Stratton, Dorset

Stratton, Dorset

infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 50.75
longitude= -2.5
population= 630 (2006 estimate)
official_name= Stratton
map_type = Dorset
shire_district= West Dorset
shire_county = Dorset
region= South West England
constituency_westminster= West Dorset
post_town= DORCHESTER
postcode_district = DT2
postcode_area= DT
dial_code= 01305
os_grid_reference= SY651938

Stratton is a civil parish in west Dorset, England, situated in the Frome valley five km (three miles) north west of Dorchester. The parish includes the village itself and the hamlets of Grimstone, Ash Hill and Wrackleford, all of which lie on or near main road, the A37. Ash Hill is a small estate east of the village near the railway. Wrackleford is a group of houses further east and centred about Wrackleford House and including Higher Wrackleford and Lower Wrackleford. In addition there are a number of isolated farms and houses including a few in an area called Langford near the Sydling Water in the north-west part of the parish.

The name Stratton means 'Farm on the Street'. The Street referred to the Roman road from Durnovaria (Dorchester) to Lindinis (Ilchester) which passes through the village.

The parish has an area of 694 Hectares (approximately 1710 Acres). Most of this is agricultural land lying north of the village where the land rises from about 75 metres (about 250 ft) to about 190 metres (about 620 ft). Stratton parish is bordered by the parishes of Bradford Peverell, Frampton, Sydling St. Nicholas, Godmanstone and Charminster.

Administrative Areas

Stratton has its own Parish Council, it is in the 'Frome Valley' ward of West Dorset District Council and the 'Three Valleys' ward of Dorset County Council ( [ Dorset For You] ).


The southern boundary of the parish between it and Bradford Peverell is generally marked by the River Frome. An area mainly north of the river is a flood plain and at the northern edge of this and close to the village is a winterbourne called the Wrackle which aids the flow of the main river. One well used footpath crosses the flood plain between the village and Bradford Peverell while another less well used one crosses between Grimstone and Muckleford

The western boundary of the parish between it and Frampton is generally marked by Sydling Water.

Early Monuments

The 'principal monument' [Royal Commission on Historical Monuments England, 2nd impression (1974) "An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the county of Dorset Volume I West Dorset"] in the parish is the Celtic Settlement on Grimstone Down. This consists of traces of Celtic fields covering more than 40 Hectares (100 Acres). Towards the centre of this area, between the field-banks, several hollowed tracks converge on a series of smaller enclosures which indicate the position of the main settlement. [ See an air photo of the settlement] [ and another here]

In addition to the Celtic Settlement there are a number of Bronze Age burial mounds called barrows or tumuli.

Near here is the base of a mediaeval cross called Jackman's Cross. A new stone cross and bench nearby were erected to mark the Millennium.


Refer to Ronald Good's excellent book [Ronald Good, M.A., Sc.D. (1966) "The Old roads of Dorset (new enlarged edition)"] for more details.

The village lies on or near the Roman road from Durnovaria (Dorchester) to Lindinis (Ilchester). This road passed through Bradford Peverell and crossed the River Frome and its flood plain, passed the current village and then followed a line approximately along the track to Grimstone Dairy, then near Grimstone Viaduct and then along the line of the A37 towards Yeovil on the section known as Long Ash Lane.

By mediaeval times it seems that although the same line was used for the main road west of the village, to the east an alternative route was used. This followed the current line of the A37 to Wrackleford, then through Charminster, up East Hill and then into Dorchester through Burton.

The 'Maiden Newton Trust' (a Turnpike trust) was established in 1777-8 and included the main road through the parish. It appears that originally the same line was used for this turnpike. A route from Frampton to the main road near Winterbourne Steepleton was included in this trust but did not pass through the Stratton parish, being on a more direct route near Muckleford. In 1797-8 a continuing act was passed for this trust. This 1797-8 act changed part of the line of the main road and part of the route from Frampton to the main road at Winterbourne Steepleton to what are now the existing roads. So the part of the A37 between Stratton village and Grimstone kept to a more level route south of the previous route and linked up to a new road near Muckleford on the route towards Winterbourne Steepleton at a point called Brewers Ash. The toll house at this corner still exists. The original route from Muckleford directly to Frampton fell into disuse. There had been a toll gate in Grimstone before this date but this must have been at a completely different location.

Although not in Stratton parish it is worth noting that it was not until the third continuing act of 1840 that the new road between Wrackleford and Dorchester was authorized. This left the previous route just west of Charminster and crossed the meadows to join the previous road at the Bottom of the Grove in Dorchester, the now familiar road into Dorchester.

