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Piddletrenthide - - 388021.jpg
Grid reference: ST703000
Location: 50°48’3"N, 2°25’21"W
Population: 647  (2011)
Local Government
Council: Dorset

Piddletrenthide is a village in Dorset, standing by the little River Piddle in a valley on the dip slope of the Dorset Downs, eight miles north of Dorchester. The 2011 census recorded a parish population (with the small village of Plush to the northeast) of 647, in 290 households.


The name of the village is derived from its position on the River Piddle. The river is also known as the 'Trent', though it is also said that 'Trenthide' is because the manor was assessed for thirty hides in the Domesday Book.

The name sometimes prompts amusement and discussion, and references have been made to it in many, many newspapers and other publications.


In 1086 in the Domesday Book Piddletrenthide was recorded as Pidrie;[1] it had 70 households, 17 ploughlands, 16 acres of meadow, three mills and a taxable value of 30 geld units, all within the Cerne, Totcombe and Modbury Hundred. The tenant-in-chief was Winchester Abbey.[2] The manor's estate was one of the largest in the county.[3]

Piddletrenthide's common arable fields were enclosed by an Inclosure Act in 1817.[4]

In 1933 Piddletrenthide parish was enlarged by 816 acres to include the small village and tithing of Plush, which previously had been a detached part of the parish of Buckland Newton a few miles to the north.[5]

All Saints parish church

Latin inscription on the tower of All Saints' Church

All Saints parish church, situated on the northern edge of the village, has a claim to being one of the finest village churches in Dorset.[6] The south doorway and piers of the chancel arch are Norman; the doorway inside the porch features typically Norman zigzag decoration. The tower dates from 1485 and has twin-light bell openings, numerous pinnacles and gargoyles. The nave and aisles are also 15th-century. Over the west door of the church-tower is the Latin inscription:

"Est pydeltrenth villa in dorsedie comitatu Nascitur in illa quam rexit Vicariatu 1487". The inscription translates as: "It is in Piddletrenthide, a town in Dorset [where] he was born [and] is Vicar, 1487." The vicar in that year was Nicholas Locke, and it is supposed that the tower was dedicated to him.

In 1852 the building was restored and the walls raised by John Hicks, the brother of the incumbent vicar. Hicks went on to restore and build more than 27 churches in the county. The chancel, by Ewan Christian, is from 1880. The church also has some excellent Victorian memorials. In the churchyard, to the south east side of the chancel, are two semi-circular headstones marking the graves of members of the Durbefield family. The family was immortalised by Thomas Hardy in his 1891 Tess of the d'Urbervilles.[7]

The church is part of the benefice of the Piddle Valley, Hilton, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey. From July 2015 the benefice enters a clerical vacancy.[8]


Piddletrenthide civil parish covers 5,313 acres[5] in the Dorset Downs in central Dorset. The parish comprises two distinct settlements: Piddletrenthide village in the valley of the River Piddle, and the smaller Plush in a side valley to the northeast. Piddletrenthide village is divided into three tithings: Higher, Middle and Lower.[5] The church and manor house is the higher tithing, a group of cottages form the middle, and the third is known as White Lackington, which is a little separate from the other parts and is close to neighbouring Piddlehinton.

At the northern end of the village, reached by a footpath from the Poachers Inn, is Morning Well (or Mourning Well), where several springs feed into the River Piddle. In his book Portrait of Dorset Ralph Wightman described it as where "springs bubble out of the base of a steep wooded hill into a shady pool....It is an enchanted place, raising memories of holy wells and pagan groves."[6]

Culture, art and media

Scrumpy and Western artist Trevor Crozier wrote a song entitled "The Piddletrenthide Jug Band" for Dorset folk group The Yetties.[9]

Piddletrenthide was also featured as the hometown of Jem Kellaway, one of the main protagonists in Tracy Chevalier's 18th-century-set novel Burning Bright.

In the 21st century the tenor John Hudson, formerly a principal with English National Opera, has performed in a series of annual concerts at All Saints parish church, with support provided by other musicians with local connections.[10]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Piddletrenthide)


  1. "Dorset H-R". The Domesday Book Online. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  2. "Place: Piddletrenthide". Open Domesday. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  3. Bettey, p43
  4. Bettey, p54
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "'Piddletrenthide', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central (London, 1970), pp. 212–222". British History Online. Univerfsity of London. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ralph Wightman (1983). Portrait of Dorset (2 ed.). Robert Hale. p. 106. ISBN 0 7090 0844 9. 
  7. "piddletrentide". Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  8. "Piddletrenthide | The Benefice of the Piddle Valley, Hilton, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey". Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  9. "Trevor Crozier". somersetmade ltd. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  10. "Piddletrenthide church to host summer spectacular concert". Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  • J. H. Bettey (1974). Dorset. City & County Histories. David & Charles. p. 54. ISBN 0-7153-6371-9.