History of the Hurst Water Meadow
Little has been recorded about the Hurst meadow, but it must have been an integral part of the Overy Mill water management system probably dating back to the eighth century. The mill is mentioned in the Domesday Book. A pasture known as `Le Hurst' was described in 14th century records. Overy Mill was part of the Dorchester Abbey Estates until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, when it passed into private hands - Sir Edmund Ashfield and the Fettiplace family. A record in 1577 showed that the Cherrill family farmed at Overy and they continued to be leading farmers in the village for more than 300 years. Overy Mill was still working in the mid-nineteenth century.
In more recent times, the meadow was owned by the Hawken family who farmed at Queenford Mill, and grazed cattle in the meadow. Ownership passed to Richard Whittle in the 1950s, then to ARC (now Hanson Trust who retain mineral extraction rights), and finally to Dorchester Fisheries (an angling business) that went into receivership. Part of the meadow is in the Overy conservation area.
The members of the public have had access to the meadow for many decades, and the landowners have allowed fishing for as long as people can remember.