DORCHESTER, a parish in the hundred of Dorchester, and county of Oxford, 8 miles S.E. of Oxford, and 4 N.W. of Wallingford Road station. It is situated on the rivers Thame and Thames, across which is a handsome stone bridge, and contains the hamlets of Overy and Burcott. It was once a market town. By the Britons it was called Dwrceastre. The Romans built a wall round it, and named it Durocina, and it afterwards received the name of Dorcesceastre from the Saxons, by whom it was made the seat of a bishopric under St. Birinus; but in 1086 the see was removed to Lincoln. Athelstan held a wittenagemote here in 958. It still retains many evidences of its former importance, but is now only an inconsiderable village, having rapidly declined after the removal of the see to Lincoln. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Oxford, value £100, in the patronage of the Rev. H. W. Burrows. The church, dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, is a very spacious structure, greatly dilapidated, part of it only being used for divine service. It was originally the cathedral of the see of Dorchester. Its architecture partakes of the Norman style, with additions of a later date. It has stone stalls, and magnificent windows; also a handsome embattled tower with six bells. It contains numerous monuments and effigies of knights and bishops, and one of a lady, and four brasses of ancient date. Here is also the celebrated Jesse window, representing the genealogy of our Saviour; a curious lead font, supposed to be Saxon; a stone cross; some Saxon paintings, and other remains of antiquity. The charities amount to £40 per annum. The Baptists, Primitive Methodists, and Roman Catholics, have chapels. There are endowed and National schools for both sexes. At a place in the neighbourhood of the town called Dyke Hill there are remains of a Roman camp. Coins of Cunobeline, Carausius, and of the Lower Empire, have been dug up, as also a Roman altar, and a vast number of other relics of early date. Dorchester gives the title of baron to the Carleton family. Lord Abingdon is lord of the manor. A pleasure fair is held on Easter Tuesday.

The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003

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places/dorchester/start.txt · Last modified: 2011/07/28 15:29 (external edit)