Reminisce about Plants and Gardening Tuesday 30 August 2.30p.m.

The next Shaftesbury and the Great War Community Project Reminiscence Afternoon takes place at Shaftesbury Library on Tuesday 30 August from 2.30 to 3.30p.m., when the theme will be Plants and Gardening. This is an opportunity to hear about the research being carried out by project volunteers and to share family stories over tea and cake.

Anyone interested in joining the Ancestry Afternoon at Shaftesbury Library on Friday 26 August from 1.30 to 3.00p.m. should contact Ann Symons or Claire Ryley via or 01747 852157.

The echinops / globe thistle was photographed in Gold Hill Museum garden on 04 August 2016.

The Beckfords at Fonthill

The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society’s season of winter lectures begins in the Town Hall at 7.30p.m. on Tuesday 04 October with the Teulon Porter Memorial Lecture given by Caroline Dakers, Professor of Cultural History at London’s University of the Arts. Professor Dakers has published a number of works on nineteenth and early twentieth century British figures and movements in the arts, including the recent Forever England: The Countryside at War 1914-18. Her subject on 04 October will be The Beckfords at Fonthill.

Between 1796 and 1813 the most celebrated of the Beckfords, the eccentric William, employed the architect James Wyatt and 500 labourers to build a huge Gothic Revival mansion. The 90 metre tall tower of Fonthill Abbey collapsed three times, the last time in 1825 after Beckford’s straitened finances had forced him to sell. Now only a gatehouse and a small tower from the north wing remain.

This lecture on an intriguing aspect of local history is free to S & DHS members while non-members may pay £5 at the door.

A Cabinet of Curiosities Briefly Opened

On 02 August professional photographer Paul McCabe of Southampton Photographic called at Gold Hill Museum to take publicity shots of people enjoying the Museum. His mission was also to photograph an object which will, for promotional purposes, form part of a “Cabinet of Curiosities” held by several North Dorset Museums. Gold Hill’s curiosity is exactly that: a richly carved alabaster panel found hidden behind the fireplace of a house in Shaftesbury High Street in the early 1920’s. It was probably created by the prestigious Nottingham School of alabaster carvers in the fifteenth century as an altar piece for Shaftesbury Abbey. Opinions differ as to who is shown being entombed. Is it St Catherine on Mount Sinai? Or is St Edward the Martyr, whose remains were buried at the Abbey? The panel, still showing traces of its original colours, was handled with great care and is now securely back in its display cases.