Shaftesbury: A Potted History
Shaftesbury is probably most famous for the incredibly steep cobbled street at the heart of the town; Gold Hill. Over the years, this street has been used frequently as a set location for films such as Far from the Madding Crowd and was the main setting for Ridley Scott's Hovis advertisement in the 1970s.
However, that is not all Shaftesbury is known for, as it has rather an important religious history that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, when in the early 8th century an important minster church was established. Then in 880 Alfred the Great founded a burgh (fortified settlement) as a defence against Danish invaders.
Alfred the Great's influence on the town did not stop there, as in 888 he founded Shaftesbury Abbey, a Benedictine nunnery, which was located by the town's east gate, adjacent to Gold Hill. The abbey became one of the richest religious establishments in the country before it was destroyed in the Dissolution in 1539.
Today Shaftesbury attracts many visitors who come to visit and walk its famous Gold Hill as well as take in the breathtaking views over the Blackmore Vale, part of the River Stour basin. On a clear day it is possible to see as far as Glastonbury Tor to the northwest of the town.
Added: 9th June 2020