In the charter of Cerne Abbey AD 987, it was stated that ‘Aeschere’ is the ancient name of Symondsbury. Later the Vikings invaded from Scandinavia and beacons were lit as a warning. The Norwegian name for hill is berg and legend has it that a Viking chief called ‘Sigismund’ landed and saw the beacon on Colmer’s Hill and announced it would be called ‘Sigismund’s Berg’. Later it became known as Symondsbury.

Symondsbury is one of the largest parishes in Dorset. In the south it takes in Eype,and an area of West Bay with a glorious stretch of the newly designated World Heritage Coastline (popularly known as ‘The Jurassic Coast’) as its boundary. To the north there is Broadoak nestling in the beautiful Marshwood Vale overlooked by the ancient Pilsdon settlement.

From the timeless view of the sea breaking upon the rocks of the fossil impregnated cliffs, and the idyllic Arcadian scene of rural countryside, the appearance of Symondsbury parish has changed little since Wordsworth wandered in these parts with his sister, Dorothy, when they lived at Racedown four miles away. Thomas Hardy also visited here, and his friend, William Barnes, the Dorset dialect poet.

But the life of Symondsbury has changed in ways that are exciting, disturbing and challenging. The purpose of this site is to present a profile of its historical heritage and contemporary richness in its many and varied activities; and to identify the needs and opportunities for strengthening community life in the future.

Principle Buildings and People

St John the Baptist Church

St. Pauls & St. Peters

Symondsbury Present and Future

Symondsbury Parish Activities