About The Purbeck Society

Welcome to The Purbeck Society website. It is to be hoped that you will find it easy to navigate your way around the site and find plenty of interest. It is intended to develop the site to reflect the concerns of members and the public at large at the various developments that threaten the unique character of this special corner of England and, where appropriate, to take action with the local and national government to attempt to change or amend potentially damaging policies. Details of the Society’s present concerns can be found on our News Page.

The Purbeck Society was set up in 1852 as a semi-learned society for the study of local matters in the fields of history, natural history, local industries, architecture and associated subjects in the Isle of Purbeck. The Society, now as the civic society for the area, as well as campaigning on its own account supports other such appropriate organisations is concerned with the preservation of Purbeck’s heritage.

The Society is affiliated to the Dorset Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and as such it seeks to forward the aims of the CPRE. These are broadly to preserve the countryside as it develops, from abuse or disfigurement or any injuries to its amenities and, with this in view, to seek the co-operation of local authorities, landowners and others concerned.

Membership of the Society is open to anyone interested in furthering the Society’s aims and objects; currently the Society has well over 350 members (although currently membership stands at just over 100) and is managed by a Committee elected at the Annual General Meeting held in the Spring. There is a Sub-Committee which deals with conservation matters and planning issues. It spearheads the Society’s campaigns against perceived threats arising from unsympathetic development proposals affecting Purbeck’s heritage and the unique environment of our towns, villages, countryside and coastline. The Society is a consultee on all planning applications in the whole Purbeck District area, although its main concerns focus on the historic Isle of Purbeck, i.e. that area south of the River Frome. It does, however, keep an eye on development proposals in Wareham due to their possible impact on the Isle of Purbeck

During the Winter, the Society organises monthly lectures on a wide range of subjects and, in the Summer season, arranges field trips to historic sites and places of heritage interest, as well as those that illustrate the special quality of our environment. We hope thereby to encourage a greater interest and awareness amongst our members and, that in turn, they will actively support the Society’s efforts to prevent the despoliation of the heritage passed down to us.

The Society has its own Library which, in addition to its archive, has over 100 books and publications, mainly about Dorset and the Purbeck Area. Access to this is available to members on prior application to the Secretary.

The Society is a voluntary body and there is always a place for members who would be willing to understudy the Officers and Committee members with a view to taking over from them in due course. In this way, the burden of running the Society and its campaigns can be spread amongst the wider membership. The Committee is always pleased to hear of members with special interests and expertise who would be willing to assist the Society with its campaigns, undertaking research or in any of the many other interesting aspects of the Society’s activities.

For more information or to join The Purbeck Society, please use the enquiry from on our Contact Page.

Thank you for your interest in the Society and its work, and we look forward to welcoming you as a member.

(Mike Stollery, Dip Arch, RIBA – a member of the society from 2005 and Chairman from 2006, who sadly passed away in 2016)

The current committee are:

  • Jessica Sutcliffe Chair
  • Linda Hernandez Secretary & Treasurer
  • David Churchill Membership Secretary
  • Karen Delahay Events Secretary & Archives
  • Peter Bowyer
  • Frances Thackway
  • Pam Smith
  • Chris Greenhough
  • Allie Hyett

Purbeck Society constitution (click to download)