IRENE JONES was a teacher at St. Gregory’s School, Marnhull, who settled in Stalbridge. Once retired, she became absorbed in the history of Stalbridge and entered for the Mansell-Pleydell Essay Competition, a long-standing competition for original research into an aspect of Dorset history. Her essay ‘The Stalbridge Estate 1780–1854’ won first prize in 1993, which she went on to publish as The Stalbridge Inheritance 1780-1854. At the same time she continued systematically gathering material for the whole of Stalbridge’s history from its beginnings as a self-sufficient settlement. In all this Irene Jones’s situation was bitterly poignant. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 1988, at first considered treatable but ultimately terminal, and she only  completed the manuscript of this present book in the weeks before her death in 1993.