Introduction
Great Houses
Abbeys, Minsters
   Abbotsbury Abbey
   Wimborne Minster
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Dorset by Artists
Ancient Dorset
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Abbeys, Minsters
Dorsetshire's early monastic institutions were either Cistercian or Benedictine. St. Augustine visited England around 600 AD, and introduced Benedictine rule.
At the time of the Domesday Survey c.1080, shortly following the Conquest, these were the English Religious houses in existence in Dorsetshire:
  • Cranborn Priory, founded by Ailward in 981, which held four manors.
  • Cerne Abbey, founded by Ailmer earl of Cornwall, in the reign of Edgar, held fourteen manors, the abbot in 1080 was Withelm.
  • Milton Abbey, founded by King Athelstan about 933, held sixteen manors.
  • Abbotsbury Abbey, founded by Orcus, steward to King Canute about 1026, held seven manors.
  • Horton Priory, founded by Earl Ordgar (earl of Devon) before 970, held the manor in which it stood.
  • Shaftesbury Nunnery, founded by King Alfred about 888, held 14 or 15 manors. The abbess in 1080 was Eularia.
  • Sherborn Abbey, founded by Bishop Wulfin in 998, held nine manors for the maintenance of their table.
  • The Collegiate Church of Winborn, founded by one of our Kings by the name of Edward, also held a number of manors.
Of course they were also principal land-holders as well. Much of the buildings in Dorset have been lost; on the other hand there is much still to see.