About Us
Cranborne is a small village in east Dorset. It was once a large market town and also the largest parish in Dorset.
The neighboring village is Alderholt and the town of Verwood among other small villages were also part of the parish of Cranborne,which was some 40 miles in circumference.
. A Benedictine priory was founded here by Aylward de Meaux in 980. A little more than a century later,it became a cell of Tewkesbury on the rebuilding of the Abbey by Robert Fitz-Hamon.
The Church of St Mary and St Bartholomew to be found in the middle of the village,is said to be built on the foundations of a Monastery and Saxon church. The Church has several interesting features including a 12th century doorway and an pulpit with the monogram  T.P (Thomas Parker)who was Abbot of Tewkesbury 1398-1421.
Cranborne also boasts a fine Manor House which was once a lodge for King John when hunting on the nearby Cranborne Chase. and now the home of the Cecil family who have run the estate since the early 17th century. The Manor is now the seat of the present Viscount Cranborne who is one of our societies patrons .
A large red brick building to the east of the Manor ,is Cranborne Lodge partly built by Stillingfleet family c 1700 and later became the home of Lewis Tregonwell and his wife Henrietta (Portman) . After she suffered an illness at the Lodge, Lewis took his wife to Mudeford for a holiday ,and rode along the cliffs until  they reached a stream( The Bourne) that entered the sea, Henrietta fell in love with this area and so Lewis built them a house .This house is reputed to be the first house in Bournemouth , and Lewis the founder of this Seaside Town.
A Motte and Bailey stand on a prominent  rise called Castle Hill which is to the east of the Lodge. It is said that Lewis Tregonwell buried his white stallion on this hill. Castle Hill is on the Edmondsham Estate and owned by the Medlycot Trust and managed today by Mrs Julia Smith a descendant of the Tregonwells, and  also our other patron.
The village today,has only two of its onetime eight public houses ,The Sheaf of Arrows ,which is also the crest of the Cecil family,and the newly refurbished,The Inn at Cranborne ,formerly known as The Fleur-de-Lys .The only shop in the village is owned by Cranborne Estate and supplies all grocery needs,we are also lucky that we have retained our Post Office.On the entrance to the village is the Garden Centre again owned by the estate , this specialises in old varieties of climbing, rambling and shrub roses , 
Although Cranborne is a small village it is full of history,and history needs to be recorded for our next generation to enjoy and pass on. It was in 2008 that I decided to share my photograph ,and newspaper cutting collection with others after a lot of interest was shown at the displays I had done,so a meeting was held and well supported, Among those who attended were two ladies from the Verwood History Society who came along to give us some starting up advise ,also a representative from  POPP (Partnership for older Peoples Projects ) . Our Society was formed and a starter grant was awarded by POPP to enable us to purchase a Projector, Screen , display boards and also to cover the cost of hiring the hall. Since 2008, our membership has grown, we have had many interesting speakers and visits and the committee are working towards our future programme. We have also been lucky thanks to The Cecil Memorial Hall Committee to have the use of a small attic room above the hall lobby,which we can use and set up as a small Museum of Cranborne Memorabilia and records., 

                                                                                                             Chris Bright

                                                                        A member of The British Association of Local History 
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