Medieval Christmas trees at Canford Magna

Poole History Centre has helped with the discovery of some intriguing facts about a local church.

Retired architect, and stalwart of the Society of Poole Men, Robin Moy, has been researching the history of Canford for an upcoming talk to be delivered at Bournemouth Central Library.

Resources found at Poole History Centre, part of Poole Museum, contained a reference to Canford Magna in a medieval monastic document, the Bradenstoke Catulary.

The Bradenstoke Catulary lists grants given by William Longespee, Earl of Salisbury during 13th century, including an annual grant that was bequeathed to Canford Magna Church.

Mr Moy, who himself attended the church in Canford Magna as a child, came upon a translation at Poole History Centre. Staff at the centre traced the original translation to the Wiltshire Record Society and the manuscripts back to their repository at the British Library and, in turn, discovered a microfilm copy of the Bradenstoke Catulary exists in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

The discovered script, which was originally written in Latin reads: “I give to the church of All Saints of Canford one oak in our woods of Canford in perpetuity at the Birth of the Lord (Christmas)”.

Poole History Manager, David Watkins, is very pleased that staff could help in the discovery. “This is a fantastic piece of local history dating back nearly 1000 years. I am so glad that Poole History Centre could help Mr Moy in his research, and I look forward to finding out if Canford Magna is owed a backlog of Christmas oak trees since 13th century!”

The script is dated circa 1240AD, however the present church at Canford Magna is far older, being initially constructed before the Norman invasion of 1066AD.

For more information about Poole History Centre, or to view documents online, visit

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