Stourton Caundle is a tranquil Dorset village – enjoyed by locals, passers by, and holidaymakers.
But the village has a dappled past…
Stourton Caundle is one of several settlements in the area to bear the name "Caundle", the others being Bishop's Caundle, Purse Caundle and Caundle Marsh.The origin of "Caundle" is uncertain, though there are references to land called "Candelle", "Candel" or "In Candele" in the Domesday Book in 1086.Sir Henry de Haddon, a lord from Northamptonshire, bought land and founded a manor here in 1202, and the resultant settlement was called "Caundel Haddon" or "Caundle Haddon".
The Haddons retained the manor until 1461 when it passed to the Stourton family, which resulted in the current village name. A century later, however, descendent Lord Charles Stourton came to a gory end...
Our peaceful and tranquil village has seen different times!
In 1557, notorious resident, Lord Charles Stourton, invited to the manor a man named Hartgill (and his son), with whom he'd had a long running disagreement, though they were apparently reconciled.
Stourton arranged for them to be clubbed down by his servants who then cut their throats and hid their bodies in the cellar. He was subsequently interned in the Tower of London and then taken to Salisbury Market Square where he was hanged along with four of his unfortunate servants.The original manor, which was referred to as a castle, was on the west side of the village. On the site, there now only remains a thirteenth-century chapel (no longer used as such) and two large ponds.
In the centre of the village, opposite the Trooper Inn, is Manor Farm.
Formerly owned by Enid Blyton, Manor Farm is the setting and inspiration for her book 'Five on Finniston Farm' - part of the Famous Five series.
Enid and her husband bought the farm in 1956.This 17th century farmhouse and barns, with walled garden, has mature trees, shrubberies, herbaceous borders, lakes and a vegetable garden, lovingly created over the last 40 years by the current owners - and is enjoyed by the villagers on the annual open-day.Enid Blyton was a familiar figure to Dorset, often holidaying at the lovely Isle of Purbeck, which was also said to have inspired many of her stories.
Local poet William Barnes was early contemporary of Thomas Hardy and is said to have inspired his work.Our locality is proud of the association with William Barnes - the local secondary school at Sturminster Newton being named after him.The Trooper Inn was a signing-on point for soldiers heading for the battles of Waterloo, hence the current name (it was formerly known as the Catherine Wheel).
Barnes lived in the nearby village of Bagber and he felt the Caundles were the place to celebrate peace, after the battles:
'At Peace day, who but we should goo
To Caundle for an hour or two:
As gay a day as ever broke
Above the heads of Caundle voik,
Vor Peace, acome for all, did come
To them wii two new friends at hwome
Zoo while we kept, wi nimble peace
The wold dun towir avore our feace
The air at last, begun to come
Wi drubbens of a beaten drum;
Ani then we heard the horns loud drouts
Play of a tuenis upper notes;
An I then agean a risen chearm
Vrom tongues of people in a zwarm;
Ani zoo at last, we stood among
The merry feaces oi the drong...'.
Barnes later took a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Cambridge university. He served as the local rector at the curiously-named hamlet of Winterborne Came, south of Dorchester, where he was visited by Thomas Hardy shortly before his death. His grave can be seen at St.Peter's Church in the hamlet.
Though four centuries of change, The Trooper Inn has continued to serve as the hub of the community.Stourton Caundle today is a small village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in southwest England, with a population of just under 450 (in 2011).At one time, the village had a Post Office and general stores, as well as its own baker, dairyman, blacksmiths, carpenters, boot-makers, cordwainers, plasterers, basket makers, publicans and a saw-yard. However, the general decline in the fortunes of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century gradually eroded the situation, as people moved to towns to seek work.
It lies within the Blackmore Vale in North Dorset, about 6 miles east of Sherborne, where you will find our local train station and also lots to see.
Many of the existing cottages in Stourton Caundle are from the early part of the 19th century.
The foundations, at least, of some of these cottages may be much older, for the 1709 estate map shows many buildings in the village on sites close to their present locations.
Stourton Caundle's parish church is dedicated to St Peter and has a thirteenth-century nave and chancel, and a fourteenth-century tower.
Since then, the pub has served as the centre of the community and continues to do so, frequented by locals - an integrated mix of inhabitants who've been here for generations and 'blow-ins' - like us(!) who've moved here in search of a better lifestyle.And, thanks to the internet, we're also increasingly being discovered by visitors from far and wide who appreciate the sense of being part of 'real rural life'.
We hope you'll visit us soon!
If you're arriving by train - or want a day out without using your car - see below for our taxi service!
Today Stourton Caundle is a thriving village community with it’s own magazine – The Stourton Caundler.
The village hall is well-used by the village, particularly the various clubs and societies, with The Trooper sometimes providing a bar there!
Find out what’s on in the Stourton Caundle diary.
Stourton Caundle also has its own village website, from which some of the above information was gratefully borrowed.