KIMMERIDGE Historical Description

Kimmeridge, a village, a parish, and a vale in Dorsetshire. The village stands half a mile NE of Kimmeridge Bay, and 4 miles SW by W of Corfe Castle station on the L. & S.W.R.

It has a post office under Wareham; money order office, Corfe Castle; telegraph office, Creech. Acreage, 995; population, 147.

The property belonged to Ceme Abbey, was given by Henry VIII. to the Uvedales, passed to the Clavells, and belongs now to the Mansel family.

The bay is a semicircular inlet, about three-fourths of a mile wide, bounded by cliffs of the Kimmeridge shale formation, and contains beds of bituminous coal called Kimmeridge coal.

The living is a donative in the diocese of Salisbury; value, £100 with residence, in the gift of the owner of Smedmore. The church is partly Norman.

The vale opens from the sea, between Encombe Point on the E, and Gad Cliff on the W, a distance of 4½ miles; is girt inland by receding hills, in the form of an amphitheatre, composed of oolite stratum. This is a combination of clay and bitumen, burns with a bright flame, emitting considerable heat and a disagreeable odour, and was used at Wareham for producing by distillation a volatile mineral oil, asphalt, grease, and a manure. The clay also yields alum, and the Clavells had works for extracting the alum till 1745, and made a pier for conducting the commerce connected with their works.

Bracelets made of the Kimmeridge coal were found in an ancient burial-place at Dorchester in 1839, and are believed, from the monumental evidences of the burial-place, to have belonged to the Romano-British period. Small disks of the same substance, popularly called Kimmeridge coal money, are found in various parts, about a foot below the surface of the soil, and these are regarded by the common people as coins or amulets of the ancient inhabitants, but by antiquaries as refuse pieces from Roman fabrication of beads, bracelets) and other ornaments.

Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868

KIMMERIDGE, a parish, in the union of Wareham and Purbeck, hundred of Hasilor, Wareham division of Dorset, 4¼ miles (S. W. by W.) from Corfe-Castle; containing 154 inhabitants.

The parish is bounded on the south by Botteridge pool, or Kimmeridge bay, the entrance to which, between two high cliffs, is defended by a battery of two pieces of cannon. On the shore are copperas stones in abundance; and in the cliffs of this and the neighbouring parishes a sort of coal is found, of a bituminous nature, which burns with a strong light and emits a sulphureous smell; it is a hard substance, but, on exposure to the air, splits into pieces like slate.

The living is a donative, in the patronage of the Mansel family.

Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.

KIMMERIDGE, a village, in the Isle of Purbeck, 3½ miles S.W. from Corfe Castle.

Living a donative. The cliffs in this neighbourhood abound with a bituminous coal, which burns with a strong light, but emits so sulphureous a smell, that it is only used for heating ovens by the poor.

The parish comprises about 1500 acres, all belonging to Col. Mansel, who is lord of the manor, and had in 1841, 154 inhabitants.

Post Office, at Catherine Best's. Letters arrive at 7 a.m and are despatched at 6 p.m.

Cox Rev. Chas. M.A. Mansel Col. John, Smedmore house Smith Lieut. Edward, Coast Guard Station Best Catherine, grocery dealer Best Mary, beer retailer Mayo George, farmer

Hunt & Co.'s Directory of Dorsetshire, Hampshire, & Wiltshire 1851

©Antony Lambert