(Thomas Hardy, from his novel ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’). Like many towns in this part of Dorset, you have to be fit as the main street rises up a steep hill! 2. Throughout the history of this nation, there has generally been prosperity, keeping this area consistently well populated. The first known settlement of Dorset was by Mesolithic hunters, who returned to Britain at a time when it was still attached to Europe by a land-bridge, around 12,500 BC. Located in Dorchester is Poundbury Camp, a Roman cemetery that contains over a thousand graves. When the Roman road across Cranborne Chase was rebuilt in the 6th century the Saxons advanced into Dorset. It includes the early history of … [27] The residents of Lyme Regis were staunch Parliamentarians who, in 1644, repelled three attacks by a Royalist army under King Charle's nephew, Prince Maurice. All pages can be accessed on the Map and A-Z Index page. Shaftsbury, Sturminster Marshall, Beamister, Burton Bradstock, Gillingham, Cerne Abbas and Winterbourne Stickland produced a wide variety of materials between them, including sailcloth, linen and even silk. Areas such as Bournemouth and Poole have been especially popular. The next century or so until the Roman conquest saw a long drawn-out period of economic retrenchment in Dorset, in parallel with a rising population and a decline in soil quality (much of it had been in cultivation for 4,000 years). Why not climb the hill above the village of Abbotsbury to the medieval St Catherine’s Chapel where young women would go to pray for a husband. Then take time to visit one (or perhaps more!) Many of the historic houses in Dorset are said to have a ghostly past…..do you dare to visit? Published by Penguin Books 1972. However, this etymology is unsound, based on the Welsh word dwr meaning water; however the earlier form of the word was dwfr, which suggests an Ancient British ancestor-word *dubro-, not *duro- (this form of the word is preserved in the place-name Dover). Its archaeology documents much of the history of southern England. Centre for the History of People, Place and Community, Bibliography of British and Irish History. [24], From the Tudor to Georgian periods farming specialised and the monastic estates broke up, leading to an increase in population and settlement size. In 1974 the political boundaries of Dorset were modified, incorporating a small area of south west Hampshire which included the towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. [11] Roman roads radiated from Dorchester, following the tops of the chalk ridges north west to Ilchester near Yeovil, and east to Badbury Rings where it forked to Winchester, Bath and a particularly well-preserved route running north east to Old Sarum near Salisbury, as well as tracks to the many small Roman villages around the county. Dorset was initially part of Saxon Wessex, with the first record of Dorset being in 841. King Ethelred I (866-871) is buried at Wimborne, while St Cuthberga, abbess of Wimborne, died in 725. The Institute of Historical Research (IHR)Senate HouseMalet StreetLondon WC1E 7HU. Picturesque Sherborne Castle and Gardens © Richie's Incredible Britain, Know Before You Go - Covid-19 information, Dorsets Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Romans record the name of the native British tribe that lived in Dorset as the Durotriges, who were also the tribe of much of Somerset and possibly the New Forest. Dorset is the perfect place to travel back through centuries to explore fascinating architecture and artefacts with an eclectic range of castles, country houses and forts. The Cerne Abbas Giant is an ancient chalk hill figure which is visible for miles around. series ‘Harbour Lights’ is filmed. The population was very small, maybe only a few thousand across the whole of Britain, and concentrated along the coast: in Dorset, such places as the Isle of Purbeck, Weymouth, Chesil Beach and Hengistbury Head, and along the Stour valley. [16][17] Many monasteries were also established, which were important landowners and centres of power. Bridport rope was also purchased in large quantities by the Royal Navy. ][Also available at: Internet Archive - Text Archive.] The awe-inspiring, dramatic Jurassic Coast tells a mighty tale of bygone eras when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Notable resources from Dorset include cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry as well as peas, wheat, beans, oats, kale and barley. The Swanage Railway has been reopened as a heritage railway. Dorset is a rural county in south west England. For full access to all volumes, check your local library catalogue or your local archive. [18], A number of military events took place in Dorset during The Anarchy of the 12th century, and this gave rise to the defensive castles at Corfe Castle, Powerstock, Wareham and Shaftesbury. "Cheddar Man is my long-lost relative", By Sean O'Neill. All Rights Reserved. A smaller force of 2,000 or so regrouped on Hambledon Hill and were again routed. Creator and writer, Chris Chibnall, wrote Broadchurch as a love letter to the Jurassic Coast and it’s easy to see why. There were also a number of small branchlines, closed in the Beeching axe, such as those to Bridport and Swanage. This covered the part of Wessex "west of Selwood". Since the early 19th century, when George III took holidays in Weymouth while ill, Dorset's tourism industry has grown, with the seaside resorts of Bournemouth and Weymouth, the Jurassic Coast and the county's sparsely populated rural areas attracting millions of visitors each year. Ecclesiastical History. In 1348 the Black Death came to England, probably landing in ports along the south coast, including Melcombe Regis now part of Weymouth. The region now considered Dorset, was settled around 8000BC giving this area an extremely rich history. [22] In order to provide the extra food required, additional land was enclosed for farming during this time. [22] The quarrying of Purbeck Marble, a limestone that can be polished, brought wealth into the county and provided employment for stonecutters and masons. All rights reserved. Find out more here. Indeed, many contemporary theories postulate that hillforts may not have been the main focus of settlement, but served more as a marketplace-cum-stronghold in times of danger, and in fact most of the time, the population was concentrated in the valleys. The farming economy, however, provided the spark for the Trade Union movement when, in the 1820s a group of farm labourers formed one of the first unions. However, after Armorica was conquered by Julius Caesar in 56 BC, the trade dried up; the Romans re-arranged trade with Britain to the profit of their allies, the Trinovantes, in Essex. The Dissolution of the Monasteries closed the abbeys at Sherborne, Shaftesbury, Milton Abbas, Abbotsbury and Cerne Abbas, though both Sherborne and Milton abbeys were saved from destruction. Dorset boasts visitors in the range of millions each year, causing much of the local economy to switch from agricultural based business to tourist-focused industries such as resorts, bed and breakfasts, and restaurants. The Tolpuddle Martyrs were deported from Dorchester to Australia in 1834 following their attempts to form a trade union. It is said that while writing “Persuasion” Jane Austen was a frequent visitor of this area. Use this tool to build your own journey or choose from an exciting range of specially selected tours. This suggests that when a wave of immigrant farmers arrived from the continent in the Neolithic, the indigenous hunter-gatherers were not wiped out, but instead most likely adopted agricultural practices. The chalk downs were largely deforested during these times, making way for field and pasture. This is the home page for the Victoria County History of Dorset. Many travelers’ information sites recommend recycling whenever possible to reduce your waste and to try to eat locally produced foods during your stay. With farming declining across the country tourism now rivals agriculture as the main economy of the county. Dorset History Centre offers an exhibit including hundreds of scanned postcards photographs, and posters featuring Dorset during the early 1900’s. © 2019, University of London. Two volumes of the Victoria County History of Dorset have been published. Museums However Dorchester is perhaps better known for its part in the following two events in history. A popular attraction of Dorset is the breathtaking Jurassic Coast.