Removals and storage in Cerne Abbas, Dorset
Pitmans offer house removals and commercial removals in Cerne Abbas, Dorset, with specialist packing services for antiques and fine art. Whether it’s a full house move or a single item, within the UK or across Europe, we offer a professional, safe and friendly service with full insurance, giving you peace of mind throughout the process.
Cerne Abbas: A potted history
Cerne Abbas is a village and parish in the Cerne Valley in the Dorset Downs.
Dorset County Council estimates the population in 2013 was 820. In the 2011 census the population of the civil parish, combined with the small neighbouring parish of Upcerne, was 784.
In 2008 it was voted Britain’s Most Desirable Village by estate agent Savills. It is notable as the location of the Cerne Abbas Giant, a chalk figure of a giant naked man on a hillside.
The village of Cerne Abbas grew up around the great Benedictine abbey, Cerne Abbey, which was founded there in AD 987. (Abbas is Medieval Latin for “abbot”). The Domesday survey of 1087 recorded cultivated land for 20 ploughs, with ‘26 villeins and 32 bordars’. For more than 500 years, the abbey dominated the area.
The abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII in 1539 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries and was largely destroyed; a portion of the Abbot’s Porch and Abbey guesthouse remain. St Augustine’s Well, reputedly blessed by the saint, also remains. St Mary’s Church, built by the abbey for the parish in the late 13th century, is in the heart of the parish and retains many original features.
In the centuries after the Dissolution, the village thrived as a small market town. Its wealth was partly generated by brewing, its underground water making it famous for the quality of its beer, which was sold as far away as London and was even exported to the Americas.
At one time, Cerne Abbas had 14 public houses, serving visitors and a population of about 1,500. The availability of water power also gave rise to milling, tanning, silk weaving, glove and hat making and many other small industries.
The coming of the railways in the 19th century bypassed Cerne and the village went into decline. By 1906, the population had halved and many of the houses had fallen into disrepair. In 1919, the village was sold by the Pitt-Rivers estate, which had owned it. The village now has a school, a post office, three remaining historic public houses, tearooms and a number of other shops.
Pevsner says that Abbey Farm House, which was rebuilt after a fire in the 1750s, was formerly the main gateway to the abbey. When rebuilt, the central window of the former gateway projection was given an unusual Gothic Venetian window.
The best known attraction is the Cerne Abbas Giant, a 55-metre (180 ft) naked figure carved into the chalk hillside. The giant, owned by the National Trust, is thought by many to be an Iron Age fertility symbol but, as it is unlikely that the monks of Cerne Abbey would have tolerated such a figure, and with no records before the 17th century, this cannot be confirmed. Many scholars now think that it was created in the mid-17th century, although there is evidence of Iron Age settlement on the downs nearby.
Each June, the Cerne Abbas Open Gardens can attract over a thousand visitors. Other events include horticultural shows, the annual village fete, the Cerne Abbas Music Festival, and the Wessex Morris Men often perform in the village on Bank Holidays. The four-day music festival began in 1990 and hosts classical artists of world renown.
Cerne Abbas features in Thomas Hardy’s Wessex as Abbots Cernel.
And in John Le Carre’s A Murder of Quality, the murder occurs in Carne Abbas in Dorsett.
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