World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000375668
Reproduction Date:

Title: Beaminster  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: River Brit, Dorset, Bridport, West Dorset, List of museums in Dorset
Collection: Beaminster, Civil Parishes in Dorset, Post Towns in the Dt Postcode Area, Towns in Dorset
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



Beaminster town centre
Beaminster is located in Dorset
 Beaminster shown within Dorset
Population 3,100 (2013 estimate)
OS grid reference
   – London  145 miles (233 km) 
Civil parish Beaminster
District West Dorset
Shire county Dorset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Beaminster
Postcode district DT8
Dialling code 01308
Police Dorset
Fire Dorset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament West Dorset
List of places

Beaminster is a small town and civil parish in Dorset, England, situated in the West Dorset administrative district approximately 15 miles (24 km) northwest of the county town Dorchester. It is sited in a bowl-shaped valley near the source of the small River Brit. The 2013 mid-year estimate of the population of Beaminster parish is 3,100.

In its history Beaminster has been a centre of manufacture of linen and woollens, the raw materials for which were produced in the surrounding countryside. The town experienced three serious fires in the 17th and 18th centuries; the first of these, during the English Civil War, almost destroyed the fabric of the town.

Beaminster parish church is notable for its architecture, particularly its handsome tower.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Geology 2.1
  • Demography 3
    • Beaminster parish 3.1
    • 2011 census 3.2
  • Economy and society 4
  • Transport 5
  • Education 6
  • Religion 7
  • In literature 8
  • Notable people 9
  • Twin towns 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • Sources 13
  • External links 14


In the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor of Beaminster was recorded as being owned by the See of Salisbury. Bishop Osmund gave it as a supplement to two of the Cathedral prebends in 1091.[1]

In the English Civil War the town declared for Parliament and was sacked by Royalist forces in 1644. Prince Maurice stayed in the town on Palm Sunday,[1] though his stay was brief because a fire, caused by a musket being discharged into a thatched roof,[2] almost totally destroyed the town.[1] The town suffered further accidental fires in 1684 and 1781.[3]

Previously Beaminster was a centre for the production of linen and woollens. Flax was grown and sheep kept on the surrounding hills and the town was locally more important than it is today: factories were constructed in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and as many as seventeen inns existed in the town in the early 20th century.[4]

No railway line came through Beaminster and as a result the town declined relative to other local towns such as Bridport and Dorchester.[5]

Horn Park, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north-west of Beaminster, is a country house of five bays and two-storeys designed by architect T. Lawrence Dale and completed in 1911.[6] Inside the house the central corridor is barrel vaulted and leads to a drawing room whose groin vault is reminiscent of the work of Sir John Soane (1753-1837).[6] The drawing room includes Jacobean features re-used from a 16th-century country house at nearby Parnham,[6] which was being altered and restored at about the time that Horn Park was being built.[7] Horn Park is Listed Grade II. Its gardens are occasionally open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme.


View showing hills to the west of the town

Beaminster is sited between 50 to 80 metres (160 to 260 ft) above sea-level in a bowl-shaped valley, surrounded by hills which rise to 244 metres (801 ft) at Beaminster Down to the northeast. The River Brit and many small streams emerge from springs on the slopes above the town.[8] The confluences of several of these streams are within the town's boundaries. Beaminster's growth has historically been along the course of these streams, resulting in a settlement pattern that is roughly star-shaped.[9]

Beaminster is situated approximately 45 miles (72 km) south of Bristol, 38 miles (61 km) west of Bournemouth, 35 miles (56 km) east of Exeter and 15 miles (24 km) northwest of the county town Dorchester.


Beaminster is sited mostly on Middle Jurassic Fuller's earth clay, with some Inferior Oolite in the south of the town and Bridport and Yeovil Sands north of the town centre. The hills north and east of the town are Cretaceous chalk with a scarp face of Upper Greensand, while those to the south and west are of Bridport and Yeovil Sands. There are several faults running westnorthwest to eastsoutheast through the town and its southern environs.[9] Horn Park Quarry SSSI [10] [11] produced building stone from the Inferior Oolite and some quality fossil specimens [12] before becoming a light industrial estate on the road to Broadwindsor. Apart from the ammonites, the site displays a remarkable flat erosion surface and the most complete succession in the Upper Aalenian ironshot oolite limestone of the area.


Beaminster parish

Dorset County Council's 2013 mid-year estimate of the population of Beaminster parish is 3,100.[13]

The historic population of Beaminster parish from the censuses between 1921 and 2001 is shown in the table below.

Census Population of Beaminster Parish 1921—2001 (except 1941)
Census 1921 1931 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 1,651 1,612 1,785 2,000 2,350 2,370 2,770 2,920
Source:Dorset County Council[14]

2011 census

Published results from the 2011 national census combine information on Beaminster parish with the small neighbouring parish of Mapperton to the southeast. Within this area there were 1,680 dwellings,[15] 1,529 households[16] and a population of 3,136.[17]

Economy and society

DuPont factory

DuPont produce Nisaplin, a commercial formulation of the natural bacteriocin nisin, at a factory in the town.[18] It was first isolated by Aplin and Barret and produced in the 1950s in the factory laboratory then situated in 11-15 North Street. The Clipper tea company is based in Beaminster. It is currently held by the Dutch company Royal Wessanen.[19][20]

Beaminster hosts the Beaminster Festival, an annual music and art festival.[21] Whitcombe Disc Golf Course at Beaminster has hosted the British Open Disc Golf Championship on a number of occasions and the European Disc Golf Championship in 2003.[22] The town is twinned with the town of St James on the Brittany / Normandy border in France.


