Maiden Newton is a village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in south-west England. It lies within the West Dorset administrative district, about north-west of the county town Dorchester. It is sited on Upper Greensand at the confluence of the River Frome with its tributary of equivalent size, the Hooke. Both these rivers have cut valleys into the surrounding chalk hills of the Dorset Downs. Maiden Newton railway station, which serves the village, is situated on the Heart of Wessex Line. The A356 main road also passes through the village. In the 2001 Census the village had a population of 952, of whom 29.7% are retired.
Maiden Newton was the basis for the village of Chalk-Newton, South Wessex, in many of the works of Thomas Hardy. In the vicinity of the village is evidence of Roman occupation and early British settlements. The parish church of St Mary contains much Norman work, with additions from the 14th and 15th centuries. Maiden Newton is also home to one of the country's oldest fire engines, restored and in full working order.
Maiden Newton Mills
In 1825 the Mills at Maiden Newton, Dorset, England were for sale, and the following announcement appeared in the Advertisements & Notices section of The Morning Chronicle (London, England) on Saturday, April 16, Saturday, April 23, Tuesday, April 26, 1825, and Friday, April 29, 1825. One mill was in the centre of the village and the other further downstream at Notton, but still within the parish.
Maiden Newton, Dorset – Capital Flour Mills, Dwelling House, Lands, &c. – At the King’s Arms Inn, in Maiden Newton aforesaid, on Wednesday the 11th day of May next, between the hours of Threee and Four in the afternoon.
All those Desirable Mills called Maiden Newton Mills with the Dwelling House, yard, garden, mill house, stable for ten horses, bakehouse, brewhouse, and other requisite offices, with excellent meadow adjoining. – And also in Lots, several excellent closes of pasture and sundry pieces of arable land, situate and being in the said parish of Maiden Newton, – Maiden Newton is distant from the Port of Weymouth 16 miles only; and from the following good market towns – Chard 18; Yeovil 13; Sherborne 13; Crewkerne 13; Dorchester 8; Bridport 10; Beaminster 9; and Cerne Abbas 5 miles. A plan of the mills and adjoining premises may be seen and particulars had at the office of Mr. Brock, 52 Lincoln’s Inn-fields, London; and at the office of Mr. Frampton, Solicitor, Cerne Abbas, Dorset.
Immediate possesion may be had, and one-half of the purchase money of the Mills may remain on mortgage at 4 per cent.
The Mills were reportedly worth £3,100, but just 3 years later in 1828 a moiety of the mills went to Samuel Hutchings and George Bullock for £7,500. Previously in 1800 George Lilly and his wife, Sarah, sold them to Thomas Hopkins of Stoke Abbot, miller, and John Hopkins the younger as trustee for the sum of £1,250.
Opened on 20 January 1857 by the Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway with the section of their route from Yeovil Pen Mill to Weymouth. This completed their main line from Chippenham to Weymouth, the first part of which had opened in 1848. The railway was a part of the larger Great Western Railway which meant that through trains ran from London Paddington station. The station consisted of two platforms with a flint station building and goods shed at the south end. A signal box was added later.
From 1857 to 1975 the station was the junction for the Bridport Railway and an extra bay platform was added at the north end of the station for these trains. This can still be seen at the west end of the station and this end of the trackbed is a footpath and cycleway.
Although the signal box was closed during a rationalisation scheme, the station retains two platforms as it is a passing place on the single line between Dorchester and Yeovil. The entrance is on the northbound platform, the side closest to the village. Access to the southbound platform is normally by the footbridge but there is a level crossing at the south end of the station for passengers who are unable to use the bridge. The station building survives but is no longer used by the railway.
The three sided War Memorial at Maiden Newton was build to comemorate the men of Maiden Newton and Frome Vauchurch who gave their lives during the Great War. A plaque was later added to the men who died in the Second World War.
19th century description
A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Maiden Newton from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:
[This section added November 2014.]
Family History Library Catalog