Puddletown was once proud to be a Piddle village but, in recent years, has changed to Puddle - but in the words of a resident

'Tis like this youngun. We do be a crossroads and the townies in Dorchester - when giving directions - didn't like having to say, turn left at Piddletown.'

 Under any name, it is a remaining example of Dorset over 300 years ago.

It once had the status of a town and was the 'Weatherbury' of Thomas Hardy's Wessex novels. Thatch and later style roofs form irregular patterns on the skyline. The church, more than any other in the county, has been left unchanged over the centuries except for lighting.

'Nowhere in the county will you come into closer communion with the homely spirit of Dorset past.'

said Treves of the church, and today you can sit in a pew and take your mind back 300 years to visuallse the farm-men in smocks sitting on the benches with their wives in homespun. The tumbler shaped Norman font to which they brought their young for christening, is still in use. Above, the gallery built in 1635 from which the choir led the singing and the porch are unchanged since the days when the ladies curtsied and the men touched their forelocks as the squire and his lady arrived to take their place in the manorial pew.

For a long time, Puddletown was dominated by the Martin family who had two manorial houses close by - at Athelhampton and Waterston. Their graves fill the south chapel.

In May and June the rhododendrons of Puddletown Forest are a pleasure to behold.

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