According to the story in Pentin which has been quoted many times – here is Peter Traskey’s version in his book “Milton Abbey: A Dorset Monastery in the Middle Ages”.
“The plan for the removal of the old town was straightforward — as the tenants’ leases expired or were bought up by Lord Milton, the houses were demolished one by one and Brown’s men came in to level the site and landscape it. The former inhabitants were presumably moved to available houses in the new village. By the late 1770s most of the old town had gone. A small cluster of buildings outside the church wall — the schoolhouse, the George Inn next to it, and across the street the King’s Arms — was all that remained of the Market Place. Two houses, one in High Street and one in Broad Street,were the last of the town. Both belonged to William Harrison, a Blandford lawyer who knew his rights and refused to sell up or be moved. The rest had been sown with lawns and planted with trees.
Above the old town and southwest of the abbey church was the old Abbot’s Pond. It was Lord Milton’s intention to form an ornamental lake below the site of the old town, and one day he had the pond’s sluices opened, releasing the water which then overflowed the narrow stream below and flooded Harrison’s house.This may or may not have been intended to encourage Harrison to sell up, but its effect was that Harrison brought Lord Milton to court and won the case.”
Now this is a good story – unfortunately we can find no documentary evidence for this whatsoever.
We do know from our transcriptions of the Overseers of the Poor and Churchwardens books that John and Luke Harrison leased properties in Milton. They are attorneys and must have been of yeoman class as they have substantial monumental tombs in the adjacent parish of Winterborne Houghton.
However there is no record of a William Harrison, nor of any court case involving Lord Milton and a Harrison.