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 Langton Herring

The Village of Langton Herring, Dorset

Langton Herring, Dorset

The small village of Langton Herring lies close to Chesil Beach and the latter formed part of the Manor. This gave the Lord of the Manor the right to wreck claimed from the sea.

Hutchins, in his History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset, says that distinguishing the Langtons in the Domesday Book was only possible by subsequent records of land conveyances and that there appeared to be two manors or at least more than one moiety of the same manor. At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, Hugh Fitzgrip held the principal manor of Langetone. It later came into the hands of the Sarmunville family from France and then became known as Langton Sarneville, the latter part being a corruption of the family name.

About 1269 Philip Harang was granted land at Langton by Bartholomew de Brigg and his wife Emma in exchange for the manor of Wynterborn Hareng. The exchange of lands was held for the terms of the lives of Bartholomew and Emma. It is likely that Emma was the daughter of the previous Lord of the Manor, Philip Sarmunville and the Philip Harang was her son by a former marriage. This would be accounted for by the fact that the lands were exchanged in terms of lives if Philip Harang would ultimately inherit them, as indeed he did in due course.

This is further shown in 1279 when he was summoned to show how he had the right to claim wreck of the sea at Langton Sarnville. He stated then that his ancestors beyond living memory had enjoyed the same right.

Philip Hareng was patron of the church in 1299 and had died by 1315 when his widow and relict, Millicent is given as patron. By this time the village had become known as Langton Herring and the manor subsequently passed down to Philip's son Raymond and then to Sir Walter Hareng. The moieties of the manor passed down through the heirs including the Pointz (of Sutton Poyntz), Cruket and Warmwell families as well as the Harang/Harengs.

In 1337/8 Sir Walter Hareng was granted licence from the King (Edward III) to fortify his mansions in Langton and Winterborne with stone walls.

Sir Walter Hareng's son, Raymond inherited the manor jointly with his wife Isabella. Raymond Hareng died in 1373/4, his son and heir Robert died under age in 1385, and so the manor passed to his daughter Margaret the wife of Robert Fovent.

After this time the manor came into the possession of the Filiol family of Woodlands together with other estates which had formerly been of the Herring family. In 1416 William Filiol died and at that time it was held of the Manor of Sutton Poyntz. It then passed through several families by descent whereupon it was sold in 1699 to Thomas Folkes, gentleman and he sold it the same year to Anthony Guidott of Preston Candover, Hampshire. Guidott died in 1745 and the manor sold by his heirs in 1753 to Isaac Sparks of Dorchester, a gentleman. Sparks died in 1788 and bequeathed it to his eldest son, William Sparks with the proviso that if the said William should die without issue it was to be passed to his son Isaac. William died in 1829 and as he had no issue it passed to his brother Isaac. The latter died in 1841 and the manor passed to his son William who was still the owner in 1867. This William Sparks purchased the remaining moieties of the manor in 1854, which consisted of 373 acres, 1 rood and 30 perches. By this time the lands had descended through various other families and were then in the possession of the Duchy of Cornwall.

St. Peter's Church, Langton Herring, Dorset

St. Peter's Church, Langton Herring, Dorset

The church dedicated to St. Peter was, according to Hutchins, of modern design being small and plain. It underwent restoration in 1827 and again in 1858. It consists of a west tower with two bells, a nave with aisle and chancel. A tablet in the nave records the death of William Sparks, Lord of the Manor, who died on 3rd March 1829 in the 70th year of his age. 

The Old Rectory lies to the north west of the church. The patrons were mainly the Herrings and their subsequent heirs but alternating with the owners of the other moieties of the manor.

The Old Rectory, Langton Herring, Dorset

The Old Rectory, Langton Herring, Dorset

The village public house is the Elm Tree, so named because of a large elm tree that once stood near the site. The building is said to date back some four hundred years.

A fisherman who deceived his fellow fishermen over the size of his catch was ruthlessly chased through the village and subsequently hung from a beam in the Elm Tree Inn in 1780.

As befits an inn so close to the sea and in an area known for it, it has tales of smugglers of long ago. A bricked up area of the cellar is thought to be a hiding place used to store contraband or the entrance to a tunnel.

The Elm Tree Inn, Langton Herring, Dorset

The Elm Tree Inn, Langton Herring, Dorset

Langton Herring had its fair share of smugglers. Thomas Traverse, a 31 year old who suffered with asthma died in custody after being convicted of smuggling in 1817. The Vivian family were particularly well known in the village for smuggling and five of them were convicted between 1818 and 1832. In 1834 William Whittle aged 23 was sentenced to death for assault and smuggling. His sentence was later commuted to transportation for ten years and he was put on board the hulk "York" to await his fate.

Historical Parish Information


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Herring Family

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Bexington, East & West




Winterborne Herringston


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