Moonfleet Manor Hotel
Fleet shown within Dorset
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||West Dorset|
Fleet is a small, scattered village and civil parish in south Dorset, England, situated in the West Dorset administrative district approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) west of Weymouth. The village consists of several small settlements—East Fleet, West Fleet, Fleet House and Fleet Common—which are sited on or close to the shore of The Fleet, a brackish lagoon behind Chesil Beach. The name 'Fleet' derives from fleot, Old English for an inlet or estuary. Dorset County Council estimate that in 2013 the population of the civil parish was 60.
On 24 November 1824 strong winds and a storm surge caused waves to breach Chesil Beach, and many of the buildings in the village were destroyed. Seventy-three years later an old man of the village described the events he had witnessed on that day as a boy:
"At six o'-clock on the morning of the 23rd I was standing with other boys by the gate near the cattle pound when I saw, rushing up the valley, the tidal wave, driven by a hurricane and bearing upon its crest a whole haystack and other debris from the fields below. We ran for our lives to Chickerell, and when we returned found that five houses had been swept away and the church was in ruins."
A new church was built a short distance inland and only the chancel of the old one stands today.
J. Meade Falkner's smuggling novel Moonfleet is set in the village. There is a brass memorial to Falkner in the old church, together with early 17th-century brass plate memorials to members of the family whose name—Mohun—was used in the novel.
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