Taken from the DorsetForYou website


The name Broadwindsor, implying chief or whole, is variously spelled in ancient documents. Windesor, Windlesore and Wynedesore are the principal forms. The Winde is the winding boundary and the Ora means bank – probably of the hills. When the Romans set up their tents on Waddon Hill around A.D.43 there was no village to be seen to the north only a few scattered farms. A thousand years later the Anglo- Saxon owner, Bondi held Windesore, and in the Domesday Survey of 1085 it is recorded that the manor was held by Hunger son of Odin. In the 13th and 14th centuries many inhabitants were freemen and names prevalent at that time are still current in the village today such as Studley, Paul and Hallett. There can be few parishes where the same families are still living after 600 years.

Even in Anglo-Saxon times there was a church at Broadwindsor. There is a very ancient yew tree in the churchyard. Six bells are housed in the tower, three of them dating from pre-Reformation days, and with the names of the early 14th century clergymen know,n it is likely their descendants still live locally.

When Henry VIII came to power he raised a local militia to deal with emergencies and it can be read that “In the Dorset lists, thirty-eight able-bodied men are noted at Broadwindsor.” The parish itself was expected to provide” a suit of armour, a bow and a sheaf of arrows to serve the King”.

Probably Broadwindsor’s most noted claim to fame is its connection with Charles II. After his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 he realised he must flee the country and under a false names stayed the night at the Castle Inn which later became The George Inn where he was given rooms at the top of the house. Then a constable arrived at the inn with 40 soldiers in search of the King, but when a camp follower went into labour in the kitchen the ensuing hullabaloo allowed him to escape disguised as a serving wench.

At the beginning of the 19th century Broadwindsor was a thriving place. but gradually sank into its present day calm. Today the centre of Broadwindsor is a Conservation Area surrounded by beautiful countryside and remains an ideal refuge from the noisy modern towns which now surround it.

4 thoughts on “History

    David Grainger said:
    October 14, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Hello Broadwindsor. I am researching my mother’s ancestors who came from the village in the 19th century. My mother’s Great grandfather was a Daniel Akerman (or Ackerman, born about 1826. He and his wife Sarah left Broadwindsor in the 1840s for the South Wales coalfield. Any background on the family and the reason why there was so much migration, would be great. Thanks in advance.
    David Grainger

      Rachel said:
      May 17, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Did you ever get a reply to your questions ? Sarah is in my family tree

        David Grainger said:
        May 17, 2018 at 3:51 pm

        Hi Rachel, I have had no replies to the message.

    George Hornby said:
    July 16, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Hi David and Rachel. They left because of economic forces that drove down the wages of most agricultural workers and made many smaller land holdings unsuccessful. Many tried their luck overseas, braving the risks of sea travel. This generation tended to try the USA, Australia, or New Zealand. Earlier ones had established a branch in Newfoundland. Some made such long migration work; others got into trouble. Large numbers of English, especially those from Somerset, Gloucestershire, and other Severnside counties, tried their hands in the South Wales coalfields, often travelling either in family groups or to stay with people they already knew. It is illuminating to look at the census entries for nineteenth century mining villages in Wales. After a couple of generations most of these families identified as Welsh even if they kept in touch with relatives left behind. For instance Rob Ackerman played at Centre late last century for Wales and the British Lions. I don’t know which family of Akerman emigrants he comes from. There were two main groups: one from Gloucestershire and ours. As to the background of Daniel and Sarah (they were first cousins) do try looking at my tree on Ancestry. Like all research it is incomplete, but can be found for free in most public libraries. The family reused the same forenames with great frequency. I have this Daniel as 1825-1898 and Sarah as 1823-1897. I show Daniel’s father as Thomas 1800-1868. When Ancestry have a free day or weekend, you can send me a message through them with your contact details. It would be great to hear the stories of your family.
    Best wishes, George Hornby

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