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Saturday 2 September 2023

Kenny Miller - A tribute

Jim and Ken

In our fast-paced modern world, where people change jobs, homes, and locations frequently, the concept of a "local" person seems like a relic from the past. But Ken Miller embodied the essence of being a true local in the picturesque village of Osmington in Dorset.

Ken's story began in 1927; he was born at the Picnic Inn in Osmington Mills, a place with a unique history of its own, which was owned by his grandfather. He moved to Osmington village when he was just three years old, and astonishingly, he called it home for a remarkable 93 years. (The Picnic Inn was later renamed the Smugglers Inn around 1973.)

Ken was a character with a warm personality, a mischievous humour, and a twinkle in his eye. His adventures with his lifelong friend Jim Legg were the stuff of legend, often shared in private gatherings and the infamous Tuesday club meetings*.

Village stalwarts Ken, Jim, Tim, Mavis, Mary, Peter, Sue

One particularly memorable tale from their childhood involved finding an unexploded incendiary device near the White Horse, a place frequented by German bombers during World War II. Ken and Jim attempted to cut the bomb in half, but their plans were foiled by an ARP warden who caught them in the act. It's a story that highlights the innocence and daring of their youth. I won't mention the incident with the petrol syphoning! 

Ken's roots in Osmington ran deep. His paternal grandfather owned the Picnic Inn in Osmington Mills. His father, Harold Miller, worked at the Picnic Inn before marrying Ken's mother, Hilda, and moving to Osmington village in 1930. Hilda Shergold, Ken's mother, was the daughter of local farmer Mr Shergold, who had a significant impact on the village's agricultural history.

Carter Mr Miller outside Beehive cottage

Ken's connection to Osmington continued with his ownership of two farms in the village including Netherton farm. The Miller family's ties to Osmington Mills were strong, with several relatives who fought in World War I and played essential roles in the village's life.

Ken and his wife, Beryl, had a great influence on village life together in Osmington. They initially lived in Hitt's Cottage, running a shop that sold vegetables and kids' sweets like bullseyes and sherbets. Later, they moved to Thalma Cottage next door and eventually built a bungalow on Lower Church Lane in the 1970s, designed by an architect to Beryl's specifications.

Ken's mother, Hilda, made her mark on Osmington as well, serving as the President of the Women's Institute (WI) for many years. She played the organ at the Methodist Church for 57 years, highlighting the strong sense of community in the village during her time.

Ken's reminiscences include regret about not buying the Methodist church building when it went up for sale for £5. He suggested to his Mother that the building should be given to the church to run a Sunday school, but after being gifted to the Church it was sold by them, depriving the village of potential community benefits. This decision weighed on him as a missed opportunity and as his family were Methodists and attached to the building.

The Chapel, Osmington

As Osmington evolved over the past century, Ken's family played a vital role in the village's development. Ken and his neighbour, Tim Maggs, as landowners, have helped preserve the unique character of the village and its surrounding countryside, preventing it from succumbing to unnecessary development.

Photo courtesy of Marco Demontis

When asked what he would have done if he hadn't been a farmer and lived in Osmington all his life, Ken's eyes lit up with the prospect of being a fisherman. He cherished the sea and fondly remembered his adventures as a child, going fishing with his uncle Percy Miller.

Osmington Mills annual regatta

" I'd have been a fisherman. I loved the sea. I used to do a lot of fishing. I went to sea when I was three years old with my uncle Percy Miller. He used to bring me back up the cliff sat in a basket of lobsters. Those were good old days. We would go up fishing all up the coast, up to White Nothe, up round Durdle door. That was about the limit he went to, Redcliff point, Ringstead bay. He would catch lobsters, crabs and at this time of year he would go prawn fishing, especially at Osmington mills ledge and around Ringstead". 

Photo courtesy and copyright of Lucy Wyman

In the end, Ken Miller's story is a testament to the enduring spirit of local life in Osmington, where connections to the land, community, and shared memories define the essence of being a true local. Through the stories of people like Ken, we can appreciate the rich history and traditions that shape villages like Osmington for generations to come.

