The village of Tyneham, lies not too far from Wareham in Dorset was once a bustling place. In history it can be traced back to the Iron Age, is mentioned in the appropriately named, (in this case) Domesday Book, and has at least 30 ancient barrows. There is a small school room which is frozen in time, my grandmother was friends with a girl who was taught there. It closed in 1932 due to a lack of pupils.
St Mary’s Church has traces back to the 13th century but dates mostly from the 15th, and is now a grade 2 listed building. Stained glass commemorates the Bond family who have long connections to the village.
Perhaps the most thought provoking buildings are the regular small homes, that once provided shelter to it’s population. Floors and roofs now gone and open to the elements. This must have been a quiet, sheltered village nestled in the valley. Only a short walk from the coast and Worbarrow Bay.
Due to it’s scenic nature the village featured in the Bill Douglas’ film “Comrades” about the Tolpuddle Martyrs. During the filming the villages original 1929 K1 Mark 236 telephone kiosk was destroyed but the film company sourced a replacement.
Just before Christmas 1943, the village, 7,500 acres of heathland around it, were requisitioned by the MOD (Ministry Of Defence) for use as firing range for training troops and tank shelling practice. 225 people were displaced, the last person leaving a notice on the church door:
“Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly.”
They never returned.