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A Chronological History of Verwood from AD 0930
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This walk, initially written and published by Pam Reeks was later extended and re-published by the Historical Society (which has now closed). It has been updated by the webmaster of



A Short Walk around Central Verwood.

This walk takes in several important sites around the former village centre, showing stages in the town’s development. As many of the buildings have been demolished, the illustrations show what stood there in former times.
There are 19 key points with photographs.



1) The Potters Wheel.

11) Parish Church and Churchyard.

2) The Restynge House.

12) Church/School fm Champtoceaux Green.

3) The Parade.

13) The Old Vicarage

4) Parade Shops

14) The Primitive Methodist Chapel.

5) Village Hall and Crossroads.

15) The former Post Office.

6) Bailey’s Shoe Shop on site of flats.

16) St Gabriel's Home

7) The Two Chapels

17) Nat. West Corner.

8) Site of Punch & Judy Cafe (present PO)

18) Recreation Ground.

9) Manor Road from Dewlands Way.

19) Towards Cranborne.

10) Manor House from Churchyard.





01) “The Potters Wheel”.

The building on the left as you leave the car park was once the last remaining Pottery from a major Verwood industry. It closed in 1952 and has now been restored as The Verwood Heritage Centre . The Car Park is formed from its large pottery yard which saw much activity in the past. The kilns, long since demolished, stood at the far left of the site. A bungalow was then built on this site and was later demolished and after an architectural dig the existing shops/offices with Costa-Coffee were built. The Triangle Green in front was known as Ferrett’s Green after a pottery family and was originally the clay-pit. It was filled in 1895 because of the danger to children, became a car Park and has now returned to being the Town Green.

02) “The Restynge House”.


The main route from Ringwood to by the Cranborne, now the B3081, has followed this route for centuries but was only made up in the 1930’s. Look over to the opposite side where Baileys electrical showroom and other businesses stand on the site of “The Restynge House”, built in the early 20th century by the Parish Church as a meeting place and alternative to the public houses for the young men of the village. It also served as a Church Hall and advertised Teas for Cyclists in the early days of the popular sport. At the time of the photograph this was the only building standing on the north side of the road and beyond lay open heathland and the promontory of Stephen’s castle. This building was demolished in recent years when the current shops and flats were constructed.


03) “The Parade”.

The Parade was built shortly after the Restynge House as private housing but it was not long before shops appeared on the ground floors. The newsagents on the far corner was built by Arthur Hopkins, owner of a local tile yard for his unmarried daughter Nellie. It continued to be run by descendants of the family before becoming a hairdressers. In the double dwelling, far left, lived at one time Lionel Jeffries, the actor and director whose father ran the Central Garage, mentioned later.

04) “Parade Shops”.


They have housed at various times, the library, barber, hairdresser, chemist and greengrocer. A more useful shop was the Bon Marche (now Champion Barbers) which sold all kinds of haberdashery, knitting wool and the like. The Crossroads signpost has stood at this junction for many years from the days when many of the present roads were just tracks across the heath. The crossroad later ceased to be when it was replaced with the distributor road.

Turn left into Manor Road and look back across the junction to the north.


05 ) “Village Hall”

At the beginning of the twentieth century the only building was the Village Hall on the site of the present bock of flats. This was a hub of social activity before the Memorial Hall was built and hosted the Youth Club, cinema shows and other events. The photographer obviously felt no qualms about standing in the middle of the road to take he picture.


06) ”Baileys Shoe Shop”.


Still looking across the junction, Baileys shoe shop stood side on to Edmondsham Road (now blocked off), again where the flats are now. Iris Bailey looked after the retail side and Arthur the repairs. Out of stock items could be obtained next day via the railway. After the Bailey’s retired in 1963 the shop traded for several years as Paula’s Place a most useful fashion and shoe shop.



07 ) ”The Two Chapels”.

A Brick “Independent” Chapel, now the library was built in 1887 as a combined Church and Schoolroom. However, this was an inconvenient arrangement especially during midweek funerals. By 1906 public subscription enabled a separate Chapel to be built next door, now the United Reformed Church. The earlier Chapel stayed in use as a schoolroom until 1967 when Hillside School was opened.

08) ”Punch and Judy Cafe”.


On the site of the Current Post Office stood the “Punch and Judy” cafe, a popular venue for midday meals when out shopping. Unfortunately it burned down in 1968. Previously Mr Rose’s very useful general store had stood on the spot. Across the road where the new flats are now was a hut in the front garden of what was “Amberley” and was Verwood’s only Estate Agent with a popular weekly auction market being held in another shed behind.


09 ) ”Manor Road”.

On your left (Right in the picture) look out for the decorated houses as you continue down Manor Road. Intricate patterns and bands are formed from locally made white Ebblake brick. You come to Howard Road which was named for a little boy, Howard Cox, who used to “help” the workment. This cuts through the original grounds of the Victorian Manor House which stood on the site of the present Manor Court. The original brick wall was rebuilt further away from the road, the excess bricks now forming the base for Moors Valley Visitors Centre.

Continue on from the Manor House crossing the road to Champtoceaux Green. Opposite the bus stop take the gravel path.

10)” The Churchyard”.


The path brings you to an open space with th Parish Rooms, on the site of the old Church School, to your left. The Church School was open from 1947 to 1985 when it moved to new premises in Howe Lane. Standing with your back to the parish rooms take the gate ahead into the lower churchyard. Turn immediately left ot stand in the brick entrance where the upper churchyard leads down to the lower one. Many old Verwood families are buried in the churchyard and the lower one includes the only civilian casualty of WWII, a 15 year old boy, Max Barrett. A path led from this gate directly across the green to the old Vicarage in Vicarage Road.

