Cynestans Tun, now Kinson, came under the control of the Canford Manor. Prior to the Norman Conquest,     Canford was held by Ulwen , a Saxon thane.

William the Comqueror bestowed the Manor on Walter de Eureux, whose family later became Earls of Shaftesbury. It would be true to state that over many centuries, the fortunes of those who held Canford were closely linked to the Crown.


For the sake of brevity, in 1611, Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, sold Canford to John Webb of Salisbury, who was created a Baronet. Canford remained in the Webb family for almost two centuries. The last Baronet, Sir John, died in 1797, and devised the property to Edmund Arrowsmith in trust during the lives of his daughter the Countess of Shaftesbury, of her daughter, Lady Barbara Ashley, who married the Hon. W. F.S. Ponsonby, later created Lord de Mauley.


After Lady de Mauley died in 1844, the estate was sold to Sir Josiah John Guest, a South Wales iron-master. There followed a long and close association with the Guest family, who still have business interests in Dorset. Canford House was sold in 1922 and became a school. Kinson is a former village which became part of Bournemouth on 1st April 1931


Kinson was truly an inland smuggling centre, and it is believed that the village was once riddled with underground tunnels centred on the Parish Church of St Andrew, Millhams Road (the oldest church in Bournemouth). The tower of St Andrews acted as a lookout point, store house and head office. Marks can be seen worn into the stone where contraband was hauled by rope up the tower. At the foot of this tower, near the main door of the church, there is a table tomb (see picture). Rumour has it that this is a false tomb used for storing goods, and that only the initiated knew the knack of opening it. However, a descendent of the Oakley family assures me that her ancestors are in this tomb, and that the rumours may have started because the Oakleys were friendly with Gulliver.


Many of the graves in the churchyard can be linked to smugglers, the most well known being Robert Trotman.

There are  tunnels beneath many houses in the Kinson area and they were used as smuggling routes, I myself have been down one with my brothers when small, this was at the back of St Andrews Church as for any others I cant say.

Originally the village (now part of the Bournemouth conurbation) was known as Kingston and access was made to the smugglers landing point of Branksome Chine through Pug’s Hole in Talbot Woods, which is said to be haunted by the spirit of a deceased smuggler.


As well as St Andrews there were many other places connected with smuggling. Howe Lodge, demolished in 1958, for example, was owned for a long time by Kinson’s most famous smuggler, Isaac Gulliver. Next door to this was “Woodlands” which was reputed to have been haunted. When the house was pulled down a woman’s skull was found with a marlin spike embedded in it, possibly she was the victim of a smuggler’s fury? Ensbury Manor (also said to be haunted and demolished in 1936), Kinson House, Ensbury Vicarage and Dower House are other places linked to smuggling activities.


My own 3x Grandfather Uriah Cole in the late 1890s ran Pitts farm which then ran from the bottom of Poole lane up towards Cudnell farm which was on the opposite side of the road on the way toward Bear Cross, during some excavations a skull was found and the field was then locally known as "skull pitt".



























                                                       KINSON SPLASH BEFORE THE BRIDGE WAS BUILT



























Near this church is a bridge over Millham's Splash, a small offshoot of the River Stour. In the early years of the twentieth century this was a ford, and while travelling by carriage from Canford House to Highcliffe Castle the future Kaiser of Germany became bogged in the water and had to be rescued by the locals. They had cause to regret this act before very long with the out break of World War I.


Some descendants of Isaac Gulliver remained in Kinson and brought it a further notable connection. Issac's granddon Isaac Fryer lived at Kinson House, which passed to his daughter Ada Russell. Ada's sister-in-law Isabella Russell was the grandmother of Agnes Sybil Thorndike, the actress, who spent several childhood holidays at Kinson. In the hamlet of Ensbury the Rev. John Hiley Austen lived in the ancient Ensbury Manor. He was an antiquarian, collector of fossils, and the author of 'A Guide to the Geology of the Isle of Purbeck and the South-West Coast of Hampshire'


Kinson Common is a relatively small site of 40 acres owned by Bournemouth Borough Council, however, despite its small size, it provides a rich and varied habitat. The Friends of Kinson Common work as Countryside Volunteers and help with the management of the site. An 1843 tythe map, held at the Dorset County Records Office, shows that the land then formed part of Howe Farm. Since 1933 the local authority purchased a number of parcels of land (mostly from Viscount Wimborne) for the purposes of a cemetery and as public open space. In 1988 Kinson Common was designated as an SSSI, becoming an LNR in 1995.


