Our Local Story

The Village

The village of Buckhorn Weston is mentioned in the Doomsday Book (Bokere Weston) and lies on the western edge of the former royal hunting ground of Gillingham Forest. In 1349, the village was badly affected by the plague and its population much reduced. Later, the estate passed via the Stourton and Fane families into the hands of the Stapleton family in 1837 who remained substantial local landowners until the death of Sir Miles Stapleton in 1979. The popular village inn still bears the family name and Coat of Arms. In celebration of the Millennium, the village was enabled to build a new village hall with the help of significant external funding.

The Church

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist was well established by the beginning of the 13th Century and has probably existed from earlier times. Parts of the original building are still visible in the south entrance porch and in the north wall of the chancel. The present building was restored and enlarged in 1870 by the generosity of the Patron and Lord of the Manor, Sir Francis Stapleton. Unfortunately, the wooden frame supporting the peal of six bells is now unsafe and thus the bells cannot be rung. The bells themselves date from the 15th to the 19th century.

The 15th Century tower carries one of the oldest ‘Scientific’ or ‘Mass’ sundials in Dorset dated 1599. The tower  clock was made by Gillett and Johnson of Croydon in 1920 as a memorial to the fallen in the 1914-18 war. It was restored by Smiths of Derby in the millennium year 2000 with support from the people of the village. The font is believed to date from the 14th Century but has a modern oak cover carved by a local craftsman. On the walls of the ringing chamber beneath the tower are six painted panels which originally formed part of the old singers gallery. They are attributed to Sir James Thornhill FRS (1675-1734), to whom Hogarth was a student and later, son-in-Iaw an who is buried locally in Stalbridge.