Top of Form

* The Tuesday club was founded by Ken Miller and his very good friend Chilly Charles at the Smugglers Inn during the ownership of Bill Bishop (circa 1980's). There were usually 10 -15 hardcore members and they would go to a different pub every week, the Bridge, the Springhead, or the Black bear at Wool, Red Lion. The only prerequisite being the pubs stayed open all day :) 

Monday 26 September 2022

Osmington Village Heritage tour

 Welcome to Osmington History's village tour

Osmington Map

We will walk you through the village, taking in the local sights and sounds of village life. This tour is approximately 2.5 miles long and should take you about an hour and a half  at a reasonable speed. There are some hills, the steepest of which is Roman road, and there is some uneven ground here. In total it's 100m elevation.

You can download the route here: Garmin route

The nearest refreshments are at Craig's farm dairy on the main road and they have a cafĂ©, shop and toilets. More information: Farm Shop & Tea Rooms | Craig's Farm Dairy (

History tour start

1. St Osmund's church, Church lane, Osmington

(What 3 words location porridge.radiates.trumped) 

St Osmund's church was extensively rebuilt by the Victorians to accommodate a growing congregation in 1846. The south section of the church where the entrance is now located is the newest part, whilst the chancel arch and the font are the oldest dating to circa 1200. The tower is 15th Century.

There is a detailed history of the church at St. Osmund’s Church - Osmington Online

The British history of the church describes the monuments and floor slabs most of which are within the church. Burials within the church were reserved for the wealthy residents, so these names will give you an idea of who were the influential people of their era within the village.

"Monuments: In chancel—on E. wall, (1) of Dorothy Cookson, 1821, white tablet on grey ground signed Osmond, Sarum; 

(2) of the Rev. John Fisher, M.A., vicar, 1832, white tablet on grey ground signed Osmond, Sarum; on N. wall, 

(3) of Elizabeth Fonblanque, 1844, white tablet with moulded and reeded surround and pediment, erected by her sister Harriet Philipps, signed Raggett, Weymouth; 

(4) standing wall-monument with Tuscan side columns standing on pedestals and carrying enriched entablature above which is a shield-of-arms of Warham within a roundel and scroll-work; between the columns is a panel with scrolled surround in a moulded frame; inscriptions on panel and frieze have neither name nor date; early 17th-century; on S. wall, 

(5) of William Hollingworth Philipps, 1839, white marble tablet with shield-of-arms within a pediment on grey ground, signed Adron, New Rd., London; 

(6) of Harriett, widow of W. H. Philipps' 1845, stone tablet in Gothic frame with leaf and flower decoration, signed Osmond, Sarum. In N. aisle, 

(7) of Thomas Howel, 1850, white marble tablet on black ground; 

(8) of Harriet Howel, no date, mid 19th-century; 

(9) of Ann, widow of Elliot Grasett of Barbadoes, 1840, white marble scroll and urn on black ground by Reeves and Son, Bath. In S. aisle, 

(10) of Thomas Gilbert, 1790, Mary his wife, 1790, and two daughters, white marble tablet with cornice carrying an urn against black ground with shield-of-arms and reeded corbel below; 

(11) of Sarah Grasett, 1837, white marble tablet on grey ground by G. Lewis, Cheltenham; 

(12) of Marianne Girardot, 1821, white marble tablet on grey ground. In churchyard—S.E. of chancel,

(13) of Henry Baily, 1774, headstone (Plate 21) carved with figure rising from the grave; S. of chancel, 

(14) of Katherine, wife of John Fooks, 1714, headstone; 

(15) of William Hellier, 1711, and Mary his daughter, 1713, headstone; S. of S. aisle, 

(16) of Robert Godsall, 1678, table-tomb; W. of tower, 

(17) of Caleb Angel, 1774, headstone (Plate 21) carved with cherubs holding a crown over a mourning figure, similar in style to (13).

 Floor-slabs: In nave, 

(1) inscribed MG 1821. In N. aisle, 

(2) of William Stockesley, 1717, and William his son; 

(3) of Nicholas Hitt, 1715/6. In porch, (4) of Alice Welch, 1831. Plate: includes a cup of 1658 inscribed 1683 (Plate 23), a stand-paten of 1709 and a porringer with lid of 1732, inscribed 1731. Scratch-dial: on buttress at S.W. of tower. Miscellanea: loose in chancel, stone fragment carved with chevron ornament, 12th-century".

