In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Cerne Abbas like this:
CERNE-ABBAS, a small town and a parish in Dorchester district, Dorset. The town stands on the river Cerne, 4¾ miles ESE of Evershot r. station, and 7½ N by W of Dorchester. It includes four or five streets; is a seat of petty sessions; and has a post office,‡ of the name of Cerne, under Dorchester, three inns, and a workhouse, a church, two dissenting chapels, and some remains of a Benedictine Abbey. ...
The church is perpendicular English; and has a tower. The Abbey was founded, in 987, by Aylmer, Earl of Cornwall; plundered, in 1015, by Canute; and occupied, in 1471, by Queen Margaret, on her way to Tewkesbury. St. Augustine is said by some to have founded it; Edwald, the brother of St. Edmund the martyr, is said by others to have founded it, and to have been buried in it; and Cardinal Morton, born at Bere-Regis, was one of its monks. The remains of it are a gatehouse, bearing escutcheons, a long buttressed barn, still used as a granary, and some traces of the gardens and park. An ancient earthwork, unknown to record, is north of the churchyard. A lofty eminence, called Trendle-hill or the Giant's hill, rises adjacent to the town; has the figure of a man, 180 feet high, cut on its chalky surface; and is crowned by an ancient camp. Markets are held on Wednesdays; fairs are held on Midlent Monday, 28 April, and 2 Oct.; and some trade is carried on in inalting, brewing, and leather-dressing.The parish comprises 3,063 acres. Real property, with Upper Cerne, £6,389. Pop., 1,185. Houses, 254. The property is not much divided; and the manor belongs to Lord Rivers. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £81.* Patron, Lord Rivers.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Cerne Abbas in West Dorset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 23rd March 2017
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