The story of a country parish may chiefly concern those who dwell therein, but it has a wider interest and throws a side-light, often unexpected, on the habits and customs of our forefathers and on many an incident of the history of our land.
A continuous and connected story must not be expected; there are many gaps, some of which may be filled in the future, but it seemed desirable to record the facts so far ascertained, imperfect though they are, rather than await the possibility of further discoveries.
The present account is due to the fact that a pamphlet, "Notes of West Parley" by the Rev. M P Maturin, became out of print, and before reprinting a revision was necessary.
The work of revision, however, led me into many bypaths of antiquarian research and sufficient material became available to enlarge the scope of the original pamphlet, from a simple description of the Church, to a wide survey of the Parish.
I am indebted to many friends for information, suggestions and criticisms, particular to Mr.Trelawney Dayrell-Reed of West Parley, to Lieut-Colonel C.R.J. Prideaux-Brune of Prideaux Court, Padstow, Cornwall and to Mr Heywood Summer, F.S.A. for information regarding his excavations at Dudsbury Camp. Valuable information is recorded in the notes among the Church Records by the late Rev. R.A. Chudleigh and no writer on any part of the County can express adequately his debt to the great Dorset historian, John Hutchins.
25 March 1928