Photo Copyright M Demontis 

The Godsall monument (listed 16 above) is a British scheduled monument. Robert Godsall was a wealthy Yeoman who lived in Osmington but also had links to Corfe Castle. His burial monument is located in the churchyard one metre south of the south aisle of the church.

2. Wilfred Burden - WWI war grave 

                                                            Photo Copyright M Demontis 

Wilf was from the village and died following fighting in the Battle of Arras in 1916.

He had a full military funeral and is the only WW1 soldier to be buried in the churchyard. His grave has a Commonwealth war grave headstone next to it. You can see this in the front section of the churchyard. It is next to the left hand boundary of the churchyard about half way down.(The ground is a bit uneven here, so watch your step).

Wilf's parent's received a message of sympathy from the King and Queen. 

You can read more about Wilf's story by Clicking here

Other monuments you might like to see in the churchyard:

Talbot Hughes & Alice Ward - famous artist Click here

Photo Copyright M. Demontis

Mary Kempe - local intellectual and historian and direct descendant of the Serrell-Wood and Kempe families who owned the village Click here

The Foot family - former owners of the White house (formerly the Elms) which was reported to be built for royalty. Click here

Inside the church by the font is a section dedicated to WW1 and WW2 soldiers, sailors and airmen from the village. A tapestry on the wall here lists all those who fought (many of whom survived) and is useful for family history research.

Other churches in the area

There were previously churches in Ringsted (latterly Glebe cottage) and Poxwell and there was a  Methodist chapel in chapel lane, Osmington.  There is the chapel of St Catherine of the Sea at Holworth - well worth a visit. See  St Catherine-by-the-Sea, Holworth - Wikipedia

St Osmund's Churchyard

3. Tudor ruin

                                                             Photo Copyright M Demontis 

When you walk up the path to the church on your right hand side is an impressive ruin. One of the walls  recently collapsed and had to be rectified. OS maps of Osmington have long  recorded this ruin as a manor house. It was the Warham families tudor house and formed the northern boundary to the churchyard.

Picture copyright Osmington History

One of the stone mullioned windows is at first floor height; steps drop down to a moulded stone doorway. William Warham was Archbishop of Canterbury at the time of Henry VII, he crowned the King's successor Henry VIII in 1509.

                                                        Photo Copyright M Demontis 

Warham did not approve of the policies of Henry VIII and was a revered follower of his predecessor Saint Thomas Beckett. When Henry VIII petitioned the Pope for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, she chose William Warham and Bishop John Fisher to represent her.

The stone Warham family monument of a tablet with rustic lettering depicts a parable on Man's life:

Man is a glass
Life is as water that's
weakly walled about.
Sin brings in death.
Death breaks the glass.
So runs the water out.

On the edge of the stone is a further message 'Here is not the man who in life with every man had law and strife'.

For more photos from the churchyard see Jack Akin's article on Osmington Churchyard

As you leave the churchyard turn left and walk down Church lane for approximately 100 metres.


4. Buttress Cottage

OS Grid ref SY724830.

Photo copyright M. Demontis

Located on your left. This is a grade II listed detached cottage built in the 18th Century although it has been modernised in the 20th Century, with new windows . It has a thatched roof and rubblestone walls and is gabled at both ends. 

There used to be an open drain/stream running down in front of Buttress cottage all the way down to where the telegraph pole is. That used to be open and the stream would trickle down there until one day the Vicar's wife fell in it, so it was covered over!

Buttress cottage was purchased and renovated by Brian Thomas back in the 1950s.

5. Stonelane cottage

OS Grid ref SY724830

Photo copyright M. Demontis

Located on your right hand side, with wisteria on the front of the cottage. Attached cottage, early 18th Century or earlier, with 20th Century refenestration.

Rubblestone walls. Thatch roof, half hipped at right hand end. Brick stack at ridge centre. Two storeys. 3 windows, mainly 2 light C20 metal casements with diagonal leaded lights. Wood cills and lintels. Doorway is now in wall at right hand end, plank-and-martin door, studded into attached lobby.

