Tarrant Gunville is a village and civil parish in north Dorset, England, situated at the head of the Tarrant Valley on Cranborne Chase northeast of Blandford Forum. The parish covers at an altitude of . In the 2011 census the parish—which includes the settlement of Stubhampton to the north—had 119 dwellings, 108 households and a population of 233.
The medieval settlements in the parish were Stubhampton and Gunville. The parish church, dedicated to St Mary, is on the edge of Tarrant Gunville. It is on the site of an earlier building which probably dated from around 1100. The present building has a south porch, aisles and tower arch that are partly 14th-century, and a 15th-century west tower that was partly rebuilt in the 16th century, but the chancel and nave were rebuilt in 1843. The architect of the rebuilding was Thomas Henry Wyatt.
Eastbury House, the surviving part of a much larger house designed by John Vanbrugh and built between 1717 and 1738, stands just east of Tarrant Gunville village. The larger part of the house was demolished in 1782. The grounds still display evidence of the original gardens, designed by Charles Bridgeman. It is probable that several of the ashlar and flint houses in the village were built using material taken from the demolished house. The photographer Thomas Wedgwood moved into the surviving part of Eastbury in 1800; his brother, the potter Josiah, had bought nearby Gunville House in 1799, shortly after its construction.
The modern village hall was completed in 2001.
There are 23 structures in the parish that are listed by English Heritage for their special historical or architectural interest. These include Eastbury House (Grade I) and the parish church (Grade II*).
A sketchmap of the rural district can be viewed at Blandford Rural District.
The River Tarrant
The River Tarrant is a 12 km long tributary of the River Stour in Dorset. The valley lies to the east of Blandford Forum and runs through Cranborne Chase, an area of chalk downland. The eight Tarrant Valley villages all bear the name of the river. Listed in order from the river's source they are:
There were three other Tarrant communities;
Churches also existed once at Tarrant Launceston (the site is on Higher Dairy Farm), and Tarrant Rawston (which still exists but in private ownership). In the Middle Ages there was a Church at Tarrant Stubhampton. The Church at Tarrant Crawford is looked after by the Redundant Churches Commission, and the Parish is united with Tarrant Keyneston.
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.