The best of Dorset in words and pictures

Hinton Martell

Ken Ayres takes his camera to the only village in Dorset – and probably the entire country – with its own fountain

The ancient church of St John the Evangelist burnt down in 1868 and was re-built in 1870 by G R Crickmay, for whom Thomas Hardy was working at the time. It is known that this church is one of the projects on which he worked.

The font in St John’s dates from the 13th century and is made of Purbeck marble. The stained glass windows were presented by Sir Richard George Glyn of nearby Gaunts House when the church was re-built, in memory of his ancestor Sir Richard Plumtree Glyn.

The presence of a fountain in Hinton Martell is due to the determination of Henry Charles Burt, the owner of Witchampton Paper Mill, to have running water piped to the village. The supply was gravity-fed and the fountain acted as an overflow. It has been restored several times, most recently in 2009.

This brick cottage with a clay-tiled roof dates back to the early 1800s, but it has been sympathetically restored and extended. It is in the centre of the village almost opposite the fountain, hence its name – Fountain Cottage.

The centuries meet as old and new come together in this barn conversion. The peace of the village belies the derivation of its name: it comes from Eudo Martel, whose surname means ‘hammer’ – probably because it was his favourite weapon in battle.

The National School, provided by the National Society for promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church, was built in 1847. It is now the village hall, the venue for many arts events and a thriving youth club.

Hinton Cottage is one of the oldest cottages in the village. It dates from the 18th century and is notable for its timber frame.

The tranquillity of the village inspired Henry Bickersteth, Rector here from 1852 to 1855, to write his famous hymn ‘Peace, Perfect Peace’

Dorset Directory