Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for SHAFTESBURY

SHAFTESBURY, a town, three parishes, a sub-district, and a district, in Dorset. The town stands 2¾ miles S S W of Semley r. station, and 11½ N of Blandford; is alleged by Holinshed to have been founded about 1,000 years before the Christian era, by Brampton, to have been founded in the time of Julius Cæsar; was known to the ancient Britons as Caer-Palladwr, to the Saxons as Scaeftesbyrig, and at Domesday as Sceptesberie; is now sometimes called Shaston; is conjectured to have been a Roman station; was either restored or built, about 888, by Alfred; acquired then a great Benedictine nunnery, which gave it high and long importance; was made a mint town by Athelstan; suffered devastation, in 1003, by the Danes; had three mints in the time of Edward the Confessor, and twelve churches at Domesday; acquired an hospital of St. John before the time of Richard II.; was given, by Edward VI., along with its nunnery, to the Wriothesleys; passed to successively the Arundels, the Herberts, and the Ashley-Coopers; went into decadence after the Reformation; gives the title of Earlto the family of Cooper; numbers among its natives Oram, the poet, and Granger, the author of the " Biographical History of England; " occupies the crown of asteep, narrow ridge of chalk hill, terminating on the Win a projection called the Castle-hill, and commanding there a very extensive and charming view; enjoys, through openings among its own houses, goodly portions of the same view; suffers much inconvenience of water supply; consists of narrow and irregular but well-built streets; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling-place; and has a post-office‡ under Salisbury, two banking offices, two chief inns, a town hall, a corn-market, three churches, three dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a literary institution with public reading-room, a clerical library, two endowed schools with £12 and £230 a year, a workhouse, two suites of alms-houses with £54 and £127, and other charities £634. The ancient nunnery received the remains of Edward the Martyr, after his murder in Corfe Castle; was the death-place of Canute, and the prison of Bruce's wife; and has left scarcely any vestiges, except a portion of the wall of its park. Trinity church was rebuilt in 1841; St. James'church, in 1866, St. Peter's church is of the 15th century, much modernized; and has highly ornamentedouter walls. The Independent chapel dates from 1670, was recently rebuilt, and has a tetrastyle portico. The Wesleyan chapel was restored in 1862. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs, on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, 24 June, the last Saturday of Aug., and 23 Nov. The town is a borough by prescription; was first chartered by Elizabeth; sent two members to parliament from the time of Edward I. till 1832, and now sends one; and is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. The municipal borough comprises only parts of the three S. parishes; but the parliamentary borough comprises also the rest of these parishes, all the parishes of Cann, Compton-Abbas, East Stower, Margaret-Marsh, Melbury-Abbas, Mot-combe, Stower-Provost, Todbere, and Donhead, St. Mary, and part of Fontmell-Magna. Corporation income, about £170. Amount of property and income tax charged in 1863, £2, 601. Electors in 1833, 634; in 1868, 506. Pop. of the m. borough in 1851, 2, 503; in 1861, 2, 497. Houses, 497. Pop. of the p. borough in 1851, 9, 404; in 1861, 8, 983. Houses, 1, 928.

The parishes are Trinity, St. Peter, and St. James; and the last includes Alcester liberty Acres, 2, 400. Real property, £9,011; of which £116 are in gas-works. Pop., 1,028, 1,001, and 931. Houses, 207, 190, and 201. The livings are rectories in the diocese of Salisbury; and those of Trinity and St. Peter are united. Value of T.with St. P., £100; * of St. J., £400.* Patron, the Earl of Shaftesbury.—The sub-district contains also the parishes of Cann and Motcombe, and comprises 8, 171 acres. Pop., 4, 940. Houses, 1,035. The district comprehends also the sub-districts of Fontmell and Gillingham, and comprises 36, 493 acres. Poor-rates in 1863, £7, 526. Pop. in 1851, 13,029; in 1861, 12, 986. Houses, 2, 823. Marriages in 1863, 113; births, 434, of which 26 were illegitimate; deaths, 242, of which 89 were at ages under 5 years, and 13 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,022; births, 3, 883; deaths, 2, 540. The places of worship, in 1851, were 20 of the Church of England, with 5, 633 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 550 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 410 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 280 s.; 5 of Wesleyans, with 971 s.; and 5 of Primitive Methodists, with 658 s. The schools were19 public day schools, with 1, 586 scholars, 13 private day schools, with 236 s.; 24 Sunday schools, with 1, 651s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 6 s.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, three parishes, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Shaftesbury CP       Shaftesbury SubD       Shaftesbury RegD/Inc/PLU       Dorset AncC
Place names: CAER PALLADWR     |     SCAEFTESBYRIG     |     SCEPTESBERIE     |     SHAFTESBURY     |     SHASTON
Place: Shaftesbury

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