Weymouth-Dorset.co.uk Local History


Nestling quietly in the valley of the Dorset Ridgeway is Upwey, sometimes spelt Upway. Although the parish spans the main A354 Dorchester Road, the main part of the village is tucked away behind it. Upwey lies approximately 3 miles North of Weymouth. It is most well known for its romantic setting of the Wishing Well at the spring of the River Wey.

Upwey takes its name from the River Wey. It is as it says the "up" part of the river and also where its source lies.

The river begins as an underground spring rising up in the hill behind Upwey Wishing Well.

River Wey at Upwey, Dorset

The River Wey at Upwey

The river at Upwey is very picturesque, in places a shallow brook gently meandering through the valley. Further down it becomes a ford before turning back into a meandering stream down through Broadwey and Nottington to the village of Radipole and then out to sea.

Mill House, Upwey, Dorset

The Mill House, Upwey

The Mill House in front of the mill stands on the River Wey just a little downstream of Upwey Wishing Well. The stone mill was built in 1802 and is fed by two courses of water. There was an earlier mill listed in the land tax assessments of 1798.

Upwey Mill at Upwey, Dorset

Upwey Mill

Church of St.Laurence, Upwey, Dorset

The Church of St. Laurence, Upwey

The thirteenth century church of St. Laurence, Upwey is at one end of the village, somewhat out of the way to the rest of it. It stands next to the old village school, which was built in 1840. Inside the church, watermarks approximately 10 inches high can be seen on the pews from a flood that occurred in 1955. That day the rain had been heavy up on the Blackdown hills and it swamped downwards into the village causing the flood.

Outside the church there is a large table-top tomb with a plaque written in Latin to the memory of William Gould.

John Gould is listed as the holder of the manor in the land tax assessments of 1798. The manor is listed as being situated in the part of the parish of Upwey known as Stottingway. The Gould family also held, by marriage to the Mohun family, the Manor of Fleet. They were also closely linked, by marriage, to West Stafford.

Upwey Manor is not the same building as Upwey House, which was the original Manor House as held by the Gould family, but it appears that the Gould family owned both. The manor proper, as in the estate of lands belonging to it, was divided through inheritance many times down the centuries and passed through various families during that time. About the only time that it was all held by one family was while it was in the possession of the Goulds.

Upwey Manor, Upwey, Dorset
Upwey Manor

Upwey House, Upwey, Dorset
Upwey House

The manor of Upwey in terms of estate and title no longer exists. The ancient civil parish of Upwey had no one manor though. Within the parish there was also Elwell Manor which was part of the Liberty of Wyke Regis. Elwell Street is the only reminder left today of its existence.

Upwey Wishing Well, Upwey, Dorset

Upwey Wishing Well

The Wishing Well was a favourite place of King George III to visit. The water from the spring is naturally clear neither sulphuric nor salty and it tastes good too, although it is now inadvisable to drink it. It had long been held to be very good for medicinal purposes. Gentry and Royalty alike both sought the effects said to come from drinking the water.

A gold cup was kept at a nearby house for his majesty's use. It is the same cup that was presented by a member of the Royal Family to the Royal Ascot club as a presentation trophy.

The arched seating area by the Wishing Well was built in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. It has been used and described as a romantic meeting place being in a quiet corner of the water gardens.

The proprietors of Upwey Wishing Well have been busy over the last few years extending the gardens. A delightful new section of garden has been created and named the Jubilee Gardens in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee.

The Wishing Well tearoom serves traditional Dorset cream teas, something else that it is known for.

Jubilee Gardens at Upwey Wishing Well, Upwey, Dorset

Jubilee Gardens at the Wishing Well

Historical Parish Information


Parish Registers begin:


Hundred or Liberty:

Culliford Tree, Wabyhouse, Liberty of Wyke Regis & Elwell

Poor Law Union & Registration District:


Online Parish Clerk Project (external link)

Upwey OPC

Nearby Parishes and Places



Buckland Ripers






Sutton Poyntz

West Stafford

Winterborne Monkton

Wyke Regis


Local Attractions and Places to Visit



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