Milton Abbas shown within Dorset
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
Milton Abbas is a village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in South West England. It lies in the North Dorset administrative district, approximately 7 miles (11 km) south-west of the market town of Blandford Forum and 11 miles (18 km) north-east of Dorchester. In the 2011 Census the population of the parish was 755. 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 adjacent market town, 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.
The village 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 now redundant school building, 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.
18th Century Street Fair
Every 2 years the present villagers recreate their historic country fair to celebrate the rebuilding of the present village over 225 years ago. The fair attracts thousands of visitors and has become one of Dorset's key Summer events. The main street is closed to traffic, and residents and stall holders dress in 18th century costume. The day includes traditional music and dancing, local crafts people, stalls & demonstrations, a Dorset farmers' market, children's entertainment, Morris dancing, local food and ale and more.
- "Neighbourhood Statistics. Area: Milton Abbas (Parish). Key figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Milton Abbey School
- Census data
- The old town of Middleton or Milton, and its destruction by Joseph Damer to create a large park
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