|In Blackmore Vale and close to the
Somerset border, Stalbridge is a growing town which has held
market rights since the time of Edward I and has the finest market cross
in Dorset. It dates from the late 15th century, is 30 feet high and made
from the local yellow Ham stone and has interesting relief carving. The
cross head, with a carving of the crucifixion, is a modern copy of a
head that fell to the ground in 1950.
Stalbridge church is a large building mostly of the 19th-century, although it does retain 14th- and 15th-century work and a medieval roof with carved angels. The Rectory, near the cross, dates from 1699. Only the 18th-century gate piers remain of what was Stalbridge Park, the great house built in 1638 and the home of Robert Boyle, the 17th-century scientist. It was. alas, burned down in 1820.
Stalbridge, much developed by new housing in recent years, has an independent character about it and it has, too, such amenities as a spacious hall and sports clubs.
the south of the town is Thornhill House. Sir James Thornhill (the
painter of many great house interiors and of the dome of St Paul's
Cathedral) made sufficient money to buy back his ancestral estate in
1725 and here built this fine house which he probably designed himself
in the Palladian manner. From here his daughter married his pupil
Hogarth. In the grounds is a tall obelisk that Thornhill erected in 1727
to honor the accession of George II - from whom he no doubt expected