Removals and storage in Puddletown, Dorset
Pitmans offer house removals and commercial removals in Puddletown, Dorset, with specialist packing services for antiques and fine art. Whether it’s a full house move or a single item, within the UK or across Europe, we offer a professional, safe and friendly service with full insurance, giving you peace of mind throughout the process.
Puddletown: A potted history
Puddletown is a village and associated civil parish about 4.5 miles northeast of Dorchester and is sited by the River Piddle, from which it derives its name. It also used to be known as Piddletown, but this fell out of favour, probably because of the alternative meaning of the word “piddle”. The name Puddletown rather than Piddletown was officially sanctioned in the late 1950s. Puddletown’s civil parish covers 2,908 hectares and extends to the neighbouring River Frome to the south. In 2013 the estimated population of the civil parish was 1,450.
Puddletown’s parish church has significant architectural interest, particularly its furnishings and monuments. It has a 12th-century font and well-preserved woodwork, including 17th-century box pews. Thomas Hardy took an interest in the church, and the village provided the inspiration for the fictional settlement of Weatherbury in his novel Far from the Madding Crowd; Weatherbury Farm, the home of principal character Bathsheba Everdene, is based on a manor house within the parish.
The name Puddletown means ‘farmstead on the River Piddle’. It derives from the Old English pidele, a river-name meaning fen or marsh, and tūn, meaning farmstead. Several settlements along the river derive their names from it. In the river’s upper reaches Piddletrenthide and Piddlehinton retain the piddle spelling, whereas downstream Puddletown, Tolpuddle, Affpuddle, Briantspuddle and Turners Puddle use puddle. Both piddle and puddle have been used in Puddletown’s name over the years. In the Domesday Book of 1086 it was recorded as Pitretone, and in 1212 it was Pideleton. John Speed used Puddletown for his county map of 1610. In 1848 Samuel Lewis used Piddletown in his A Topographical Dictionary of England. In 1906 Sir Frederick Treves used Puddletown in Highways & Byways in Dorset, describing it as “the Town on the River Puddle” and a “curiously named place”.
In 1946 Piddletown was the name used on the voters’ lists. One explanation for the preference of using Puddletown over Piddletown is that Major-General Charles William Thompson, who lived at what was Ilsington Lodge after returning from the Great War, pushed through the puddle variant because piddle had a particular meaning in army circles. The broadcaster and writer Ralph Wightman (1901–71), a native of Puddletown and one-time Puddletown resident, believed it was due to Victorian “refinement”, as he recalled that in his youth elderly aunts referred to Piddletrenthide as just “Trenthide”. Roland Gant in Dorset Villages stated more explicitly that the Victorians used puddle because piddle “became a euphemism”. The use of Puddletown rather than Piddletown was officially preserved in the late 1950s, when, according to Wightman, “a long County Council debate solemnly decided Piddletown should be Puddletown”.
Evidence of prehistoric human occupation in the parish exists in the form of 30 round barrows, about half of which are sited over chalk and half over Reading Beds. Many of the barrows have been damaged by more recent activities. The remains of strip lynchets of ‘Celtic’ fields have been found near a few of the barrows. One of the three ‘Rainbarrows’ on Duddle Heath has been excavated; bucket urns containing cremations from the site were taken to the Dorset County Museum.
The Roman road between Durnovaria (now Dorchester) and Badbury Rings passed through what is now Puddletown civil parish; it cut a WSW-ENE route through what is now Puddletown Heath, between Puddletown village and the River Frome. In the 21st century a section of the original road—which was 26 metres (85 ft) wide—was discovered in Puddletown Forest.
Part of the arm of a 9th- or 10th-century stone cross was discovered when a house in the village – Styles House, near the River Piddle – was demolished. The cross might have been connected with a meeting place. The fragment was incorporated into the parish church’s new chancel when it was rebuilt in 1911.
At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, Puddletown was a large and important manor that contained several villages, with 1,600 sheep recorded.
Except for Puddletown village, the several small settlements within Puddletown parish have all either diminished or disappeared. The other settlements were Cheselbourne Ford (beside the Devil’s Brook in the northeast of the parish), Bardolfeston (about half a mile northeast of Puddletown village, just north of the River Piddle), Hyde (now Druce Farm), Waterston, South Louvard (now Higher Waterston), Little Piddle (now Little Puddle Farm in neighbouring Piddlehinton parish) and Ilsington (in the south of the parish, by the River Frome). Cheselbourne Ford and Bardolfeston are abandoned. Cheselbourne Ford had a population of six in 1086, four in 1327, and by the mid-17th century was just one ruinous house.
In 1830 Puddletown was one of the places in Dorset where agricultural labourers took part in the Captain Swing riots of southern England, protesting against very low wages and long working hours. Threshing machines were damaged and ricks burned. Wages were raised from about six or seven shillings per week to ten as a result.
To the east of the church is Ilsington House, also known as the Old Manor, which was built in the late 17th to early 18th century. It was originally owned by the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon and in 1724 by Robert Walpole. Between 1780 and 1830 it was leased to General Thomas Garth, principal equerry to King George III. The General adopted King George III’s illegitimate grandson by Princess Sophia, and brought him up at the manor. In 1861 the house was acquired by John Brymer and remained in the possession of the Brymer family for the next century. The family built new cottages and a reading room in the village, and a new manor next to the church, which they restored.
In 2014 the estimated population of Puddletown civil parish was 1,452. Figures from the 2011 census have been published for Puddletown parish combined with the small parish of Athelhampton to the east; in this area there were 663 dwellings, 614 households and a population of 1,405.
Excluding ancient earthworks, there are fifty-six structures within the parish that are listed by Historic England for their historic or architectural interest, including two (the parish church and Waterston Manor) that are listed as Grade I, and three (Ilsington House, The Old Vicarage, and 8 The Square) that are Grade II*.
Puddletown’s parish church, dedicated to St Mary, has been described as being “of considerable architectural interest”,”of exceptional interest for its furnishings and monuments” and “one of the most exciting parish churches in the county”.It has 12th-century origins – parts of the tower date from 1180–1200 –– but was rebuilt and enlarged between the 13th and 16th centuries. The 12th-century font is particularly notable, being of a tapering beaker shape, with diapering depicting crossing stems and Acanthus leaves; its cover is an octagonal pyramid dating from about 1635, when the church interior was refitted. There is a panelled roof in the nave, and 17th-century box pews, pulpit and gallery. There are also a number of 15th- and 16th-century monumental brasses and some stained glass by Ninian Comper. The South or Martyn family chapel has three 16th-century tombs with alabaster effigies. In 1910 the church was partially restored by Charles Ponting. Thomas Hardy led an unsuccessful campaign to prevent enlargement of the original chancel.
Puddletown is the basis for the village of Weatherbury in Thomas Hardy’s novel Far from the Madding Crowd. Weatherbury Farm, the house of Bathsheba Everdene, is based on Waterston Manor, between Puddletown and Piddlehinton. Hardy’s cousin, Tryphena Sparks, who was the inspiration for Hardy’s poem Thoughts of Phena at News of Her Death, lived in Puddletown.
Cardinal Pole, the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, was vicar of the parish from 1532 to 1536. The author and broadcaster Ralph Wightman(1901–1971) lived in Puddletown in the later years of his life; he lived in the 16th-century Tudor Cottage in The Square. The writer Constantine Fitzgibbon(1919–1983) owned Waterston Manor for part of the 20th century.
Read more on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puddletown
Want to move to Puddletown?: Check out properties for sale here: