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Castleton Additional Residents

It’s worth noting that the parish of Castleton that John is referring to in this work should not be confused with the parish of Castleton as we know it today.

The civil parish of Castleton takes its name from Sherborne Old Castle, former residence of the bishops of Sherborne, currently managed by English Heritage. Castleton was originally a borough founded in the 13th Century, with its own court and market, rights and liberties. The original parish was only 28 hectares, and included the Old Castle, the Church of St Mary Magdalene and the houses immediately around the Castle. Many of these houses were demolished when the railway was opened in 1860 and Waterloo Terrace in Oborne Road was constructed to house those made homeless.

In 1897 the civil parish boundaries were redrawn. The Church and the houses became part of Sherborne, whilst Castleton Parish, including the Old Castle, was extended as to almost encircle the town of Sherborne. The civil parish now covers 1,976 hectares and has 53 dwellings with 111 electors. There are 19 distinct settlements within the parish, and the largest of these consists of 7 properties. The old St Cuthbert’s Chancel on the London Road, once Oborne’s parish church, is within Castleton’s boundary.

Michael Fraser

Thank you to Michael Hanson for providing the following documents pertaining to Castleton residents who came and went between censuses, 1834-1901. Two new sources for the history of Castleton have recently become available.

The first is ‘Voices that be gone’: Reconstructing the Victorian Parish of Castleton, Dorset 1834-1901, by Michael Hanson. This has just been published by the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society, and is available from the Sherborne Museum, the SDFHS Centre Bookshop (PO Box 4502, Sherborne DT9 6YL), the Sherborne Tourist Information Shop, or via, ISBN 1-905639-23-6 or 978-1-905639-23-6. The book is fully illustrated with maps and photographs, 84pp., price £10.50.

This study covers residents of Castleton parish listed in a survey of the Manor of Sherborne made for Earl Digby in 1834 and/or in the 1841-1901 censuses. It examines 537 residents by factors such as birthplace, period of residence and socio-occupational status, and identifies where heads of households lived. The arrival of the railway in Sherborne meant realigning the road through Castleton to Sherborne Old Castle which displaced about 60 residents – some of whom are named – and halved the number of houses. Castleton mirrored Victorian society generally in showing an increasingly mobile population over the period. Members of the Brittan families, owners and editor of The Sherborne Mercury, were significant figures in the early political and social development of the Colony of Canterbury, New Zealand. An appendix lists each resident with data on their births, occupations, marriages and deaths.

The second source, Residents of Castleton, Dorset not censused there 1834-1901 (December 2010) is currently available only on this website. Michael identifies a further 164 residents who came and went (or died) between successive Castleton censuses at some time in the years 1834-1901. A brief Summary compares them with those in the SDFHS study: click on the sections below.

A contact address for queries, photographs, corrections or additions to either document is given in the Introduction, page 2.