The almost forgotten village of Chaldon Herring or East Chaldon lies between Winfrith and coastal Ringstead. The name Chaldon is derived from Chavedon, or Chalvedon, which has been said to mean "The hill where calves were pastured" or "the retreat or hiding place down". Herring is derived from the Norman family Harang, who became Lords of the Manor after the conquest. The Harang arms include three Herrings.

The Domesday book recorded two distinct Manors which correspond to the present Chaldon Herring, or East Chaldon, and West Chaldon, once known as Chaldon Boys, taking its name from the de Bosco family who were tenants. Some of the land was later given to the Abbey of Bindon and Grange Farm was in the possession of the Abbey until the dissolution of the Monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII, when it passed to Sir Thomas Poynings of East Lulworth. The present manor house was built by Richard Gostelowe in 1728; it was purchased by the Weld family in 1790.

Chaldon Boys had a church dedicated to St Nicholas, but its closeness to Chaldon Herring prompted the Bishop of Sarum to unite the two parishes in 1446 as they could be adequately served by one Curate. By 1460 only the chancel of the church at Chaldon Boys remained. There were no burials there after 1466.

The exact origin of St Nicholas at Chaldon Herring is unknown. The Norman church was rebuilt in the 15th century, but has a rare Saxon font which was discovered in a local farmyard and brought to the church in this century. Churchman and craftsman Canon Gildea made the beautiful pulpit and lectern in the church with his own hands.

Chaldon Herring village has attracted literary and artistic residents. Theodore Powys, who lived for many years in the village, used it under the name "Folly Down" in his novel "Mr. Weston's Good Wine". Llewellyn Powys lived and wrote in a cottage on the downs; his memorial stone can be seen on the downs near the masts. Sylvia Townsend Warner lived here, and she and the poet Valentine Ackland are buried in St Nicholas churchyard. The sculptress Elizabeth Muntz also lived here and worked at "The Studio" now known as The Well House. David Garnett set his novel "The Sailor's Return" in the village.

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