Alton Pancras parish church
Alton Pancras shown within Dorset
|OS grid reference|
|– London||130 miles (209 km)|
|Civil parish||Alton Pancras|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||West Dorset|
Alton Pancras is a small village and civil parish in the West Dorset district of Dorset, England. The village is sited at an altitude of 125 metres in the valley of the River Piddle, which has its source just to the north. The surrounding chalk hills rise to between 230 and 260 metres. The broadcaster and agriculturist Ralph Wightman, who was born and lived in the nearby village of Piddletrenthide, described these surrounding hills as "very much in the centre of Dorset"
The village is situated on the B3143 road, which connects it to the county town of Dorchester 9 miles (14 km) to the south. Other local travel links include Maiden Newton railway station 7 miles (11 km) to the south-west, and Bournemouth International Airport 26 miles (42 km) to the east. In the 2011 census the civil parish had a population of 175.
The village was first likely settled by Saxons during the expansion of the Kingdom of Wessex. The name of the village was then Awultune, meaning in West Saxon 'village at the source of the river' (the River Piddle). After conversion to Christianity, the village name incorporated the little-known St Pancras and certainly by the time of the Battle of Agincourt was known as Aulton Pancras.
The current church was restored in the 19th century after an earlier Norman church was near collapse. All that remains of the old church is the 15th century tower and a Norman arch. The church organ used to be a fairground organ. The floor tiles were created by Poole Pottery.
- "Area: Alton Pancras (Parish), Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Ralph Wightman (1983). Portrait of Dorset (4 ed.). Robert Hale Ltd. p. 106. ISBN 0 7090 0844 9.
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