to the "Verwood Historical Society" who
provided the following information..
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
and several Nonconformist Chapels were
also established within its boundaries. The Ecclesiastical
and Civil administrative area has always included Three
Verwood owes its character and development to
its situation on the heathlands of
and has a surprisingly industrial past.
Apart from the meadows around the river valley, its acid
soil was unsuitable to large scale agriculture and so
various smaller enterprises grew up over the years, making
use of the natural features beneath and above the commons.
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
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
to the coast arrived in 1866 and
heralded a change in Verwood’s fortunes. More goods could
be imported and exported but ironically this contributed to
the demise of the potteries when lighter, manufactured
household ware became readily available.
High quality Verwood sand was taken to
for use in the glass and brickmaking
industries. It was also used for the construction of
Mulberry Harbours in WWII. The railway line and station
closed in 1964 to the natural regret of the local
The last pottery at the Crossroads ceased production in
1952 which has become the Verwood Heathland Heritage
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
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
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.