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Parish Church of St Martin - Cheselbourne (2) - - 887187.jpg
Parish Church of St Martin
Cheselbourne is located in Dorset
Cheselbourne shown within Dorset
Population296 [1]
OS grid referenceSY763997
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
FireDorset and Wiltshire
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
List of places
50°47′48″N 2°20′17″W / 50.7966°N 2.338°W / 50.7966; -2.338Coordinates: 50°47′48″N 2°20′17″W / 50.7966°N 2.338°W / 50.7966; -2.338

Cheselbourne (sometimes spelled Chesilborne[2] or Cheselborne) is a village and civil parish in Dorset, England, situated in the Dorset Downs, 7 miles (11 km) north-east of Dorchester. The parish is at an altitude of 75 to 245 metres (approximately 250 to 800 feet) and covers an area of 1,175 hectares (2,900 acres); the underlying geology is chalk.[3] In the 2011 census the parish had a population of 296.[1]

The village, which contains a mix of buildings of different ages and styles, is spread along four lanes which meet here. It has a public house called the Rivers Arms. The 13th- to 14th-century parish church has a pinnacled tower with battlements, numerous gargoyles,[4] and a canonical sundial.

Canonical sundial on the parish church

In 1086 in the Domesday Book Cheselbourne was recorded as Ceseburne;[5] it had 36 households, 10 acres (4.0 ha) of meadow and one mill. it was in the hundred of Hilton and the lord and tenant-in-chief was Shaftesbury Abbey.[6]

Cheselbourne used to be the site of a tradition known as 'Treading in the Wheat', in which young women from the village would walk the fields on Palm Sunday, dressed in white.[4]

At Lyscombe Farm in the northwest of the parish are the remains of an early 13th-century chapel. The nave was once used as a bakehouse and then a farmworker's dwelling, then in 1957 a Dutch barn was built over the ruins.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Area: Cheselbourne (Parish). Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  2. ^ Ralph Wightman (1983). Portrait of Dorset (4 ed.). Robert Hale Ltd. pp. 107–8. ISBN 0 7090 0844 9.
  3. ^ "'Cheselbourne', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3: Central (1970), pp. 73-79". British History Online. University of London & History of Parliament Trust. November 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Roland Gant (1980). Dorset Villages. Robert Hale Ltd. pp. 88–9. ISBN 0 7091 8135 3.
  5. ^ "Dorset A-G". The Domesday Book Online. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Place: Cheselbourne". Open Domesday. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 27 February 2015.

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