The best of Dorset in words and pictures

Abbotsbury

Ken Ayres takes his camera to one of Dorset’s most picturesque villages bbotsbury

A
view over the village from Chapel Hill. Abbotsbury’s major buildings
and 2000 acres were bought by Sir Giles Strangways in 1543 and are
still owned by his descendants.

Surviving
the Dissolution because of its usefulness as a sea-mark for sailors, St
Catherine’s Chapel on Chapel Hill is solidly built to support its
tunnel-vaulted roof: the only example of such a vault in stone in the
south of England. It dates from about the same time as the Abbey Barn.

The
world-famous Swannery existed in 1393 and provided the monks with meat
and writing implements. It is still home to anything up to 800 mute
swans.

Looming in the distance above West Street is the Iron Age hillfort, Abbotsbury Castle

One
of the tea rooms in Abbotsbury, which must have more places of
refreshment to the square yard than almost anywhere else in Dorset

The
church of St Nicholas was separate from the monastery and used by the
villagers. Perhaps its most famous feature is the Jacobean pulpit, not
just for its intrinsic merit but because it still bears bullet-holes
dating from the Civil War. Colonel James Strangways defended Abbotsbury
for the King but in 1644, after a fierce battle, the village was taken
by a Parliamentarian force under Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper.

A colourful summer display outside East Farm House

Although a honey-pot for tourists, Abbotsbury is still very much a residential and working village

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