At the Crawford settlement there is a wayside cross which has an inscription which reads:
"THIS WAYSIDE CROSS WAS RESTORED & SET ON NEW STEPS ON THE OLD SITE BY MANY FRIENDS OF TARRANT CRAWFORD ANNO DOM MDCCCCXIV"
Tarrant Abbey Farm was in medieval times the site of Tarrant Abbey, founded in the 12th century by Ralph de Kahaines (of nearby Tarrant Keyneston) as a Cistercian nunnery, later supposedly the richest in England.
Two famous people are associated with the abbey: Queen Joan, the wife of Alexander II of Scotland and daughter of King John of England (Richard I's brother and successor), is buried in the graveyard (supposedly in a golden coffin), and Bishop Richard Poore, builder of Salisbury Cathedral, who was baptised in the abbey church and later (in 1237) buried in the abbey, which he founded. He was at one time Dean of the old cathedral at Old Sarum, and later became bishop of first Chichester, then Salisbury and finally Durham.
The 1881 census says - No. of households/schedules 11, Uninhabited houses 0, Males 31, Females 30, Total 61
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 and parishes all bear the name of the river. All were in the Blandford Registration District and the Blandford Rural District and are now in the administrative district of North Dorset. 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.
A sketchmap of the rural district can be viewed at Blandford Rural District.
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.