Milton-Abbas (St. Mary and St. Sampson)

MILTON-ABBAS (St. Mary and St. Sampson), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Blandford, hundred of Whiteway, Blandford division of Dorset, 7 miles (S. W. by W.) from Blandford; containing 833 inhabitants. The present appellation of this place is a contraction of its ancient name of Middleton, implying its central situation in the county; the adjunct is derived from its lords, the abbots. A Benedictine monastery was founded here, in the year 933, by King Athelstan, and dedicated to the honour of St. Mary, St. Michael, St. Sampson, and St. Branwalader; the revenue at the Dissolution was valued at £720. 4. 1. The conventual buildings, with the exception of the ancient hall, were taken down in 1771, and replaced by the present splendid mansion called Milton Abbey, erected from a design by Sir William Chambers, in the later English style. An old chapel here, dedicated to St. Catherine, has long been desecrated. In 1658 the upper part of the town was destroyed by fire, and a brief was granted for rebuilding it in 1661. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10; net income, £127; patron and impropriator, Mrs. Damer. The abbey church, which stood northward of the abbey, was destroyed by lightning on September 2nd, 1309, but was handsomely rebuilt, with the exception of the nave, in the reign of Edward II., and is now used as the private chapel of the Damer family. The present parish church was built at the expense of the first earl of Dorchester. An almshouse for six persons was founded and endowed by John Tregonwell, Esq., in 1647.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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