Events in 2023

These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology and are in the following formats: .docx. Request an accessible format.

The Freke Hall

Shroton Village Hall

A village hall should be the hub of the life of a village and in Shroton we are proud that this is the case. However, like most villages, our hall has had many existences!

Prior to 1899 Shroton parishioners had access to a Parish Room on the Fairfield. The women held Mothers Union meetings here, but the men could read newspapers, use the small library and play games, such as whist and dominoes, on winter evenings.

In 1899 a new Parish Room was built on part of the site of the school playground, next to Courtney Cottage. This was made from green corrugated iron and cost £140, a sum raised by subscriptions and many fund-raising events. The ground was leased from the Pitt Rivers Estate. The land and path were conveyed to the Foundation Managers of Shroton School (supervised by the Church) but the deeds were subsequently lost by solicitors in 1958 and sadly no copy was ever found.

The Shroton School building was built in 1851, replacing an older building ( Shroton school was founded in 1636 by Dame Elizabeth Freke who gave a house (now Courtney Cottage) and an acre of land to be used as a village school). If you look at the building, you will see that it has retained its school character, something that we are very proud of and we still have several residents who attended it.


By 1876 the school had an average of 121 students, and it was decided to build a gallery to accommodate the infants at the southern end of the school. Sky lights were built in the roof. This gallery was only removed in 1909 after numbers of students dropped to about 84. The school was used for village activities, whist drives, Christmas parties, political meetings, lectures, dancing evenings and also wartime troop billeting.

The school bell was located on the roof and rang every morning to call children to school from Farrington, Stepleton and Ranston Hill.

In 1951 the school was re-opened by Princess Marie Louise (Queen Victoria’s granddaughter)after major rejuvenation works to the building. This included indoor toilets under the new flat roof extension at the front. The village celebrated by holding a pageant on the Fairfield with a re-enactment of Cromwell and the Clubmen on Hambledon hill and other festivities.

The building was one large room divided by a movable partition and each side had a large black potbellied coke stove with metal fence around it. Rev Dr Taylor (the Vicar) worked and fought hard to keep the school open throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

During the 1970s school meals arrived by bus from Sturminster Newton (a village several miles from Shroton) and were eaten in the school canteen. In these pre-health and safety days, the playground was tarmac and had a set of metal bars to play on!

Sadly, the school closed in 1978 because there were simply not enough children in the village to warrant it being kept open.

The village raised the money to buy the building to use as a Village Hall. The old, corrugated building was demolished, and the land and playground were sold for private development. The hall named the Elizabeth Freke Hall, became a charity and was run by the Shroton Village Hall Committee which included representatives from every village group: the Church, Cricket Club, WI, Youth Club, Tuesday Club, Brownies, Methodist Chapel and Fourways Group.

By 2015 the Hall became officially known as Shroton Village Hall after a period of more rejuvenation whereby a glass folding door was placed in the back wall, the floor was replaced, the kitchen was modernised, and a sunken patio added. The school bell was placed inside as a feature and to remind visitors of its previous life.

The present village hall represents the community. It is where the village comes together to celebrate, socialise and fund raise. The Village Hall committee take responsibility for running the building and many of the events such as The Shroton Panto, Apple Pressing Day, Christmas Dinner, Curry Night, Shroton Fair and much more.


For information on how to book the hall, events and committee contacts, click on the relevant boxes below.

The Village Hall documents to download

These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology and are in the following formats: .docx. .pdf. Request an accessible format.


Church Shroton Church was substantially rebuilt on Norman footings in 1610. It was re-modelled by the Victorians and reordered in 2011. It has a large memorial to Sir Thomas Freke with interesting heraldic motifs that are said to be the origin of the American ‘Stars and Stripes’ flag. The stained-glass windows are of a high quality for a village church.

Sunday Worship

1st Sunday of the month: Holy Communion at 0930

2nd Sunday of the month: Holy Communion at 0930

3rd Sunday of the month: Family Breakfast service at 0900. Please join us for a cooked breakfast before a short informal church service.

