Dorset OPC


Dorset OPC

Warmwell Holy Trinity Church
© Kim Parker 2010

Warmwell, named for a spring just to the north of the village – literally ‘the warm spring’ from Old English wearm and wella – straddles the bends of the B3390 road to Affpuddle, 5 miles East-South-East of Dorchester. Architectural treasures abound, with several English Heritage listed buildings, including the stunning 17th century Manor House whose many gables and chimneys are visible above its high enclosing wall and the 18th century Mill and Mill House. Beyond the village is the great heath, watercress beds and several gravel quarries.

Having been in the possession of the de Warmwell family after the Norman Conquest and later in the hands of the Newburghs, the Manor eventually passed to the Trenchards. In 1618 Sir George Trenchard settled it upon his son John, whose daughter Jane married John Sadler, a man fluent in Oriental languages and a Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. As Sadler lay seriously ill in bed at Warmwell Manor in 1661, attended by Jane, the local minister and a servant, he had a vision. He foretold of a horrific epidemic in London, a terrible fire and three ships landing in the west that would wreak havoc. All these things happened: the Plague broke out in 1665, followed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 (which consumed Salisbury Court, Sadler’s London property), while in 1685 a violent rebellion began when three ships carrying the Duke of Monmouth and his supporters docked at Lyme Regis. Sadler did not live to see all of these events, but what life remained to him he lived out at Warmwell.

Holy Trinity Church is known to be at least 700 years old, although it has undergone many alterations over the course of the centuries, as the traces of former architectural features on the exterior south wall attest. As a result of all these renovations, the chancel at the east end of the church is larger than the 13th century nave in the centre, so that with a traditional 15th century tower at the west end, the building has “the air of a stately Spanish galleon sailing across the downs”, to quote Dorset writer Harry Ashley. Inside is a Norman font made from a solid block of Purbeck stone, while outside there are some unusual tombstones, including a Portland stone table-type monument commemorating Henry Vie who died here in 1691.

Perhaps the most poignant facet of Warmwell is that here heroes and enemies lie side-by-side in the churchyard: the War Graves Commission maintains graves of British, Commonwealth and other allied personnel lost while serving at the local airfield during World War II, while elsewhere in the churchyard German and Italian prisoners of war who died in captivity are buried. Warmwell was strategically important in World War II. In 1936 part of the heath around Warmwell had been borrowed for use as an airfield. Initially called RAF Woodsford, it was soon renamed RAF Warmwell and later, when leased to the US Ninth Air Force, it was known as USAAF Station AAF-454. The aerodrome played an important role in the Battle of Britain, particularly in the defence of Portland Naval Base. Handed back to the RAF after D-Day on 5th August 1944, the aerodrome has long since disappeared, with part of the site consumed in gravel working, and the rest now built over by the village of Crossways.

Warmwell Lodge House
© Kim Parker 2010

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

Census 1841 Census [Mari Viertel]
1851 Census incl Watercombe [John Ridout]
1861 Census [Glenda Lightowler]
Parish Registers Baptisms 1641-1754 [Kim Parker]
Marriages 1641-1836 [Kim Parker]
Burials 1641-1752 [Kim Parker]
Bishops Transcripts Baptisms 1731-1812, 1813-1846, 1847-1880 [Julia Graham]
Marriages 1731-1812 , 1813-1835 [Julia Graham]
Burials 1731-1812, 1813-1846, 1847-1880 [Julia Graham]
Trade & Postal Directories  
Other Records Warmwell Rectors
PCC Wills Index for Warmwell residents
Reflections of RAF Warmwell
Monumental Inscriptions  

Records held at the Dorset History Centre
[Ref PE-WAR]
Christenings 1641-1754, 1813-1996.
Marriages 1641/2-1642, 1657-1992.
Burials 1641-1642, 1656-1742, 1813-1992.
Banns 1754-1972
Registration District
(for the purpose of civil registration births, marriages, deaths & civil partnerships)
1 Jul 1837-30 Apr 1996: Weymouth
1 Apr 1997-30 Sep 2001: South Dorset
1 Oct 2001-17 Oct 2005: South & West Dorset

Warmwell Holy Trinity Church (Front view)
© Kim Parker 2010

Warmwell RAF Graves
© Kim Parker 2010

Warmwell Holy Trinity Church (Rear view)
© Kim Parker 2010


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