DORCHESTER

Dorchester is a town both ancient and modern and well worth a visit.

Once a Roman town, it is now also noted for the urban extension, Poundbury, a development inspired by The Prince of Wales.

Plumber Manor is only a short distance away and considered one of the finest country house hotels near Dorchester.

Whilst in Dorchester, a visit to any or all of the following would be well worth your while:

Teddy Bear Museum: Teddy bears from the beginning of the 20th century including Rupert Bear, Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear.

Terracotta Warriors Museum: The only museum outside China to be dedicated to the Terracotta warriors.

Tutankhamun Exhibition: Experience the treasures of ancient Egypt and Tutankhamun

Dinosaur Museum: The only museum on the British mainland to be devoted solely to dinosaurs.

Dorchester’s most famous son is arguably Thomas Hardy, who was born in 1840 in Higher Bockhampton, a small village just outside Dorchester. He went to a local school in the town and later worked for a local architect at 39 South Street, Dorchester before moving to London in 1861. On his return to Dorchester, he designed his own house, Max Gate, built by his brother on the edge of town in 1885.

Just to the south of Dorchester is Maiden Castle, the largest hillfort in England. It was first occupied around 3000 BC, and contains a complex arrangement of ramparts and ditches. Maiden comes from the Celtic ‘Mai Dun’, meaning ‘great hill’, and great hill it certainly is, visible today with the huge earth walls rising up to 6 metres high.

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In the Neolithic period a long barrow some 540m was constructed east to west across the site. Maiden Castle then was a bustling town, populated by the Durotriges Tribe. In AD43, the Romans under Vespasian attacked the town and eventually won a hard-fought battle. During the 4th century, a Roman temple was built, the foundations of which are still visible today.

During the 1930s, a Roman town house was excavated providing an amazing account of life in Roman Dorchester during the 4th century AD. Many of the relics found during the excavations are still on show in the Dorset County Museum.

In 1685, after the failure of the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion, Judge Jeffreys came to Dorchester and lodged at 6 High West Street. The ‘Bloody Assizes’ were held in the Oak Room of the Antelope Hotel on the 5th day of September in that year. Seventy-four people were executed, one hundred and seventy five were transported and twenty nine were pardoned.

Plumber Manor is ideally located as one of the finest country house hotels near Dorchester.