The permanent settlement of Stalbridge began during the Saxon period (c450-1066 A.D.) in what was then the Kingdom of Wessex. The ancient village was prominent enough to feature in the Norman Doomsday book of 1086, when it was known as Staplebridge, a name partly derived from the Proto-Germanic word ‘Stapul’ meaning post. Although subsumed by modern development Stalbridge still retains its historic core of buildings from the Late Medieval, Georgian, Stuart and Victorian eras. Stalbridge remained a village until 1992 when it officially became a town, currently the smallest in Dorset.
Nestled on the eastern slopes of a ridge of Jurassic rock, near to the border with Somerset, our town overlooks the wider northern section of the Vale of Blackmoor, which is made up of Oxford clay beds, ideal for dairy farming. The local stone used for many an old house and wall is Forest Marble, a hard shelly limestone, which formed from the warm, shallow sea bed of 200 million years ago when Dorset sat roughly where the Canary Islands are now.
A large church, dedicated to St. Mary looks down from the hill, and even today can be viewed from many places in the town. Although most of the building is 19th century it still retains its medieval roof with carved angels. Stalbridge also boasts arguably the finest market cross in the county, standing 30 feet tall in the High Street and decorated with carvings depicting amongst others the crucifixion.
From the original 19 settlers recorded in 1086, 500 in Tudor times and 1700 in the Victorian era Stalbridge now has a population approaching 3,000, comprising of Stalbridge Town and the nearby hamlet of Stalbridge Weston.
To promote and encourage an interest in the history of Stalbridge
Join The Stalbridge History Society and make a difference by researching and recording the history of the town for future generations
Our members receive a regular newsletter and here on the website we publish articles and details from our projects.
Periodically we hold exhibitions and talks displaying the results of our research. These are open to the general public and are always very well received.
We have an extensive collection of old photographs of Stalbridge from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
We host interesting talks, held throughout the year and presented by a mix of guest presenters and our members.