June 2018

Summer Outing

At last we have sorted out a visit to Portland, which will take place on September 6th.  Leaving Cerne at 9.30am, returning between 4 to 5pm, we will start with coffee at the Hayloft Café then on to Portland Museum which is about 300 yards from the café. The museum reflects the Island’s varied and fascinating history. There will be the opportunity to take a short guided walk to the ruined St Andrew’s Church and we will hear about some of the many shipwrecks around the coast. For lunch, there is a choice of  bringing your own where you can sit in the garden of the museum, or return to the Hayloft, (menu will be available to see on-line shortly, or as a hard copy). The afternoon will involve a visit to the Culverwell Mesolithic site, which at 8,000 years old is one of the most important in Europe. There will be a wet weather alternative. A booking form will be available at Jonathan Still’s talk next week and also with the July Chairman’s Chat. For practical reasons, numbers on this visit will be limited to 25 and we are hiring a coach. More information next week and on the booking form.

This Month’s Talk – 28th June

We are fortunate to have the diaries of Catherine Granville who taught at our village school early in the C20th. She recorded everyday life in some detail, the people she knew and worked with, her journeys to Dorchester and beyond, which were an adventure in themselves, and the landscape of the valley. Catherine was a perceptive observer of her world and this will be brought to life by Jonathan Still and illustrated through research carried out by George Mortimer and Andrew Popkin.

The 1919 Sale of the Village

You should already be aware that a small group in the Historical Society are researching the September 1919 Sale of the whole village. If your property was included, you may be able to help with a short questionnaire already sent out by John Chalker. If you have deeds for your house going back to the sale, you may be able to help with this research. We know who won the bid for each lot, but many lots contained several houses, and it is not clear if several bidders were bidding on behalf of existing tenants, other landowners or speculators, or themselves. Contact John if you wish to discuss further:

Autumn Programme

After next week, there will be a break in the indoor programme until 27th September, when Ed Gallia, whose family own the estate, will talk about the history of Nether Cerne.

Mike Clark

You can get in touch with Mike via the Contact Us form on this site.



1919 Village Sale

A dozen Society people are involved in researching various aspects of Cerne’s history around the time of the sale of much of the village in 77 Lots at auction on September 24th 1919.  Through the deeds from some of the Lots involved, we are finding out more information on the properties and people involved.  Contemporary newspapers are revealing stories of what was happening in Cerne at this time just after World War 1, including what  people were doing, their social lives and their misdemeanours.  Old photographs can show what has changed and what looks much the same.  If anybody has information or photographs relating to the period, we would be pleased to see them. With your permission, we can copy any originals and return to you.

We are delving into the history of the Pitt-Rivers family and a talk in our 2019 programme will look at the life of Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers, regarded as a founder of the discipline of archaeology in the UK. This will be given by Adrian Green, curator of Salisbury Museum.

We plan to trace changes in village trades and industry and the way farming and land use has dramatically altered with the disappearance of most of the farms which were situated in and around the village.  We hope to tap into the collective memories of villagers whose family have been residents for the last 100 years.  Anthony Pitt-Rivers, currently the most senior family member to bear the name, has agreed to meet with us to help complete any gaps in our knowledge.

Some proposed activities are beginning to take shape around the centenary date of the sale.  We would like to stage a re-enactment of the auction exactly 100 years on from the original.  Garry Batt, who many will know is a partner with Dukes Auctioneers, has agreed to become involved in this.


Our May programme date

Following the recent death of Lord Digby, we have had to cancel the planned talk at Minterne House from Henry Digby who was going to talk about the colourful history of his aunt.  This will now take place in the same month next year. Instead, we are holding a tribute evening to Lord Digby in the village hall at the usual time here in Cerne.  A few years ago, two conversations were recorded between Kate Adie and Lord Digby.  We will be showing excerpts from these and reflecting on his life with the addition of some personal recollections.


Summer Outing

We normally arrange a visit during July or August but we have had trouble getting our act together this year.  We are intending to visit Portland which is rich in archaeological and historical interest and not just a bleak and windswept peninsula sticking out into the English Channel.  For a start, it is the driest place in Dorset. Hopefully, more details soon.


Mike Clark




You can get in touch with Mike via the Contact Us form on this site.