west parley parish council

History

Beginnings


Parley Common, 1633


West Parley is much older than our neighbours Bournemouth and Ferndown, and has deeper roots than most of the settlements in South East Dorset. West Parley figures in the Domesday Book (1086) when it had some 60 inhabitants. At that time it had a Saxon Church, replaced by the present All Saints Church in the 12th century.

For a series of informative Heritage articles on the history of West Parley please click here.

In fact West Parley goes back much further, all the way to the Iron Age. Dudsbury Rings, to the South West of West Parley, is the remains of an Iron Age hill fort; its walls (which can still be seen) protecting a great defensive site on a high bluff overlooking the River Stour.

The village in medieval times was of course agricultural. It was owned by a succession of Lords of the Manor, none of whom lived in the Parish. In the 1600s - see map - Parley Common was divided into peculiarly long and narrow strips. The reason was that a principal product was turf for fuel.

With some areas being wetter and poorer than others, the strips gave everyone a fair share. One of them was nearly 2 miles long and only 22 yards wide. Parley Common has now become heathland, home to many wild birds and animals, and is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

for a very interesting 1900-01 Ordnance Survey map of West Parley click here.

New Bridge


New Road Bridge,1923

click on any image to enlarge

In the 1800s the extraction of gravel and clay became important locally, used to put on tracks to make them passable, and to make bricks for houses locally and in Bournemouth. A map of 1888 shows a large brick field and kiln in the centre of East Parley Common. The only principal roads at that time were what we now know as Christchurch Road, the B3073, and Church Lane - although the beginnings of Parley Cross could be seen.

The New Road bridge dates from 1910 - before that West Parley was a quiet backwater, cut off from the rapidly growing Bournemouth. The build up of West Parley starts from that time, growing to its present size (1560 houses) in the house building boom after World War Two.

The so-called "Ferndown Road Bridge'", which crossed the River Stour in New Road, West Parley. It was built in 1910 but collapsed a few years later and was replaced in 1923 by the present New Road Bridge.

West Parley now has the status of a parish, with its own Council. In the 19th century the parish of West Parley used to be much larger, including Longham and West Moors.

All Saints Church


All Saints Church


The bottom of Church Lane gives a feel for West Parley in the 1700s. From the 1780 cottage at Brambles Farm the road winds down to the old heart of West Parley, by the river.

The Old Rectory and Church Farm House flank a characterful small area, a sort of square, leading up to the small church and further along to the river path. In Spring with the cherry trees out it is a beautiful spot and you can stand there in a time capsule taking you back hundreds of years.

famous author Arthur Mee writes:
"Where a shady track leads to the ferry a small Church with a timber belfry stands among the corn fields. Almost every generation has made it some good gift. The walls are Norman, with stones from Saxon England still left in them, and the man who carved the arches round the old font lived either in Saxon days or very soon after the Conquest. The doorway was made when Domesday Book was new, and while Edward 1st was hammering the Scots, men were quarrying sandstone for the chancel arch. When Chaucer was writing his Canterbury Tales, some sturdy smith was forging the strap-hinges for the Church door, while a wood carver was busy on the delicately ornamented bosses of the 14th century roof, which are now in a glass case in the vestry. One shows the Boy Scouts' reef knot. In the days when Englishmen were fighting against Joan of Arc someone hewed a new top and set it on the old font. When the Reformation came and Shaftesbury Abbey was dissolved an armchair from the abbey found its way to West Parley. Its chalice was engraved by a master silversmith in Shakespeare's day. Its pulpit was made at the time when England and Scotland were first united and is still as sound as ever after 300 years; and when all the country was astir with news of the French Revolution Thomas Pyke cast for West Parley a bell decorated with cherubs."

All Saints is a small 12th century Church perfectly in tune with its surroundings, set in a well kept churchyard housing many of our agricultural forebears. Inside it has distinctive wooden walled pews, some of them with their own doors.


The Lydlinch Urn

Outside, on the East wall, set into a barred recess, is an urn said to contain the heart of the Lady of Lydlinch. Once the Lady of the Manor at West Parley in the 1300s, she was made by her husband to live at Lydlinch, near Sherborne. She said that as her heart was in West Parley she wished it to go there after her death.


The gibbet sundial

In the Churchyard just to the right of the gate is a wooden stump with a sundial on top. This wood is from the gibbet at West Parley, formerly on the common, near what is now the top of Barrack Road. On it was hanged and gibbeted the son of one William Harbin, convicted at Winchester in 1803 of murdering his father, persuaded to do so by his mother fearful that William was about to change his will. The owner of the land housing the gallows was tired of all the sightseers and so gave the wood to the then rector, who mounted the sun dial on top. It is said that because of its dreadful background it never tells the right time.


The sisters cross

Also in the Churchyard to the left of the gate is a cross in memory of another tragedy, the death of Elise and Sybil Green, sisters aged 22 and 16, drowned in the river Stour on the 24th Jan 1908. They had crossed the river on Marshall's Ferry, but after stepping on to the bank they sadly walked on but took a wrong turn, ending up in the river and being taken by the currents. At that time the ferry, at a ford near the church, was a longboat with the ferryman pulling on a rope fixed above the river. There were tea gardens on the bank for ferry users from 1903.

for the full story of the Green sisters tragedy, please click here

Whats On

Gardening Competition 2017

Prizes for best front garden, best back garden and best hanging baskets, entries in by 1st July . . more.
back garden form . . front garden form . . hanging baskets form

Dorset Police Male Voice Choir

Sat 20th May, St Ambrose Church, 72 Westcliff Rd, Bournemouth 7.30pm in aid of the Victoria Education Centre, £10 adults, £5 children . . full details

Coffee Morning

every Wednesday from 10am - 12 noon at the Parley Sports and Social Club. All residents and friends will be made very welcome.

West Parley Official Guide

The new Parish Guide is ready, and will be delivered in June. . have a look!
You might also want this local map.

Did You Know?

see what the Parish Council have done in the last few years, tell us what you would like to see for 2016/17. . more

Heritage Walk

learn all about West Parley's history as you walk, it is well researched and informative. . more

Parley Health Walks

every Wednesday 10am from the Parley Sports and Social Club, followed by coffee and biscuits! Lets get healthy and have some fun.

There's plenty going on in West Parley - click here for the latest.

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Next Meetings

Planning committee:
Wed 7th June 2017, 7.30pm
MS Centre, Church Lane

Parish Council:
Wed 17th May 2017, 7.30pm
MS Centre, Church Lane

Agendas / Minutes

Newsletters

Parish Council update for Jan 2017
previous newsletters:

Neighbourhood Watch newsletter for Mar-May 2017

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