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Minterne House, south front
Minterne Magna shown within Dorset
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||West Dorset|
Minterne Magna is a village and civil parish in Dorset, England, situated in the West Dorset administrative district on the A352 road halfway between Dorchester and Sherborne. In the 2011 census the parish had a population of 184.
Minterne Magna village is sited near the source of the small River Cerne among the chalk hills of the Dorset Downs. Some of the highest points in Dorset, including Telegraph Hill (267 m) and Dogbury Hill (248 m), are nearby.
Minterne House (set back from the main road along a curved drive) is the ancestral home of the Digby family. Pamela Digby Churchill Harriman, (1920–1997), daughter of Edward Digby, 11th Baron Digby, was raised at the manor house from 1920–1938, and lived there before her marriage to Randolph Churchill in 1939. Jane Digby, the noted adventuress and mistress of Ludwig I of Bavaria, was also raised there along with her brother Edward Digby, 9th Baron Digby. They were the children of Admiral Henry Digby, a senior British naval officer, who served in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in the Royal Navy. It was his wealth that established the original manor house, the bulk of which came from prize money. In 1799 he had been given command of the frigate HMS Alcmene, during which time he captured dozens of small merchant ships and had a hand in seizing the Spanish treasure frigate Santa Brigada with $1,400,000 on board.
Minterne House today is well known for its large woodland-style Rhododendron garden, which runs in an elongated 'u' shape around the slopes of a small spur of land that stretches into the valley floor. Providing shade for the rhododendrons are many mature trees, including more unusual specimens such as Davidia involucrata ('handkerchief tree').
- "Area: MinterneMagna (Parish), Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
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