A Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis, London 1831


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STURMINSTER-MARSHALL, a parish in the hundred of COGDEAN, Shaston (East) division of the county of DORSET, 5 miles (W.) from Wimborne-Minster, containing, with the tything of Coombe-Almer, 715 inhabitants.

The living is a vicarage, with the perpetual curacy of Lytchett-Minster annexed, in the jurisdiction of the peculiar court of Sturminster-Marshall, rated in the king's books at 31. 5., and in the patronage of the Provost and Fellows of Eton College. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a spacious structure, with an embattled tower, a remarkably large chancel, and, at the west end of the north aisle, an apartment partitioned off with wainscoting, for holding the peculiar court.

The navigable river Stour bounds the parish on the north-east, and is there crossed by Whitmill bridge, of eight arches. In the centre of the village is an open space, still called the market-place, though no market has been held within the memory of man. Early in the reign of Henry I., a fair was granted to William, Earl of Pembroke, then Earl Marshal, from whom the place probably obtained its distinguishing appellation, the name itself being derived from the church, or minster, on the river Stour. A charity school is well supported by annual subscriptions.

Cogdean-Elmes, an eminence in this parish, near which are several barrows and some large elms, gives name to the hundred, the courts of which were anciently held upon it.

Volume 4, page 219

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