Parish church of St Osmund
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Dorset and Wiltshire|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
Melbury Osmond is a village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in southern England. It lies in the West Dorset administrative district, about 7 miles (11 km) south of the Somerset town of Yeovil. The underlying geology is Cornbrash limestone, with adjacent Oxford clay. Within the clay can be found deposits of stone which can take on a very high polish, earning them the name "Melbury marble". The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book as a possession of the Arundell family, and remained so until the 19th century. The parish church, St. Osmund's, was totally rebuilt in 1745 and restored in 1888, although it has registers dating back to 1550. In the 2011 census the parish had a population of 199.
The major part of Melbury Osmond village lies on a cul-de-sac lane which from the church descends past cottages to a stream and ford. The attractive appearance of the village has been noted by commentators: it has been described as "a calendarsmith's dream of thatched cottages" and in 1906 Sir Frederick Treves wrote that it was "the most charming village in these Western backwoods".
In its history the village has been involved in the trade of plated buckles and horn buttons, and the manufacture of dowlas. During the 19th century, the village was home to the Dorset Ooser, a wooden mask brought out during "Rough Music" ceremonies.
Thomas Hardy's mother lived in Melbury Osmond as a child, and she was married in the church. The village appears as "Little Hintock" in Hardy's novel The Woodlanders, in which the heroine's name is "Grace Melbury". Hardy also incorporated a legend about the Duke of Monmouth taking refuge in one of the village's cottages into his short story "The Duke's Reappearance".
- "Neighbourhood Statistics. Area: Melbury Osmond (Parish). Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- Ralph Wightman (1983). Portrait of Dorset (4 ed.). Robert Hale Ltd. p. 18. ISBN 0 7090 0844 9.
- West Dorset District Council, Holiday and Tourist Guide, c.1983, p13
- Treves, Sir F., Highways and Byways in Dorset, Macmillan, 1906, pp322-323
- Roland Gant (1980). Dorset Villages. Robert Hale Ltd. p. 104. ISBN 0 7091 8135 3.
- Dewar, H. S. L. (1962). "The Dorset Ooser". Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society. 84: 178–180.
- "Listed Buildings in Melbury Osmond, Dorset, England". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Ken Ayres (October 2007). "Melbury Osmond". Dorset Life. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
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