The Society

Welcome to Cerne Historical Society

The Society was formed in 1988 following the Cerne Abbey Millennium celebrations in 1987. 

The name was chosen carefully:  the Society wanted to involve all communities in the valley and drew its membership from the Cerne Valley villages, namely Godmanstone, Minterne Magna, Minterne Parva, Up Cerne and Nether Cerne and Cerne Abbas.  It is for this reason that the Society was named ‘Cerne’ Historical Society and not ‘Cerne Abbas’.  Today it also welcomes researchers from abroad and some extremely valuable contributions have been made to this site from those with family connections in Cerne, living in New Zealand for example.

It now has over 162 members and always puts together a lively Programme of talks and visits on a wide range of local history topics. 

The aims of this website and indeed the Society, are to inspire, educate and motivate its members and visitors to get involved in research, be that for the Society to share on this website or for themselves.  A common goal for all of the above is that we wish to foster the art and science of cherishing, conserving and researching the history around us here in this valley.

The Society website is designed to be as accessible, ergonomic and attractive as possible to facilitate these aims, and we hope you will revisit as we upload more projects.


Meetings are held on the last Thursday of the month in the Cerne Abbas Village Hall

Details of the location of the Hall and directions are to be found here.

Talks and Meetings start at 7:30pm.

Membership is £10 per year or £5 entry per guest per individual talk.  You may join at any meeting.

For further enquiries, please Contact Us

The Constitution of the Society is available here.

The Society is very active and has worked on a number of exciting research and recording projects aimed at furthering our understanding of past village life and archiving valuable information and memories. These can be seen on the Our Projects page and references are made to material available on the Downloads page.

The Society has built up an archive of material of local historical interest, which includes over 400 old photographs of Cerne Abbas and its people from the last 130 years or more.  It continues to add to the archive by conducting research into various aspects of the history of the village over the centuries.  Parts of this growing archive will be relevant to those researching their family connections with Cerne Abbas and are published on this website.  Much of the original material is deposited in the Dorset History Centre, but the aim of the Society’s research is to give it a local historical focus, to be shared with others.

The Society is keen to add to its collection of photographs, other historical information, or even just memories, to share with all who are interested in the history of this ancient village.  If you have any material of this kind that you feel would enhance our collection, please let us know. We can arrange for any original material to be copied and returned.


The Society offers village tours to interested groups. These can be of varying length and a small charge will be made. To discuss your needs go through the Contact Us button above.



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No part of this website including text, logos, images, photos or graphics may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including printing, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the Society, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

For permission requests, write to the Society using the Contact Us form.