Pictures of England


Historic Towns & Picturesque Villages

Coltishall Hall


in the county of Norfolk

Pictures of Upwey

in the county of Dorset

About Upwey

Thomas Hardy is said to have chosen Upwey Mill as a setting for The Trumpet Major, he is also known to have drawn inspiration from the glorious hilly scenery rising behind the pretty village.

Today visitors still flock to see the spring which lies in a beautiful wooded valley surrounded by high downland, just as they have done since tourists first started to come to Weymouth towards the end of the 18th century. The Wishing Well as it is known was particularly popular between the two World Wars when a colourful character named Surguran Shorey operated a horse-drawn bus service to the site. He used his horse and cart for logs in the winter, and for tourists in summer, when his price for the trip to the well included a cream tea! An illustrious visitor was George III, he came in the days when Sir Christopher Wren was member for Parliament for Upwey and Weymouth. It is believed that the gold cup he brought with him to drink the waters from, later became the original Ascot Gold Cup presented at the famous race meeting.

Surrounding the mill is a cluster of old buildings, these include a little school building of 1840, with a school-house of the same period further along the lane leading to the church. There is an attractive 19th century stone granary and a pretty 17th century stone cottage. The actual mill is a large Portland stone building dating from around 1802.

The village church dedicated to St.Lawrence is an attractive building with a north aisle, windows and a porch dating from the 15th century. The rest of the church appears to be from when the south aisle was added in 1838. There is some lovely woodwork to be seen including a Medieval porch door, a 17th century Pulpit and good panelling towards the eastern end of the north aisle. Carved figures depicting saints may be from the 17th century, the font is 15th century and the monuments are mostly from the 18th and 19th century.

Interestingly, the church contains a plaque to the daughter of Warren Lisle, who was a successful maritime Customs and Excise commander. Both Lisle and his wife lie buried here in relative obscurity with the only mention of the family being to Ruth, their daughter. In his day Lisle was responsible for recovering £250,000 worth of seizures, by today's monetary standard this sum would run close to 30 million pounds.

A modern day attraction in Upwey is Upwey Potters, a group of ceramic artists who run workshops and sell their wares from the Old School Village Hall. There are a couple of pleasant inns and plenty of holiday accommodation.

Upwey lies in excellent walking country taking in both coast, meadows and hills. The area is rich in tumuli and other ancient remains, and there are numerous rights of way. A feature of the region is the monument dedicated to Hardy, not the famous novelist, but Nelson's flag-captain.

Places to visit close to Upwey include Portland Harbour, Chesil Bank, Weymouth, the West Dorset Heritage coastal path provides a rich variety of wild flowers and plants, spectacular views and a wealth of wildlife.

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