September 2018

Mione Fox

Most of you will now know that Mione died recently, as mentioned in the August Chairman’s Chat. For some years she had been Cerne’s oldest resident to be born here, a mantle now taken over by Dave Fox who tells me that he is waiting for his regalia and ordination. Mione’s family kindly asked that half of the collection taken following her funeral should be donated to the Historical Society. With the approval of her family, whatever is received will go towards funding activities to celebrate the centenary of the sale of the village by the Pitt-Rivers family in 1919.

Mione was born in 1924 and in 2014 she recorded her memories of life in Cerne and the following extract from the transcript of that filmed recording, provided by Alison de Candole, illustrates the value of recording these memories:

I was born at Tucking Mill Farm in 1924 just within the Cerne Abbas boundary but on the Up Cerne road.  There used to be a large white boundary stone but I think it has gone now.  The Tucking Mill was no longer working when I was born.  My grandfather had taken over the farm as tenant.  The Tucking Mill still had the wooden hammers powered by water that cleaned the wool with fuller’s earth and softened it but the metal around the wooden hammers was taken during  WWII.  A Mr Broadhead bought Up Cerne estate in the later 1950s and he demolished the Tucking Mill and Hollybank Farm to make the lakes through the valley. 

There was no piped water, no electricity and no sewers at Tucking Mill.  We only had candles and oil lamps which had to be cleaned every day ready for the evenings.  The well was over the other side of the river with a manual pump and every drop of water had to be put in buckets and carried to the house.  If hot water was needed for laundry or baths, the fire was lit beneath the copper which was in a lean-to with a chimney.

Cerne Abbas had its own postal delivery service – if you posted a letter for someone in Cerne in the morning, it would be delivered in the afternoon.  The postman was called Bill Hart and he used to cycle round the village with his dog who knew all the bitches in the village.  He could be heard howling at night outside their houses. Later he had a motor cycle and sidecar and later again a van so that he could get to the outlying areas.  When the local sorting service closed down, we all had to vote on what we wanted the streets called.  Duck Street was chosen over Bridge Street and Back Lane over Vicarage Street.  This was so that there was no confusion in Dorchester at the sorting office.

In the 1930s there were two grocers, 2 bakers and 2 butchers in the village but these gradually ceased trading.  There were also two bus companies, the main one being Mr Frank Thorne’s.  He had two types of bus – one luxury for taking tours and outings and the other called the Flying Greenhouse which had seats facing each other was for ordinary transport.  The bus sheds were in Back Lane.

It is also worthy of note that Margaret Mann, who died recently was the first treasurer of the Historical Society back in 1988.

1919 Sale Centenary

Over the last year, a group of 12 people has been researching aspects of the village sale by the Pitt-Rivers family, including the reasons for it, who was living in the various properties affected and who bought the different sale lots. None of this is as straightforward as originally thought, i.e. just by examining the records of the sale various questions arise. A few of us recently visited an excellently presented and researched exhibition put on by the Stalbridge History Society to mark the centenary sale of their town by Lord Stalbridge in September 1918. Talking to one of the exhibition team, it transpired that the agents Symonds and Sampson, auctioneers of the Stalbridge sale merged in 1990 with Senior and Godwin, auctioneers of the Cerne sale. Symonds and Sampson have kindly supplied us with a considerable number of Senior and Godwin documents relating to our sale which have recently come to light, including the auctioneer’s copy of the sale catalogue.

A steering group of John Chalker, John Charman, Gordon Bishop, Den Denness and myself are now taking forward and developing various ideas for celebrating the Cerne sale next year. You will be hearing more in due course.

September Talk

A further reminder that we start off the Autumn programme of talks with Ed Gallia talking about the history of Nether Cerne. Ed’s father bought the estate and Ed is now running it in his turn. Although the near neighbour to Cerne Abbas, Nether Cerne’s history has followed a different path as we shall learn from Ed on September 27th.

Mike Clark, Chair CHS

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



August 2018

Mione Fox

Many of you will have heard by now that Mione died last Monday at the grand age of 93. For some years Mione was the oldest village resident born here and except for a time during WW2 she has lived all her life in Cerne. Relative newcomers may not have met Mione as she has been in frail health for the last two or three years. She was married in what used to be the Congregational Chapel on Abbey Street where her father was caretaker and lay-preacher and her mother a Sunday school teacher. Last year Mione had the opportunity to re-visit the Chapel, now a private house of course, at the invitation of Heather Saunders. This brought back memories and she was able to describe how the Chapel used to be. Mione was well known in Cerne and an enthusiastic supporter of the Historical Society. For the Queen’s Jubilee in June 2012, Mione was thrilled to be invited to plant an oak tree in the village burial ground which is marked with a suitable plaque. The grandfather clock in the Village Hall Jubilees Room which was made in Cerne and originally bought by her parents, was donated by Mione as she wished it to remain in the village.

It is also worthy of note that Margaret Mann, who died recently was the first treasurer of the Historical Society back in 1988.

CHS September Talk

Our indoor talk programme resumes on September 27th when Ed. Gallia will talk about the history of Nether Cerne. The estate was bought by his father and now farmed in his turn by Ed. In 1906, Frederick Treves, in his book ‘The Highways and Byways of Dorset’ described the church and manor house as ‘ancient old cronies still hobnobbing together.’ Although our close neighbour, Nether Cerne’s history has followed in its own path. Ed has said that there are many aspects of the parish history that need to be followed up, so opportunities here for budding researchers.

The Extraordinary Genius of Sir Christopher Wren

Many of you will remember the excellent talk earlier in the year from Luke Mouland on the ‘Wicked Squire of Holnest.’ Luke has organised a talk on the life of Sir Christopher Wren on Saturday 8th September at 7.30pm in the Digby Memorial Church Hall, Digby Road, Sherborne. Luke says ‘Wren was quite simply the greatest architect that Britain has ever known. But he was more than that. A founder of the Royal Society, he mapped the moon and stars, investigated the problem of longitude and the rings of Saturn. Adrian Tinniswood, OBE FSA shows us the man behind the legend.’ Tickets at £8 from Sherborne Tourist Information Centre.

1919 Sale Centenary

Cerne is not alone in marking the centenary of a sell-off of properties by the local landowner. Next month, Stalbridge is celebrating the centenary sale of properties by Lord Stalbridge who owned most of the town, along with Shaftesbury. He cited crippling death duties when he assumed ownership of his estates. The actual centenary is on the 3rd September and the Stalbridge History society are mounting an exhibition at Stalbridge Hall from Saturday 1st to Tuesday 4th. Some of us are going over to see what they are about and to compare notes. There are fliers on some village notice boards with more details of this exhibition.

Visit to Portland

It’s still possible to book a place on our visit to Portland on 6th September. The poster advertising the trip is attached to this newsletter. More information can be found in the parish magazine and from myself.

Christmas Film Show

In recent years (except for last year) we have had a showing of films about the village and its inhabitants. The ticket includes mulled wine and mince pies. This has always been a fun evening and we are planning another showing this year on 13th December in the Hall. More details later.

Mike Clark, Chair CHS

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