The Parish of Winterborne Monkton

Monkton Parish Panorama
Looking north from the Ridgeway across the parish to Maiden Castle and to Dorchester beyond [James Purkiss 2005]

Winterborne Monkton is a small rural parish in south Dorset. It is 2 miles south of Dorchester and 5 miles north of Weymouth. It is bordered by the parishes of Dorchester (formerly Fordington parish) to the north, Winterborne Herringston to the east, Bincombe and Upwey to the south and Martinstown (Winterborne St. Martin) to the west. The whole parish is part of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), designated in 1959.A map of parish boundaries can be found here


The placename evolved as follows:

The hamlet is named after the Winterborne river which flows through the valley. The suffix Came means 'estate or village of monks' (Old English munuc and tun), and relates to the manor being owned by the Cluniac Priory of Le Wast near Boulogne in France in the 13th century. The village was sometimes known as Winterborne Wast in medieval times [Mills 1998].

The parish is crossed by both the main road and railway line between Dorchester and Weymouth. The village itself is small and lies to the west of the road and railway adjacent to the South Winterborne River. Maiden Castle, the large iron age fort, lies on a hill to the north just outside the parish. The Lanceborough King Barrow is located on the open farmland to the north of the fort. It was never ploughed out because of its location on Great Barrow Green, used for common pasture.

The tithe was apportioned in 1841. One copy of the schedule of apportionment and accompanying map are kept in the Dorset History Centre and at the National Archives in Kew.

The hamlet was owned by the Church Commissioners, who in the 1870s rebuilt the cottages now numbered 1 to 13 [Draper 1996]. A group of more modern houses lie to the east of the railway line and mostly date from the inter-war years.

The parish boundaries were altered in the 1890s when large parts of Fordington Parish south of Bridport Road and west of Weymouth Avenue were transferred to Monkton. The area transferred was known as Fordington Field (and appeared as such on OS maps until the 1990s) and included Maiden Castle Farm, Middle Farm and the house at Monkey's Jump. Dorchester's bypass was built across Fordington Field in 1988. Land was developed for a mixture of housing, employment and retail uses at Middle Farm from 1993 onwards and construction began on land within the parish around 2001. The parish boundary was modified again in approximately 2002, with the boundary between Dorchester and Monkton moved to follow the line of the bypass.

The Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for Winterborne Came is James Purkiss. You may contact me by e-mail if you have further queries.

Please Note: I am an unpaid volunteer willing to assist others with their genealogical research and should in no way be confused with the Parish Council or Parochial Church Council clerks.

Places within the Parish

Available Genealogical Data

Parish Registers

Held at Dorset History Centre.

Note: a) The International Genealogical Index contains Monkton baptism entries between 1731 and 1880. These entries can be found online by using the batch number C160161.

b) Copies of the parish register entries were sent to the Bishop every year. Because the parishes are part of the Diocese of Salisbury, the Bishop's Transcripts are held at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre in Chippenham.

Gravestone Transcriptions

Transcriptions of the gravestone inscriptions have been made by the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society. A copy of their work has been deposited at the Dorset History Centre.


Civil Registration & Poor Law see section


Postal Directories

I have transcribed one postal directory for the parish so far. More are available courtesy of the University of Leicester

Electoral Rolls

Dorset History Centre holds the electoral roll for the years 1838 - 1841 and 1843-4.

Land Tax

Land Tax returns exist for the years 1780-90, 1792-7, 1800-8, 1810-20, 1822-4, 1826-30 and 1832. These are held at the Dorset History Centre.