4th Sunday of the month: Holy Communion BCP at 0800

5th Sunday of the month: Holy Communion at 1000 in one of the five churches in the benefice

All welcome – For further info please visit www.iwernevalleybenefice.org.uk

Vicar – Rev David John 01747811623 or david.john6@btopenworld.com

Church Warden – Alex Smith 07884 002902 or mrsacsmith@gmail.com

Shroton Lines

Shroton HillThe Shroton Lines is a monthly publication for the village and those who have a link  to Shroton. It is self-funded and contains news, events and articles of local interest. The editor can be contacted on shrotonlines@gmail.com



The history of habitation in Shroton/Iwerne Courtney can be traced back hundreds of years.

Shroton (Iwerne Courtney), Farrington and Ranston

We know that from the mass of information and finds amassed during Professor Roger Mercer’s archaeological excavations in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Neolithic people arrived in Britain from Northern and western France and the Low Countries sometime after c.4200 BC and gradually developed a highly successful Society to the point where c. 3700 BC the first enclosure of some 19 hectares was built on the central summit of Hambledon Hill. The enclosure system was expanded and elaborated over the following four centuries to become one of the largest in Europe before its eventual destruction. Sometime after 600 BC the northern spur of the hill was fortified with one of the most dramatic Iron Age hillfort enclosures in southern Britain. Professor Mercer and his team used the village school as their base during their stay.

The Romans settled in the valley. In 1894 General Pitt- Rivers excavated a site at Park Farm and revealed a Roman Villa. All artefacts were removed from the site and subsequently lost or destroyed. There is no visual evidence left of the site today
In 1084 Farrington and Iwerne Courtney were originally in the Feredone (Farrington) hundred together with Child Okeford, Hanford, Gold Hill and Sutton Waldron. In 1086 smaller hundreds were amalgamated and this one joined the Redlane Hundred.
In the 1200’s “Ywern Manor” was passed into the hands of the Courtneys under the Norman Kings. Robert Courtney died at his manor of “Ywern” on 7 Aug 1242.

In 1261 Henry III granted to Master John Courtney, and his heirs forever, a market on Wednesdays and 2 yearly Fairs.  One of the Fairs, held on 25 and 26 September, lasted for centuries. Shroton Fair was considered to be one of the best in the West country; famous for its horse, sheep and cheese sales as well as for annual hiring of labour (servants, thatchers, grooms etc). Both Thomas Hardy and William Barnes wrote about visiting Shroton Fair. Unfortunately, the rise in popularity of The Dorset Steam Fair (on the same dates) resulted in the demise of Shroton Fair in the 1970’s.

In 1541 King Henry VIII gave the Manor of Iwerne Courtney to his Queen, Katherine, for life.

By 1548 the Enclosure of the common fields was complete. Many villagers were given (to rent) too small a piece of land to survive so they surrendered it to the Lord of the Manor and earned money to pay their rent by working for the Lord or left the Parish to live in the towns.

Robert Freke was granted the Manor in the 6th year of Queen Elizabeth I. His son Sir Thomas rebuilt the Church in 1610 and Elizabeth his wife founded a ‘school for little children’ in 1640 and left financial means to pay a Schoolmaster, by using the rent of a field called Ladymead (Farrington).  John Freke (Robert’s brother) lived and ‘farmed’ Farrington Manor. It is possible that the Tithe Barn may have been built at this time, although it has been officially dated early 1700’s

The school building was re built in 1851 but unfortunately the school closed in 1978. However, after much fund raising, the village purchased the building and it is now the Village Hall.

On 4 Aug 1645 Oliver Cromwell ordered his troops to charge 4,000 Dorset Club men who had gathered on Hambledon Hill. Many men were killed but 200 were taken prisoner and held in Shroton Church.

In 1714 George Pitt inherited the Manor (from the Frekes) but the family eventually made Tollard Royal their main seat and Iwerne Courtney manor house, located behind the Church, it was sold to Peter William Baker in 1789, Baker then pulled down the house using the stone for the Ranston Park wall and the Palladian stone bridge over the 2 new lakes.

Ranston or Randolf’s Town was owned by Elias Falaise in 1272 and then granted to William le Brune. In 1544 it was sold together with 1600 acres to Robert Ryves of Blandford. In 1758 it was remodelled for Thomas Ryves and today’s Georgian West facing front was created.

