Thornford (St. Mary Magdalene)
St. Mary Magdalene Church Thornford Dorset.
This is where most of the early Gray family were Christened, Married and Buried
Thornford is a pretty little village just outside of Sherbourne. If your research includes Dorset interests a good site to go to is The Dorset Pages As well as having a great deal of information about Dorset as a County it also has a good family history section.
Thornford has been described as having an amazing (and ugly) stone tower with a clock in the center, a memorial to the 1897 Jubilee.
It has several fine 17th century stone farmhouses and Victorian estate cottages but the close proximity to Sherbourne & Yeovil has led to recent building. Opposite the Victorian school by the church is Glebe cottage, thatched and with a rustic porch of branches. The church of St Mary Magdalene was greatly extended and restored in 1866,when the north aisle was added. The chancel and nave are later medieval, and the stone screen survives between the two albeit with a 19th century cancel arch above. It has a rich late 19th century pulpit of inlaid marble, and behind the alter the old wooden pulpit set as panelling. If you click on the picture below it will show the interior of the church.
The Harrod & Co. Postal & Commercial Directory of 1865 describes Thornford as follows.
Thornford: A parish in Sherbourne hundred, union & division, 3 miles S.W. by S. from Sherbourne, and 4 S.E. from Yeovil, diocese of Salisbury, archdeaconry of Dorset and deanery of Shaftsbury, contained in 1851 406 inhabitants and 1,458 acres. The living is a discharged rectory, a peculiar of the Dean of Salisbury, valued at £230 in the patronage of G.D.W. Digby, Esq., to whom the Manor belongs; the Rev. R.D. Wingfield Digby, M.A. is the present incumbent. The church is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. There has been lately built a new and handsome rectory, in the early Tudor style, It is situated on a hill to the east of the church, and commands a magnificent panoramic prospect.
Lake Farm is 1 mile N.E. ; Troll 1 mile S.W. ; Moses Leaze 1-1/2 mile S.W.
Postal Regulations,--- Letters through Sherbourne which is also the nearest money order office.
Digby Rev. Richard Digby Winfield, M.A.. Rectory
Roberts: Mrs. Mary
Read: Mr. Stephen sen.
Abbott Henry, dealer
Baker Ernest, farmer
Colley Robert, shoemaker
Collis Henry, farmer
Compton Henry Wm., farmer Lake farm
Drake James Jnr., corndealer
Drake James Sen. farmer
Fooks Eli, carpenter
Game George, farmer
Gibbs Thomas, blacksmith
Godwin William, dairyman
Gould David, parish clerk
Hellyar Henry, mason & shopkeeper
Hunt Richard, shoemaker
Moore Abel, cattle dealer
Newport William, Boot Inn
Read Stephen, jun., farmer Manor farm
Toms James, Saddler
Vincent John, Kings Arms
Vincent Luke, carpenter
The 1903 Kelly's Directory of Dorset describes Thornford as follows.
Thornford: is a parish 2 miles north from Yetminster station on the Weymouth branch of the Great Western Railway, 3 south-west from Sherbourne and 5 south-east from Yeovil, in the Northern division of the county, Sherbourne hundred, union and petty sessional division, Yeovil county court district, rural deanery of Shaftsbury(Sherbourne Portion), archdeaconry of Dorset and Diocese of Salisbury; its situation is remarkably beautiful, overlooking the valley of the Yeo towards Sherbourne on the east, and commanding views extending into Devonshire and the hill country of Dorset. The church of St. Mary Magdelene is an edifice in the perpendicular style consisting of chancel, naive of three bays, North aisle, south porch, and an embattled western tower containing 3 bells; there are memorial windows to the Rev. C.R.Dampier and the Rev. R.H.Wingfield Digby, both former rectors and to Mrs. Place; the raredos and pulpit are of stone, the former consisting of 5 panels, filled with Dr. Salviati's mosaics, and the latter of eight panels of inlaid marble; the church has been restored at a cost of about £1,000 and affords 220 sittings; at the entrance to the churchyard stands a stone and oak lych-gate, flanked by yew trees. The register dates from the year 1677. The living is a discharged rectory. a peculiar of the Dean of Salisbury, net yearly value £180, including 34 acres of glebe with residence, in the gift of J. Kenelm D. Wingfield-Digby esq. M.P. and held since 1876 by the Rev. Wilfred Roxby B.A. of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, who is also rector of Beer Hackett. Here is a Wesleyan Chapel. In the center of the village is a clock erected in 1897 to commemorate the sixtieth year of the reign of Her Late Majesty Queen Victoria. In the valley below this village, especially near Bradford, Roman remains are frequently met with, and in one field there is a considerable portion of Roman tessellated pavement apparently the floor of some of the offices of a villa. J.K.D. Wingfield-Digby esq. M.P. of Sherbourne Castle, is Lord of the manor and principal landowner. The soil is Oxford clay; subsoil gravel. The chief crops are corn; some land is in pasture. The area is 1,465 acres; rateable value £2412; the population in 1901 was 370.
Parish clerk, John Gould.
Post office--- Robert Hellyar, sub postmaster. Letters through Sherbourne, arrive at 7.35am ; dispatched at 6.40pm. Postal orders are issued and paid here. Yetminster is the nearest money order office & Bradford Abbas is the nearest Telegraph office, 2 miles distant
Elementary School with mistress's residence founded by G.D.K.Wingfield-Digby esq. in 1865; the school will hold 106 children; average attendance, 55 ; Miss Beatrice Hall, mistress.
Clay Maj.-Gen. Alex. Davidan. Glebe Cottage
Cornish Mrs. Pyt house
Roxby Rev. Wilfred B.A. Rectory
Ryall & Son. farmers
Below is the roll of honour for men of Thornford Killed in both World wars.
1939-1945 2nd World War
Guardsman L.R.H.Hellier Coldstream Guards
Private R Banks Suffolk Regt.
Sergent S . Langley-Ellis Royal Airforce
The Caption reads
Greater Love hath no man than this. That a man lay down his life for his friends.