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Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society

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Discover Dorset Series

The Society’s Family History Centre in Yeovil is still closed to members and other visitors, but we are very pleased to have reopened our bookshop for online sales and orders by post, only – please do not come to the Centre to buy books.



(Anne Horsfall) Woodland in Dorset is a diversity of mixed plantations, conifers, beech belts, deciduous woods and copses.  Ancient oak and hazel woods are scarce, but have long and interesting histories associated with Royal Forests, monastic estates, medieval deer parks…..


Blackmore Vale

(Hilary Towsend) The Blackmore Vale is Dorset at its most intimate and down-to-earth. The author brings a wonderfully personal touch to what is the first guide to the Blackmore Vale to be published. 87 pages.  Soft covers.  



(David McFetrich & Jo Parsons)  Dorset’s bridges form a rich architectural legacy that is all too often overlooked. Those pictured and described in the book span 800 years, from the Middle Ages to the present, and range from the simple…..


Castles & Forts

(Colin Pomeroy)  Dorset’s surviving castles and forts are the visible record of a past that stretches back for more than a thousand years. They belong to three main periods: those dating to the Middle Ages, the coastal castles built during…..


Cranborne Chase

(Desmond Hawkins)  Cranborne Chase is Dorset’s best kept secret.  Not least of its attractions is that most people are uncertain of where or what it is.  Much of the area is high rolling downland that sprawls untidily across Dorset’s eastern…..


Dress & Textiles

(Rachel Worth)  Dorset’s smocks and unmistakable ‘knob’ buttons are the most famous examples of a whole range of once flourishing textile industries. The villages and towns involved in the various textiles and their accessories: wool, linen, silk, ribbons, lace, stockings,…..



(Jonathan Holt)  Dorset’s follies are amongst its greatest architectural delights.  Some, like the Horton Tower and Hardy’s Monument, are famous landmarks. Throughout the county there are grottoes, obelisks, temples, shell gardens, fake forts, arches, pavilions and even a sham chapel……



(Richard Edmonds)  Few places in the British Isles are as rich in fossils as Dorset. Thanks to its remarkable geology and the instability of much of the coast, new and often important discoveries continue to be made, often by amateur…..


Georgians, The

(Jo Draper)  Two centuries of agricultural change and the growth of the towns have transformed Dorset’s Georgian landscape. Using contemporary illustrations and concentrating on those who lived in the eighteenth century Dorset, the author has superbly captured the character of…..


Industrial Past, The

(Peter Stanier)  One of the delights of a rural county like Dorset is its mix of traditional small-scale industries, many based on natural resources. The book details location of these industries, broken down by categories: raw materials, manufacturing, power and…..


Isle of Purbeck

(Paul Hyland)   Despite its popularity, few corners of England have as much to offer as the Isle of Purbeck – or remain so unspoilt. The author vividly describes the character of the area; its past dominated by the marble…..



(Jeremy Harte) Dorset’s legends are its traditional stories told and retold over many centuries. They are the authentic voice of its past, its oral history, containing everything that real history doesn’t.  Time has embellished some; in others the confusing details…..



(Peter Stanier) Dorset’s rivers and streams have powered over 400 mills. Today, only a handful of mill wheels still turn, and only one commercial watermill remains open. The book deals at least a mention of nearly sixty of these mills,…..


Place Names

(A D Mills)  Dorset is blessed with a rich variety of place-names, many of them unique to the county or made up of rare Celtic words that are now obsolete. Some are Anglo-Saxon, some Norman French or Latin.  Others provide…..



(Stuart Morris)  The Island and Royal Manor of Portland is unique in Great Britain, and even today retains an atmosphere and identity that are all its own. The author provides a portrait of the island that both brings its past…..



(Penny Copland-Griffiths)  The potteries of Dorset are amongst the most enduring of all the crafts associated with the county.  The clay beds of south and east Dorset have long provided potters with a livelihood. The author traces the history of…..