Milton Abbas, the heart of glorious Dorset
Milton Abbas is considered by many to be the first planned settlement in England. In 1780, Joseph Damer, Lord Milton, the first Earl of Dorchester and owner of Milton Abbey, decided that the nearby village, Middleton, was disturbing his vision of rural peace. He commissioned renowned architect Sir William Chambers and landscape gardener Capability Brown to design a new village, Milton Abbas, in a wooded valley to the south of the Abbey.
Most of the existing villagers were relocated here in the cottages. Originally, up to four families would live in each cottage. Middleton was demolished and the site landscaped, with most of the old settlement now lying under the ornamental lake at the bottom of the village.
Today, Milton Abbas features on many picture postcards of rural Dorset. The 36 quaint white-washed and thatched cottages are each fronted by a lawn. Originally, a chestnut tree was planted between each dwelling, but, aged and ravaged by disease, the trees were removed in 1953. The Abbey has become part of a private school, set in a spectacular grounds..
The Hambro Arms, here since the village was built, has been known by several different names, the Milton Arms, the Dorchester Arms, Portarlington Arms and finally the Hambro Arms, after Baron Hambro, who bought the Abbey and Estate of 8,000 acres, in 1850. The Inn was supplied by village brewed ale until 1950, when the Fookes Brewery was taken over by John Groves of Weymouth. The original bar was in the restaurant area and the top end of the long thatched building was the slaughter house.