Melbury Osmond

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Melbury Osmond
File:Melbury Osmond parish church, tower detail - - 518482.jpg
Parish church of St Osmund
Melbury Osmond is located in Dorset
Melbury Osmond
Melbury Osmond
 Melbury Osmond shown within Dorset
Population 199 [1]
District West Dorset
Shire county Dorset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Dorset
Fire Dorset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
List of places

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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.[2] Within the clay can be found deposits of stone which can take on a very high polish, earning them the name "Melbury marble".[3] 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[4] and restored in 1888, although it has registers dating back to 1550. In the 2011 census the parish had a population of 199.[1]

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"[5] and in 1906 Sir Frederick Treves wrote that it was "the most charming village in these Western backwoods".[4]

In its history the village has been involved in the trade of plated buckles and horn buttons, and the manufacture of dowlas.[4]

There are 34 listed buildings and structures within the parish, including the Grade II* Old Rectory and the Grade I parish church.[6]

Thomas Hardy's mother lived in Melbury Osmond as a child, and she was married in the church.[7] 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".[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Neighbourhood Statistics. Area: Melbury Osmond (Parish). Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Ralph Wightman (1983). Portrait of Dorset (4 ed.). Robert Hale Ltd. p. 18. ISBN 0 7090 0844 9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. West Dorset District Council, Holiday and Tourist Guide, c.1983, p13
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Treves, Sir F., Highways and Byways in Dorset, Macmillan, 1906, pp322-323
  5. Roland Gant (1980). Dorset Villages. Robert Hale Ltd. p. 104. ISBN 0 7091 8135 3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Listed Buildings in Melbury Osmond, Dorset, England". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 10 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ken Ayres (October 2007). "Melbury Osmond". Dorset Life. Retrieved 29 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links