Welcome to Dorset Allsorts

We'll be posting a variety of facts and photos of whatever takes our fancy as we wander around Dorset. They may be of churches, buildings, visitor attractions or natural scenes – in fact there will be all sorts! We hope they will give you a glimpse of some of the sights this beautiful county has to offer.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Tyneham Ghost Village

Another Isle of Purbeck gem, Tyneham village is one of Dorset's truly unique features; a village evacuated in 1943 to allow the armed forces much needed firing ranges as the Allies prepared for the invasion of Europe and the D-Day landings.  However, the evacuation became permanent, leaving an entire parish devoid of people.

There were reportedly 252 people in 102 properties in the village and surrounding parish who left their homes on that day in 1943.

Now a ghost village, Tyneham is a place of great historic curiosity and is a fascinating place to wander round. However, it's still located within the artillery ranges and access is limited to holidays and most weekends.

Many of the ruined cottage walls bear plaques giving information and pictures of their former inhabitants.

The cottages were owned by the Bond family who lived at Tyneham House further up the valley, and most of the villagers would have been employed by the Bonds, either working the land or in the 'big house'.

Although life here was in reality probably quite harsh, to us it seems an almost idyllic spot nestling in a green valley and close to the sea and Warbarrow Bay.  It must have been a great place for children to grow up!

St Mary's Church houses a fascinating exhibition showing the history of the village.  By the church wall is the village tap from which all the villagers got their daily water.

Attached to the church door is a poignant message left by the parishioners when they evacuated the village.  It reads:

'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.'

The school building was opened in 1860 and is laid out inside as it would have looked in its pre-war days.  Apparently it closed its doors to pupils in 1932, presumably as village numbers declined.

The rectory was probably the finest house in the village, although is not much to look at now!  If you look at the plaque below, you can see how grand it looked in its heyday.


  1. Jillian Field nee Lucas27 December 2011 at 07:30

    I am trying to establish which cottage was occupied by the Lucas family in the late 1800 - 1900. Is it the one next to the pond with the post office next door? I would be grateful to know as my grandfather was George Lucas. I never knew him as he died before I was born. I am in the process of painting the cottages by the phone box.

    1. Hello Jillian, my name is Kenneth (Ken) Spicer and my Grandfather was Fred Lucas and obviously that makes George Lucas my Great Grandfather. My Mother who passed away in 2013 aged 101yrs was Gwendoline Spicer
      nee Lucas. Would be fantastic to communicate with you if poss. My email is kenspicer39@gmail.com Kind Regards, Ken

  2. Hi Jillian, I don't think I can answer your question conclusively I'm afraid, but if you click on the photo above of the Shepherd's Cottage plaque, you will see that during the 1891-1901 census this cottage (No 4 The Row) was occupied by James Lucas, his wife, their 10 children and 1 grandson! One of the sons listed is George. I've looked at pictures on the internet of No4 The Row and it certainly looks like it might be the end cottage next to the pond, but without visiting the village again, I can't say for sure. Next time we visit, I will check it out! I'm not sure if you live locally, but if you visit Tyneham, you might be able to get more information from the exhibition and pictures displayed inside the church, where you can also buy some booklets about Tyneham and its history. Good luck with your research and your painting! Regards Karen

  3. Hi Karen, thanks for your comments. I do not live locally as having moved gradually from London, where George eventually settled with his wife a Devon lady, we are now as far south and west in Wales as you can go. My sister and my neice visited about 7 to 10 years ago but cannot be definate as to the cottage but agree with both of us that by concensus it is the last cottage by the pond. Thanks for taking the trouble to reply to my post.

    Regards Jillian