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Beaminster is a market and union town and parish 18 miles west-by-north from Dorchester, 6 north from Bridport station, 6 south from Crewkerne station and 133 by road from London, in the Western division of the county, petty sessional division and county court district of Bridport, hundred of Beaminster Forum, rural deanery of Bridport Beaminster portion, archdeaconry of Dorset, diocese of Salisbury. The town is of considerable antiquity: in "Domesday Book" it is classed amongst lands belonging to the Bishopric of Sarum: it was given in 1091 to Bishop Osmund to augment two of the prebends of his cathedral: it is pleasantly situate in a fertile and beautiful valley, through which runs the river Brit, which issues from several springs about one mile north from the town and flows into the English Channel at Bridport harbour. At East Axe Knoll, one of the highest hills in this county, two rivers take their source -the Axe and the Brit. There are many good residences, and the modern appearance of the town may be attributed to the destruction of the old town by fire, which took place in the civil wars of Charles I. In the parish register it states that "On the 14th of April, 1644, it was all consumed by a terrible fire, except the East streete and part of the Church streete, Prince Maurice and his army lyinge then in the towne:" it was rebuilt with the assistance of Parliament, but again, with the Market house, destroyed by the fire of June 28th, 1684; and again on the 31st of March, 1781, at about 5 a.m. a fire broke out in the back premises of the King's Arms inn, in the Market place, destroying in a few hours the whole of the houses (two only excepted) on the west side of the street leading to the church, also the houses in Church street and Little street. In 1849 Beaminster was separated from the mother-parish of Netherbury, to which it was formerly subject, and made a separate vicarage.
Transcribed from Kelly's Directory of Dorset, 1889