Holloways and Sunken Paths, the Mysterious Ancient Highways

DSC01378 (2015_11_04 12_54_45 UTC)I wonder if these holloways coincide with any parish boundary.

In Milton Abbas our parish boundaries often feature a central pathway flanked by a double bank and ditch, each bank topped with formerly coppiced trees. This photo was taken at Gallows Corner, a spot where five tracks meet and two of them are part of the Parish boundary.

The Dorset Rambler

Holloway

There are thousands of ancient paths criss crossing Dorset’s wonderful countryside but none more fascinating than these labyrinthine paths like the one in the picture above which goes by the interesting name of Hell Lane! These are known as Holloways, although they do have other names such as shutes, bostels or grundles depending on the area they are in, and they are only seen in areas where the bedrock is soft – West Dorset is predominantly sandstone and therefore has many Holloways.

So what are Holloways?

Well the name Holloway comes from the anglo-saxon word which literally means ‘sunken road’, and they date from at least 300 years ago, many going back as far as the iron age. They started life as either drove trails used to move cattle and other animals from farms to markets, routes from inland to the sea ports, pilgrimage routes, or simply boundary ditches. I am not sure…

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Of a once grand abbey, a once thriving village, glorious greenery, and a graveyard

The Dorset Rambler, with thanks.
Some lovely pictures.

The Dorset Rambler

I woke to a glorious sunny morning, eager to get out on the trail again.  I had already decided which walk I wanted to do – it started from the picture postcard village of Milton Abbas.  This is a designer village with one broad main street lined with almost identical houses thanks to Joseph Damer, Lord Milton, owner of Milton Abbey.  In 1780 he decided that the nearby market town of Middleton was spoiling his view so he appointed Sir William Chambers and Capability Brown to design a new village in Luccombe Bottom, just around the corner…….and out of sight!  The result was Milton Abbas.  The old town of Middleton was demolished and the grounds landscaped to form the parkland of his mansion.

Milton AbbasMilton Abbas

It really is a beautiful, pristine village and it was wonderful walking down this street, passing old buildings such as the old bakery, the post office, the church…

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Milton Abbas Street Fair

THE ORIGINS OF THE MILTON ABBAS STREET FAIR
The ancient town of Middleton clustered around the Benedictine Abbey nestling in the Delcombe Valley. King Athelstan, grandson of King Alfred the Great, granted the town a market and a fair.
The fair took place on St Sampson’s Day as St Sampson was the patron saint of the ancient town and Abbey. Lord Damer, Earl of Dorchester, had the village of Middleton removed and rebuilt in the valley of Milton Abbas to make way for his
landscaped estates. Every two years the present villagers recreate their historic country fair to celebrate the rebuilding of the present village over 240 years ago. The fair attracts thousands of visitors and has become one of Dorset’s key events, with something for all the family.

More information on the 2017 Street Fair here

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Milton Abbas in Domesday Book

Middleton

We are very lucky in Milton Abbas because there are entries in both the Great (Exchequer) Domesday and the Exon Domesday. There is rather more information in the latter. both are translated in the Victoria County History for Dorset. The tiny extract above is a facsimile.

Interestingly the first entry under the Abbot of Midletune is for Sydling St Nicholas. This is because it was a larger landholding at 29 hides compared to the home land of 25 hides.

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Visit of King Edward VII to Milton Abbey

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It is rumoured here that King Edward VII brought his mistress to Milton Abbey. Maybe many times. However if he did, it was kept very quiet. Does anyone know which mistress he was with in 1909 when this picture was taken?

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Visit of King Edward VII to Milton Abbey, 1909

IMG_6703 1909 Royal Visit

Here is a view of the beaters for the shoot. does anyone have relatives who were estate workers at Milton Abbey in 1909. It would be good if we could recognise any of these men.

 

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Fanny Burney on Milton Abbey

Fanny Burney on Milton Abbey

Frances Burney – Madam D’Arblay visited Milton Abbey and Milton Abbas in 1791. She was not too impressed by Lord Milton’s new “town”. This is one of the very few contemporary comments. It is a pity that so few diarists mention Milton Abbas.

 

 

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The Tale of Milton Abbas, Richeldis Wansbrough

A Tale of Milton Abbas, Richeldis Wansborough, IMG_20170717_0001Now here’s a useful little book. It is still available if you know where to look.

The references aren’t very good and some of the information may be hearsay.

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Promotion Leaflet

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The Milton Abbas Local History Group promotion leaflet is now available in our local area.

It will be available at our exhibit at the Street Fair.

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Hutchins’ History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset

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Hutchins’ ‘History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset’

Author Rev. John Hutchins, curate at Milton Abbey.

Published in 3 Editions:
1st Ed, 1774, 2 Vols, Milton Abbas Vol 2, pages 430 – 448. 
19 pages
2nd Ed, 1796 – 1815, 4 Vols, Milton Abbas Vol 4, pages 207 – 235, 29 pages
3rd Ed, 1861 – 1873, 4 Vols, Milton Abbas, Vol 4, pages 382 – 413, 32 pages

All 3 editions are available in the Dorset History Centre (DHC).

The 1st edition was photographed from a private collection. The images were manipulated by Rob Curtis in our Workshop.

The 2nd Edition was photographed from the DHC copy.

The 3rd edition is available online as pdf files. 

The copy in the photo above is a facsimile of the 3rd Edition published in 1973. It is in the Dorchester Library.

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