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Milton Abbas Local History Group

Posted in Members

malhg-logo We are an ambitious and active group, formed in Oct 2013, and now have some 40 members. We are actively researching the history of Milton Abbas, have held 6 exhibitions of our work and organised guided tours of The Street, Milton Abbey and Milton Abbey School.


How to join and membership cost

Membership £10 a year.  Contact Secretary, Bryan Phillips at

Meetings and events

Meetings are held on the 1st Wednesday of every month, from 19:00, at Milton Abbas Reading Rooms. All welcome.

Special Projects

We are undertaking a project on the social history of the Old Town of Middleton before and after it it was removed by Joseph Damer, Lord Milton in the 1770’s. We would like to involve others in Dorset to help us unlock the secrets of the large number of documents available. More information



The first meeting of the new 2017/2018 season attracted 34 attendees, including new members. A short AGM and meeting was followed by a talk from Chris Fookes on the old roads and tracks of Milton Abbas. Most of these Chris had ridden on horseback in his younger days, so he has a wealth of knowledge. We have large scale maps and surveys of 1652, 1770, 1808, 1902 and today to plot the path of these roads and tracks. Shown here is a conjectural map by Ronald Goode showing that Milton Abbas before Lord Milton was the hub of the road network in Dorset. Next month will we use these maps together with four documents from the Dorset Quarter Sessions Order Books to show how the roads were altered by Joseph, Lord Milton in his removal of the village and installation of the Capability Brown designed landscape. Well that’s the plan – it might not be as easy as it sounds!

The Chairman’s report showed just how much we have achieved over the past year. Thanks to all our members for their contributions to research, cataloguing, donating, organising and helping at events. We are sure that the forthcoming year will be just as busy.

The Treasurer’s report showed a healthy balance, which will allow us to purchase some maps and books.

Our website ( continues to grow and there are currently 34 pages active, and a blog which is kept up to date. You can also join our Facebook page which has 30 members and growing. One of the visitors to the website has been researching The Retreat, and he believes that it was used by Benedictine monks 1899 – 1901. One of our members recounts his father telling him that monks at the turn of the 19th century used to process down to the Abbey with candles – an evocative memory.

This month Barry Laing and his wife Vanessa Morris visited us all the way from Australia. Barry’s ancestors are the Vine family of Milton Abbas who ran the Hambro Arms from 1850 – 1880. He has given us a photo of Samuel Vine, which is published on our Facebook page. Barry also found a gravestone in St James churchyard. He would love to hear from anyone who has any 19th century history, or photos of the Hambro Arms. Please contact the secretary by email if you can help.