The house was condemned as unfit for human habitation in the early 1930s and was bought by the painter Talbot Hughes so that he could save it. The house next door (Wintersweet) had been purchased and the thatch roof replaced by slate. Talbot is reported to have not wanted this to happen to Stonelane, so he bought it, renovated it and his house keeper/companion Alice Ward used it for letting out after his death in 1942.

Talbot built a large art studio off the back of the cottage with a big window to give him good lighting for his work. In his hay-day his paintings and costumes were exhibited in Harrods and the Tate.

Rear of Stonelane cottage showing the large window

It is reported that just prior to D-Day President Eisenhower spent an evening at Stonelane cottage as a guest of Alice Ward in the company of Winston Churchill. Churchill had been renting a property nearby at Upton house, and they were due to meet at the Pennsylvania Castle on Portland to sign their agreement with General De Gaulle.

This was not the first secret meeting the two had; local people in Scotland recall Churchill and Eisenhower discussing the allied invasion of Normandy whilst having tea at Knockinaam lodge in Galloway.

Mrs Mabbs (from Mabbs outfitters in Dorchester fame) lived at Stonelane cottage after Alice Ward sold it. Mrs Mabbs was a flower arranger at the local church.

Photo Copyright M Demontis

Treetops cottage & Wintersweet cottage

OS Grid: SY724832

Located next door to Stonelane cottage on the right hand side. Two semi detached cottages. 18th Century and 19th Century, with alterations. Rubble- stone walls. Thatch roof, and slate roof (Wintersweet). Brick stacks at gable ends of thatch. 2 storeys. 2 windows and 2 windows. Treetop has 2 light wood casements with glazing-bars, cambered brick arches to ground floor. 20th Century single pane window, left ground. Front door at centre, panelled and glazed, 20th Century. Wintersweet has 3 and 2 light wood casements, wood cills. Plank door with wood frame, right, 18th Century.

6. Letter Box Cottage (the Post office) & Shrubbery cottage

OS Grid: SY724830

Photo Copyright M. Demontis

Located on your right as you walk down Church lane. Former Post Office with red letter box set into the wall, which is still in use,  and attached cottage called shrubbery. Later 18th Century, like many of the cottages in the centre of the village, this was built from the rubble of the former Manor house and from the quarry at the top of Roman road. Coursed rubblestone walls with dressed stone quoins. Thatch roof with gable end at south end. 19th Century brick stacks at left hand gable and ridge right of centre. Letterbox cottage has a square bay window with a pentice thatched roof over. Shrubbery has a thatch canopy over. 

The last postmaster was Colstan Jenkins MBE who retired in approximately 1996 when he was well into his 80s. He received the MBE in the New Year's honours in 1999 for his services to the community in Osmington, Dorset.

The Post office used to sell groceries and stamps and was run in the 1930s- 40s by Mullins and taken over by the Brown's in the 1950s.

Shrubbery cottage is the former home of Walt Harris, whom in the 1940s would walk over the hills to Broadwey from Osmington  delivering the local paper (Dorset Echo) accompanied by his little dog..

7. The Beehive

OS Grid: SY724831

Located straight ahead of you on the left hand side of the road is this well-known detached cottage. 18th Century, much restored in the 1930's by Edward Kempe. Rubblestone walls and dressed stone quoins. Thatch roof, half hipped to south and gabled to east. 

The Beehive painted with it's distinctive blue windows and gate used to be two cottages, Beehive was the front where the kitchen now is and Homer Cottage was at the back. Named after the Homer family who farmed in the village in the 19th Century.
Edward Challice Kempe owned quite a few of the cottages in the village but he gradually sold them off in the 1930s, as agriculture was going through a depression and mechanisation was coming in and labouring farm workers and horses were replaced by tractors and machinery.

The village was gradually becoming gentrified, with more of the cottages being tidied up and knocked together to make larger properties. Edward Kempe gave the Beehive to his wife as a wedding present and they used it periodically with their growing family before retiring there. Their daughter Mary Kempe lived at the Beehive for 47 years and recently bequeathed it to the church as a home for retired clergy. Her wish that it should always be the home of a family and not a vacant holiday let seems secured.

