Latest  News

Bushes Barn. Those of you who heard the talk by Will Best last month on the settlement at Bushes Barn near Godmanstone may enjoy the opportunity to walk over and look at the site as it is today. This has been arranged for Thursday 7th July, leaving from Manor Farm at 6.30pm. There is a long uphill walk from Godmanstone over and down to Bushes Barn, and then of course, you have to walk back. The distance is 2.5 miles there and back. Will has kindly offered to meet us and be our guide. He will go over in his Land Rover and can take a couple of passengers. If you would be interested to go, please let me know. Will has said we can park cars in Manor Farm. Turn in at the footpath sign to ‘The Turning Point.’  

Duck Street Milestone.
The restoration of the historic Turnpike Milestone at the top of Duck Street has begun. Put there in about 1824 on the Charminster to Sherborne Turnpike, it has suffered in recent years by becoming overgrown and knocked sideways by mechanical roadside strimming. The Cerne Valley Parish Council has generously contributed to its restoration, organised by the Historical Society. The work began on 28 May by clearing back the bank and restoring the milestone to the upright position. The work was largely carried out by Nigel Furness who knew what he was doing, with a supporting team of David Burgess, Andrew Popkin and George Mortimer who largely watched! The next stage is to clean and paint the milestone with approved materials, restore the original lettering, and consolidate the immediate area to prevent further damage. Thanks are owing to George who has coordinated and organised the work. Most of the milestones in the Cerne Valley are in reasonable condition, which is just as well as they are difficult to work on safely, being situated near the carriageway. There is one stone to be located which is just to the south of Cerne. Its precise position can be pinpointed as the next stone is in place near Pound Farm. We need to explore on foot. It has either disappeared completely, been damaged or consumed by undergrowth. We will have a look after the growing season.

Christmas Film Show.
Following the extremely successful screening of the ‘Away in a Village’ series of BBC television programmes from 1974, we are repeating the format again this year on December 8th with a showing of some extracts from interviews we have made with prominent local residents. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served. The exact content will be publicised later but in the meantime, please reserve the date.

Our Next Talk. Our talk on June 30th coincides with the eve of the centenary from World War One of the first day of the Battle of the Somme which saw the greatest loss of life in a single day in British military history. John Bourne, a military historian, will give a talk titled: Black Saturday: Reflections on the first day of the Somme, 1st July 1916.


Magna Carta. If you didn’t make the talk last month by Professor David Carpenter, then you missed a real treat. Fortunately, a summary of his main themes is available on-line via the Society website – Under the drop-down men ‘About’, go to ‘Links’ and then click on the heading ‘Cerne Abbas Copy of the Magna Carta.’ Professor Carpenter has also written a book called ‘Magna Carta’ which contains a new translation and commentary on this important document. Copies were on sale after the talk and we could have sold more than our allocation by Waterstones.

 Bushes Bottom. On 26th May, Will Best from Godmansone, who is well known to many of us, talked about Bushes Bottom, the curious story of a forgotten farmstead. Situated in a dry valley between the Cerne and Sydling Rivers and feeling quite remote are the remains of a settlement which was farmed until 100 years ago. Raymond Forcey who lived there as a child and left in October 1914 has written a book of his memories of life in this totally different world. He was known to Will Best who has anecdotes and stories to share with us. Some of you will have walked to Bushes Bottom three years ago with Chris Copson. Others may have attended the service of dedication, led by Johnathan Still, of a memorial erected two years ago to mark the centenary of the abandonment of the settlement. A selection of photographs by local photographer Robin Mills, will be on display and members will be able to place orders if they wish.

A Repeat Performance.
Some people missed the talk on the restoration of their house given by Ros and Piers Rawson in February. They have kindly agreed to give a repeat performance on Thursday 15th September at 7.30 in the Village Hall Jubilee Room.

Mike Clark, Chairman