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Charlton Marshall Village HistorySun, 21st July 2019

Charlton Marshall Village History

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How did it begin Part 2

The short answer is 'we don't really know'. There are clues though.

The Stour valley was occupied from prehistoric times. At the top of Church Lane, and especially in the fields around Gorcombe and Charisworth, there are lots of small tumuli and burial barrows from thousands of years ago. Look too at Hod Hill, Hambledon Hill, Spetisbury Rings or, across the valley, Buzbury Rings.

Bronze Age remains (2000-4000 years ago) have been found off Church Lane which itself continues across the ford behind the church and on up the hill to pass close to Buzbury Rings. It is quite possible therefore that the first settlement, that eventually led to the present village, was around the river crossing.

The Romans came to the area early in the first century A D and were around for about 400 years. Remains have been found near Charlton Barrow and there is the villa further north at Shillingstone and another to the east between Tarrant Rushton and Witchampton.

The ancient yew tree behind the church suggests that Christians, at an early date, took over a pagan worship site. The location of the church near the river also suggests that it was probably a place for Christian worship at an early date when converts were still being baptized by immersion.

In 1086, in the Domesday Book, Charlton is linked with Pimperne and is held by the king himself. It was only another hundred years or so before the village was in the hands of William Marshal of whom I wrote last time.

The old yew behind the church.
Mark Churchill.

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