Photo courtesy the Mary Kempe Collection showing Mr T Miller and son

Photo Copyright M. Demontis

Hear Mary talk about her home in this video from 2019 

Video Copyright Osmington History

Read more about Mary Kempe and her ancestry here

8. Wessex Cottage

OS Grid: SY724830

Located next to the Beehive on the right hand side. Detached cottage, formerly two. Mid 18th Century, much restored in the 1930's. Rubble stone walls, much repointed and buttressed at right corner. Thatch roof gabled at both ends. C20 brick stacks on ridge left of centre and on right hand gable. 

Old Postcard courtesy of the Mary Kempe collection

Wessex cottage was formerly known as numbers 1 & 2 Albion cottages but was modernised and knocked through to become one large cottage, now known as Wessex cottage. The front door of number 1 Albion cottage was bricked up and replaced with a window. It is the traditional chocolate box cottage that often features on postcards and articles about the village.

When it was Albion cottages, it was inhabited by families linked to local farming. One such family were the Northover's who lived there at the turn of the 20th Century.

Dorcas Northover nee Mears was born in Osmington in 1864 and died and was buried in St Osmund's churchyard in 1915. Her husband  Frederick died in his 30's after they had only been married for about six years. Dorcus raised their boys alone and worked from Albion cottages as a launderess for the village. 
Photo courtesy of the Mary Kempe collection 
lady in doorway believed to be Dorcus Northover

Dorcus and Frederick had four sons, but only Arthur and William lived to adulthood and sadly both were killed within weeks of each other in 1916 on the western front. They are commemorated in the church.
Photo Copyright M. Demontis

Number two Albion cottages (the other half of Wessex cottage) was the former home of the village basket maker Jack Tizzard.
He worked at the cottage and had a little lean-to workshop there that was attached to Jasmine cottage.

Jack was very well known in the village. He had been blinded in a shooting accident at the age of 14 whilst working as a bird-scarer. After several weeks in hospital he was sent to the Blind Asylum in Bristol, where he was educated, taught braille and the craft of basket-making. He was particularly good at the craft and came second in an International championship for basket making.

Jack Tizzard

He kept his willow round the back by Nutmeg cottage and upstairs he stored all his finished work and he had a big tank he soaked the willow in. He would sit on the floor on a little platform, working away holding the basket between his legs. He would chat away and exchange the news of the world with other villagers who passed by.  He could recognise everyone in the village by the sound of their footsteps. 
In his day, Jack played a leading part in forming and running a band, in great request for dances and socials in the village and nearby festivities. He took down music in braille, memorised each part and conducted from memory.

9, Jasmine Cottage

OS Grid: SY725830

If you look to your right located next door to Wessex cottage on the right, with a distinctive yellow front door. Detached cottage, formerly two. 17th Century with mid 18th Century refenestration. Rubble stone walls, with some refilling and dressed stone quoins. Thatch roof with gable ends. Small pitched wood canopy over.

Photo Copyright  M. Demontis

Painting by John Warner courtesy of the Mary Kempe collection

Jasmine cottage was both the local Post office for a time and also the local shop. The Swyre family owned it and ran it as a Post office but then the PO was moved to Letter box cottage. Back in the 1950s Mrs Sewell ran the village shop here and it was the paper shop, gift shop and sold lots of odds and ends such as cigarettes, needles and thread. People went to the Post office at letterbox cottage for groceries.


Walk down the hill between the Beehive and Wessex cottage into lower church lane, passing several more modern houses on the right hand side. You will pass a row of thatched cottages on the right hand side as the road narrows. The first is Rosedale, which Kit and Percy Legg used to run as a B&B. It was particularly popular with the Manager's of Pontins holiday camp who used to stay here, while running the Pontin's site down at Shortlake lane (off the main road). Watch the video further down the page to hear Percy Legg's story from WW2.

Photo Copyright M. Demontis

Continue walking down the road, the next turn on your is signposted to the Phoenix.

11. The Phoenix

OS Grid: SY724832

Continue walking down Lower Church Lane and the next turn you see is for the Phoenix, where there are several cottages tucked in on the right hand side. 

The Phoenix was formerly an Inn but is believed to have previously burnt down following a fire in the thatch. It is adjoined by Shell and Vine cottages. Historical records mention the Phoenix as being a place where the village monks used to sell their mead.

