Update Feb 2019


  • Peggy Fifield has donated the diary of Samuel Crane 1746 – 1815 Dorset Farmer to our library.
  • Clive Barnes has found the survey D-3037/1 at the Dorset History Centre that goes with William Jennings map of Hilton Manor 1806. This is a great find as we will be able to identify some of the tenants of each of the properties in The Street. We have received a digital copy from DHC for £30..
  • Bryan Phillips has transcribed the wills of Roger Woolfrey 1759 and John Woolfrey 1780
  • Shirley Chick has sent us her partial transcription of the Administration of Elizabeth Pistle 1672, wrongly catalogued by Ancestry as Elizabeth Kistle 1872. It is partly in Latin. Bryan Phillips is editing.
  • It has just been announced that Find My Past have just got the contract for putting the 1921 Census online. It will be available in Jan 2022.


  • Meeting 25 Feb decided on publication of research.

Old Town Project

  • Transcription of the Overseers of the Poor Book 2. Peter G Arnold has completed transcribing pages 50 – 59. Thanks to John O’Quinn we are about to complete pages 1 – 169, or 78% of the book which takes us from 1798 through to 1815.


  • Welcome to Vanessa Marshal, who is a new member, who will be joining us on our Old Town tour.
  • We have made many contacts since the broadcast of Pubs, Ponds and Power.
  • Steve and Hilary Barnes have many ancestors from the Old Town including GOVER, WHIFFEN, DAW and VACHER. We are hoping they will send us some information on their family history research.
  • Sarah Massey has SHEPARD ancestors and has offered to transcribe.
  • Susan Barbour’s uncle was Charles John COLLIS, vicar of Milton Abbas 1938 – 1960, her photo purporting to be the vicarage is not any building in Milton Abbas.
  • Lynn Lake has MABEY and AYLES ancestors from Milton Abbas.
  • Michael Sandover has transcribed the Settlement Examination of William LANE, shepard, who had two children baptized in Milton Abbas in 1771 and 1773.
  • Andrew Woolfry has WOOLFRY ancestors from 18th century Milton Abbas who are on Woodward’s 1770 Survey and there is a tombstone in the Abbey.
  • Vanessa Marshall also has WOOLFRY ancestors and may join the group.
  • We were contacted by Leanne Newman who is researching the life and work of Madeline Agar, 1874-1967 who was one of the first professional lady landscape designers in the country. In the list of her designs commissions, she mentions being in contact with Mr Kirby Hewlett of the Retreat, Milton Abbas. If any of our members can recall landscape work being done at the Retreat or knew of the Hewletts then please get in touch.
  • We were contacted by Paul Wilcock who used to live at Windsor Cottage in Milton Abbas. He asked if any history on this house is available. Please contact us if anyone has any memories of him.
  • We have been contacted by Ann Schmidt who has Vacher ancestors and is willing to transcribe for us.  She is also interested in becoming a member.


  • David Duncombe-Anderson confirmed 3 Feb 2019 that the History Group has access to a whole cupboard upstairs in the Reading Rooms. Most of Chris Fookes’ archive is now stored there, along with the rest of our items.


  • After a lull in the number of views in Dec and early Jan, visits have picked up to their usual level. Following the national broadcast of ‘Pubs, Ponds and Power’, our website had a record of 500 views in the week of 28 Jan – 3 Feb.
  • Don’t forget to “follow” our website. You will then get an email update every time something new is posted. The “follow” button is on the middle of the right hand side of any page.


  • Our page now has 75 members.

2019 Abbey Exhibition – 500 Years of the Benedictines

  • A further meeting with MAHT representatives took place. Bryan Phillips has written  about 12 000 words so far. The exhibition in the Abbey will now take place in 2020. This year Athelstan’s Dream Exhibition is planned to be re-exhibited in the south transept.