Marnhull is a few miles outside Sturminster Newton on the B3092 to Gillingham (Map). Many creamy limestone farmhouses and cottages are scattered about this dispersed, very rural village. Marnhull once claimed to be the largest village in England. Situated on top of a hill, it overlooks the beautiful Blackmore Vale and St Gregory’s pinacled tower can be seen from miles around.
The first written record of the village of Marnhull (marnhulle) was in 1267 but Roman artefacts such as coins, spears and pottery have been found suggesting a much older history. At the centre of Marnhull is the beautiful 14th Century Church of St Gregory. St Gregory’s east window is by Burne-Jones and the panelled nave roof is arguably the best in Dorset. Among the many things of interest in the church is a playful rhyme placed on the stone of John Warren and his wife by the rector in 1752. It refers to the fact that they were both heavy smokers; “…And now there’s no doubt, But their pipes are both out……”