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Milton Abbas

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Milton Abbas
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Milton Abbey

Milton Abbas is a village in Dorset in the south-west of England, approximately seven miles south-west of the market town of Blandford Forum and 11 miles north-east of Dorchester. The village has a population of 766 (2001). The village is sometimes considered the first planned settlement in England.

In 1780, Joseph Damer, Lord Milton, the first Earl of Dorchester and owner of Milton Abbey, decided that the nearby village, Middleton, was disturbing his vision of rural peace. He commissioned architect Sir William Chambers and landscape gardener Capability Brown (both of whom had already worked on the Abbey building and grounds) to design a new village, Milton Abbas, in a wooded valley (Luccombe Bottom) to the south of the Abbey. Most of the existing villagers were relocated here, and the previous village was demolished and the site landscaped (most of the old settlement now lies under an ornamental lake).

Today, Milton Abbas features on many picture postcards of rural Dorset. The 36 quaint white-washed and thatched cottages are each fronted by a lawn; originally, a chestnut tree was planted between each dwelling, but, aged and ravaged by disease, the trees were removed in 1953. The village has expanded to 256 dwellings since it was founded.

Some house-names give clues to some of the original inhabitants of the village: baker, blacksmith, brewery, etc. Today, the main street of the original village also features almshouses, a public house (the Hambro Arms), Post Office/shop, a school, a church (designed by James Wyatt) and a Weslyan chapel. Above the eastern end of the valley, the village has been extended with more modern housing and other facilities, including a doctor's surgery.

External links

  • Census data (http://www1.dorsetcc.gov.uk/LIVING/FACTS/Census2001.nsf/6cadf4da179fc19500256663004afece/d5a6084bc6fb0da980256ec5004328aa?OpenDocument)
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