Dorset OPC

Sutton Waldron

Dorset OPC

Sutton Waldron Alms Houses
© Dorset OPC 2013

Sutton Waldron is a village in the Blackmore Vale of North Dorset, situated under the scarp of Cranborne Chase, 8 miles North of Blandford Forum and 5 miles south of Shaftesbury. Since 1928, the parish has been united with that of Iwerne Minster. The Saxon name ‘Sutton’ means ‘south farm’ and refers to its position as being south of a well-known place, while the manorial addition of ‘Waldron’ is a corruption of ‘Waleran’, the name of the huntsman who held the estate at the time of the Domesday Book (1086). In Waleran’s time the population was 25 males (probably around 125 in total), gradually increasing over the centuries until peaking at 257 in 1851. The invention of machinery to mass produce buttons that same year destroyed Sutton Waldron’s sizeable cottage industry making linen buttons and the population declined, with some even being ‘helped’ to emigrate to Australia and Canada.
Sutton Waldron has twice been a front-row spectator of history. In 980 Edward the Martyr’s funeral cortege passed through the village en route from Wareham to Shaftesbury Abbey. Edward had been murdered at Corfe Castle in 978, allegedly at the instigation of his step-mother, Dowager Queen Aelfthryth, after reigning only 3 years. Almost seven centuries later, Oliver Cromwell thundered through the village with his cavalry on his march from Shaftesbury to Shroton to subdue the Dorset Clubmen encamped on Hambledon Hill. The Clubmen sided with neither King nor Parliament, but were a third force that sprung into being all over the country, but particularly in Dorset, to resist the damage and depredations both sides inflicted on rural areas.

The village contains many delightful houses, including an attractive row of 1830s almshouses with an impressive array of hollyhocks in their front gardens during summer. However, the main attraction is St Bartholomew’s Church, described by Sir John Betjeman as ‘one of the best and most lovely examples of Victorian architecture’. Located at the end of a leafy lane, it replaced a Saxon church, making up for lost time by including the best elements of architectural fashion that had occurred between the reign of William the Conqueror and that of William IV. George Alexander planned the church to include a nave, chancel, west tower, south aisle and north vestry, and executed it with the utmost flare through astute choice of materials, inclusion of flamboyant gothic features like flying buttresses and bold, original design exemplified by the octagonal tower. The colourful interior, designed by Owen Jones, continues the exterior’s homage to medieval style, with abstract patterns in red, navy and gold painted on a sky-blue background. Owen used tiles designed by his mentor, Augustus Pugin (best known for his interior of the Houses of Parliament), to decorate the chancel.
Dedicated in 1847, the new church had been paid for by Canon Anthony Huxtable, using the wealth brought to him by his marriage in 1840 to the devoted Maria Langstone. As well as his church-building project, he was an agricultural pioneer and worked tirelessly to improve the lot of his parishioners. Huxtable was perhaps better regarded than some of his predecessors, one of whom kept a detailed record of his 36 years as rector of Sutton Waldron from 1686 until his death in 1722. If anybody has ever wondered what a private christening was like, they may have their answer in the journal of Rev. Napier, who wrote: “Martha daughter of Robert Barrett and Martha his wife was privately baptised tho’ in sound and perfect health betwixt one and two o’clock of the morning, for doing of which I was hastily called out of my bed …”. There was a memorial to Rev. Napier in the old church, recorded by Hutchins, but now lost, which read: “Here lyeth the body of the Rev. Nathaniel Napier, Rector of this parish for 36 years, born of an illustrious family; he paid the debt of nature July 14th, 1722. En mortalitatis exemplar vivendi disce mori ut moriendo aeternum vivas”.

Sutton Waldron Church
© Dorset OPC 2013

The post of Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for Sutton Waldron is currently vacant
  If you would like to volunteer for the role, please contact the coordinator

Transcriptions courtesy of Patrick Tuffin unless otherwise stated

Census 1841 Census
1851 Census
1861 Census
1871 Census [Nicola Merrifield]
1881 Census
1891 Census
1901 Census
Parish Registers Baptisms 1678-1736 [PR][Brian Longman],
1731-1799 [BT]
, 1800-1836 [BT]
Marriages 1678-1736 [PR][Brian Longman],
1731-1799 [BT], 1800-1836 [BT]
Burials 1678-1753 [PR][Brian Longman]
1731-1799 [BT], 1800-1836 [BT]
Trade & Postal Directories  
Other Records Sutton Waldron Rectors [Kim Parker]
Roll of Honour [Kim Parker]
Index of Wills [Kim Parker]
Monumental Inscriptions  

Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings 1678-1992. Marriages 1678-1992. Burials 1678-1994. Banns 1754-1992





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