Shaftesbury Abbey

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameShaftesbury Abbey
Alternative NamesShafton
Historic CountryDorset
Modern AuthorityDorset
1974 AuthorityDorset
Civil ParishShaftesbury

Nunnery founded circa 888, probably on the site of a 7th century minster which may have been extant circa 670. It was reformed to the Benedictine rule, presumably in the reign of Edgar, and was dissolved in 1539. (PastScape)

A stone wall bounding Gold Hill on the west, which although repaired and rebuilt in several places, dates mainly from the late 14th or early 15th century and probably formed part of the boundary of the Abbey land. The portion which stands nearest the bottom of Gold Hill has been rebuilt but original material appears to have been re-used. Towards the top of the hill the original masonry is preserved with buttresses of two and three weathered stages; supplementing these are probable 19th century buttresses with inclined faces. About half-way up the hill there is a blocked round-headed doorway. (PastScape No. 206569–ref. RCHME)

Gatehouse Comments

Licence to crenellate granted 1367. A large Lady chapel was added to the church in the C14 and possibly the precinct wall was started around this time. It is likely parts of the precinct wall and associated gates would have been crenellated but the function of this wall was to keep out unwanted visitors, particularly poachers out of the park and fishponds.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST861229
Latitude51.0053100585938
Longitude-2.19857001304626
Eastings386180
Northings122910
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Mark Wheaver All Rights Reserved
Copyright Mark Wheaver All Rights Reserved
Copyright Mark Wheaver All Rights Reserved
Copyright Mark Wheaver All Rights Reserved
Copyright Mark Wheaver All Rights Reserved
Copyright Mark Wheaver All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Aston, Mike and Lewis, Carenza, 1994, The Medieval landscape of Wessex (Oxbow Monograph 46) p. 53
  • RCHME, 1972, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset Vol. 4: north p. 57-61, 69-70
  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R. Neville, 1971, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longmans) p255, 265, 482
  • RCHME, 1970, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset Vol. 2: south-east (HMSO) p. 73-9 online transcription
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1908, 'House of Benedictine nuns: The abbey of Shaftesbury' VCH Dorset Vol. 2 p. 73-9 online transcription
  • Hutchin, J., 1868 (3edn org. pub. 1774), History of Dorset Vol. 3 p. 32-38 (Facsimile edn by EP Publishing produced 1973)
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 416 online copy

Antiquarian

  • Hearne, T. (ed), 1770, Joannis Lelandi Antiquarii de rebus britannicis collectane Vol. 1 p. 26, 67 online copy

Journals

  • Coulson, C., 1982, 'Hierarchism in Conventual Crenellation: An Essay in the Sociology and Metaphysics of Medieval Fortification' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 69-100 see online copy
  • Deanesly, M., 1941, 'Early English and Gallic Ministers' Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (ser4) Vol. 23 p. 51-2

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1913, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1367-70) Vol. 14 p. 10 online copy

Other

  • Dorset County Council, 2011, Dorset Historic Towns Survey: Shaftesbury Download copy