I s l e   o f   P u r b e c k  -   i n    d e t a i l
Return to
Home Page
click Back

/ Index

Range warning flag
       and TYNEHAM

The Range Walks and Tyneham are open all weekends except where noted, and open other dates shown.
- - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - -
Dec 2012
Sa.1 - Su.2
Sa.8 - Su.9
Sa.15 - Su.16
Sa.22 - ... ...
... ... Xmas
... ... ... Hol
Jan 2013
... ... - Su.6
Sa.12 - Su.13
Sa.26 - Su.27
Feb 2013
Sa.02 - Su.03
Sa.09 - Su.10
Sa.16 - Su.17
Sa.23 - Su.24
Mar 2013
Sa.02 - Su.03
Sa.16 - Su.17
Sa.23 - Su.24
Fr.29 ... Easter -
Apr 2013
... ... ... - Su.07
Sa.13 - Su.14
Sa.27 - Su.28
May 2013
Sa.04 - may
bnk - Mo.06
Sa.11 - Su.12
Sa.18 - Su.19
Sa.25 - ... spr
Jun 2013
bnk ... - Su.02
Sa.08 - Su.09
Sa.22 - Su.23
Sa.29 - Su.30
Jul 2013
Sa.06 - Su.07
Sa.13 - Su.14
Sa.20 - Su.21
Sa.27 - .... ....
Aug 2013
... ... ... ... ...
... summer ...
..... break ....
... ... ... ... ...
Sep 2013
... .... - Su.01
Sa.07 - Su.08
Sa.14 - Su.15
Sa.21 - Su.22
Oct 2013
Sa.05 - Su.06
Sa.12 - Su.13
Sa.19 - Su.20
Sa.26 - Su.27
Nov 2013
Sa.02 - Su.03
Sa.09 - Su.10
Sa.23 - Su.24
Sa.31 - ...
Dec 2013
... .... - Su.01
Sa.07 - Su.08
Sa.14 - Su.15
Sa.21 - ... ... ...
... xmas ... ...

Jan 2014
... hol - Su.05

.. ... N O T E ... ..

The range road/
    Whiteway Road
and access gate
to the village
normally open
about 9am,
   and close dusk.
* * *


* * *

When the village
  is open, the
church and school
are normally open
    10am - 4pm.
For further
    please call

-   T y n e h a m   -

   Following the road from Corfe to Lulworth takes us through Church Knowle and on past turnings to Smedmore & Kimmeridge, Steeple, and up on to Creech Hill where if we are lucky through the MOD Firing Range gates and along to the left turn down to Tyneham village. If you miss the turning the next stop is East Lulworth.

The School House
Open 10am - 4pm when the village is open. Tyneham Schoolhouse

   Tyneham 'WAS' a pleasant little village deep in the hills, a few cottages, a school, a church, a farm, and tucked away a country house. A short distance further takes you down into Worbarrow Bay. There is lots of water pooling in the village which really sets it off.
   There has been found evidence of activity back into the Iron Age, and forward through the Roman occupation. To a greater degree the land was farmed and the nearby Warbarrow gave haven to fishermen, the produce of both would have been tradable at Wareham some 5 miles distant. However, given the location and resources this could quite easily have existed as an isolated and self-sufficient settlement. Not surprisingly, being coastal there is talk of smuggling, as to the factuality of the talk we cannot be certain.
   We talk of Tyneham as being small and of small population, this is true, but when you pull in the population from nearby Warbarrow and all else in this big dip in the Purbeck landscape it becomes more significant, the local farming population being widespread. That at some point must have taken a downturn since the school closed to pupils in 1932.
   The school itself was established by Nathaniel Bond in 1860. It was later declared as being the property of the rectory.
Post Office Row Tyneham Post Office/Cottages, Telephone Kiosk & Pond

To view the Census 1841-1911
for Tyneham, Warbarrow, Whiteway,
Egglestone, Povington, and Baltington,
click here.
NB. Large file - allow time for download.

   William the Conqueror's half-brother, by the name of Robert of Mortain seems to have held Tyneham, which was shown in the Doomsday Book as 'Tigeham', a century later it was 'Tiham'. There seems to be a suggestion that Tige-ham translates as 'goat enclosure'.


The Rectory - now Tyneham Rectory - now

circa 1926 Tyneham Rectory 1926

   Regarding Tyneham House, in the mid 14th century a wooden hall was built by Russell, passing by marriage to the Chykes. In the early 16th century it was taken over by a John Williams who added more timber to the building.

Tyneham House circa 1915 Tyneham House 1915

   The building passed again by marriage, this time to the Bonds who were the most recent owners and are part of the sad story of Tynehams demise. The Bond family build was was effectively going to be the latest house in the 1580s with the proverbial additions and modifications with time. The last owner was Ralph Bond. Since the evacuation much was removed and there is little left now.
   The village church is named St. Marys. Constructed from limestone rubble it dates from the 13th century with modification/refurbishment around 1740, and by William Bond around 1850. It contains monuments to the Bond family.

St. Mary's Church
Open 10am - 4pm when the village is open.
St. Mary's Church

   In November 1943 notice was given to the small population of the village and it's surrounds that they would be required to leave. We have a figure of 252 people from 102 properties in the "Parish of Tyneham", ie., an area that was more than the village, leaving before Christmas, they did however leave behind them what is now a famous notice pinned to the door of the church.
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 church organ and bells were removed to Steeple and other artefacts elsewhere.
   The theory was that the village would be returned to the people after the war - it did not happen and in 1948 it received a compulsory purchase order from the army.

