Farmer Richard Dale was persuaded by Mrs. Popham, then resident at Stourfield House, to write his memories of Stourfield. He had been born towards the end of the 18th century, and for a number of years had lived at Pokesdown Farm. Writing of the middle of the 19th century, he recalled the extensive common of gorse and heather which extended as far as Poole to the west, and on towards Wimbome northwards. Before the Inclosure of 1805 people could graze cattle on this common, and cut turf for fuel.
He recorded that he had been told by Giles Sweetapple that in the 1770's Mr. Bott had inclosed an area of several acres of common land to lay out as park land, and Giles himself as a young man had helped in the planting of the trees there.
Richard Dale has left a detailed survey of the various tenants of Stourfield House from the time of its purchase by Sir George Tapps until it was sold in 1844 to become the property of Captain William Popham RN.
Richard Dale was the son of Henry Dale. born in 1794. He took over Tuckton Farm from his father in 1818, and he has told us that for many years the sheep from that farm grazed on the land along the cliff top as far as Boscombe Cottage, and particularly in Crab Tree Close. As was often the custom at that time, the same first name was used frequently in a family. and there are several Richard Dales who farmed in the locality. Our Richard took an active part in local affairs, becoming a churchwarden at Christchcurch Priory in 1836, and the Waywarden (or surveyor of highways) for the Tything of Tuckton. He was one of those who signed the petition for the consecration of St. James' Church in 1858. He died on 25th May 1877 at the age of eighty three.
Reproduced with permisson of the Author.
© J. A. Young