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Welcome to St Mary's C.E. Middle School

Thank you for visiting the website for St. Mary's C.E. Middle School. We are a 9-13 middle school situated on the outskirts of Puddletown, a small village in the beautiful Dorset countryside. We are a church school with an ethos built on the core Christian values of respect, forgiveness, justice, uniqueness, equality and acceptance.

Our aim is to give every pupil the chance to achieve their God given potential in all areas of their life and we are proud to have been assessed as an outstanding church school in our last two Church of England inspections. We expect the highest standards in both academic work and behaviour and we place our children at the centre of everything we do.

The pupils, staff and governors are very proud of our school and we hope that this website will allow you to see why. We look forward to having the opportunity to meet you in person.

About Puddletown

The Puddletown Society

The Puddletown Society is a registered charity (no 282010)


They have recently compiled a booklet showing a pictorial history of change in the village and sharing fascinating facts and amusing anecdotes.


The booklet is available for sale through Puddletown Village shop, Village hairdressers or Ian Miller, Marwen, Blandford Road, Puddletown.


The booklet is on sale for £5 per copy

History of the village


Puddletown is a village and associated civil parish in the West Dorset district of DorsetEngland. The village is situated about 4.5 miles (7 km) northeast of the county town Dorchester and is sited by the River Piddle, from which it derives its name. Its civil parish covers 7,185 acres (2,908 ha) and extends to the neighbouring River Frome to the south. In 2013 the estimated population of the civil parish was 1,450.

Puddletown's parish church has significant architectural interest, particularly its furnishings and monuments. It has a 12th-century font and well-preserved woodwork, including 17th-century box pews.

Puddletown used to be known as Piddletown, but it was changed for reasons of social decorum. The timing of this change is uncertain but it probably began during the 19th century, though it wasn't officially sanctioned until the late 1950s.

Puddletown provided the inspiration for the fictional settlement of Weatherbury in Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd. Weatherbury Farm, the home of principal character Bathsheba Everdene, is based on a manor house within the parish.


Evidence of prehistoric human occupation in the parish exists in the form of 30 round barrows, about half of which are sited over chalk and half over Reading Beds. Many of the barrows have been damaged by more recent activities. The remains of strip lynchets of 'Celtic' fields have been found near a few of the barrows. One of the three 'Rainbarrows' on Duddle Heath has been excavated; bucket urns containing cremations from the site were taken to the Dorset County Museum.


The Roman road between Durnovaria (now Dorchester) and Badbury Rings passed through what is now Puddletown civil parish; it cut a WSW-ENE route through what is now Puddletown Heath, between Puddletown village and the River Frome.  In the 21st century a section of the original road—which was 26 metres (85 ft) wide—was discovered in Puddletown Forest.


There used to be several small settlements within Puddletown parish, though except for Puddletown village these have all either diminished or disappeared. These settlements were Cheselbourne Ford (in the northeast of the parish), Bardolfeston (about half a mile northeast of Puddletown village, just north of the River Piddle, and now deserted), Hyde (now Druce Farm), Waterston, South Louvard (now Higher Waterston), Little Piddle (now Little Puddle Farm in neighbouring Piddlehinton parish) and Ilsington (in the south of the parish, by the River Frome). Records indicate that Bardolfeston was declining by the 13th century and, though still occupied in the 16th, it was completely deserted by the 17th century. Its site covers about 15 acres (6.1 ha) and is well-preserved, revealing a 40 feet (12 m)-wide hollow way aligned southwest-northeast, with the sites of at least eleven houses alongside, though the southern end of the site was destroyed when watermeadows were later created along the river.


In the early 17th century Puddletown was one of the first places in Dorset where the use of watermeadows developed; the practice occurred at least as early as 1620, and in 1629 the manorial court decided to allow some tenants to continue making the necessary watercourses that would enable "the watering and Improvinge of theire groundes".Records from 1801 show that at that time agriculture was the main component of Puddletown's economy, though cottage industry and artisan crafts were also an important element: 596 people in the parish were primarily employed in agriculture, with 221 employed in handicrafts, manufacture and trade. Cottage industry, often undertaken by women and children, was used to supplement agricultural income, though there were fewer opportunities for this after the French Revolution.



          The parish church of St Mary is mainly late medieval with an earlier core 


To the east of the church is Ilsington House, also known as the Old Manor, which was built in the late 17th to early 18th century. It was originally owned by the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon and in 1724 by Robert Walpole. Between 1780 and 1830 it was leased to General Thomas Garth, principal equerry to King George III. The General adopted King George III's illegitimate grandson by Princess Sophia, and brought him up at the manor.[3] In 1861 the house was acquired by John Brymer and remained in the possession of the Brymer family for the next century. 


The family built new cottages and a reading room in the village, and a new manor next to the church, which they restored. 

The reading room built by the Brymer family

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (Wikipedia) 


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