Detached cottage. Mid 18th Century, with 20th Century internal alterations. Rubblestone and dressed stone walls. Thatch roof, gabled at both ends. Plank door at centre, has ornamental hinges. Porch, on stone piers and gabled, 20th Century origin.

Photo Copyright M Demontis

Photo Copyright L. Wyman

The Phoenix was the first home in the village for stalwart Jim Legg who lived in the village for over 87 years. He recalled,

"I originally lived at the Phoenix with my parents and two other siblings. I am the youngest of nine children and the others had moved on by then. My Mother lived there until the end of her life, it was a tithe cottage but they stayed living there after they retired from working at White Horse farm. 
When you go into the Phoenix there are two houses on the left-hand side. Neighbours of ours, very nice people and good friends of ours the Watts used to live in the first one and he bought the other one. so my parents moved out of the one on the right hand side into the one Mr Watts owned. 

Me and Phil Watts both went in the army and did National service. After the war he came back, married and built the bungalow opposite Halcyon (called Teanbys). People used to think that we were brothers as we were very much alike". Jim Legg

Jim Legg and Phil Watts
Photo courtesy the Legg family

Hear Jim Legg and his wife Mavis talk about their war time memories of living in the village

Video Copyright Osmington History

Continue walking further down the lane and you will see a long thatched cottage on the right hand side.

10 & 12. The Long house (Charity Farmhouse) & The forge

OS Grid: SY723832

The Long House
Photo Copyright M.Demontis

The Long House is the oldest house in the village.  A farmhouse, of longhouse form, originally with byre. Late 16th Century, with 17th Century extension to north.  Random rubblestone walls and dressed stone quoins. Corrugated iron roof over thatch, hipped at left hand and gabled at right hand. Inner room to north west, a 17th Century addition, or rebuilding. Roof: raised cruck trusses with collars, pegged yokes, 2 sets of through-purlins and ridge, in the byre and house. 

The house has hollow and protruding straight-chamfered ceiling-beams.  Attached forge, at right angles to north east, former barn, 18th Century. Coursed rubblestone walls and plinth-moulding. Hipped Roman-tile roof. 2 leaf plank doors at centre.

Charity farm was purchased in 1665 by the Corporation of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, with a bequest from Sir Samuel Mico, who intended the rent to be devoted to an annual sermon and to the relief of the poor.

The buildings in this attractive group were substantially renovated in the latter part of the 20th Century and turned into a dwellings Charity cottage, the forge barn and Charity Farm house. In the 1950s-60s there was still a blacksmith based at the forge and the long cottage was used for cattle sheds.  The thatched cottage at the back was were the forge was located.

The Forge is now a dwelling.
Photo Copyright M. Demontis

Charity Farm 
Photo Copyright M. Demontis

If you carry on walking down the hill you will see several of the old farms that used to employ the village agricultural workers, including Charity farm and Netherton farm (both on the right hand side). On the left at the bottom of the road opposite Netherton farm is the Osmington village pump and trough.

The Village pump, which was restored in the 1990s by the Osmington Society
Photo Copyright M. Demontis

View of the White Horse from the field
Photo Copyright M. Demontis

If you continue on to the very end of the lane on the left hand side is a footpath gate leading into a field. Here you can get a very nice view (and photo) of the White Horse. If you walk across these fields it eventually leads you to the village of Sutton Poyntz and the Springhead pub. However, we are not walking this way today!

Turning back, head back up Lower Church lane from where you walked down (there is a bit of a hill), walk up to the turning by Wessex cottage and the old Post Office and turn left. You are now in Village street.
It is a relatively short stretch of road and straight ahead of you is an unmade track. This is called Old Roman road. As the track starts you will see on your right hand side a bungalow called Grey walls. Look at the wall here;  the pillar and metal fence date back to the old grand Manor house that was once built here and which feature in John Constables painting of the village. 
Photo Copyright M Demontis

The house was demolished in the late 1850's when the new Osmington House was built further up the Roman road. The stone from the old house was re-used to build walls and dwellings within the village, and many of the stone cottages feature a bit of this old house. 

