Where the little river Ewerne meets the Stour, beneath the great hill called Hod, is Stourpaine. The main Shaftesbury road divides two communities - a modern council estate on one side, and cob and thatched cottages around a church with battlements atop its 500 year old tower on the other.

Stourpaine boasts one unusual piece of architecture - Hod Cottage, with an ancient upstairs window from which generations of village maidens have gossiped with passersby for 400 years. But its main attraction is the hill, which has traces of occupations by Ancient Britons and Romans. Tools, pottery, fragments of harness and coins bearing the names of several Emperors, have been found on the hilltop.

The church of Holy Trinity has a greensand 15th century tower, while the body of the church dates from 1858, with some of the original windows reset. There are pretty, late 19th century tiles behind the altar. In the tower is a kneeling figure of a vicar, c. 1670, erected by the man himself just before his death.

The Australian born artist, Henry Lamb, painted his much acclaimed giant painting Advanced Dressing Station on the Struma at Stourpaine in 1920. Locals were the models.

The Great Dorset Steam Fair, now held at Tarrant Hinton, had its beginnings at Stourpaine. In 1969 Michael Oliver, John Pocock, Ted Hine, Charles Romanes and Ingram Spencer decided to build a Rick at Stourpaine Bushes and thrash 5 acres of wheat by steam for the fun of it. So many people pulled up in their cars to watch that they decided to book some small advertisements and thrash a further 5 acres, a fortnight later. 28,000 people turned up and the Great Dorset Steam Fair had been born.

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