Prominent local people of the past

William Barnes (1801-1886) was born at Bagber, near Sturminster Newton in the Blackmore Vale.
Various members of his family were small farmers; but his father was reduced to seeking work as a hired labourer. Even so, he clearly regarded his childhood as idyllic. That is the unmistakeable message of his poetry; and it is confirmed by the fact that he chose to write most of it in the Dorset (Vale of Blackmore) dialect that he had used as a boy, rather than in the standard English of his adult years and most of his readers.

Thomas Hardy was born on the morning of 2nd June 1840 in the isolated thatched cottage, built by his great-grandfather at Higher Bockhampton, a hamlet on the edge of Piddletown Heath, three miles east of the county town of Dorchester.

Christopher Wren's father was also called Christopher Wren. Christopher Wren senior was a well educated man, having graduated from St John's College Oxford before entering the Church. He became rector of Fonthill, Wiltshire in 1620 and then East Knoyle, Wiltshire in 1623. He married Mary Cox, the only child of the Wiltshire squire Robert Cox from Fonthill, and it was while they were living at East Knoyle that all their children were born. 

Henry Haig a resident of Fifehead Magdalen, was born in Hampstead in 1930, Henry's talent was recognised and encouraged by Jack Fairhurst, his art teacher at Richmond and East Sheen County School for Boys. A visit to Wimbledon School of Art at the age of fifteen led to an immediate offer of a place. Haig studied painting and sculpture there for five years until called for national service in 1949. He refused an officer's commission on completion, preferring to return to his art studies. He applied for a place in the painting school of the Royal College of Art but accepted an invitation to the stained glass department, led by Lawrence Lee. Haig was at RCA between 1952 and 1955, and, having met fellow student Joan Salmon during this time, they were married on New Year’s Day, 1956. The couple went on to have five children.

One of Haig's earliest public works is the concrete, glass and granite chip frieze in the booking hall of South Ruislip station. Thought by some to date from the 1948 construction of the station, others date it at 1961. Both Joan and Henry went into teaching. Henry taught at Kingston College of Art and, whilst there, received a commission for St Richard's Church in Ham, London, under construction in 1964–65. Henry created fourteen dalle de verre windows inspired by the life of St Richard. Haig also painted the sacristy door panels which are faced with enamels, gold and silver fused onto sheet steel, the left door depicting the Bishop's chalice and the right evoking the "shimmer at the entrance to Paradise". The sculpted wood, copper and gilt processional cross and candlesticks are also Haig's work. Haig's commissions gradually allowed him to give up teaching and concentrate full-time on his art, based in his home studio, a converted racquets court at Home Farm in Fifehead Magdalen, Dorset where the family lived from 1969. Henry Wylie Haig died in Yeovil, on 6 December 2007 aged 77. His widow lives in nearby Motcombe.     Wikipedia    Dorset Life magazine  Wimborne Minster window

The Haig studio as it was when the house was sold in 2009. Photograph by kind permission of Nic Tucker.