Rectory Cottages Rectory Cottages

   Another is the story of Mark Bond who expected to grow up and inherit the manor house. Born in 1922 at Chideock he moved to Tyneham with his father in 1937 after his grandfather's death in 1935. The two-year gap is apparently because the house had to be let out for a short while to pay death duties.
   Mark left Eton in 1940 and joined the rifle brigade. He saw much service and was wounded, captured and re-captured, seeing his wartime out in a German POW camp.
   Having taken his place in our armed forces and given King & Country 20 years of his life and leaving as a general, he was only told in 1951 the house was not his to have. That information being kept from him for reasons of secrecy.

Taylor's Cottages Taylor's Cottages

   That was the end for the village, which was already in poor condition and getting worse over the years, never to be occupied again. It makes for a very sad place.
   The church has been repaired and is effectively a museum; the schoolhouse was turned into a museum anyway.
   Because the tank ranges are still used the times for visiting are limited to holidays and most weekends. There is now a car park especially to take the influx of visitors.
   Lets take a look at the 'army factor' in the story line. The First World War brought great tank activity and subsequently activity at Bovington Camp. With that went the need to practice and eventually a gunnery range came into use east of Lulworth.
   Come the Second World War all public access was barred. Improving weapons meant larger areas were needed to test on so Warbarrow, Tyneham and thereabouts was taken on.
   After the war the War Office compulsorily purchased the area.
Everett & Davis Cottages Everett & Davis Cottages
   After the war much was made by landowners and MPs about the return of the land, many meetings ensued, a public enquiry, and the government produced a white paper setting out the need for land for training etc. and given those circumstances didn't need to honour their pledge to return the land. That was pretty well it.
   The Elizabethan section of Tyneham House was taken down by the Ministry of Works in the latter 1960s, which spurred a new campaign to 'free' Tyneham late in 1967.
   The Tyneham Action Group was set up in May 1968.
   In 1970 the then PM, Ted Heath, announced the setting up of the Nugent Defence Lands Committee to investigate which parts of the Ministry of Defence holdings could be returned to private ownership.
   Whilst this was going on the Tyneham group were bickering amongst themselves and they split into two groups.
   On the 5th July 1973, the Nugent Committee finally reported and among many conclusions it recommended that the sites at Lulworth be released, and the Gunnery School be re-located to Castlemartin in Dyfed. The Committee could not say what to do with the released land except it should be 'protected and enjoyed'.
   Whilst the Nugent Committee had recommended moving the army, local councils and the Dorset County Council did the opposite and said the local area and workforce needed the army presence for economic reasons, Dorset County Council had in fact done an about turn.

Goulds Cottage Goulds Cottage

   The government published a White Paper in 1974 saying it was unable to accept the recommendation that the Gunnery School should be moved from Lulworth to Castlemartin. They cited the heavy additional cost of the move, and the impossibility of making "acceptable arrangements for sharing facilities between the RAC Gunnery School and the German Army who use the range for tank training". They also noted that whilst there had been "total and united" opposition in Wales to the greater use of Castlemartin, this was not the case in Dorset.
   In February 1975 Brigadier Roy Redgrave unveiled proposals for improving public access to the ranges. In September Colonel Sir Joseph Weld cut a tape marking the opening of the Lulworth Range Walks. This was the effective end of the various campaigns to free Tyneham.
   Overall the army presence appears to have had a benefit to the environment and the army now make a point of being seen to be environmentally aware, this includes publishing a magazine about Dorset land holdings.
   Although it ended up a deserted ruin, there is some consolation that the village is no further spoilt and has been made 'safe' for public consumption.
   The area is no longer subject to intensive farming with attendant pesticides and fertilisers. Whilst it is so sad that a whole village should lose it's homes, given the time and bureaucracy since the war the outcome may well be the lesser of evils.

As doth say the Tyneham Timeline on view in St Mary's Church:

Whether you agree with the Army's continuing presence or not,
the Tyneham Valley has escaped the unsightly tourism developments,
only too prominent along the adjacent coastline. It has been untouched
by modern intensive farming practices and is a haven for wildlife,
supporting many rare and threatened species.
Tyneham is a Valley frozen in time.


To view all of the Tyneham Timeline, on view in the church, click here.


To view the Census 1841-1911
for Tyneham, Warbarrow, Whiteway, Egglestone, Povington, and Baltington,
click here. NB. Large file - allow time for download.

"Old" local map on wooden wall plaque in the church.  
Local Map in the church
To view
click here.
click for:
Tyneham Census
1841 - 1911

NB - Large file - allow for download time
For comments about the range walks or Tyneham
please contact the Range Secretary on 01929 404714
between 0900 - 1500 hours Monday - Friday
or write to
Range Control, The AFV Gunnery School,
Lulworth Camp, Nr Wareham, Dorset BH20 5QF

For general access information
please telephone 01929 404819
Badge of the Royal Armoured Corps   Defence Estates logo
(return to top of page)
© 2013 isleofpurbeck.com
Disclaimer: Whilst we endeavour to ensure the content of this site is correct, we cannot undertake that information you find here, is, or will remain accurate and complete. If you wish to place reliance on any such information you must check it's accuracy by some other means before doing so.