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Parish 18 Date of Agreement / Award Date of Confirmation of Apportionment
Stockwood 14/2/1839 3/7/1840
Date on Map Scale of Map Signed
None 6 chains John Martin Valuer

Stockwood is an unusual shape. Like a shoe standing on it’s toe the majority of the parish cannot be accessed, it remains resolutely farmland un-invaded by modern life except for two short stretches of road. Across the toe the road from Chetnole enters from the east travels a short distance south before exiting to Melbury Sampford. In the NW the heel is clipped by a road which appears to be travelling nowhere in particular although it eventually ends in Ryme Intrinseca. The clue to it’s existence is in it’s name, ‘common lane’ and the parish must at some time in the past have been inclosed although no record exists of this. The roads remain largely unchanged since Martin’s time.

The part of Stockwood that is accessible is fairly typical Dorset countryside and there is a temptation to whizz through it in a car on the way to somewhere else [1]. The temptation should be resisted, at least until you have taken a short diversion down a side road, to what is helpfully signposted as a ‘Historic Church’. This is well worth visiting and is a beautiful and peaceful setting ruined only by the placement of an electricity transformer.

For some 400 years parishioners would have seen the view on the left [apart from the sign]. Then electricity arrived. The path to the church is the same today as it was in Martin’s day.

In terms of population it was a tiny parish with no more than a dozen house or so in it. Both the ancestry ‘copy’ and the Genealogist original bear the commissioners original signatures and in fact the Ancestry map is not a true copy but a copy of the original National Archive map. There are no unusual or remarkable features on the map.

The apportionment is unusual in that the amount of common land in the parish was just fourteen acres some of which was owned by the Earl of Ilchester who held a meagre amount of sixty three acres in the parish. There is no evidence that the parish was a part of a manor belonging to the Earl of Ilchester but one of the roads leading to Stockwood is marked “from Melbury House”. Not you note Melbury Sampford but the house itself. The common was little more than a long wide lane running in an N/S direction with an expanded triangular end. Unusually Martin has listed the seven owners who held eleven rights of grazing in the common. It seems difficult to believe that such a small common would have held more than one or two cows per right. Martin notes the individual rights and then explains that the tithe due from the common has been apportioned to the individual estates in the parish. There is only one entry in the diaries which mentions Stockwood and that is from 1838 and has been encountered before.

21st April 1838 Went to Dorchester with the Corfe Rate and made declaration for Seven Parishes as Valuer Melbury Osmond Batcombe North Poorton Melbury Sampford Downfrome [Frome Vauchurch] Stockwood Stratton Charge 1 Guinea each.

List of Commutations under the Tithe Commutation Act

1 Today the road out of Stockwood joins up with the A37.