DORSET
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The County of Dorsetshire     OS Map Grid Ref: ST721015

 The County of Dorsetshire

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1:1,000,000
1:500,000

Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth are administratively outside the county of Dorset.

The county is named after the Celtic Iron-using tribe which settled in it, the Dwr y Triges - people near the tidal water - or Durotriges as the Romans called them.

The county in the south-west of England, bounded on the north by Somerset and Wiltshire, on the east by Hampshire, on the south by the English Channel and on the west by Devon. The county town is Dorchester.

The county is well watered by the Frome, Liddon, Stour, Yeo, and other lesser rivers. The Dorset coast is famed for its scenery and is indented by several bays including Lulworth, Poole, Studland and Swanage in the east and the cliffs on the west. The coast includes several unique features such as Poole Harbour, possibly the largest natural harbour in the world, and the world-reknowned Chesil Beach.

The county possesses a number of notable coastal resorts (Lyme Regis, Poole, Swanage and Weymouth) dominated by Bournemouth which developed fom a tiny fishing hamlet in the 20th century.

The soils of the county are fertile, particularly in the Vale of Blackmore, and large numbers of sheep and cattle as well as many crops are raised. The arrival of the railways in the mid-19th century led to a vast expansion of dairy farming.

Freestone and Purbeck marble have been quarried in the county for many centuries.

The principle towns are Bournemouth, Dorchester (the county town), Bridport, Christchurch, Poole, Portland, Sherborne and Weymouth.

Dorset is the Wessex of Thomas Hardy's novels.

Dorset was part of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex and successfully resisted the Danes. It suffered considerably after the Norman conquest but, thereafter, made little impact on the national history.

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DORSET COUNTY COUNCIL
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 Simplified Geology of Dorset  

