Beaminster (pronounced BEM-in-stər) is a small town and civil parish in Dorset, England, since 1974 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 2011 Census recorded a parish population of 3,136.
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.
The parish includes a number of hamlets including Buckham. For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Beaminster.
Dorset Research Tips
One of the many maps available on the website A Vision of Britain through Time is one from the Ordnance Survey Series of 1900 illustrating the parish boundaries of Dorset at the turn of the 20th century. This map blows up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. The internal boundaries on this map are the rural districts which are indicated in the "See Also" box for the place concerned (unless it is an urban parish).
The following websites have pages explaining their provisions in WeRelate's Repository Section. Some provide free online databases. Some are linked to Ancestry.