Church and Village History
Tarrant Hinton parish lies in the heart of the chalk uplands in the Cranborne Chase. According to "The County of Dorset" by John Hutchins MA in 1839 at the time of the Tithe Survey, the proportion of arable and down pasture was nearly 1000 acres of each. The name of the village derives from the winterborne stream, the Tarrant, which runs through the village and possibly from Sir Thomas Hinton, mentioned in the Ledger Book of Tarent Abbey. The village is surveyed in the Domesday Book under the general name of Tarente and at that stage it belonged to Shaftesbury Abbey. Nowadays the village consists of about 70 houses and, in 2013, a population of about 160.
A church has stood on the same site since at least the 13th century; a few fragments of the original Norman foundations still exist and are incorporated in the interior wall above the porch door. The exterior is constructed principally of alternating bands of flint and green sandstone, as is typical of this part of Dorset. Originally, the church belonged to Shaftesbury Abbey and this, coupled with the prosperity of the sheep farming during the 14th and 15th centuries, led to the relatively superior stone and workmanship that still exist. In the north wall of the chancel is an Easter Sepulchre. These were used in the Middle Ages as the focus for the Good Friday and Easter Day worship. This one is unusually late, dated 1520, and is a beautiful example of renaissance architecture, built of Caen stone with gilding and colouring of which some traces remain. Far more recent is the Millennium stained glass window by Thomas Denny. It is based on Joel 2,, verses 21 - 27 and explores the "gladness" of the land through the images that derive from the chalk landscape of Tarrant Hinton.