Do please find a moment to look at the External Events page which currently has news of the play of the events leading up to the Monmouth Rebellion, details of the work of the Dorset Family History Society and most recently, the Coubcil for British Archaeology introduces itself with a diary of forthcoming events.

Wells Trip

The well-supported and enjoyable jointly organised trip with the Horticultural Society, to Wells.






























Our Next Talk

The Autumn talks programme begins on 28th September with George Bernard, who is Professor of Early Modern History at Southampton University, who will be giving a talk titled:
‘The Dissolution of the Monasteries 1536 to 1540.’ Since his school days, Professor Bernard has been fascinated by the history of England in the C16th and has studied and written extensively on this subject. With Cerne being the site of an important monastery dissolved under Henry V111’s orders, this talk will be of much interest to local residents.


June 2017

Visit to Wells – July 10th

The deadline for the return of booking forms for this joint outing with Cerne Abbas Society for Horticulture is 23rd June and there are still places available. We will be visiting the Bishop’s Palace and Gardens and there is also an optional guided tour of the Cathedral. Booking forms were hand- delivered to members of both Societies a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully, everybody received one, but if you were missed, my apologies. Please contact me.


Our next talk

John Charman, who most of you will know, is giving a talk on 22nd June titled: ‘The Geology of Cerne Abbas and its Influence on the Village.’ Until fairly recently, the surrounding geology influenced the character of most communities and John will give local examples in his talk. This will be followed by a walk around the village to look at specific examples on the evening of 13th July. More details will be given at John’s talk. This is a repeat of a very successful talk which John gave to the Society about nine years ago.


The 1919 Pitt-Rivers Village Sale

Most people will be aware that Cerne Abbas was largely owned by the Pitt-Rivers family until properties were sold off by auction in September 1919. Many of the properties were bought by the sitting tenants and with the freehold now being in their ownership, this helped to kick-start the many changes to the village throughout the 20th century. It is thus one of the most significant dates in village history and something we should celebrate. The Committee would like to bring together a group of people to contribute ideas and to help co-ordinate a celebration of this centenary. There are many things we could do. Possible activities include re-publishing the auction sales brochure; a re-enactment of the sale with residents currently living in properties which were part of the sale, bidding to own their house at the 1919 prices; through local newspapers and other records, looking at what was happening in the village and the wider Dorset community in this year just after World War One. Please contact any of the Committee with ideas and offers of becoming involved. It may be over two years away but we have the opportunity to plan something significant.


Frances Hodgkins

This name will probably be unknown to everybody, as it was to myself until a few weeks ago when, quite unexpectedly, a letter and brochure was delivered to me one morning. I don’t normally receive correspondence from New Zealand but an Auckland art dealer was looking for some information about this lady. Frances Hodgkins was an artist born in New Zealand but who spent most of her working life in the UK.  She stayed in the New Inn here in Cerne for three months in 1943 and painted many local scenes. She died in poverty at Herrison House in 1947. She is now the most sought-after ex-patriate New Zealand artist. Painting in an impressionist style, her works fetch up to £20K through auction houses including Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Jonathan Gooderham, a New Zealand dealer and collector, who originated from Somerset, was trying to identify the location of some of her works which were included in the brochure I received. He was asking for our help prior to his visiting Cerne as part of his annual visit to England to buy art and to visit family. George Mortimer took on the task of trying to match the paintings with Cerne locations. We needed some expert opinion on the Cerne landscape of 1943, so inevitably the go-to man was Dave Fox. Neither he nor his mates could throw any further light on identifying locations. George and myself met with Jonathan Gooderham last week, inevitably in the New Inn, for a fascinating insight into this artist and her life and work.

Mike Clark, Chair