Dorset village: Canford Magna
Joël Lacey discovers a village which, despite its name, is a small gem
Published in February ’17
According to the famously hard-to-please Sir Frederick Treves: ‘On the outskirts of Wimborne is Canford Magna, once a manor that was really great. The village is now a model village, built according to contract pattern. The houses, all alike, are stamped with the same effusive coat of arms, as are the sheets of a quire of much emblazoned note paper.
‘The manor in times past was held by the Earls of Salisbury, the Earls of Lancaster, by John of Gaunt, by the Montacutes and other famous families. It ended, as many other great estates have ended, by “coming into the market”. The ancient house was pulled down and the present modern building [the early-Victorian, Grade-I Listed building forming the nucleus of Canford School] in its stead.’
Ironically, despite Sir Frederick’s views to the contrary, one of the great joys of visiting Canford Magna is the variation that is evident in the range of domestic buildings.
Whilst a boon to the residents, one of the less welcome parts of the village (for those driving through it) is the traffic-calming pinch points, which dissuade those travelling from Bournemouth to Wimborne from using the village.
Although there is no Canford Parva to match the Canford Magna (Great Canford) in Latin, there is a Little Canford which sits to the east of where the River Stour marks the parish boundary and indeed the boundary between Poole and Ferndown. The area between the two Canfords is largely taken up by the grounds of Canford School, which has been on the site since 1923.