Kimmeridge  Dorset


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Kimmeridge like this:

KIMMERIDGE, a village, a parish, and a vale in Wareham district, Dorset. The village stands ½ a mile NE of Kimmeridge bay, 3 ½ SW by W of CorfeCastle, and 5½ SW by W of Wareham r. station; and has a post office under Wareham. The parish comprises 1, 570 acres. Real property, £1, 263. ...

Pop., 185. Houses, 34. The property belonged to Cerne abbey; was given, by Henry VIII., to the Uvedales; passed to the Clavells; and belongs now to J.Mansel, Esq. Kimmeridge bay is a semicircular inlet, about ¾ of a mile wide; has a shore of sea weed and bituminous mud, girdled by black cliffs; and is overlooked by the amphitheatre of Kimmeridge vale. The living is a donative in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £100. * Patron, J.Mansel, Esq. The church is partly Norman, and in 1866 was in very bad condition.-The vale opens from the sea, between Encombe Point on the E, and Gad Cliff on the W, a distance of 4¼ miles; is girt inland by receding hills, in the form of an amphitheatre; and contains a largely developed upper oolitic stratum, of the peculiar character called Kimmeridge clay and coal. This is a combination of clay and bitumen; burns with a bright flame, emitting considerable heat and a disagreeable odour; and was used at Wareham for producing, by distillation, a volatile mineral oil, asphalt, grease, and a manure. The clay also yields alum; and the Clavells had works for extracting the alum till 1745, and made a pier for conducting the commerce connected with their works. Bracelets made of the Kimmeridge coal were found in an ancient burial place at Dorchester in 1839; and are believed, from the monumental evidences of the burial place, to have belonged to the Romano-British period. Small disks of the same substance, popularly called Kimmeridge coal money, are found in varions parts, about a foot below the surface of the soil; and these are regarded by the common people as coins or amulets of the ancient in. habitants, but by antiquaries as refuse pieces from Roman fabrication of beads, bracelets, and other ornaments.

Kimmeridge through time

Kimmeridge is now part of Purbeck district. Click here for graphs and data of how Purbeck has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Kimmeridge itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Kimmeridge, in Purbeck and Dorset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 26th February 2024

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