The Kinson Common is an important Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Local Nature Reserve.

The area is rich in acidic deposits of plateau gravels and Bagshot beds. The richness of these relic heathland communities, both in terms of their plant life and associated fauna, is even more significant given their largely urban location. Habitats found on the Common include:

 Dry Heath; Humid and Wet heath; Scrub; Woodland, Grassland; Marsh and areas of Open Water.



Palaeoliths from the Old Stone Age were found near Kinson Road in 1927. Rolled palaeoliths and

sharper levallois were found between 1927 to 1934. Some of these were sent to the British Museum. Smaller flint implements were found on the ground surface on site and relate to the Beolithis and Bronze Age periods. Two Bronze Age Barrows: one a Bowl barrow; a rarer type known as a Saucer barrow, survive intact on an area renamed Two Barrow Heath in the 1980`s by the then Kinson Common Management committee, who worked under a legal agreement with the Amenities Committee of Bournemouth Borough Council.

Early to later history

The site was originally owned by the Canford Estate. Notable owners of this estate have included the Webb family from Odstock and in more modern times, the Guest family. The site is much older than Bournemouth and given its geographical location, it could be named the West Howe Common. As the boundaries of Kinson once stretched to the borders of Poole, taking in areas such as  West Howe also, the accepted name locally by everyone is the Kinson Common.

18th and 19th century field boundary systems are still visible. The outlines of many of the remaining areas can still be matched accurately with the important 1839 Kinson Tithe Map.

Some of the field systems remaining in 2003, existed as early as the 16th century.

Modern use of the site centres on nature conservation with good opportunities for quiet recreation. Over one hundred years ago, the whole area was used for farming purposes and was known as Howe Farm. Turves were collected in the 18th century, also wood for fuel. In the last one hundred and fifty years, much of the original woodland has disappeared.

Gravel pits scatttered around the site were probaly in use as early as the 1700`s. Two streams meander through the Common and were once the main source of water for everyone living in the West Howe or lower Kinson regions.

During the ownership of the Guest family, gamekeepers` kept a watchful eye on the pheasants and other game birds reared on or near the heathland. Many "shoots" were held annually to amuse the local gentry. Those days are now gone and snipe, woodcock, pheasant, rabbits and other creatures now inhabit the Common and live in complete freedom.

Many raised earth banks survive, as do unusual drainage channels in the Central Bog region. These are surviving relics to remind us that the whole of the Common was once farmed quite intensively in the mid 1830`s.

The outline remains of a farm building dating to early last century still survive on Two Barrow Heath. At this place, a small farmer once kept his cows.

A nursery once existed in the region of Great Oaks near the modern baths. It was located in an area once named Buttermead. During the Second World War, American troops played their version of football or baseball on the land now occupied by Kinson baths. Nearby, parts of the Common were used for Civil Defence purposes.

Pigs were reared and allotments were let by Lord Wimborne for 2s 6d per year on what is now the Glenmeadows housing development. In the recent past, Corn and barley was grown on Poole Lane Meadows and pigs were raised in an adjoining field. Horses have also been grazed on site.

Since the 1930`s, a great many other changes took place and the Borough of Bournemouth are now the outright owners of the Kinson Common, having been gifted or purchased tracts of land from the Canford Estate. Over a considerable time period, especially since the 1970`s, local residents have worked closely with the Borough`s Countryside division, to assist in the voluntary management of the site.

One interesting fact which has never been discused is the namimg of the area, the Kinson Common.

It is a popular name with residents even though the whole area was never registered as a common.

(Courtesy of the Friends of Kinson Common)


































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 KinsonVillage ~Cynestans