At a meeting in the Reading Rooms, Milton Abbas, on Tuesday 24 January we were very privileged to hear from Clare Randall, archaeologist, and from Liz Selby, Director of Dorset Museum.
The museum is trying to save this important and unique Anglo-Saxon gold and rock crystal treasure found in Milton Abbas for the nation and display it in Dorchester.
This single Anglo-Saxon find dated to the 6th or 7th centuries AD, and probably in a female grave, shows that MIlton Abbas was a high status and important place before the foundation of the monastery in 934. This is the first and only evidence we have so far, and will rewrite the history of Dorset at this time.
Because it is so important I have written up extensive Notes of the Meeting These are available on the Members Section of this website.
Thank you to all our members who have made a donation. We are awaiting news of cheques from two local organisations: Milton Abbas Trust for Community and Heritage, and Milton Abbas Street Fair Trust, both registered charities.
This famous and early grammar school was founded by Abbot Walter Myddelton who endowed the school with land at Little Mayne Farm. There was sufficient income to make it a free school for local people. The trustees of the school were the nobility of Dorset.
One of our transcribers is working on the leases which the trustees made with tenants to farm Little Mayne. These show that the trustees were diligent and did not neglect their duties during the 18th century, despite the claims of the Lord of the Manor, Joseph Damer, Lord Milton, who was trying to move the school off his land.
In a lease of 1754 which has just been transcribed the trustees are well known Dorset names:
Sir Gerald Napier of More Crichel
Sir William Hanham of Deans Court
George Chafin of Chettle
John Bankes of Kingston Hall
Robert Browne of Frampton
Richard Bingham of Melcombe Bingham
Charles Brune of Plumber
Edward Berkeley of Winfrith Newburgh
Thomas Gundrey of Dewlish
We have more leases to transcribe. If you interested in helping us please get in touch here.
One of our members has kindly donated this book, and it had been added to our library, click here to see a list of our books.
The information will be informing our World War I research group who are preparing the writing up of the involvement of Milton Abbas people in the war. They will be meeting 16 Jan 2023 to review progress towards publication.
This article is from the Dorset Museum, thanks to them for allowing us to publish it.
They are coordinating the fund raising effort to achieve the £10 000 required to get this unique and interesting object to the Dorset Museum for all to see, and they are well on the way to achieving this target, and there are only a few hundred pounds donations left to go.
This pendant is so important to the history of Milton Abbas because of the general lack of evidence of Anglo-Saxon occupation – we know they were here – there is a Benedictine abbey to prove it, but very little else. It is archaeologically important – if it came from an Anglo-Saxon grave that could result in excavation and maybe further information
We hope members of the Milton Abbas Local History Group and other local people can do some fund raising to achieve this.
Please contact us here if you can help with our fundraising efforts.
This is a snippet from a court roll for the manor of Sydling St Nicholas which was then held by Milton Abbey. This one is dated 11 Jul in the 8th year of the reign of Richard II which can be read in the top line.
We have a great deal of information about the manors and the tenants of Milton Abbey in the 14th century, but if we could translate some of these court rolls we would have a much fuller picture of what life was like for the tenants and servants of our Benedictine abbey.
Former headmaster Ron Karley has written up the school diary. He has very kindly donated a copy of this 280 A4 page, lavishly colour illustrated tome to the Milton Abbas Local History Group. This has been added to our Records and will be located with our other archives in a secure location. Members of the public can buy copies at cost for £15 from Ron Karley. Use the contact form on this website for enquiries.
If only others would write up their diaries then historians now and in the future would be much better placed to understand past lives.
The Milton Abbas Local History Group has been a member of BALH since January 2022. The link to their website together with the member’s discount code has been at the head of all 10 issues of the member Newsletter this year. Group membership runs out 1 Jan 2023.
It is up to MALHG members to explore the BALH site and get the best out of it. Of particular use and importance for local history research are the publications ‘Local History News’ and ‘The Local Historian’. Previous issues can be searched and downloaded as searchable pdfs. New books are reviewed.
We also recommend the webinars, conferences and blogs.
The great benefit to our history group is the indemnity insurance which is provided as part of the benefits of membership.
Are you interested in exploring old documents?
You can help us by transcribing documents and audio recordings. We already have transcribers around the world who are working on Churchwardens Books and Overseers of the Poor Books. The pages are shared using Google docs, although MyAirBridge, One Drive or Dropbox is also possible.
Although we are a local history group, we are carrying out family and social history research to see how the ordinary people lived, how they were treated, their economic fortunes, religious beliefs, health, demographics, etc. We are particularly interested in the mobility of families in the 18th century.