This very handsome Victorian semi-detached property replaced one of the original 1780 cob and thatch cottages, probably when the latter burnt down or fell down.
The right hand house was once the location of the village bus service to Blandford and Dorchester. The bus was parked up the drive, there was a petrol pump here, complete with tank and piping.
Kelly’s Directory for 1939 records: Carriers.–Sidney Harmer, with motor omnibus, to
Blandford, tues. & thurs.; to Dorchester, daily (except thurs).
In 1923 the carriers are listed in Kelly’s as Robert Lovell and Andrew Bolt.
Before motorised transport this property housed the horse and cart and stabling is evident at the rear of the building.
Our history group were given a presentation and a guided tour by the Cerne Abbas Historical Society. This was followed by dinner in the Giant Inn.
We were lucky to be given this 120 foolscap page typescript by the author himself, Sir Mervyn Medlycott. It is his last remaining sixth copy. If anyone remembers carbon copies they will be aware that the quality of the copies decreases with the number of copies. However it is readable and I have the task of transcribing it. Only 30 more pages to go!
What a great day we had – thanks to the Dorset weather it was a beautiful sunny day; thanks to Debra and Chris Wood for coming all the way from British Columbia to visit Milton Abbas; thanks to Helier Exon for his guided tour of the Abbey and thanks to Ann and Chris Fookes for their hospitality.
Here is Chris Fookes signing a copy of his book on Milton Abbas.
This is the first piece of evidence for a Pauper’s House in the new village of Milton Abbas. From the Overseers of the Poor book page dated April 1786. This is in addition of course to the Almshouses for “6 poor widows” which had been moved brick by brick from the old town to the new.
“Paid 1 Years Rent for the Houses in the New Town where the paupers reside and particulars agreed at a Vestry Meeting 4 Oct 1784 £9 9s 4d.”
This annual rent was of course paid to Joseph Damer, Lord Milton, who had the new village built out of his sight. We have a picture of these houses which were next to the building which is now the Hambro Arms. This is on the front cover of Chris Fookes’ Guide Book.
Thanks to Chris Wood for the transcription.
Despite the dreadful weather plenty of people turned out, and many took an interest in our history group stand. Thanks to the great British public. All the volunteers on our stand were in 18th century costume, which added to the sense of history.
Many visitors learned for the first time of the removal of the old town in the late 18th century.
We were visited by others who had ancestors from Milton Abbas.
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
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.