In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Cranborne like this:
CRANBORNE, a small town, a parish, a sub-district, and a hundred, in Dorset. The town stands in Crauborne. Chase, near the boundary with Wilts; 7 miles NW of Ringwood r. station, and 9 NNE of Wimborne-Minster. It dates from ancient times; is well-built; has a post office† under Salisbury, two inns, a church, a Wesleyan chapel, and an alms-house; and gives the title of Viscount to the Marquis of Salisbury. ...
The church belonged to a Benedictine priory; is partly Norman; and has a carved pulpit, and monuments of the Hoopers. The priory was founded in 980; and had originally an abbey-status, but became subject, in 1102, to Tewkesbury. The priory-house continued to stand till 1703. Markets are held on Thursdays; and fairs, on 24 Aug. and 6 Dec. The parish includes also the tythings of Alderholt, Holwell, Blagdon, Boveridge, Verwood, and Monckton-up-Wimborne. Acres, 13, 730. Real property, £8, 603. Pop., 2, 656. Houses, 554. The manor belonged, about 950, to Aylward de Meau; went, sometime afterwards, to the Crown; was given by William Rufus to Robert-Fitz-Hamon; passed to the Earl of Gloucester and the Earls of March; and belongs now to the Marquis of Salisbury. St. Giles' Park, 1 mile S of the town, is the seat of the Earl of Shaftesbury. Remains of a circular double-ditched ancient camp of 6 acres, are on Castle-Hill. Much of the parish is hilly and of small value. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacies of Boveridge and Verwood, in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £151.* Patron, the Marquis of Salisbury. Charities, £92. The vicarage of Aldersholt is a separate benefice. Bishop Stillingfleet was a native.The sub-district contains thirteen parishes, part of another parish, and an extra-parochial tract; and is in the district of Wimborne. Acres, 45, 437. Pop., 7, 624. Houses, 1, 572. The hundred contains eleven parishes, and parts of three others; and is chiefly in Wimborne division, but partly also in Sturminster, Shaston, and Blandford divisions. Acres, 34, 088. Pop., 7, 365. Houses, 1, 508.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Cranborne in East Dorset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 29th April 2017
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