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   Development of the Village of Verwood.  


Verwood or Fairewood is recorded in 1841 as :-

"a hamlet or tything of Upwimborne hundred, four miles east of Cranborne". 

It consisted of two small manors and was under the Priory of Cranborne. The old family de Bello Bosco or BeauBois held this estate and manor in the fourteenth century and it is presumed that the village was named after this family, as translated it means fair wood. This name has had many variations during the centuries:-

  • The Feet of fines relating to Dorset , record 1329 to 1436 reads "Fairwood".

  • The Feet of fines relating to Dorset record 1436 reads "Fayrwood".   

  • The Feudal Aids record of 1284--1431 reads "Fairewode"

  • Calendarium Inqnisitionum post mortem London 1805-1823 records in 1416 "Le Fairewode".

William Camden's map of Dorsetshire 1607 reads as "Wrtwood". Kelly', map of Dorsetshire 1610 reads as "Wierwood". Even today many older inhabitants pronounce Verwood as Ver'ood or Ver'ud.

By a charter at Fairwoode on December 8th 1377:- 

"Williain dc Bello Bosco granted to Walter Vicar of Cranborne, John Kcnne and John Boghler and their kin, all the lands, tenements, meadows, woodland, heath, marsh, pasture, rents and services which lie then had in Lcstcsford, Fairwoode and Boverige."

Other charters must have been made as Huchins records that 'William Filial of Woodlands held at his death in 1417 the manor of Lestesford - juxta - Fairewoode.

In 1739 the manor called Cray's Farm belonged to Jeremiah Cray of Ibsley, and the manor called Pottcrne, previously Wimborne Potterne, to the widow of General Sir George Bingham K.C.B., Sarah Cray.  Both these manors became the property of William Fryer esq.   Fairewoode had a Chapel of Ease situated in the grounds of Cray's Farm but it was in ruins by 1666. This property was called Chapel Close and remains could be seen in 1841, but today nothing remains, not even the name Chapel Close.

At the end of the nineteenth century the villagers were able to rent land from the landowners on a life-hold basis, that is, the property was taken out on any three people in the village and when those three people died, the land passed back to the owner of "fell into hands". A little ground rent was paid but not on a weekly basis, in one case it was one pound a year.  The only conditions seem to have been that the property had to be maintained in proper order, although the landowner or "squire" had never actually built the house himself.

The villagers built their cottages from local mud or cob which was dug from adjoining land or from a suitable patch on the common.  

The  car park (see Picture) which was for many years was in the centre of the village was once a large mud pit of this kind called Ferrett's Green. This car park which was in front of the current Heritage Centre was re-sited behind the Centre in 2002 and the original car park returned to a garden area retaining its original name of "Ferrett's Green". The picture below shows the new Ferrett's Green with the Verwood Heathland Heritage Centre in the Background.

Much of the principal landowners' estates has now been sold although a little of each remains

Copyright P Reeks.     


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