Briantspuddle Village Hall – a Short History
There are only two thatched village halls in Dorset and one of them is right here in Briantspuddle. Internally, although it now has many modern facilities, a glance up at the roof and the structure of the main hall will tell you of its former use as a barn where the grain from the surrounding farms was stored.
In the 17th century the tithe barn belonging to Bryantspuddle Farm occupied this site, and was rebuilt in 1803 after much of the original building was destroyed by fire. The walls are cob and the roof thatched, the cart entrance on the west side is hidden by a later extension (Bladen Social Club) but the east cart exit still exists. The farmyard and pig-sties were situated where the car park is today.
In the 1920’s the barn was converted to a village hall by Sir Ernest Debenham as the small village of Briantspuddle, then consisting of some 12 dwellings, became part an extensive experimental demonstration farm known as the Bladen Estate. Around that time an extension was added to provide a kitchen and outbuildings built of the concrete ‘Debenham‘ blocks that were produced on the estate.
On the sale of the Bladen Estate in 1956 after the death of Sir Ernest Debenham, the Parish Council bought the village hall on behalf of the community. The hall was scheduled as a Grade II Listed Building in 1959 and in 1983 a charitable trust was set up to run the Village Hall and to raise funds for re-thatching and maintenance.
Most recently in 2011 the old extensions to the rear were demolished and replaced with a modern kitchen, toilets, storerooms and a meeting room.
The village hall has provided a base for many clubs and associations over the years and has seen all sorts of celebrations including community parties and national celebrations. Today although there is perhaps a somewhat different set of hall users the hall is still well used and supported by our thriving community.
For further information about the history of Briantspuddle the following may be of interest:
‘Affpuddle in the County of Dorset’ by Joan Brocklebank – 1968
‘The Story of Briantspuddle, a 20th Century Model Village’ by Campbell de Burgh and John Snoxall – 1983
‘A Short History of Affpuddle, Pallington, Briantspuddle, Throop and Turnerspuddle’ by Sue Taylor – 2014