Evershot is a small picturesque village midway between Beaminster and Cerne Abbas on the River Frome. It is one of the highest villages in the county at 700 feet above sea level. The name of the village is derived from the Saxon words “edfor”, meaning wild boar, and “holt”, meaning thicket. It can be assumed from this that this was originally a wooded area where boar roamed freely.
The spring, from which the River Frome rises, was probably the main reason why a settlement grew up in this area. A Free School was founded in the village in 1628, by which time it was a thriving community with a weekly market and an annual fair.
There was a catastrophic fire in the village in 1865, when twenty houses were destroyed, leaving over a hundred people without homes. Much of the building in the village dates from the Victorian era, with a proliferation of bow fronted shops, in the style of the time. The Weymouth branch of the Great Western Railway passed a few miles from the village, at a place called Holywell.
The original church was a chapel of ease to the parish of Frome St. Quentin, but the living is now independent. The first church, dedicated to St Osmund, was built in the 12th century, during the reign of Richard I. The poet, George Crabbe, was rector here towards the end of the 18th century, he was one of Jane Austen’s favourite poets. Very little remains of this Norman edifice apart from the chancel arch, now standing between the north aisle and the organ chamber, and part of the tower arch. The original Norman font still exists on a 19th century pedestal. In the middle of the 19th century, the church was largely rebuilt, following the style of the 15th century alterations and incorporating parts of the building from that era. These include the arcade on the north side of the nave. At this time, the height of the tower was also increased. The church is now dedicated to St. Basil.
There is still a 16th century coaching inn here, which Thomas Hardy called “The Sow & Acorn” in his novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”. Today there are a few hotels, guest houses and restaurants in and around Evershot. It is a good place from which to explore the lovely, undulating countryside of this part of Dorset.
Evershot is the second highest village in Dorset at 625ft above sea level and is the source of the River Frome. It is a small, neat village, of only 200 inhabitants and has little changed since Hardy’s time. Despite its size, Evershot is a well known village, famous for its inclusion in much of Hardy’s literature, the most recognised being ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ where the Acorn Inn is said to have been the inspiration for the Sow and Acorn and Tess Cottage (as it is now known) was where Tess stopped for refreshments on her way to Emminster., Evershot has a classic Dickensian feel but it is not without modern luxuries. In fact, Evershot has shops, a bakery, street lighting, pavements, school, doctor’s surgery and pub and not forgetting Summer Lodge, a luxurious Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa with an award winning restaurant, wine list and service.