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circa 701Church thought to have been founded at Wareham, Isle of Purbeck, by St Aldhelm
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789The Reeve at Dorchester killed by the Vikings
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876Wareham attacked and occupied by the Vikings
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by 876Wareham Priory already existed
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877Battle of Swanage Bay; Alfred the Great wins first English naval victory against the Danes
A Danish fleet left Wareham to relieve their comrades besieged at Exeter by King Alfreds forces. Storms drove 120 of the vessels ashore off Perveril Point before the English galleys could intercept them - the earliest known shipwrecks off the Dorset Coast
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978.Mar.18Murder of King Edward the Martyr at Corfe Castle (village) on the Isle of Purbeck by his step-mother, Queen Elfrida to make way for her own son Ethelred
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998Danes sail up the river Frome and raid Dorset (ASC)
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1015Wareham Priory destroyed by Canute\'s forces
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1015Danish fleet under Canute over-winters in Poole Harbour and lays waste to the surroundings
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circa 1094Priory built at Christchurch
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circa 1142.NovEarl Robert seizes the Isle of Portland and Lulworth in Dorset
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1143King Stephen devastates the countryside around Wareham, Dorset
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circa 1150Building of Christchurch Castle, Dorset
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1213King John writes commanding the Sheriff of Dorset to cause ropes, cables and twisted ropes for cordage to be made at Bridport
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1275Bitter dispute between the Constable of Corfe Castle and the Abbot of Cerne about casks of wine washed up on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour
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1307Christchurch in Dorset starts to send 2 MPs to parliament
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1331Mason Adam de Corfe settled in London (lived in Farringdon ward) dies leaving a tenement in East St, Corfe
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1377Part of Poole burnt by French raiders
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1405French and Spanish make combined attack on Poole
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1433Poole made a wool staple
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1453Poole granted the right to hold two annual fairs
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1530Act forbidding sale of hemp from 5 miles about Bridport save in the market, because of competition from Burton Bradstock
1550Refounding of the Free Grammar School of Edward VI at Sherborne, Dorset
Headmaster paid �16 per year
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1562Wimborne Grammar School re-founded under a new grant
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1563Outbreak of the plague at Dorchester
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1567Dorchester\'s school refounded as a grammar school
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1568Charter granted to Poole making it independent of Canford Manor
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1574Census at Poole in Dorset shows it has a population of 1,373
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1576Queen Elizabeth I grants Sir Christopher Hatton Brownsea Castle in Poole Harbour
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1579Outbreak of the plague at Dorchester
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1595Outbreak of the plague at Dorchester
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1597Thomas Hardye of Frampton left land revenues to support a school established 10 years earlier at Dorchester
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1600Nicholas White made common herdsman for the manor at Affpuddle
Acting in same way a shepherd sheep-folded the common flock over the chalk downs
1608Early reference in the manor rolls to use of water-meadows at Affpuddle to obtain spring grass to feed the livestock
1608Long Burton, Netherbury, Mapperton, et al.; renounced their Rogationtide processions because the enclosures have defined the bounds so well
1610Dorchester, Dorset, granted a charter
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1613Serious fire destroys much of Dorchester, Dorset
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1613.Aug.06300 houses and two churches destroyed by fire at Dorchester
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1615Sir Robert Napper builds the Nappers Mite almshouses in Dorchester, Dorset, for ten poor men
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1616Thomas Tyher accused by the churchwardens of witchcraft at Charminster in Dorset
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1617Complaint to the Justices about the tippling-house kept by Tho Jermyn on the common at Upwey
1622Serious fire at Dorchester, Dorset
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1625Foundation of Trinity School at Dorchester
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1627.Nov.16Weymouth borough licences, e.g. John Rashley, fuller, 5/-; Nich. Minard, carpenter,40/-; Tho Baldwin, tailor, 40/-
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circa 1628Colony of New Dorchester founded in New England by Puritans from Dorchester, Dorset
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1630Dorchester, Dorset, granted a charter
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1630.SepTownsfolk complain to the Quarter Sessions about the \'blasphemous shewes and sights of puppet playinge\' at Beaminster
1631Fordington churchwardens reported 8 people to the Dean of Salisbury for playing \'with a Ball called Fives in the churchyard..\'
1640First stage coaches ran to/from Christchurch, Dorset
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circa 1640Tho Fuller, Rector of Broadwindsor, writes the hemp in the Beaminster Bridport area is better than elsewhere
1643Royalist cavalry tricked into a trap at Poole
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1643.JunSir Walter Earl attempts unsuccessfully to storm Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck for parliament
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1643.AugRoyalists take and plunder Dorchester, Dorset
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1644Death of Sir John Bankes of the plague in London
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1644.AprA musket discharged into a gable destroyed 144 houses at Beaminster
Parliament petitioned for �2,000
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1644.AprParliament captures Christchurch, Dorset
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1644.JunEssex relieves Lyme Regis
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1644.JulRoyalist attempt to take Dorchester, Dorset
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1645.Mar10,000 Clubmen meet at Shaftesbury, Gillingham, Mere, Wincanton to resist the depredations of the Civil War armies
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1645.MayEstimated 40,000 Clubmen meet at Gussage Corner plegding form an association to resist all plunderers and unlawful violence
1645.JunClubmen gather at Sturminster Newton and petitions for Civil War to cease
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1645.Aug2,000 Clubmen oppose Crowell at Hambledon Hill
They are defeated by clever tactics and 300 are locked up in Iwerne Courtney church
1646.FebCorfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck falls to Parliamentary forces by treachery
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1661Ed Devenant vicar of Gillingham accepted payment in kind by the farmers of 1/- in the pound rent in place of tithes from Motcombe
1675Christopher Wren virtually controls quality of stone output of Portland stone quarries (-1707)
