|The Tarrants :- Gunville,
Monkton, Launceston, Rawston, Rushton, Hinton, Keyneston,
Terente, meaning trespasser was the original name of the River Tarrant and it has been flowing here for over a thousand years where it empties into the Stour at Crawford.
Rushton which is one of the eight villages. stole the limelight when it became the site of a wartime airfield that served a major role in the Second World War and later it was the base for experiments carried by Sir Alan Cobham and is Flight Refuelling Company, which showed its versatility during the Falklands war in 1982. Lancaster bombers and Meteor jets broke the peace and quiet of the Stour valley during these experiments and the landowners from Crichel, the Martens, eventually got the land returned to agriculture, and the area now has peace and quiet.
The ancient church which is in a cross shape dates back to the 12th century.
Gunville sits at the source of the river and the entrance to Eastbury Hall seems to dominate the mansion. Geogre Bubb Dodington who was a dandy about 200 years ago, and became Lord Melcombe, was the builder of the mansion and designed it on the same lines as Blenheim Palace. He had inherited a fortune and £140,000 was spent on the building of the mansion, but when he died it was found it was too expensive to maintain so was demolished.
Inside the church is a memorial to Thomas Wedgwood who was the son of the famous Josiah who had died in the same year as the Battle of Trafalgar and he contributed to the early days of photography and built a basic camera. He was later denied a part in this popular art and died before a way of fixing the images to make them permanent was found.
Tarrant Hinton, lies
downstream and is on the main Salisbury to Blandford road, its church
is hidden at the bottom of a lane and during World War I men of the
Naval Division did their training here before embarking for the fight
Rawston, is now mostly a farmstead, which is situated by a small waterfall and has a miniature water wheel, 18 ins. across which is housed in a little brick building 6 ft. square. The increase in traffic has led to the village being known to have 'the fastest High Street in the West', but has generally remained unchanged for around a century, There are shops at the crossroads and on another corner is the school building with the inn named True Lovers Knot which commemorates a double knot which is the lovers symbol.
William de Cahagnes was the ruler in the Tarrant valley during the time of the Saxons and the village got its name from the old Tarent Kahaines.
Crawford is the last village along the river and has a nine-arched bridge, the name derives from the Saxon Crow Ford which is apt as just across the river is Spetisbury which got its name from the woodpecker.
Keyneston Tarrant Keyneston is one
of the eight small villages which lie in
The first reference to a hamlet is, as usual, in the Domesday Book (1086) where the village is shown as Tarent Kaineston. The unusual second name is derived from Ralph de Caineto, who came over to England from France with William the Conqueror. Ralph’s elder son, another Ralph, was given the Manor of Tarrent through his wife. Ralph’s family is the same Keynes family who gave their name to Coombe Keynes, Dorset; Horsted Keynes, Sussex; Milton Keynes, Bucks, and Somerford Keynes, Wilts. In the records consulted, there is much variance in the spelling of the second name from those mentioned above to Kaynes and Keines. The variance in spelling was due mainly to the fact that pre 1500 very few written accounts are found. Most records were kept and written by the ecclesiastical authorities and together with no formal English grammar or spelling - Latin being the language of the church - many variations occur.
Hutchins’ History of Dorset (1870) quotes from
an old record that Ralph de Kahaynes settled himself at Tarent, after
his marriage, and founded a Nunnery there. The Kaynes mansion is
thought to have been situated a short distance to the west of the
present church, with the Nunnery nearby.