Yetminster High Street in 2001
Yetminster shown within Dorset
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||West Dorset|
Yetminster is a village and civil parish in the English county of Dorset. It lies within the West Dorset administrative district, approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) south-west of the town of Sherborne. It is sited on the River Wriggle, a tributary of the River Yeo, and is built almost entirely of honey-coloured limestone, which gives the village an appearance reminiscent of Cotswold villages. Many of the houses date back to the 17th century. Writing in 1905 Sir Frederick Treves described the village as "probably the most consistent old-world village or townlet in the county". The village has a population of 1,095 (As of 2001[update]).
Yetminster Fair has a claim to be one of the oldest street fairs in Dorset, having been started in the 13th century under a charter granted to the Bishop of Salisbury for a fair 'to be held in his manor of Yetminster'. There was a gap after the 1947 fair until it was restarted in 1975, and now it is firmly established on the second Saturday in July - often culminating in a performance by The Yetties, a folk group who originate from the village. The fair is not only one of the oldest but one of the biggest fairs in the Wessex area.
Yetminster was the birthplace of Benjamin Jesty (c.1736-1816), a farmer who lived in the village for much of his life, who is notable for his early experiment in inducing immunity against smallpox using deliberate inoculation with the less virulent cowpox. Unlike Edward Jenner, a medical doctor who is given broad credit for developing the smallpox vaccine in 1796, Jesty did not publicise his findings, even though they were made some twenty years earlier in 1774. Only two people pre-dated Jesty's work. There is a blue plaque commemorating Jesty's pioneering work at Upbury Farm, near to the church.
Robert Boyle, pioneer of modern chemistry who is best known for Boyle's Law, left an endowment for the provision of a school for poor boys in the district; the building was constructed in 1697 and functioned as a school between 1711 and 1945.
Yetminster does not lie on a main road and experiences mostly local traffic. It has its own railway station (on the Heart of Wessex Line), which is sited close to the village centre. St Andrews Church has a 300 year old faceless clock which chimes the national anthem every three hours. As well as the expected local store and pub, Yetminster still possesses a variety of village amenities and services, including a GP surgery and health centre, and a sports/social club with playing grounds and tennis court.
- Treves, Sir F., Highways and Byways in Dorset, Macmillan, 1905, p321
- J. R Smith. ""Jesty, Benjamin (bap. 1736, d. 1816)", rev.,". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
- William Schupbach. ""Great strength of mind" in a rediscovered portrait". Wellcome Trust. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
- *Peter C. Plett: Peter Plett und die übrigen Entdecker der Kuhpockenimpfung vor Edward Jenner. In: Sudhoffs Archiv, Zeitschrift für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Band 90, Heft 2, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, 2006, S. 219-232 (ISSN 0039-4564)
- Hopkins, Donald R. (2002). The Greatest Killer: Smallpox in History. University of Chicago Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-226-35168-8.
- "Yetminster". imagesofdorset.org.uk. 2002. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
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