Turn and walk up the central path of the upper churchyard.

Verwood’s War Memorial stands to your left. It was originally wooden but blew down in a gale and was replace by the present one of Portland Stone. The figure of Christ was save and re-fixed to this.

(The picture shows the view you would have had of the Manor House from the original gateway of the upper churchyard.)


11) “The Parish Church of St Michael & All Angels.”

The cross in the centre of the path commemorates the first wife of Verwood’s First Vicar, Rev. Claude Brown. He came in 1887 and brought many benefits to the church and village alike. The church stands on the site of a former Chapel of Ease in Cranborne parish but was rebuilt in local brick when Verwood became a parish. Claude Brown added the Bath Stone Chancel. In 1980’s the church was extended to the north, south and west to accommodate the growing population of Verwood.

Continue to your right round the entrance and onto the far side.

About half way down this narrower section a tomb and group of gravestones are of the Standsfield family, immediate relations of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Ironically those who lived here were prosperous farmers.

Take the gate ahead leading to the Parish Rooms and continue to the exit, down the path and across to Champtoceaux Green.

12) “Church and School”.


This view from Champtoceaux Green looks back at the Church, Church School and Schoolhouse. It was taken before the Churchyard was extended to road and shows the rough heathland neture of the surrounding countryside.

Crossing Champtoceaux Green, turn left into Vicarage Road.



13)”The Old Vicarage”.

A Few yards upon our right is Montrose Retirement Home. This stands on the site of the former Vicarage, built by Rev. Brown. In later years the large house and grounds became unmanageable as a Vicarage and it was eventually demolished in 1973. The opening ceremony of “Montrose” was performed by the musical comedy actress Jessie Mathews of “Mrs Dale’s Diary fame. who then lived in Verwood at the Old Farmhouse in Newtown Road.

14)”Primitive Methodist Chapel”.


Continuing up Vicarage Road, the Primitive Methodist Chapel, built in 1876, stood on the site of the present Methodist Church which replaced it in 1909. The adjacent land was a smallholding owned by an eccentric farmer Daniel Sims who left a bread charity to the village. Daniels father, of the same name, was a notorious smuggler who lived in a house at the rear of the present Council Chamber .Notice the rough, unsurfaced road which characterised most of Verwood at this time.


15)”The Post Office”

Verwood Post Office has moved to several locations over the years. Here it stood opposite the Methodist Church where the florist and opticians are now These have been extended in recent years to form a row of shops leading up to the corner. The Postmaster, Mr Dowland, commissioned and sold many Verwood postcards which have been invaluable records of past years. In the earliest years of telephones the P.O. number was Verwood “1” and the Station Verwood “2”. Note the old Gas Lamp which stood by the gate.


16)”St Gabriel’s Home”.


Turn right at the corner and a few yards down on the opposite side of Ringwood Road is “St. Gabriel’s”.

This was a girls orphanage run by Mrs Violet Tennyson, a niece of the poet and highly respected figure in the village who drove around in her pony and trap. Afterwards it was lived in by a retired vicar who owned the first “cat’s whisker” radio in Verwood which he used to put on the lawn for all to listen to. It then became a community car home for adults with learning difficulties and is now used as temporary accommodation for homeless families by Dorset Council.

Retrace your steps back to the corner of Vicarage Road.


17) “NatWest Corner”.

On the left lof the picture a hedge surrounds what is now an open space in front of shops and offices. This was always known as NatWest corner although ironically all the banks that had a presence in Verwood have now closed, the last one being Lloyds which closed in 2023.

Cross Vicarage Road to the shops on the opposite corner.

On the corner stood the Everson's Store trading under the “Mace” group banner. It was a well stocked grocery shop before the arrival of “Safeways”. Beyond stood an off-licence and the central garage which were demolished and initially became a “One Stop” with flats above. It is now a Tesco’s convenience store. In the distance can be seen the bus shelter on the corner of Ferret Green. The gravelled area which had been a clay pit, became the village Car Park until the present one opened in December 2001 when it was remodelled as Ferret Green.

18) "The Recreation Ground".


Across the road, the Recreation Ground was purchased as a memorial to those Verwood men who served in WW1 with a tree planted for every man that fell. There was a long pavilion at the far end with the children’s play area safely protected behind. The memorial Hall was built after much fund raising effort as a tribute to the men who served in WWII. There was an adjacent toilet block which was a long dash for mothers taking their small children to the Clinic in the old Village Hall which did not have these facilities. For many years “The Rec was the venue for all sporting events until the opening of better facilities at “Potten Park”, and the annual Verwood Carnival now makes use of the Fuzzy Bit off Crane Drive.


19) “Towards Cranborne”

Before returning to the car park look in a westerly direction along the road which leads to Cranborne. The square brick house remains and beyond was a garage owned by the Shearing family and then by the Ottons. This is currently a block of flats with shops underneath. There was very little building along this road for many years until one reached Verwood Station and the Albion Inn which used to be part of the station. The journey to Cranborne was one of necessity for many years for church, medical and other purposes in the days when Verwood was merely a small outpost in the parish of that once thriving market town on Cranborne Chase. First it was bypassed by the toll road from London and then the railway came through Verwood, both diminishing the importance of Cranborne which remains today as a sleepy, attractive village centre around its Manor House and Church. For many Years Verwood children attended the Middle School at Cranborne though those pictured here would have received their education in the village in those bygone days.


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