Exploring Dorset churches

7th October 2012 | Daily Life, Travel | 3 comments

I’ve been exploring some of Dorset’s villages and churches. Milton Abbey was a lovely surprise -set in grounds wonderfully landscaped by Capability Brown. Close by is the picturesque village of Milton Abbas, one of the first examples of English town planning in the sense that it was designed by a rich man who didn’t want his view ruined by the sight of ordinary folk carrying on their chaotic lives in the village down the hill. Despite determined popular resistance he had the whole village demolished and rebuilt (safely out of sight) by a leading architect of the day, and then couldn’t understand why the villagers weren’t grateful.

I also visited a small village church where an ancestor of mine got married in the mid-19th century. I had never been there before. In the church was a rather nice piano, and as there was nobody else in the church I allowed myself to sit and play some Mozart and Debussy. It seemed somehow pleasing that there should be a piano in this particular church. It was a strange feeling to be playing it in the place where my great-great-(whatever)-grandfather was married over 150 years ago.


  1. Paul Austen

    Susan, I remember Milton Abbey as many years ago I applied for (but didn’t get!!) a post teaching history at the prep school which now (or maybe it isn’t still there??) occupies the building. I was impressed by the church – a mini cathedral!!
    Your story about playing the piano in the other church where your ancestor was married reminds me of an amusing similar story! I had an appointment to visit a farmer in a village near here but was told he’d not be back for about half an hour, so I went to look in the village church opposite. The organ was unlocked so like you, as there was nobody around, I decided to try some Bach!! No sooner had I switched it on when a dreadful ringing sound started up and I thought I must have triggered an alarm!!!! I eventually discovered that it was the mobile phone that English Heritage had issued me with about a year peviously which was still unused as generally unless you were right under a mast you didn’t get a signal!!!! hahahahaaha After I’d recovered from the initial shock, I did play some Bach!! :o)))

  2. Rob4

    I sincerely hope you paid a visit to nearby Plush, which hosts a series of fantastic recitals at a lovely church.
    There’s also a very good pub!


    • Susan Tomes

      I haven’t been to Plush, but am well aware of the music festival! Sadly I haven’t yet been in Dorset at the right time to attend it.


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