Peter William Baker purchased Ranston House in 1781, and it has remained in his family line since that date (Selina Gibson Fleming 1925-2011 was born Baker) Peter William Baker enclosed the area of Parkland as it now stands, in the 19th century wings were added. In 1961 the house was substantially demolished and rebuilt retaining the Western Façade. the architect was Louis Osmond.

In August 1756, 6 battalions of infantry, 6 squadrons and 2 troops of light horse with 12 pieces of infantry, commanded by Major General Wolfe, were camped close to Blandford, but it was called Shroton Camp. Map evidence shows that this main camp was actually on Pimperne Down but a subsidiary camp was sited at the base of Hambledon, now named Shroton Lines . The Hill’s steep slopes were used to prepare the troops for the war against the French, in Canada. (Quebec).

Most people were either employed to work on the land of the 4 farms- Manor, Church, Hellum  and Ranston or domestic work. The village was self-sufficient- it had 3 main shops – Harvey’s General Stores and Bakery, the Post Office, the Bootmaker and the Blacksmith.

Shroton had its own Brewery in the 1800’s and there were three village pubs- White Hart Inn (now Cricketer’s), Crown and the King William Beer House.  The village Poor House was located at the Cross and in 1801 it had 13 inmates.

The village had connections with Smuggling.  Isaac Gulliver’s grt grt grt grandson and family (Fryer) lived here for most of the 20th century, and Roger Rideout was born in Farrington in 1736 before he moved to Fiddleford Mill.

John Andrews, Yeoman of Iwerne Courtney (and later, his son Edwin) was co founder of a local Bank, ‘Fryer, Andrews, Woolfry and co’ in 1790. It had branches at Poole, Wimborne, Blandford and Sturminster. It was acquired by the National Provincial Bank of England in 1840 but it is now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group!

The biggest change to Shroton came in the 1918 village sale, which gave individuals the chance to own their property, (those that could afford it) which had been held by the Pitt- Rivers family (Lord of the Manor).

Visually, Shroton has not changed much except that the village stream which ran alongside the Main Street down to the Mill Pond (opposite the Church) was diverted in the 1960’s- the pond and old stream bed were filled in In the 1950s to 1970’s there was a lot of council house building and the Church sold the Rectory and Glebe field, this prompted the mix of housing found there today. In 2012 the Parish Council took ownership of the Glebe from NDDC.

(This is a brief historical recount. It was written by an amateur armchair historian. All facts gathered from a variety of sources including the internet)


The War memorial

A detailed account of the memorial which can be found near the crossroads.

The Shroton War Memorial

Useful things to know about Shroton


We have a village oil scheme which is run by one of the residents with the same order price for any order between 500 and 2300 litres. This scheme also allows resident to order water softener tablets or blocks. For more information email  Mike Scott: shrotonoilscheme@gmail.com

The reading box

Our telephone box has been changed to a book repository. Residents or visitors are encouraged to borrow/add to the library. The box is near the crossroads.


Anyone wishing to make enquiries about Shroton allotments (which are found off Bessels Lane), please contact the Parish Clerk: iwernecourtney@dorset-aptc.gov.

The Pie’d Piper

This is a village-based email run by one of our residents. It is used to inform about forthcoming events, to allow residents to make announcements or sell items and is crucial to an informed life in the community! Email: thepiedpiperofshroton@gmail.com

Meggy Moos

This is a gem of a place! Situated on Bessel’s Lane, this is a family run farm whose products are award-winning on a county and national level. They run a pay-as-you-go shop where you can buy milk, butter, cheeses and local produce as well as ice creams and hot drinks. They offer a glass bottle scheme which means that you can fill bottles from milk from their wonderful cows or buy ready filled bottles. This is definitely worth a visit!

The Defibrilator

This is situated by the village hall.

The Shroton Cricket Club

The cricket club in Shroton must have one of the most tranquil and rustic settings of any club in the country. Set against the backdrop of Hambledon Hill, the club has a thriving junior section and fields teams in the local men’s competitions and leagues. For more details: https://shroton.play-cricket.com/home

The Cricketers

No village community should be without a warm and thriving pub and this is what you will find at The Cricketers. For more information about menus, opening times and events: https://www.thecricketersshroton.co.uk/