Verwood was mentioned in a charter of 1377 as “Fairwoode” though the name of its Norman landowners the “Beau Bois” family of Edmondsham is recorded earlier. This family was also known by the Latin name of Bello Bosco. In any language the meaning is a Fair or Beautiful Wood. The later adoption of the spelling Verwood is due to its long time pronunciation in the Dorset Tongue.
This was never a village grouped around a long
established church but a collection of scattered settlements
bisected by the fertile farmlands of the River Crane and
equidistant from the market towns of Ringwood and Cranborne
in whose parish it lay until 1887. An Anglican Chapel of
Ease had been erected in 1829 on the site of the present
Verwood owes its character and development to
its situation on the heathlands of
Clay, sand, timber, heather and gorse were utilized by craftsmen to fashion into pots, bricks, brooms, hurdles, farm implements and even provided building material for the cottages they lived in. Fodder was collected and animals pastured on many acres of scryb land unlike other more productive settlements where Enclosure Acts had deprived the population of these additional sources of income.
It was therefore, an area which attracted newcomers over the 18th and 19th centuries because of the comparative lack of restriction on their settlement and occupation. The population of 400 in 1829 grew by the end of the century to 1000 and fifty years later had doubled this figure. With development from the 1960’s onward the numbers began to increase dramatically leading to an estimated population in 1999 of over 12,000.
The railway from
High quality Verwood sand was taken to
The last pottery at the Crossroads ceased production in
1952 which has become the Verwood Heathland Heritage
The last pottery at the Crossroads ceased production in 1952 which has become the Verwood Heathland Heritage Centre..
The flourishing brick and roofing tile works, which depended on continuous firing could no longer operate under World War ii blackout regulations and were never re-opened.
Broom making died out during the course of the 20th century as demand receded and sons followed other trades. Bricks began to supplant the traditional mud “cob” mixture as the indigenous building material.
Verwood no longer provides the full employment it once did for its working population. In these days of enhanced transport and leisure time it seen as a desirable place to live and conveniently situated for the many attractions of the surrounding neighbourhood. In many aspects, despite enormous changes, the village atmosphere still prevails.
Those who doubt that Verwood is still a “Fair Wood” need only to climb to the top of Stephen’s Castle on the Northern common.
From that tranquil viewpoint, scarcely a roof is to be seen of all the myriad buildings nestling beneath a canopy of delightfully varied foliage.
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