History of Verwood Continued

The history of Verwood is something that draws people to the area and something that the residents like to keep part of their town. This quiet town has an interesting history from its origin and link with Cranborne, to the present day where it is the largest town in Dorset to not have an upper school.

Verwood, located in east Dorset and bordering Hampshire, was first recorded in 1288 named ‘Beau Bois’ meaning beautiful wood. In 1329 this name changed to ‘Fairwod’ (Fair Wood) and from there the South Western dialect developed the name through many years and different iterations to what we know it as today, Verwood.

Verwood was home to pottery where pottery finished production in 1952. The manual process of pottery without electrification was undertaken at the Crossroads, now known as the Verwood Heathland Heritage Centre. Clay would be dug within the village and combined with the different coloured clay from Holwell, Sherborne and Corfe Mullen. Clay from the village itself was yellow; Holwell, blue and Corfe Mullen, blue/grey.  Once the clay was gathered, they were mixed and sculpted into the final products, some still kept at the heritage centre.

Unfortunately the arrival of the railway line in 1866, connecting Verwood to Salisbury and the coast initiated the downfall of pottery in Verwood. The railway allowed for more imports and exports for Verwood, however cheaper household ware would find its way to Verwood, replacing the locally made pottery. As well as taking passengers, the railway line was used to take high quality Verwood sand to south Wales to be used in the brick and glass making industries. However, as cars became more popular and widely used, the railway line closed in 1964, yet remains of the old railway bridge still stand after 60 years at the Albion Inn.

Throughout this time Verwood had been a village, the only other notable event being the twinning with French commune Champtoceaux in 1985. In 1987 the population came to 9,856, which allowed the Parish Council to pass the necessary resolution giving Verwood town status, with the Parish Council becoming a Town Council. Move to 1992, Verwood also twinned with German town Liederbach, the final step to repair relations post war between Germany, France and Britain.

Today Verwood has grown to a diverse population of 15,170, a mix of young families and those who have retired. Verwood now has three first schools and a middle school, a true supermarket in Morisons and finally the Hub, the centre of activities in Verwood holding a gym and cinema / theatre. Those who doubt that Verwood is still a “Fair Wood” need only to climb to the top of Stephen’s Castle on the Northern common. From that tranquil viewpoint, scarcely a roof is to be seen of all the myriad buildings nestling beneath a canopy of delightfully varied foliage.