“The cradle of our liberties was the village…Centuries before universal sufferage was ever dreamt of, we were governing ourselves…the local community was the only real authority; the parish was the unit of government.”
Sir Arthur Bryant.
About the village
Child Okeford is situated at the foot of the ancient Hambledon Hill, a Neolithic ceremonial burial site with an Iron Age hill fort. Child Okeford has long been a Dorset village, dating back to the Domesday Book and beyond. Even today there are still several local families whose ancestry can be traced back over hundreds of years. The village character is quintessential of English rural life; original buildings are still inhabited and stand proudly among the newer developments and ancient hedgerows, lanes and Oak trees surround the Parish in all their charm.
In 1561 William Kethe was appointed vicar. He remained in the village until his death in 1594. Kethe is best known as the author of the well-known hymn, The Old Hundredth, better known by its first line “All People That on Earth Do Dwell”, which he adapted from Psalm 100.
Hambledon Hill was also the site of a battle in the English Civil War when Cromwell and 1000 men took on 2000 Dorsetshire Clubmen. A century later General James Wolfe used the hill’s steeper sides to prepare his troops; they later surprised the French at Quebec by scaling the Plains of Abraham under cover of darkness.
During the 19th and 20th Centuries The Somerset and Dorset Railway ran to the west of the village, through neighbouring Shillingstone, until the line closed in 1966 under the Beeching cuts. The village was also home, until his death in 1989, to the puppeteer and children’s entertainer Harry Corbett, creator of the TV glove puppet characters Sooty and Sweep.
Today there are a variety of shops, clubs, organisations and businesses in the village along with numerous public services. For a small rural settlement, Child Okeford is bustling with activity and trade. Although predominantly populated by retired people, increasing numbers of young families are setting up home in the village. With market towns and larger metropolises not far way, Child Okeford is the perfect place to live if you want a rural lifestyle while keeping yourself connected to the wider world.