Place:Beaminster, Dorset, England

Alt namesBeiminstresource: Domesday Book (1985) p 89
Buckhamsource: hamlet in parish
TypeChapelry, Civil parish
Coordinates50.809°N 2.739°W
Located inDorset, England
See alsoNetherbury, Dorset, Englandancient parish in which Beaminster was a chapelry
Beaminster Hundred, Dorset, Englandhundred in which it was located
Beaminster Rural, Dorset, Englandrural district in which it was located 1894-1974
West Dorset District, Dorset, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area 1974-2019
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Beaminster (pronounced BEM-in-stər) (#1 on map) is a civil parish and a fair-sized village in Dorset, England. It is situated in the West Dorset District approximately 15 miles (24 km) northwest of the county town of Dorchester. It is sited in a bowl-shaped valley near the source of the small River Brit. The 2011 UK 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.

Image:Beaminster RD 1900 small.png


Beaminster was originally a chapelry in the ancient or ecclesiastical parish of Netherbury in the Beaminster Hundred, one of the hundreds or early subdivisions of the county of Dorset. From 1894 until 1974 it was part of the Beaminster Rural District.

In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, all urban and rural districts across England were abolished and counties were reorganized into metropolitan and non-metropolitan districts. Beaminster joined the non-metropolitan West Dorset District.

Under another set of local government reforms adopted on 1 April 2019, West Dorset District was abolished, and the county of Dorset (excluding Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole) became a single unitary authority. The area is now administered by Dorset Council.

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 parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. The internal boundaries on this map are the rural districts which are indicated in WeRelate's "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.

  • GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Dorset, but it has left the 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes to UK Genealogy Archives which presents facts differently. Neither GENUKI or UK Genealogy Archives deal with the more modern civil parishes.
  • FamilySearch Wiki provides a similar information service to GENUKI which may be more up-to-date, but UK Genealogy Archives may prove more helpful.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has
  1. organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts and rural and urban districts up to 1974
  2. excerpts from gazetteers of the late 19th century outlining individual towns and parishes
  3. reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
  • The contents of the Victoria County History is provided by British History Online for many English counties, but not for Dorset. Instead they have provided the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England (RCHME Inventory Volumes) published in 1972 in five volumes covering the county in geographical areas. Thes articles describe buildings rather than towns and villages, but may be of use in researching a manor-owning family.
  • More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.


UK censuses are taken every ten years in the years ending in "1". There was no census in 1941. Details are not made available for 100 years after a census. A number of online databases (both paid and free) provide transcriptions of censuses up to 1911. Most of these provide information for an individual or a family. Many also provide images of the originals and thus allow browsing of a page or perhaps a whole enumeration district. The 1921 census was published in January 2022. It is available at FindMyPast with a charge additional to the usual subscrition to view the manuscript entries (there is no extra charge to view the index).

The Dorset Online Parish Clerks provides a good number of 19th century census transcriptions as well as lists of baptisms, marriages and burials as recorded in the parish. The formal Home Office Numbers (those starting with HO used in 1841 and 1851), the Registrar General Numbers (starting with RG in later decades, and the Enumeration District Numbers are included. There is an illustrated article to introduce each parish.

The 1841 census differed from the later ones in two different ways.

  • The question "where born" was to be answered either with the words "in county" (or "y") or "out of county" (or "n") with perhaps a more specific place in the case of those born abroad.
  • Ages for adults (usually those over 15, though some enumerators gave specific ages up to 20) were rounded down to the nearest 5 years. (i.e., for persons aged 15 years and under 20 write 15; 20 years and under 25 write 20; 25 years and under 30 write 25; and so on up to the eldest interval.

From 1851 onwards people were asked for the county and civil parish in which they were born whether in or out of the county, and ages were expressed exactly (in months for infants).

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Beaminster. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.