The village has a population of 90 parishioners with some 49 properties.
The Parish of Tollard Royal
The name of Tollard is attributed to a man called Toli who held the land in the reign of Edward the Confessor in the 1050’s
The Parish came in the Chalk Hundred and was part of the Wilton Abbey Estate but by 1066 it had been separated from the Abbey and in the Domesday Book there were three holders of land in the Parish; Aiulf the Sheriff, Edward of Salisbury and William de Ow. The parish was only called Tollard and there were various manors within this area such as Tollard Lucy, Tollard Farnham, Tollard Green, Tollard Govis. There were also recorded two vineyards, which might cheer some in the village; could this be a new enterprise!
At that time the parish included land in Dorset including Farnham which appears recorded as Little Farnham, and Farnham Church was also part of Tollard. This was true until 1925 when it was declared a Parish in its own right but was immediately joined with Tollard as a joint Benefice.
Tollard Parish was assessed for Poll Tax in 1334 at 64s. and had 69 poll tax payers. In 1801 the population was 238, in 1871 it was 384, in 1921 128, and it is now approximately 90. The school (1855) had 75 pupils by 1857, by 1885 there were 65 and the numbers by 1936 were 34, however it did not close until 1962.
The Church and King John’s House are the oldest buildings from the C13. or earlier. The Chapel was built in 1879 and the school in 1855. The pub which was built in 1885 was called the Queen’s Arms but within ten years it became the King John. The connection with King John is claimed to come through his marriage with Isabel of Gloucester who held the manors for a while. The ‘Royal’ in our name refers to the royal hunting lodge that dates back to King John who used the area for hunting on the Cranborne Chase.
The village and parish passed through many well-known families including the Arundel in 1535 until in 1817 it came into the hands of the Pitt Rivers family namely Baron Rivers.
In the early 1880s General Pitt Rivers converted the land to the south of the house to a Pleasure Gardens known as the Larmer Tree. This incorporated the site on the county boundary where a Wych Elm had stood where the Manor Leet Courts were held in medieval times. Amazingly in 1893 there were 24,143 visitors to the Gardens.
In the 80’s the village pond was restored (although leaks are a problem!) and it is now the focal point of the village. It is a source of great pleasure and interest not only to residents but also to visitors, who can observe a great variety of wildlife such as moorhens, ducks and vast numbers of frogs. It was re-puddled in 2014 and more work continues to be done to keep it looking at its best.
Most of the village was designated a conservation area in 1973.
The village has a community orchard planted in 2011. A new hedgerow of edible fruits was planted early 2012. The villagers can make free use of the fruit. The village pond is a breeding ground for toads in during April.