The last major change to the route of the main road within the parish was the Stratton bypass. This was built in 1967 between the village and the railway line and necessitated the demolition of the village school which stood at the west end of the village near the railway line.

The Railway

The Castle Cary-Weymouth "Heart of Wessex" line passes through the parish. This was originally part of the Wiltshire, Somerset & Weymouth Railway which opened on 20th January 1857 and later became part of the Great Western Railway. The line is not electrified.

The broad gauge Wiltshire, Somerset & Weymouth Railway was incorporated in 1845. However in 1848 work on the line stopped completely. In 1850 the Great Western Railway assumed responsibility for the line but it was not until 1857 that the line opened. The line was converted to standard gauge in 1874, a change that took just five days. [Leslie Oppitz (1989) "Dorset Railways Remembered"]

The first reference to the railway in the Parish registers is on 29th August 1847 when two children were baptised whose fathers were called 'Miner on the Wilts & Somerset Railroad'. The Parish registers also contain the burials of two men who were connected to the railway and died before it's opening. On 6th November 1854 Alfred Needs was buried. He was 16 years old and was 'killed by a truck on the rail road'. On 25th January 1855 George Moss, aged 46, a 'Railway Labourer' was buried.

From the north-west the railway enters the parish soon after leaving the Frampton tunnel. The railway then passes over Grimstone Viaduct, under which passes Sydling Water and the road from Sydling St. Nicholas. The railway then immediately passes Grimstone and Frampton railway station before entering a cutting. It then passes north of Stratton village, past Bradford Peverell & Stratton Halt, over the A37 and then over the River Frome as it leaves the parish towards Dorchester. Three footpaths near the village cross the railway line.

Grimstone and Frampton railway station is in the hamlet of Grimstone at the western edge of the parish and was part of the original railway. Bradford Peverell & Stratton Halt was a later addition and not opened until 1933. Both stations closed in 1966 and are unlikely to open again.

The Church

St Mary's Church is at the heart of the village. The walls are of local rubble with dressings of the same material. The roofs are tiled, lead and stone slates. [Royal Commission on Historical Monuments England, 2nd impression (1974) "An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the county of Dorset Volume I West Dorset"]

The West Tower is 14th or 15th century and contains five bells. The church bells have recently been renovated and many excellent photos can be seen on the village web site. The highlight of the church is the five sided enclosed woodden staircase in the tower. This is made of oak and sits of a moulded post. It was made in the 16th century. The staircase is believed to be of a unique design.

The remainder of the Church was largely rebuilt in 1891.

The Nave contains a number of 15th century windows with traces of early glass. The early south doorway is now blocked. The north porch is modern.

For a long period up to the rebuilding the Church had no Chancel, the Chancel Arch having been bricked up. In 1891 a new Chancel was built with a new Chancel Arch. The original Chancel Arch was built into the west wall of the new Chancel.

The Parish registers date from Christmas Day 1561, the first entry recording the burial of a John Lymington on that day.

The Church is part of the United Benefice of Bradford Peverell, Stratton, Frampton and Sydling St. Nicholas, known unofficially as the 'Chalk Stream Churches'. The Rector is The Rev. Ken Scott who lives at The Rectory, Frampton.

'The Friends of St Mary's Church' is an organisation which holds regular fundraising events to help defray the costs of maintaining the fabric of the Church and churchyard.

A Methodist Chapel was built in the village. This opened in 1912 and closed in 1971. It was sold in 1975 and is now a residential property.

War Memorial

The village War memorial is situated just outside the churchyard. It records the names of ten men who died in the Great War and of three who died in The Second World War. It was dedicated on 30th November 1919.

The four officers mentioned on the Great War section are Alexander, Percy and Charles Pope, sons of Alfred and Elizabeth Mary Pope of Wrackleford and Alan Roderick Haig-Brown who was their brother-in-law, having married Violet Mary Pope, a daughter of Alfred and Elizabeth Mary. A plaque giving more details about these four men is in the church.

Lists of men who served in the Great War and The Second World War can be found in the church.

Many more details can be found on the village website and the Stratton OPC page.


The village has a pub, The Saxon Arms, a new Village Hall, a Village Green with a play area and a sports field.


Trevor Senior, a footballer was born in the parish in 1961.


The table below shows the population of the parish since the first census of 1801.

In 1989 some land was sold by a local landowner to developers. The major residential development on this land was largely responsible for the increase in population between the 1991 and 2001 censuses. This development is now complete and the current population (2006) is estimated to be about 630.


External links

* [ Stratton Village web site]
* [ Stratton OPC page]
* [ 2001 Census parish profile]

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