The nearest railway station is 5 miles (8.0 km) north of the town at Crewkerne. Exeter International Airport is 30 miles (48 km) to the west. The main road through the town is the A3066, which leads to Bridport to the south and Mosterton and Crewkerne to the north. The road north passes through Horn Hill tunnel, which opened in June 1832[23] and is the sole pre-railway age road tunnel that is still in daily public use.[24]


Primary schools in the town include St Mary's Church of England Primary School.

Beaminster School is the towns secondary school. It has a combined sixth form with The Sir John Colfox Academy, in the nearby town of Bridport.


St. Mary's parish church

Beaminster has an Anglican church, St Mary's, and a Catholic church, St John's.[25] St Mary's is notable for its architecture, which is considered among the best in the county.[1] The tower in particular has been described as "a handsome example of its period" and "the glory of Beaminster".[4][26] St Mary's construction mostly dates from the 15th and 16th centuries, but was restored twice in the 19th. The eastern part of the north aisle incorporates part of an earlier 13th-century building, and the font bowl is late 12th-century.[26] The pulpit is Jacobean.[1]

In literature

Beaminster is described as "Emminster" in the fictional Wessex of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles.[27]

Dorset's 19th-century dialect poet William Barnes wrote of Beaminster:[27]

Sweet Be'mi'ster, that bist a-bound
By green and woody hills all round,
Wi' hedges, reachen up between
A thousand vields o' zummer green.

Notable people

Beaminster is the adopted hometown of actor Martin Clunes,[28][29] and was where singer PJ Harvey went to school. Mat Follas had his first restaurant The Wild Garlic[30] in the town square, though in 2013 it was moved to larger premises elsewhere. Beaminster is also home of Lynne Reid Banks, author of The L-Shaped Room and The Indian in the Cupboard.[31] The furniture maker John Makepeace lives in the town after selling nearby Parnham House, where his school for craftsmen in wood was originally based. Parnham was also the home of William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse, the first airman ever to receive the Victoria Cross, following a daring bombing mission over Courtrai in 1915. Beaminster was the boyhood home of the arctic explorer and author Samuel Hearne. Hearne is considered by some to have been the inspiration for the tragic figure in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. [32]

Twin towns

Beaminster is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Reginald J W Hammond (1979). Dorset Coast. Ward Lock Ltd. p. 41.  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Newman & Pevsner, 1972, page 86
  4. ^ a b  
  5. ^ J.H. Bettey (1974). Dorset. City & County Histories. David & Charles. p. 88.  
  6. ^ a b c Newman & Pevsner, 1972, page 88
  7. ^ Newman & Pevsner, 1972, page 87
  8. ^ Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Pathfinder Series, Sheet ST 40/50 Crewkerne & Beaminster, published 1984
  9. ^ a b "Beaminster Part 3 and 4 Context and sources". Dorset County Council/ February 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Horn Park Quarry Geology Guide". 
  11. ^ "Horn Park Quarry SSI". 
  12. ^ "Horn Park Quarry Teachers Information Pack" (PDF). 
  13. ^ "Parish Population Data". Dorset County Council. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "Parishes (A-L), 1921-2001- Census Years".  
  15. ^ "Area: Beaminster (Parish), Dwellings, Household Spaces and Accommodation Type, 2011 (KS401EW)". Neighbourhood Statistics.  
  16. ^ "Area: Beaminster (Parish), Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics.  
  17. ^ "Area: Beaminster (Parish). Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics.  
  18. ^ Joss Delves- Broughton (24 September 2007). "Use of Nisaplin® as a preservative in pasteurised liquid egg products". Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "Clipper Teas bids whittled down to five". The Grocer. November 10, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Clipper tea firm to stay in Dorset, new owner Wessanen says". BBC News. March 5, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  21. ^ Rene Gerryts (June 10, 2011). "Beaminster Festival: Melvyn Bragg one of the headlines at annual event". Bridport NEWS. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  22. ^ "PDGA Results search". Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  23. ^ "‘A tunnel wide’". Dorset Life. November 2010. 
  24. ^ "BEAMINSTER: A LITTLE HISTORY". Beaminster Town Council. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "In and around Beaminster". Beaminster Town Council. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  26. ^ a b Beaminster', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 1: West (1952), pp. 17-27"'". British History Online. University of London & History of Parliament Trust. November 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  27. ^ a b "Surrounding towns and villages". Dorset County Council. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  28. ^ Rene Gerryts (August 18, 2010). "Martin Clunes shuns Hollywood for Beaminster". Dorset ECHO. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  29. ^ Anna Tyzack (August 20, 2012). "Martin Clunes interview". The Telegraph. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  30. ^ The Wild Garlic
  31. ^ Andy Beckett (August 20, 1995). "Indian Summer". The Independent. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  32. ^ McGooghan, Ken (2003). Ancient Mariner: The Amazing Adventures of Samuel Hearne, the Sailor who Walked to the Arctic Ocean. HarperFlamingoCanada. 
  33. ^ "[via]"British towns twinned with French towns . Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  34. ^ "Beaminster twinned with Saint-James". Beaminster Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  35. ^ Thoury, Michel. "31 ème anniversaire du Jumelage à Beaminster". Site de L'Office de Tourisme Saint James (in French). Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  36. ^ "Dorset Twinning Association List". The Dorset Twinning Association. Archived from the original on 2013-06-21. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 


  • Newman, John;  

External links

  • Beaminster at DMOZ
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.