THESE village scenes are easily recognisable for anyone who is familiar with west Dorset.

The pictures, taken from 1922 onwards, show Martinstown through the lens of Bridport photographer Claud Hider.

The village is close to the site of an Iron Age burial site with those buried there suffering a violent death.

You can see some people outside the pretty cottages, the village church and the stream that runs through the village.

Another picture shows some young lads hanging off the railings by the stream with the photographer looking to have interrupted their play session!

The village churchThe village church (Image: Claud Hider courtesy of Neil Mattingly)

Two women in hats are seen outside the church - it looks as though they are in summer attire, indicating the pictures were taken in the warmer months.

Another picture shows a lovely old car and adverts for Lyons and BP.

Martinstown is also known as Winterborne St Martin and is closed to the pre- historic Maiden Castle.

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The name is derived from the winter stream that runs through the village between the road and the cottages and from the dedication of the church.

Originally there appear to have been three settlements in the parish: Martinstown in the centre, Ashton in the east and Rew in the west.

(Image: Claud Hider courtesy of Neil Mattingly)

The Iron Age hill-fort known as Maiden Castle was built on the site of a deserted Bronze Age settlement over a Neolithic causeway, and the various barrows dotting the countryside here, such as Four-Barrow hill and Clandon, attest to an immemorial ancestry, older than any written history of England.

Archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler's excavations in the 1930s revealed an Iron Age cemetery at the fort, featuring burials of people who had died violently, including one with a Roman catapult bolt lodged in his spine.

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He believed Maiden Castle to have been the scene of a great last stand by the Ancient Britons in AD 44, but there is little evidence the Romans ever attacked the fort. It continued to be occupied after the conquest and a Romano-Celtic temple complex was built there in the fourth century.

Like the Romans, once the Normans had conquered England they built monumental religious edifices. The Parish church of St Martin (above) sits in the centre of Martinstown village. The original building was 12th century, but was refashioned in the perpendicular style when the tower was added in the 15th century and finally 'restored' in 1905. Inside there is a square Norman font (c1125) of Purbeck marble.

Claud Hider courtesy of Neil Mattingly Claud Hider courtesy of Neil Mattingly (Image: Claud Hider courtesy of Neil Mattingly)

A Chantry was founded here in 1367, probably in the north aisle where the Lady Chapel is now sited. There are the remains of a Jacobean pulpit, cut down from its original three decks, and a very rare George II hatchment (died 1760). The 18th century bells were sold to defray debts, but after a hundred years of silence, chimes rang out again in 1947 when five new bells were hung in memory of the war dead.

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Since the Norman Conquest in 1066 the Manor has been held by only nine families: fitz Grip, de Lincoln, fitz Pain, Maltravers, Stafford, Howard, Napier, Sturt (later Allington) and Duke. The latter family auctioned off much of the land in 1912. Lordship of the Manor of Winterborne St Martin is still a registered title, however on a couple of occasions unscrupulous solicitors have concocted scams to sell the title of 'the Barony of Winterbourne St Martin', which does not exist.

Claud Hider courtesy of Neil MattinglyClaud Hider courtesy of Neil Mattingly (Image: Claud Hider courtesy of Neil Mattingly)

In 1268 Henry II granted a charter to Winterborne St Martin, allowing it to hold an annual fair within five days of the feast of St Martin.

For many centuries there was also a weekly market here for farmers to buy and sell animals and other produce. A circular sheep-washing pool (see below) just up the road from the village pub still exists, but these days it is used only for the annual duck race.

Thanks to the excellent Dorset OPC website for the extra information and to the Neil Mattingly digital archive of Claud Hider photos for the images.