• Durotriges: Ancient tribal area based around the current UK county of Dorset
Jan 2014
Durotriges

Abbotsbury

Village

Abbotsbury Hill and Chesil Bank
Abbotsbury, Market Street
Postcard post 1930s

ABBOTSBURY is a large village and parish, near the West Fleet and the sea, 9 miles south-west from Dorchester, 9 north-west from Weymouth, and 130 from London, in the Dorchester petty sessional division, Uggescombe hundred, Weymouth union and county court district, diocese of Salisbury, archdeaconry of Dorset, and rural deanery of Bridport; it is pleasantly situated in a deep valley, open to the sea at the south-west, and sheltered by lofty hills to the
north.

This place is of great antiquity; Canute, the Danish king, gave it, together with several others, to Orc, his favourite steward : in early ages Bertulf had built a church here which he dedicated to St. Peter; that having gone to decay, Orc founded a monastery in the year 1044, and filled it with monks from Cerne Abbey; he also endowed it with eight of the neighbouring manors: the abbey stood on rising ground south of the village; the ruins of the gateway still remain in tolerable preservation: near this gateway is a gable covered with ivy, supposed to be part of the ruins of a mansion built on the site of, and out of the remains of the abbey, by Sir Giles Strangeways, and where he resided: the conventaal church, traces of which still exist, stood a little to the north of the abbey: the old tithe-barn of the monastery is still in good preservation; it is 105 yards in length, with large porch and buttresses on the north side; adjoining thereto is an hexagonal tower.

On an eminence south-west of the village are situated the ruins of St. Catherine's Chapel, supposed to have been erected in the reign of Edward IV; it is of stone, strengthened by buttresses on the north and south sides; at the north-west angle is a tower; the roof is finely arched. and a few of the ornaments still remain.: from its altitude it  serves for a land and sea mark, being visible at a great distance.

Land of the Belgae in Britain 1717
Abbotsbury
Postcard

Here are chapels for the Congregationalists and Primitive Methodists. Henry VIII granted the manor to Sir Giles Strangeways, knt., and it was confirmed by Elizabeth, with the fishery, water, and soil of East Fleet, also the swannery and site of tbe monastery of West Fleet ; from this family it descended to the Earl of Ilchester, P.C., who resides at Abbotsbury Castle. a Gothic residence, commanding a beautiful view of the West Bay. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the mackerel fishery and agriculture. The area is 5,127 acres, of which 545 are water; gross estimated rental, £5,445; rateable value, £4,860; the population in 1871 was 1,065.

LOCATION

WGS84 50-39-59N 002-36-01W
OSGB SY(3)57657 (0)85363: 50k Sheet 194

Note: Certain browser and security restrictions may not permit the following location display.

Abbotsbury Village

Abbotsbury Village
Abbotsbury, Market Street
Postcard post 1930s

The church of St. Nicholas is a very ancient Gothic fabric: it has a fine square embattled tower, 5 bells, and antique porch: over the westem door is a curious figure, emblematic of the Trinity - an old man in a sitting posture, with a crucifix between his knees and a dove at his right ear: on the north side the windows are Gothic, the walls being surmounted by pinnacles; the windows on the south side are Debased English, 1660: the interior consists of a chancel, nave, and aisles, separated by piers and pointed arches ; it has an antique font: the sittings are of pannelled oak: in the pulpit, which is beautifully carved, are two holes from bullets, said to have been fired in at the windows by Cromwell's soldiers; here is also an organ : in the chancel is a handsome oak altar-piece, having the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and Ten Commandments, in gold 1etters on a black ground ; the remains of Orc, the founder, are deposited under this chancel.

In the graveyard is a large stone coffin, dug out of the ruins of the abbey, but whose remains it contained is unknown. The registers date from the year 1574 christenings, 1567 marriages and burials. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £140, with residence, in the gift of the Earl of Ilchester, and held by the Rev. George Harry Penny. Parochial schools and a master's residence were erected by the late Earl of Ilchester, at a cost of above £1,500. Charities producing £18 10s. yearly are distributed in money.

Cronology


939 Five hides of land at Abbedesburi granted to thegn Sigewulf.
1044 Orc founded St Peter's Benedictine monastry
1539 Monastery disolved
1539 Estate purchased by Strangeway family.
1644 Royalists destroy Manor House in scurmish.
1645
1885 Upwey to Abbottsbury branch railway opened .
1900
1930
1952 Abbotsley Branch railway closed

PLACES
Abbotsbury Sub-tropical Garden

Subtropical Garden

Established in 1765 by the first Countess of Ilchester as a kitchen garden it is now an evolving site within this microclimatic costal valley

The New Inn has been renamed the Fox Inn

Station

A branch line from Upwey opened in 1885. Laterly operated by the GWR until nationalisation and the line closed in 1952.

PEOPLE
Orc

Orc

(c1040) Orc founded the Benedictine Monastry - the Abbey of St Peter at Abbotsbury - c1044 with the help of his wife Thola.

It was on lands in Dorset given to him whilst a housecarle - privileged military retainer - of Canute (Cut), the King of Denmark, England and Norway prior to his death at Shaftesbury in 1035.

Swannery

Abbotsbury Swannery

Nearly a mile to the south of the village is the swannery, decoy and keeper's house, where as many as 1,200 swans are kept, together with all kinds of wild fowl.

St Catherine's Chapel

Abbotsbury, St Catherine's Chapel

On an eminence south-west of the village are situated the ruins of St. Catherine's Chapel, supposed to have been erected in the reign of Edward IV; it is of stone, strengthened by buttresses on the north and south sides; at the north-west angle is a tower; the roof is finely arched. and a few of the ornaments still remain.: from its altitude it†serves for a land and sea mark, being visible at a great distance.

Beaminster

A market and administrative town at the head of the River Brit whose existence is known from the seventh century.

Tunnel

Horn Hill Tunnel, Beaminster

The 1832 tunnel suffered landslip damage on 7 Jul 2012. Sadly it resulted in two fatalities.

ROADS

Bridport First Division Turnpike Trust

Formed under the 1764 Act it ran through Charminster, Chideock and Bridport with an extension to Bridport Harbour.

PARISH
The New Inn has been renamed the Fox Inn

Corscombe

A parish of 5000 acres, in the union and hundred of Beaminster, Bridport division of Dorset, 3½ miles (N. E.) from Beaminster.

Beaminster

Beaminster

A market and administrative town at the head of the River Brit whose existence is known from the seventh century.

PARISH
The New Inn has been renamed the Fox Inn

Corscombe

A parish of 5000 acres, in the union and hundred of Beaminster, Bridport division of Dorset, 3½ miles (N. E.) from Beaminster.

ROADS

Bridport First Division Turnpike Trust

Formed under the 1764 Act it ran through Charminser, Chideock and Bridport with an extension to Bridport Harbour.

Beaminster

A market and administrative town at the head of the River Brit whose existence is known from the seventh century.

PARISH

Beaminster

A market and administrative town at the head of the River Brit whose existence is known from the seventh century.

Bibliography

Camden, William, "Britannia 1607" English translation by Philemon Holland. The Philological Museum, University of Birmingham. 2004: Last accessed 18 May 2008 <http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/cambrit/dorseteng.html>
Good, Ronald. "The Old Roads of Dorset", Bournemouth, Horrace G. Commin Ltd, 1966
Eedle, Marie de G., "Horn Hill Tunnel", Bridport, Eedle, 1994

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