Unfortunately, the clear picture that we have of Saxon and Norman Parley is not repeated in the succeeding centuries, and it is not until the fourteenth century that we have even a fragment of information.
We then find that Dudsbury has ceased to be a manor and is included in West Parley, which although owned by distinguished and powerful families, is always an outlying portion of their estates, and was sublet to tenants who also held wide estates, and were not residents.
There are, in consequence, no ancient monuments in the Church; there appears to have been no Manor House, and it is only due to chance items of information, and to the fact that, on a change of Rector, the patron is mentioned in the ecclesiastical records, that we know as much as we do.
In 1310 the Lord Paramount was Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Clare, Hertford and Gloucester. The last and noblest of his great family he was slain while gallantly charging the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn, in 1314.
The overlordship then passed to the Mortimers, Earls of March, and descended to Edward Mortimer, Earl of March, whose father Richard Duke of York, fell at the Battle of Wakefield, in 1460, during the Wars of the Roses. The following year, by a sudden change of fortune, he became King Edward IV, of England.
West Parley remained a Royal Manor, as part of the Duchy of York, for nearly a century, the last mention of it, as such, being in 1542. during the reign of King Henry VIII.
The arms of de Clare, Mortimer and Edward, Duke of York are shewn on the cover of this book.
As mentioned above, throughout all this time West Parley was held of the Overlords by the Lords of the Manor, passing by inheritance to several families of note in the country. The succession is shewn in Appendix I.
The records of this time shew that in 1346 the "aid" or special tax when the Black Prince was made a Knight, was paid on account of West Parley.
After the death of Sir Richard Weston, in 1542, the Manor seems to have ceased to be a single estate, and to have been broken up into farms. In 1555 we find Sir George Delalinde holding "La More", at West Moors, which by 1590 had passed to the Mortons, of Millbourne St. Andrew.
Later, we find the Husseys of Edmundsham holding Layfields Farm, and it is probable that several of the other farms were formed at this time. A complete, or almost complete, list of Rectors since 1310, is given in Appendix II.
It is interesting to note that John Hardy (Rector 1512 - 1514) was a monk of the
Cluniac Monastery of Montacute, Somerset, and required a Papal dispensation to hold a secular living.
An example of the bitter religious intolerance which followed the Reformation is shewn in the fate of William Pikes "a layman, born at Moors in Parley" who was executed at Dorchester in 1591, for being reconciled to the Church of Rome, and denying Queen Elizabeth's supremacy.
A chapel, dedicated to St Leonard, existed near Trickett's Cross, but appears to have been extinguished at the Reformation, as in 1587 it was granted to William Tapper and Richard Daw. In Hutchin's time (1764) it was "reduced to a piece of wall near which is an old yew tree."
The late 16th century saw the introduction of County Maps; one of the first engravers, Christopher Saxton(a) was financed in his undertaking by Thomas Sekford, a worthy of Woodbridge, Suffolk. A copper medal, struck in honour of the latter, was dug up in 1923 in a garden at Dudsbury. West Parley was then partly in the Hundred of Badbury and partly in Cranborne Hundred, but Saxton's assistant, in colouring his maps of Dorset, mistook the boundary of the Hundred for that of the County, this shewing "Perley" in Hampshire. Every map maker for nearly a century copied the map, and also the mistake.
(a) The first edition of Saxton's Atlas of England was published in 1579, with the authority of Queen Elizabeth.