Surrounded by stunning natural beauty, Tollard, as the locals call it, is steeped in history, with a number of beautiful buildings of interest. That’s just part of why Tollard Royal was the winner of Wiltshire Council’s Best Kept Village award in 2017 and 2018.
One highlight is the 13th Century Church, St. Peter ad Vincula, that is still active and used for local services, weddings, christenings, and funerals – it even has bellringing! Read more about the church here.
There’s a hall that is a key part of the village’s thriving social life; a community orchard that was planted in 2011; a central pond, the focal point of the village and the start of many fabulous walks; and a War Memorial near the pond.
There are a number of local attractions or points of interest nearby, including Win Green, The Larmer Tree, Sandroyd School, Rushmore Golf Club, and the excellent King John Inn. The Museum Inn and Castleman Hotel and Restaurant are both just a short drive away.
The village has a population of approximately 100 parishioners with some 50 properties.
Parking is extremely limited, with no on-street parking.
There is a small parking area by the pond that is available for the public to use, with no charge for parking – no camping please!
There is an area at North Lodge created for parking for anyone wishing to do a circular walk. Win Green also provides parking for circular walks. Walkers are encouraged to use these areas.
The church car park is normally only for use by visitors to the church.
Thieves sometimes target parked cars. Residents and visitors should ensure personal belongings are not kept in a parked car.
More info coming soon.
Near there pond there is the old phone box, which is now called the ‘Tollard Tardis’; it contains a defibrillator, a book swap, and local information on accommodation, walks, etc. On the outside there is a large-scale Ordinance Survey map showing the local area.
The name of Tollard is attributed to a man called Toli who held the land in the reign of Edward the Confessor in the 1050’s.
Tollard appears in the Doomsday book in 1086. The land at Tollard, and neighbouring Farnham, was listed as in the ownership of Aiulf, Chamberlain and Sheriff of Dorset.
The village was known simply as Tollard until the 16th Century. The suffix ‘Royal’ came into use then, and is said to be attributed to King John, who used the area and the surrounding Cranborne Chase as a royal hunting ground, and had a royal hunting lodge in the village. The connection with King John is claimed to come through his marriage with Isabel of Gloucester, who held the manors for a while.
The village and parish passed through many well-known families, including the Arundell family in 1535, until in 1819 it came into the hands of the Pitt-Rivers family, namely George Pitt, Baron Rivers.
In the early 1880s General Pitt-Rivers, the archaeologist and anthropologist, converted the land to the south of the house to a pleasure garden known as the Larmer Tree Grounds. This incorporated the Larmer Tree, a Wych Elm on the county boundary that tradition claims is where the courts were held for Tollard Manor in medieval times site. Amazingly in 1893 there were 24,143 visitors to the Gardens.
The Church and King John’s House are the oldest buildings in the village, dating from the 13th Century or earlier. There was a church in Tollard in 1291, and in 1412 £10 was donated to build a new bell tower. The name St Peter’s, or St Peter in Chains, dates from circa 1469.
The Chapel was built in 1879, and the school in 1855. The pub, which was built in 1885, was called the Queen’s Arms but within ten years it became the King John.
Most of the village was designated a conservation area in 1973.
You can read more on Wiltshire’s website.
The community of Tollard Royal thought it would be a fun thing to do to create a Tollard Royal Parish Emblem that could be used informally to bring our village together.
In heraldic language our new emblem can be described as “Vert a Cross Argent thereon another Cross also Vert charged with a Buck courant between in chief an Ancient Crown Or and in base an Escutcheon barry wavy of six Argent and Azure all within a Chain in orle also Or.”
The heraldic tincture of Green has been chosen for the Tollard Emblem – this represents the green lush area of the Cranborne Chase. In Heraldic terms it means Freedom, beauty, joy, health and hope. It is also like the arms of Wiltshire County Council, representing the chalk and downs of the landscape, and here specifically Cranborne Chase. Chains are a symbolic representation that salary is acceptable and important for services. For Tollard Royal there is a more significant meaning representing our Church St Peter Ad Vincula, which literally means Peter in Chains. The links also represent the strong bond of our community. The fallow buck represents the royal hunting forest and ties with the image on the logo of the Cranborne Chase AONB. The shield with wavy white and blue bars, is the traditional heraldic way of representing water – specifically, the village pond. The crown, in the style of Plantagenet kings, is to represent King John who used the area as a royal hunting ground. The white cross also represents our church.
The village would like to thank Robert Young for designing the emblem for us.
If you would like more information visit Civic Heraldry