An old sketch of the former Manor house courtesy of the Mary Kempe collection


Walk up the old Roman road for approximately 300 metres and on the right hand side you will see the turn to Osmington House. This bridleway has been in use for generations and was the main access in by horse or foot to the village from Wareham. It leads up to the neighbouring hamlet of Poxwell. In the 1850's there was a dispute over tolls on the bridleway and the route was cut off at Poxwell Manor. This resulted in the Serrell-Wood family who owned Osmington building the main road in 1856 to re-connect the village.

Photo Copyright M. Demontis

Photo Copyright M. Demontis

Osmington House in 1960 
Courtesy of the Mary Kempe collection

13. Osmington House

OS Grid: SY726831

You will not be able to view the front of the house from Old Roman road, as there is a long private driveway that leads to the house. It  was built by Robert Serrell-Wood in the 1850s for his family. Dressed in Portland stone walls, with rusticated and part vermioulated stone quoins. Ashlar plat band between the storeys. Slate roofs, gabled and with wood cornices. Stone stacks on side walls, and at rear of main block.

Front door is right of centre on east wall. Stone porch with coupled Roman Doric piers and columns, entablature over with balustrade.

The house was home to the Serrell-Wood family for several generations before being sold off and separated into three separate dwellings. 

Turn back down Old Roman road bridleway and head toward Village street again turning left at the end. This is the location wehre famous painter John Constable painted a scene of the village. 

Osmington provided the setting for a six-week honeymoon for John Constable and his new bride Maria Bicknellin October 1816. They were married by Constable's great friend Rev. John Fisher who happened to be the Vicar of Osmington at the time. 

Photo Copyright M Demontis

You can view the John Constable painting here:


When you reach the bottom of the lane and turn left this road is called Chapel lane, named after the old Chapel that is located here. On the left hand side is an impressive building called the Old Stables, which was the location of the stables of the former Manor house. Dr John Walmsley Warrick & his wife Betty and their children bought this house in 1955 and lived there until his death in 2017. 

Their son Peter recalls, next door to the Old Stables, where Greywalls is now used to be the ruins of the old Manor house. I used to play amongst the ruins as a child. In the late 1950s Mr Kindle arrived from the Middle East and bought the property.

The Old Stables were also used as inspiration for a painting by Talbot Hughes called the Stirrup cup; Hughes owned the property opposite called Greensleaves, which he had built in the late 1930's by a London architect. Greensleaves is located on the right hand side of Chapel lane.

The Stirrup Cup by Talbot Hughes

The Old Stables
Photo Copyright M Demontis

Photo Copyright M Demontis

Next to the Old Stables this is Gardener's cottage the former home of Sir Walter Roberts, he owned a lot of land in the road in the 19th Century. 

Old postcard showing Chapel lane when only Gardener's cottage, the Chapel and Rose cottage were built.
Photo courtesy of the Mary Kempe collection

Gardener's cottage
Photo Copyright M Demontis

Walk ahead towards the main road and turn right on the pavement by the patch of grass to view the village bus shelter and East farm. 


Do not cross the road as it is very busy and the traffic approaches very quickly. 
The bus shelter was built in memory of Lieutenant David Parry-Jones who was killed in action in France in August 1944. It is now officially a war memorial. You can read the full story about the Parry-Jones here

The traditional red phone box next to the bus shelter is home to one of the village defibulators.

Thatched bus shelter
Photo Copyright M Demontis

15. Memorial Bus shelter

OS Grid: SY725828

A war memorial in the form of a thatched bus shelter was erected probably shortly after the Second World War, on the south side of the main road in the village of Osmington. It was built by Harry and Ethel Parry-Jones in memory of their son, David, a lieutenant in the 1st Battalion of The Rifle Brigade who died at the age of 20 on 3 August 1944 during the Battle of Normandy. On the left hand side of the thatched bus shelter is East farm.

14. East Farm

OS Grid: SY725828

Charlie Scriven at East Farm

Photo courtesy of the Mary Kempe Collection

Farmhouse at right angles to road. Dated 1697 over front door (probably referring to north extension). Rubblestone and dressed stone walls. Thatch roof, hipped at left hand and gabled at right hand. Brick stacks, on ridge towards hip apex, and at right hand gable. . Interior: originally a 3 room plan with end chimneys and a central unheated room, enlarged to the north.

