Today it is a dour village with church and churchyard dominating the main street. Caundle is a Celtic word, a name given to the chain of hills which look from Dorset toward Somerset. In Domesday Book it is recorded as Candel. In the 13th century it became Caundel Episcopi. The Episcopal owner of the land at the time was the Bishop of Sarum.
The church of St. Peter and St. Paul has a 15th century tower and a nave of the same date which was partially rebuilt in 1864. The chancel is a good example of high Victorian taste - carved stone reredos and elaborate candle-holder are probably the best bits.
Purse Caundle is a village which always seems at peace with itself. At its center is a 15th century church and a beautiful Manor House. In 1241 the village was called Purscaundel, Purse being the old English word for priest.
One of Purse Caundle's sons was Peter Mews. This romantic figure of the Civil Wars was an undergraduate and a soldier of Charles. Always in the thick of battle, he received about 30 wounds. He was taken prisoner, became a fugitive and a royalist agent in Holland. He was a master of disguises and was nearly hanged. Ordained, he became Bishop of Winchester in 1684, at the age of 66 years. When the Duke of Monmouth started his revolt, he went back to war and, in victory, pleaded for clemency for the rebel.
Hithe Paradise is the name of a field in Stourton Caundle - and very aptly named because this delightful village has a clear stream running past its thatched cottages. This Caundle takes its name from the Stourtons who lived here long ago in a castle long since gone. Only the chapel survived and that does duty as a farm building.