Parish church of St Peter and St Paul
Mappowder shown within Dorset
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Mappowder is a village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in southern England. It lies within the North Dorset administrative district, approximately 9 miles (14 km) south-east of the town of Sherborne. It is sited on Corallian limestone soil at the southern edge of the Blackmore Vale, close to the northern scarp face of the Dorset Downs. The village name comes from mapuldor, Old English for 'maple tree'. There is believed to have been a settlement at Mappowder since at least 1086. In the 2011 Census the parish had a population of 166.
The church, dedicated to St Peter & St Paul, is Perpendicular and was built in the late 15th and 16th centuries. However, it includes features remaining from an earlier 12th-century church. The chancel was expanded in 1868 by the Wingfield Digby family of Sherborne Castle, who owned the village in Victorian times.
Mappowder was once the home of the Coker family, who built a large mansion here in 1654, although this was pulled down in the mid-eighteenth century. The building which occupies the site now, Mappowder Court, is mostly of mid-eighteenth-century origin, with some earlier remnants. The stone gateposts at the entrance remain from the original Coker manor; these are topped by carved human heads which in 1905 Sir Frederick Treves described as "Blackamore's", these being "those indefinite natives of the tropics having been used for the crest of the Coker family." Mappowder Court is now a Grade II* listed building.
Novelist and short story writer Theodore Francis Powys lived in Mappowder for the last 13 years of his life; he died and was buried here in 1953.
- Wightman, R., Portrait of Dorset, Hale, 1983, p17
- Gant, R., Dorset Villages,Hale, 1980, p73
- "Neighbourhood Statistics. Area: Mappowder (Parish). Key figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Treves, Sir F., Highways and Byways in Dorset, Macmillan, 1905, p331
- Gant, R., Dorset Villages, Hale, 1980, p74
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