


Church of  St  Thomas, East Orchard
Photographs Lynda Mudle-Small © March 2003

East Orchard, a small parish approximately 4 miles south-west of Shaftesbury and about the same distance north-east of Sturminster Newton, was originally under the control of the Abbey of Shaftesbury. Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, it passed with all the land around it into the hands of the Arundell family. The hamlet of East Orchard is documented in 1650 as being one of the five chapels belonging to the mother church of Iwerne Minster, a large parish some 4 miles away to the south east. The present church of St Thomas in East Orchard was built at the end of the 18th century and the church registers date from 1785. In 1866 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England changed its status to a Vicarage. By 1869 the land had passed into the estates of Sir Richard Glyn. At one time there were also two Methodist Chapels.

The introduction of civil registration in 1837 placed East Orchard in Shaftesbury Registration District and Fontmell Magna District, initially grouped with Sutton Waldron. By 1861, East Orchard, West Orchard and Margaret Marsh had been grouped into one Enumeratorís District and in 1937 the civil parish of East Orchard, West Orchard and Margaret Marsh was transferred to Sturminster Newton Registration District.

West Orchard, the adjoining parish separated from East Orchard by a stream flowing to the south west, also belonged to the Abbey of Shaftesbury. It is approximately 3 Ĺ miles north-east of Sturminster Newton and just over 5 miles south-west of Shaftesbury. Like East Orchard, it too passed into the hands of the Arundell family after 1539. It is documented in 1650 as being the chapel of ease to the mother church of the parish of Fontmell, some 4 miles away to the north-east. West Orchard registers date from 1653. In 1869 it is recorded as being the property of H G Sturt, Esa. The existing church of St Lukeís was largely rebuilt, with the exception of the chancel, in 1878. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England transferred West Orchard to the parish of East Orchard in 1952.

With civil registration, West Orchard also became part of Shaftesbury Registration District and Fontmell Magna District and from 1861 onwards was grouped into an Enumeratorís District with East Orchard and Margaret Marsh. It was transferred to Sturrminster Newton Registration District in 1937.


West Orchard Church


The Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for East & West Orchard is Sue Thornton-Grimes


Census East Orchard
1841, 1851 [with Sutton Waldron], 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901
West Orchard
1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901
Parish Registers East Orchard
Baptisms 1785-1848
Marriages 1753-1838
Burials 1673-1860
West Orchard
Baptisms 1754-1763, 1768-1849
Marriages 1754-1839

Burials 1672-1871
Postal Directories The following extracts are on site:
East Orchard 1867 & 1880 Directories, 1848-1939 Directories
West Orchard 1867, 1875 & 1880 Directory, 1848-1939 Directories
Monumental Inscriptions Details of the names on Memorials at East Orchard
Details of the names on Memorials at West Orchard
Electoral Registers East & West Orchard Electoral Registers 1875-1877
East & West Orchard Electoral Registers 1888-1890
East Orchard Electoral Registers 1901-1915
West Orchard Electoral Registers 1901-1915
East & West Orchard Absent Voters List 1918
Poor Law Records East & West Orchard Poor Law Record Index (Records held at DHC)
Oaths and Taxation Returns East Orchard Hearth Tax Returns 1662-1664
East Orchard Protestation Return 1641-1642
West Orchard Hearth Tax Returns 1662-1664
Miscellaneous Documents East Orchard Church School Honour List 1895-1950
East Orchard Militia Ballot List 1790
East Orchard Juror's List 1825-1863
East Orchard Prisoners in Dorchester Gaol 1782-1901
East & West Orchard Yeomanry & Volunteer Corps 1794-1798
West Orchard Militia Ballot List 1790
West Orchard Juror's List 1825-1863
West Orchard Prisoners in Dorchester Gaol 1782-1901
West Orchard Choir List
Photographs Photographs of the church, monumental stones and the village
Maps The 1891 Ordnance Survey maps of the parish can be seen at the old-maps site, just enter 'East Orchard'  or 'West Orchard' under place search.
For modern location maps visit:-  www.multimap.com
For a 1920s map of the north of the county showing the parishes click on the thumbnail on the left [170kb]
Records held at the Dorset History Centre
East Orchard
West Orchard
Registers
Christenings 1785-1812. Marriages 1783-1836. Burials.                  Banns 1954
Christenings 1754-1822. Marriages 1755-1839. Burials.                  Banns

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