Blandford: A Potted History
Blandford Forum stands in the curve of the River Stour and originated as a fording point across the river. This picturesque market town, renowned for its Gerogian architecture, dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, when it was recorded as Blaen-y-ford and noted in the Doomsday Book as Blaneford.
Forum is Latin for 'market' and it is thought that Blandford became a market town by the 13th century with a livestock market that served the many Blackmore Vale dairy farms. Blandford's suffix, Forum, was recorded in 1540.
By the 17th century Blandford had become a significant centre for malting and brewing, which carried on throughout the 18th century when Blandford also became know a one of several lace-making centres in Dorset, producing some of the finest bone lace in England.
The Georgian architecture that Blandford is known for today was due to a rebuild of most of Blandford's buildings after the 'great fire' on 4 June 1732 that destroyed almost all of Blandford. Few buildings survived but those that did include the Ryves Almshouses and Dale House on Salisbury Street, Old House in The Close and much of East Street.
An Act of Parliament was introduced that stated that rebuilding work must be in brick and tile. Over the next 10 years the town was rebuilt to the designs of local architects, John and William Bastard. Within the new town plan several streets were realigned to provide a much wider marketplace and to this day the redesigned town centre from the mid-1700s has survived virtually intact.
Today, Blandford is still the bustling town it has been through the ages with a vibrant arts and culture scene and plays host to many arts, community and historical events each year.
Added: 22nd July 2020