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1684.Jun.28Beaminster again destroyed by fire
1685.Jun.11Rebel Duke of Monmouth lands at Lyme Regis in Dorset with 82 supporters to wrest the Crown from James II
Monmouths rebellion in the West Country was crushed by James II at the Battle of Sedgemoor and followed by the notorious Bloody Assizes presided over by Judge Jeffereys
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1685.Sep.13Briefs sent out to collect support following Beaminster (Dorset)fire of June
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by 1698Tho Hyde of Poole and Lewis Cockram of Swanage have a partnership to dig white Dorset clay
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1705.Mar.2113,000 people gather at Maumbury Rings, Dorchester to witness the burning of murderess Mary Channings
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1707Christopher Wren virtually controls quality of stone output of Portland stone quarries (1675-)
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1725Serious fire at Dorchester, Dorset
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1731Great Fire of Blandford Forum, Dorset
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1737Serious fire at Dorchester, Dorset
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1762Great fire of Wareham destorys much of the Dorset town
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1775Serious fire at Dorchester, Dorset
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1776Use of thatch forbidden in Dorchester, Dorset, after a series of serious fires
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1789King George III stays at Weymouth in Dorset with the whole of the royal court for 10 weeks starting the fad for sea bathing which led to the rise of the seaside resort
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1792Barracks established at Christchurch, Dorset
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1810Dorset squire Lewis Tregonwell visits Bournemouth
Tregonwell later built a summer residence at the hamlet and is credited with founding the modern town, the largest in the county
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1832Christchurch in Dorset sends only 1 MP toparliament - the constituency is enlarged
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1834Trial of the 6 Tolpuddle Martyrs at the old Shire Hall, Dorchester for attempting to start the first trade union
Sentenced to transportation to Australia, they were pardoned two years later
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1836Sir George Tapps-Gervis appoints architect Ben Ferrey to build a resort at Bournemouth
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1837Dorset poet William Barnes moves to Dorchester, Dorset
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1840Birth of Dorset author Thomas Hardy
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1840Southampton-Weymouth stage-coach starts stopping at Bournemouth
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1847The railway joins Southampton to Dorchester but by-passes Christchurch and Poole for reasons of cost
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1848Cholera outbreak at Fordington, Dorchester, Dorset
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1855First publication of the Christchurch Times at Christchurch, Dorset
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1870Railway reaches Bournemouth
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1871Publication of Thomas Hardy\'s novel Desperate Remedies
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1872Publication of Thomas Hardy\\\'s first successful novel Under the Greenwood Tree
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1872Railway reaches the centre of Poole
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1873Publication of Thomas Hardy\'s novel A Pair of Blue Eyes
The novel was basaed on places in and around Boscastle, Cornwall where he met his wife, Emma
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1876Boscombe and Springbourne become part of Bournemouth
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1880Iron pier built at Bournemouth replacing the wooden structure of 1861
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1885Opening of the Bournemouth Direct Line (railway) to Dorchester
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1889.Jan.16First county council elections held
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1891National census; population of Bournemouth is 37,000
Increase of 119% on 1881 population
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1895Piped water supply installed at Christchurch, Dorset
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1898Publication of Thomas Hardy\'s Wessex Poems
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1901First electricity supply installed at Dorchester, Dorset
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1903Charles van Raalte changes the name of Branksea Island in Poole Harbour to Brownsea
1928Death of Dorset author Thomas Hardy
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1931Erection of statue of Thomas Hardy at Dorchester, Dorset
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1934Slum clearance begins around Spicer Street in Christchurch, Dorset
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1936Trams replaced by trolleybuses at Christchurch, Dorset
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1936Bournemouth suffers a typhoid epidemic
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1941Airspeed aircraft factory built at Christchurch, Dorset
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1952Opening of the Red House Museum in Christchurch, Dorset
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1958By-pass built at Christchurch, Dorset
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1962Closure of Airspeed aircraft factory at Christchurch, Dorset
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1962Dorset Wildlife Trust acquires its first nature reserve on Brownsea Island
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1963Opening of the Rothesay Museum in Bournemouth
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1964Closure of the \'Old Road\' railway line (Southampton-Dorchester) to passenger traffic
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1967Final closure of the \'Old Road\' railway line (Southampton-Dorchester)
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1967Stanpit Marsh, Christchurch, Dorset, established as a nature reserve
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1969Trolleybuses withdrawn at Christchurch, Dorset
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1969Poole General Hospital opens
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1972Hampshire border oved eastwards leaving Bournemouth and Christchurch in Dorset
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19781,014-km (630 mile) South West Coast Path from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset becomes a complete National Trail
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1981Museum of Electricity opened in Christchurch, Dorset, by John Wedgewood
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1986The Dorset Martyrs statue erected at Dorchester, Dorset
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1987The West Dorset Hospital built at Dorchester, Dorset
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1988Building of the Dorchester bypass (Dorset)
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1989Opening of the Royal Bournemouth Hospital
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1989Opening of the Waterfront Museum in Poole
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1992Bournemouth Polytechnic becomes a University
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1994Opening of the Keep Military Museum at Dorchester, Dorset
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1997Bournemouth becomes a unitary authority
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2002Huge Iron-Age port complex discovered beneath the waters of Poole Harbour
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2002.Jul.16Portland Sea Rescue Helicopter crash lands at Hamworthy and is completely burnt with no loss of life
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