NOTES FROM THE CHAIR –  February 2020

“The Railway which nearly came to Cerne”

The first talk of the year, in the Village Hall at 7.30 pm on Thursday 27 February, is by one of our members, Gordon Bartlet,. It is a fascinating story that he will illustrate with many plans and photos.  Prior to the talk extracts from the film of the Re-enactment of the 1919 Sale will be shown.

DVDs of the 1919 Sale Celebrations  

We had hoped to make available for sale at a reasonable cost a DVD of the films that were made of the Opening, Re-enactment and Village Concert. Unfortunately, in respect of the film of the Concert we have met with insurmountable problems relating to copyright and data protection rights that mean we will not be able to produce a DVD of it. Producing a DVD of the Opening and the Re-enactment by themselves is not viable, so what we are planning to do is show all the films at future meetings of the Society and put a copy of extracts of the Re-enactment, lasting 14 minutes, onto our website.

The Poster Book

It was apparent from a show of hands at the AGM that an A4 (approx. 8”x12”) hard cover book of the posters that formed the major part of the Exhibition would be very popular, providing it cost around £12. We are therefore going ahead with its production. John Fieldhouse, our graphic artist, is preparing the artwork and members of the Committee are preparing the text. We hope to get it printed within the next few months. I will be able to give you a more definite date for publication next month.

Outing to Larmer Tree Gardens

This coach outing for members and their guests, which Mike Clark is kindly arranging, will take place on Wednesday 13 May, leaving Cerne Abbas at 9.30 am and arriving back here at about 3.45 pm. Further details of the arrangements and the cost together with a booking form will be sent to all members shortly.

The National Trust’s celebrations of the centenary of their ownership of the Giant

The NT have told us that they are arranging for tests to be carried out in March to try to discover the age of the Giant. Similar tests were used to date the Uffington White Horse in 1990. The results will be announced on the weekend of 18/19 July which the NT have chosen for the celebrations. The plans for those celebrations by both the NT and the Village are still being prepared; we should know more by the end of next month

The Giant Puppet

As part of this year’s Giant Festival and the NT’s July events Sasha Constable is organising a Giant Puppet project. She is looking for people to come to the church on 6 and 7 March and help with the project. Details are on the attached leaflet.


Gordon Bishop, Chair CHS


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



NOTES FROM THE CHAIR –  November 2019

1919 Finances

The CHS committee met two weeks ago and we were in a position to review the income and expenditure  arising out of the 1919 centenary activities. We raised just over £500 for the church at the concert on 5th October which has already been passed on. We are able to increase this to a total of £1,000 in recognition of the considerable amount of time we made use of the church for the exhibition and other events. We have also given a further £500 to John Fieldhouse, the graphic designer who converted the material we gave him into the exhibition. This still doesn’t fully compensate him for the many hours he spent on producing this and the Guide to the Auction booklet. Copies of the latter are still being sold in the shop and in the Royal Oak at a price of £5 but stocks are beginning to run low. We still have around 150 copies which were badly assembled and stapled after printing which has resulted in the pages being misaligned. They are readable and all the content is still there so we will sell them at a reduced price. The printer has given us a refund for these but didn’t want the copies back.

Better Late Than Never

In the January edition of the Dorset Life magazine, there will be a feature article about the 1919 sale and our exhibition written by Roger Guttridge who came to see me a few weeks ago. He is a regular contributor to this magazine and has written other books and articles about Dorset having lived and worked in Dorset all his life. To be fair, the magazine did carry a trailer for the exhibition, which was in the October issue, published before the end of September.

Sherborne Museum

I have recently received a message from Nicola Berry, Chair of Sherborne Museum who had the following message: Sherborne Museum is looking for keen history enthusiasts to join our very friendly team of stewards and I thought your society might be a good place to start. I was therefore wondering whether you could pass this message on to your members and if anyone is interested ask them to contact either myself at or the Curator, Elizabeth Bledsoe at

November talk

We end the year on a sombre note with an account of the Black Death in Dorset. As we know, the disease entered Britain through Weymouth in June 1348, so Dorset  was the first county to be hit by the disease. Our speaker, Mark Forrest is the archivist at Dorset History Centre. He will reflect on the crisis of 1348-1349 and how this and later outbreaks of the plague changed the economy and landscape of the country.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held on Thursday 23rd January at 7.30pm. The formal business of the evening will briefly review this year’s activities and will look forward to 2020 The new committee will be elected, and we are always looking for people to become involved in our activities, either on the committee or in other ways.

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