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Yetminster Cross - - 438257.jpg
Yetminster is located in Dorset
 Yetminster shown within Dorset
Population 1,105 [1]
OS grid reference ST594108
District West Dorset
Shire county Dorset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Dorset
Fire Dorset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament West Dorset
List of places

Coordinates: 50°53′42″N 2°34′41″W / 50.895°N 2.578°W / 50.895; -2.578

Yetminster is a village and civil parish in the English county of Dorset. It lies within the West Dorset district, about 5 miles (8.0 km) south-west of Sherborne. It is sited on the River Wriggle, a tributary of the River Yeo, and is built almost entirely of honey-coloured limestone, which gives the village an appearance reminiscent of Cotswold villages. Many of the houses date back to the 17th century. Writing in 1905 Sir Frederick Treves described the village as "probably the most consistent old-world village or townlet in the county".[2] In the 2011 census the civil parish had a population of 1,105.[1] There is an electoral ward with the same name but Chetnole and the surrounding area is included. The total population of this ward at the abovementioned census was 1,564.[3]

In 1086 in the Domesday Book Yetminster was recorded as Etiminstre;[4] it had 76 households, 26 ploughlands, 42 acres (17 ha) of meadow and 2 mills. It was in Yetminster Hundred and the tenant-in-chief was the Bishop of Salisbury.[5]

Yetminster Fair has a claim to be one of the oldest street fairs in Dorset, having been started in the 13th century under a charter granted to the Bishop of Salisbury for a fair 'to be held in his manor of Yetminster'. There was a gap after the 1947 fair until it was restarted in 1975,[citation needed] and now it is firmly established on the second Saturday in July - often culminating in a performance by The Yetties, a folk group who originate from the village. The fair is not only one of the oldest but one of the biggest fairs in the Wessex area.

Yetminster was the birthplace of Benjamin Jesty (c.1736-1816), a farmer who lived in the village for much of his life, who is notable for his early experiment in inducing immunity against smallpox using deliberate inoculation with the less virulent cowpox. Unlike Edward Jenner, a medical doctor who is given broad credit for developing the smallpox vaccine in 1796, Jesty did not publicise his findings, even though they were made some twenty years earlier in 1774.[6][7] Only two people pre-dated Jesty's work.[8][9][10] There is a blue plaque commemorating Jesty's pioneering work at Upbury Farm, near to the church.

Robert Boyle, pioneer of modern chemistry who is best known for Boyle's Law, left an endowment for the provision of a school for poor boys in the district; the building was constructed in 1697 and functioned as a school between 1711 and 1945.[11]

Yetminster does not lie on a main road and experiences mostly local traffic. It has its own railway station (on the Heart of Wessex Line), which is sited close to the village centre. St Andrews Church has a 300 year old faceless clock which chimes the national anthem every three hours. As well as the expected local store and pub, Yetminster still possesses a variety of village amenities and services, including a GP surgery and health centre, and a sports/social club with playing grounds and tennis court.


  1. ^ a b "Area: Yetminster (Parish), Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Treves, Sir F., Highways and Byways in Dorset, Macmillan, 1905, p321
  3. ^ "Ward population 2011.Retrieved 26 Feb 2015". 
  4. ^ "Dorset S-Z". The Domesday Book Online. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Place: Yetminster". Open Domesday. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  6. ^ J. R Smith. ""Jesty, Benjamin (bap. 1736, d. 1816)", rev.,". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  7. ^ William Schupbach. ""Great strength of mind" in a rediscovered portrait". Wellcome Trust. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ *Peter C. Plett: Peter Plett und die übrigen Entdecker der Kuhpockenimpfung vor Edward Jenner. In: Sudhoffs Archiv, Zeitschrift für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Band 90, Heft 2, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, 2006, S. 219-232 (ISSN 0039-4564)
  10. ^ Hopkins, Donald R. (2002). The Greatest Killer: Smallpox in History. University of Chicago Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-226-35168-8. 
  11. ^ "Yetminster". 2002. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 

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