The Maypole, Sturminster MarshallTurn off from the nave-like line of trees which forms the avenue at Badbury Rings and cross the magnificent medieval eight-arched bridge spanning the Stour, and enter Sturminster Marshall. A big village in the Stour valley, with two triangular greens in the middle, one with the maypole, (restored in 1986), the other with the village stocks.

The village consists of a mixture of modern houses and cob or brick thatched cottages mostly from the 18th century. Around a corner into the village, the traveler may be surprised by a giant, colorful old woman's shoe, and a mousetrap large enough to catch a deer, in the garden of a bungalow. These are glass fiber creations of the owner of Ramblers Roost, next to a line of cottages destroyed by fire in the 1970s, and lovingly rebuilt in their original external style opposite the church.

A much earlier fire had more tragic consequences. John Truelove, a wealthy London surgeon who retired to the Stourside village, took to riotous living and lost his fortune. In 1724, anticipating a visit from the Sheriff's officer, he filled his cottage with furze and, before an amazed crowd, set light to the house and appearing at his bedroom window, shot himself and fell back into the flames.

The church of St. Mary in this proud village stands on Norman foundations but has a mock medieval tower built in 1805 after the original medieval tower collapsed. Although the aisle and nave walls are medieval most of the windows date from 1859 when the church suffered from a severe restoration, at which time the 12th century piers were encased in stone and made square.

A major attraction in the village is White Mill run by the National Trust. This corn mill was rebuilt in 1776 on a Domesday site and then extensively repaired in 1994 and contains much of the rare original 18th-century timber machinery (now too fragile to be operative).

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