Back in the 1930s East farm was home to the extended Osborne family. Charlie Scriven lived and worked at East farm with Fred Osborne until the farm was deemed derelict and unfit for human habitation. Conditions here were extremely harsh and the workers were paid in food and lodgings only. The farm was very damp and water used to run down the interior of the walls.

The house was subsequently completely renovated.

Turn back down Chapel lane and walk towards the Old Chapel, which is on the left hand side.

Photo courtesy of the Mary Kempe collection

The Old Chapel
Photo Copyright M Demontis


Before you reach the Old Chapel you will see a little pathway leading to the left of the building. This is known as Monk's way. Local legend has it that the monks who used to bath at the natural spring near to the old Sunray pub would walk along monks way from the Church.

Mon ks way
Photo Copyright M Demontis

Take Monk's way and walk along a piece of Osmington's ancient history. The high stone walls allow a glimpse of painter Talbot Hughe's home Greensleaves before leading you out directly in front of St Osmund's church on Church lane. Turn left and on the right hand side next to the church is a large pink building, the Old Vicarage. Monk's way can get a little overgrown in summer, but is usually passable.


16. The Old Vicarage

OS Grid: SY724829

Distinctive pink building with high stone walls.

Former Vicarage now private dwelling. Early 19th Century. Stone walls stuccoed and painted, with plat band between ground and first floor. Slate roofs, throughout, with hipped and gabled ends. Rendered brick stacks at ridge, right of centre and at right hand gable. Front door on south end wall with plain pilasters and moulded cornice. 

Photo Copyright M Demontis

1960s view of the Old Vicarage wall
Photo courtesy Mrs Franks

Historical records report that the land between the garden and the church was used many years ago for burying the non conformists  and those who had not been baptised.

List of Vicars of Osmington which is located inside St Osmund's church

Find out about former vicar Rev Cecil Franks and who lived here in the 1950s.

Video Copyright Osmington History


17. The White House

OS Grid: SY724828

The White House

Head up toward the main road and just before you turn right on the pavement there are gates to the White house, which was formerly known as the Elms. 

A large white detached house in garden, c.1840. Stone walls stuccoed and painted. Slate roof with stone gable copings, rendered and painted stacks at gable ends.

The Elms has an interesting history with several historic owners including Vice Admiral Bartosik, the first non-native Britain to be promoted to flag rank in the Royal Navy. a more detailed history of the property is available to read here. 

Continue along the pavement turning right on to the pavement. Be very careful as the pavment is narrow and cars can approach quickly. On the left hand side of the road you will see the old school house. This was used by Miss Flint to teach the children of the village.
She was very fond of literature but not Maths, so the children had a currciulum to match. 

The school dates from 1835 and is now converted to a private dwelling it has an attractive Tudor style frontage.

Miss Flint at her retirement

The Old School
Photos courtesy of the Mary Kempe collection

As you continue walking up the road on the right hand side you will see Osmington Cottage  with three similar looking houses built in the garden. Osmington Cottage was originally built by the Rev Wood for the infirm spinster sister of his wife. To assist her mobility a lift was installed. The house was subsequently owned by Dr and Mrs Mulliner. 

Osmington Cottage
Photo Copyright M Demontis

Turn around and head down the hill for a few metres, take the footpath style to your left which leads into a field. Walk along the field boundary for approximately 150 metres and you will reach a metal gate in the right hand side of the hedge. This leads to the back of St Osmunds church and brings your tour of the village to a close.

Take some time to look at the stones where so many of our village residents have been laid to rest. A few metres from the gate on the left hand side is the resting place of historian Mary Kempe and about 10 metres to the left by the little shed is that of painter Talbot Hughes. 

If you walt down the grass towards the left hand side of the church you will reach the Warham house ruins and the path taking you to the exit of the churchyard.

Photo Copyright M Demontis

With grateful thanks

Osmington History would like to thank all the local residents and their families for allowing us access to their memories and photos to help us build the collective history of the village.

We would especially like to thank three students from Budmouth College who spent their Year 10 work experience week with us in 2022 and who took such wonderful photos of the village, and helped research, write and plan the village tour website page. 
You were brilliant Thank you! Marco Demontis, Jack Akin and Reece Lister

Thank you Jack, Reece & Marco

Copyright 2022
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