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Mappowder Church - - 367095.jpg
Parish church of St Peter and St Paul
Mappowder is located in Dorset
Mappowder shown within Dorset
OS grid referenceST735061
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
FireDorset and Wiltshire
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
List of places
50°51′13″N 2°22′42″W / 50.8535°N 2.3784°W / 50.8535; -2.3784Coordinates: 50°51′13″N 2°22′42″W / 50.8535°N 2.3784°W / 50.8535; -2.3784

Mappowder is a village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in southern England. It lies within the North Dorset administrative district, approximately 9 miles (14 km) south-east of the town of Sherborne. The parish covers about 1,900 acres (770 ha)[1] at an altitude of 75 to 160 metres (246 to 525 ft).[2] It is sited on Corallian limestone soil[3] at the southern edge of the Blackmore Vale, close to the northern scarp face of the Dorset Downs. In the 2011 census the parish had 71 dwellings,[4] 69 households and a population of 166.[5]

The village name comes from mapuldor, Old English for 'maple tree'.[6] In 1086 in the Domesday Book Mappowder was recorded as Mapledre and appears in four entries; it was in Buckland Newton Hundred, had 33.3 households and a total taxable value of 8.3 geld units.[7][8]

The church, dedicated to St Peter & St Paul, is Perpendicular and was built in the late 15th and 16th centuries. However, it includes features remaining from an earlier 12th-century church. The chancel was expanded in 1868 by the Wingfield Digby family of Sherborne Castle, who owned the village in Victorian times.

Mappowder was once the home of the Coker family, who built a large mansion here in 1654,[9] although this was pulled down in the mid-eighteenth century.[10] The building which occupies the site now, Mappowder Court, is mostly of mid-eighteenth-century origin, with some earlier remnants.[11] The stone gateposts at the entrance remain from the original Coker manor; these are topped by carved human heads which in 1905 Sir Frederick Treves described as "Blackamore's" these being "those indefinite natives of the tropics having been used for the crest of the Coker family."[9] In 1559 Henry Coker (c.1528–1596) was member of parliament for the constituency of Shaftesbury.[12] Mappowder Court is listed by English Heritage as Grade II*,[11] with the gateposts and courtyard walls as Grade II.[13]

Novelist and short story writer Theodore Francis Powys lived in Mappowder for the last 13 years of his life; he died and was buried here in 1953.


  1. ^ "'Mappowder', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central (London, 1970), pp. 145-148". British History Online. University of London. 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Pathfinder Series, sheet 1299 (ST60/70) Cerne Abbas & Hazelbury Bryan, published 1986, ISBN 0-319-21299-8
  3. ^ Wightman, Ralph (1983). Portrait of Dorset (4 ed.). Robert Hale Ltd. p. 17. ISBN 0-7090-0844-9.
  4. ^ "Area: Mappowder (Parish). Dwellings, Household Spaces and Accommodation Type, 2011 (KS401EW)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Neighbourhood Statistics. Area: Mappowder (Parish). Key figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  6. ^ Gant, p73
  7. ^ "Place: Mappowder". Open Domesday. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Dorset H–R". The Domesday Book Online. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  9. ^ a b Treves, Sir F., Highways and Byways in Dorset, Macmillan, 1905, p331
  10. ^ Gant, p74
  11. ^ a b "Mappowder Court, Mappowder". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  12. ^ "COKER, Henry (c.1528-95), of Mappowder, Dorset". The History of Parliament. British Political, Social and Local History. Crown copyright and The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Gate Piers Approximately 10 Metres East of Mappowder Court Together with Walls and Piers to North an, Mappowder". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 30 January 2015.


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