Extract from: Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)

Transcribed by Kim Parker


WAREHAM, a town, three parishes, a sub-district, a district, and a division, in Dorset. The town stands on a branch of Icknield-street, and on the Southampton and Dorchester railway, between the rivers Piddle and Frome, near their influx to a large creek of Poole harbour, 16 miles E by S of Dorchester; dates from ancient British times; occupies the site of the Roman station Morinio or Moriconium; was known to the Saxons as Varamo and Waerham; took its name from Varia, the Roman designation of the Frome; had an early fort, British and Roman, destroyed in 875; had also a Saxon priory or nunnery, founded about 705, burnt by the Danes in 876, restored afterwards as a Benedictine cell to Lira abbey, and now represented by some slight remains; was made a mint town by Athelstan; received the corpse of Edward the Martyr, prior to its removal to Shaftesbury; sustained severe damage by incursions of the Danes at various periods up to 1015; had 125 houses at Domesday; belonged then to the Crown; passed soon to R. Bellomont; acquired, in his time, either a reconstruction of its ancient fort or a new castle, now extinct; was occupied by alternately both parties, and burnt by Stephen, in the war between him and Maud; was visited, in 1205, by King John, who landed at it from France; had then, at the mouth of the Piddle and the Frome, a considerable harbour, which afterwards became choked up; sent three ships, in the time of Edward III., to the siege of Calais; was garrisoned by the parliamentarians in 1643, and taken by the royalists in 1644; had once so many as 8 churches, only 3 of which remain; suffered destruction of about two-thirds of its houses in 1762, by an accidentally-raised fire; had, as natives, Horace Walpole and Lord Camden's tutor Chapman,-as a rector, the anti-quary Hutchins,-as a prisoner in its castle, R. de Beleme; is a borough by prescription, governed by a mayor and 18 burgesses; sent two members to parliament from the time of Edward I. till 1832, and now sends one; comprises within its parliamentary boundaries, its own three parishes, the parishes of Arne and Corfe-Castle, and parts of Bere-Regis, East Stoke, and Morden; is a seat of sessions and county courts and a polling place; presents nearly the form of a parallelogram, with streets crossing at right angles; retains three sides of an ancient vallum, from 1,600 to 1,960 feet long, and about 30 feet high; includes vacant spaces between its present houses and the vallum's E side, now disposed in gardens, but formerly occupied by streets; and has a head post-office,‡ a r. station with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief inns, a town hall, a five-arched bridge of 1779 over the Frome, a three-arched bridge over the Piddle, an early English church, two other churches, three dissenting chapels, an endowed school with £34 a year, alms houses with £171, a workhouse, general charities £63, a salmon fishery, some small manufactures, and a weekly market on Tuesday. Amount of property and income tax charged on the borough in 1863, £1,484. Electors in 1833, 339; in 1863, 361 Pop. in 1851, 7,218; in 1861, 6,694. Houses, 1,339.

The parishes are Holy Trinity, Lady-St. Mary, and St. Martin; and the first includes Stoborough liberty. Acres of H. T., 2,670,-of which 150 are water; of L.-St. M., 823; of St. Martin, 4,873,-of which 840 are water. Real property, £7,122. Pop., 816, 1,643, and 617. Houses, 181, 345, and 123. The manor belonged anciently to the Clares; passed to the Mortimers, Henry VIII.'s wives, the Plunketts, and the Erles; and belongs now to J. H. Calcraft, Esq. The livings are rectories in the diocese of Salisbury; and they are held conjointly with one another and with Arne. Value, £400.* Patron, J. H. Calcraft, Esq.-The sub-district contains 13 parishes. Acres, 33,800. Pop., 6,230. Houses, 1,308.-The district comprehends also Corfe-Castle, Bere-Regis, and Swanage sub-districts; and comprises 96,309 acres. Poor rates in 1863, £10,573. Pop. in 1851, 17,417; in 1861, 17,072. Houses, 3,543. Marriages in 1863,118; births, 592,-of which 35 were illegitimate; deaths, 327,-of which 101 were at ages under 5 years, and 14 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,175; births, 5,488; deaths, 3,192. The places of worship, in 1851, were 32 of the Church of England, with 7,337 sittings; 9 of Independents, with 2,405 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 120 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 230 s.; 17 of Wesleyans, with 1,851 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 85 s.; 1 undefined, with 30 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 300 s. The schools were 29 public day-schools, with 2,025 scholars; 33 private day-schools, with 564 s.; 40 Sunday schools, with 2,894 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 56 s.-The division contains 6 liberties or hundreds and 5 parts. Acres, 98,817. Pop. in 1851, 18,001. Houses, 3,541.

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