With evidence of habitation in the late Bronze Age as much as 3000 years ago, the first church buildings are thought to be Roman and Celt about 312 AD on sites that now form the village centre. King Alfred made his daughter Ethelgwa Abbess of Shaftesbury in AD888 and gave her authority over some of his lands including the Euwenmynstre area. A charter of AD956 by King Eadwig gave the then Abbess of Shaftesbury jurisdiction over Iwerne Minster and its 5 churches.
Construction of the existing St. Mary’s Church started in 1100AD shortly after the Norman Conquest and the Domesday Book records Shaftesbury Abbey as holding the Manor of Euwenmynstre when the population was around 200. There is clear evidence of a long standing – even ancient – history of this community but accurate records are more recent.
There are many fine Architectural features to be found in the village, notably Clayesmore School and the 12th Century Church of St. Mary’s.
The present Clayesmore School for example was once the Estate Manor house built by Lord Wolverton in 1878 (designed by Alfred Waterhouse, an eminent Architect of his time) and the estate passed to James Ismay in 1908.
Ismay was a great benefactor to the village and during the first World War he organised food production and also distributed news of the conflict. He later built a fine structure of brick and stone for the display of news sheets, still known as the War Office and still used for display of public notices today.
The estate was sold following Ismay’s death in 1930 and the Manor House became Clayesmore School providing extensive facilities for boarding and day pupils and forming an integral part of the village.
The well fitted sports hall facilities and swimming pool are available for the use of local people.
Most of the village is within a Conservation Area containing eight separate sites of Archaeological Importance, seven Important Open Wooded Areas (IOWA’S) and 57 listed properties.
There are further small settlements forming part of the parish to the East, along Tower Hill as far
as the C13 road, to the South as far as, and including Oyle’s Mill and Park Farm and to the North