Place:Donhead St. Mary, Wiltshire, England

NameDonhead St. Mary
Alt namesLudwellsource: village in parish
Birdbushsource: hamlet in parish
Charlton (Donhead)source: hamlet in parish
Coombe (Donhead)source: dispersed hamlet in parish
Higher Coombesource: settlement in parish
Middle Coombesource: settlement in parish
Lower Coombesource: settlement in parish
Donhead-St. Marysource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates51.019°N 2.134°W
Located inWiltshire, England
See alsoDunworth Hundred, Wiltshire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Tisbury Rural, Wiltshire, Englandrural district 1894-1934
Mere and Tisbury Rural, Wiltshire, Englandrural district 1934-1974
Salisbury District, Wiltshire, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area 1974-2009
Wiltshire District, Wiltshire, Englandunitary authority covering the area since 2009
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Donhead St. Mary is a village and civil parish in southwest Wiltshire, England, on the county border with Dorset. The village lies about 2 1⁄2 miles (4.0 km) east of the Dorset town of Shaftesbury and stands on high ground above the River Nadder, which rises in the parish.

In the south of the parish, on the A30 Salisbury-Shaftesbury road, are the village of Ludwell and its neighbouring hamlet of Birdbush; Charlton hamlet is south of the road, and to the north is the dispersed hamlet of Coombe, comprising Higher Coombe, Middle Coombe and Lower Coombe. These places within the parish have been redirected here.

NOTE: Because there are four small settlements named Charlton in Wiltshire, this one is referred to as Charlton (Donhead), but has been redirected here to Donhead St. Mary.

Donhead St Mary is a civil parish with an elected parish council. It falls within the area of the Wiltshire Council unitary authority, which is responsible for most significant local government functions.


Donhead St Mary and its neighbour Donhead St. Andrew were once part of a single Donhead estate which belonged to Shaftesbury Abbey. The boundary between the two parishes was drawn in the 11th century and each had a church in the 12th century.[2]

Donhead Hall, a country house, was built in the early 18th century and was owned by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), the portrait painter.

The Church of England parish church of St Mary the Virgin was standing in the 12th century, when it was small and without aisles. The south aisle was added in the late 12th century and in the 13th the nave gained a clerestory; the south porch was added in the 14th. Most of the tower is from the 15th century.

In 1966 the church was designated as Grade I listed. In 1980 the benefice was united with Donhead St. Andrew and Charlton; today the parish is part of the Benefice of St. Bartholomew.

There was a chapel at Charlton from the 14th century. In 1839 it was replaced by the church of St John the Baptist, built near the main road to be accessible from Ludwell and the Coombes. The church is in Neo-Norman style with a two-tower west facade. At Charlton a National School was built close to St. John's church in 1842, replacing an earlier school; it closed in 1876.

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