Wool, Dorset

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Wool, frontages and phone box, High Street - geograph.org.uk - 1415372.jpg
High Street, Wool
Wool is located in Dorset
Wool shown within Dorset
Population 5,310 (2011)
OS grid reference SY839865
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Wareham
Postcode district BH20
Dialling code 01929
Police Dorset
Fire Dorset and Wiltshire
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°40′44″N 2°13′08″W / 50.6789°N 2.2189°W / 50.6789; -2.2189Coordinates: 50°40′44″N 2°13′08″W / 50.6789°N 2.2189°W / 50.6789; -2.2189
Woolbridge Manor

Wool /wʊl/ is a large village, civil parish and electoral ward in the Purbeck district of Dorset, England. In the 2011 census the parish – which includes Bovington Camp army base to the north – had 2,015 households and a population of 5,310.[1] The village lies at a historic bridging point on the River Frome, half-way between Dorchester and Wareham. Woolbridge Manor House, a 14th-century building, is a prominent feature just outside the village and the location of Tess's honeymoon in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Other prominent features of the village include the medieval church of Holy Rood, the railway station on the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo to Weymouth, and the thatched cottages along Spring Street.

The place-name 'Wool' is first attested in Anglo-Saxon Writs from 1002 to 1012, where it appears as Wyllon. In the Domesday Book of 1086 it appears as Wille and Welle, and as Welles in 1212 in the Book of Fees. The name means 'springs' in the sense of the related word wells.[2]

Near Wool, to the east of the village, are the ruins of Bindon Abbey, which was demolished in the Dissolution of the Monasteries of 1539, the stone being used to build castles in Portland, Lulworth and Sandsfoot.

According to local knowledge, only one building was destroyed during the war – on 3 May 1941. The building was a small bungalow by the name of "Two Birches", located on Bailey's Drove. The house was later rebuilt.

A small single-lane hump-backed stone bridge, a Grade II* listed structure about 200m north from the railway station, is no longer used for vehicular traffic. The place name Wullebrigg, recorded in 1244, indicates a crossing here in the thirteenth century and there is an extant record from 1343 of a bridge crossing the River Frome at this point. It has a stone half-way along it stating that those who deface or damage the bridge will be transported (sent to Australia or another penal colony) for the rest of their lives. In January 2018 one of the bridge's stone parapets collapsed, undermined by floodwater, but the arches remained undamaged.[3][4]

Local places of interest include The Tank Museum and Monkey World. It also boasts surrounding hamlets, including East Burton and Giddy Green.

The village received significant media coverage in January 2012, after a fuel tanker crashed into the front of a bungalow, starting a fire. No-one was injured in the incident, but the tanker driver was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.[5]


  1. ^ "Area: Wool (Parish). Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.532.
  3. ^ "Wool Bridge, East Stoke". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  4. ^ "'Thomas Hardy novel' bridge collapses". BBC News. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  5. ^ "Fuel tanker crashes into bungalow". BBC News. 20 January 2012. 


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