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Milton Abbas, Dorset

Historical Description

Milton Abbas, a village and a parish in Dorsetshire. The village stands along a steep road, between two wooded hills, adjacent to an affluent of the river Puddle, 6 miles SW by W of Blandford station on the Somerset and Dorset railway. It was originally called Middleton, and took the latter part of its name from a neighbouring Benedictine abbey. It was once a market-town; underwent reconstruction by the first Earl of Dorchester; consists of two rows of symmetrical cottages, with church, almshouse, and good inn; presents a tidy and pretty appearance; and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Blandford. Acreage of the civil parish, 4880; population, 728; of the ecclesiastical, 787. A Benedictine abbey was founded here after 938 by King Athelstan; went at the dissolution to Sir John Tregonwell; and, with the exception of the hall and the church, was taken down in 1771 to give place to Milton Abbey, the present seat of the Hambro family. This seat was designed by Sir William Chambers; is a large quadrangular mansion with a central court; consists of white limestone, alternating in parts with layers of flint; presents principal fronts to the N and the W; includes the Abbot's hall, of date 1498; and stands on a natural terrace, at the convergence of three deep vales, under an amphitheatre of wooded heights. The abbey church is of the time of Edward II.; succeeded a previous church, destroyed by lightning; consists of transept, aisled" chancel, and tower; contains a rich altar-screen of 1492, finely carved stalls, three canopied sedilia, a unique specimen of an old English " spire " or sacrament house, two rude old paintings supposed to represent Athelstan and his mother, an " Easter Sepulchre" tomb to Sir John Tregonwell, a monument of 1775 by Carlini to Lord and Lady Milton, a Jesse window of 1849 by Pugin, and a marble font by Prof. Jerichan, pupil of Thorwaldsen. It underwent restoration in 1863, under the superintendence of Scott of London, at a cost of about £4500. An old chapel, dedicated to St Catherine, stands on a hill E of the abbey. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury; value, £150 with residence. The village church was rebuilt by the first Earl of Dorchester, has a pinnacled tower, and was thoroughly restored and enlarged in 1889. There are a Wesleyan chapel, almshouses, a reading-room with library, and a cottage hospital endowed by the late Baron Hambro.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDorsetshire 
DioceseBristol1542 - 1836
DioceseSalisbury1836 -
Ecclesiastical parishMilton-Abbas St. Mary and St. Sampson 
Poor Law unionBlandford1835 -
Registration districtBlandford 
Registration sub-districtMilton Abbas 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Milton Abbey, 1559-1812 is online.

Civil Registration

Milton Abbas was in Blandford Registration District from 1837 to 1956 and Poole Registration District from 1956 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Milton Abbas from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Dorset is available to browse.


Online maps of Milton Abbas are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the Dorset County Chronicle and the Sherborne Mercury online.

Villages, Hamlets, &c


Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Dorset, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.

DistrictNorth Dorset
RegionSouth West
Postal districtDT11
Post TownBlandford Forum