How Swanage (Dorset) Became “Little London By The Sea”

Former Lord Mayor, Sir John Stuttard, explains at 2.30p.m. on Tuesday 07 March at Gold Hill Museum how architectural curios from the City of London found a new home on the Dorset coast at Swanage. The frontage of Swanage Town Hall, for example, built 1882-83, (above) was recycled from the 1670 Mercers’ Hall in Cheapside. Sir John’s illustrated talk, entitled “London and Dorset: A Shared History in Construction”, is free to members of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society, while open to the public on payment of £3 at the door.

A block of Portland stone at Worth Matravers

The London-Dorset connection began with the demand for Purbeck marble and Portland stone to adorn high-status buildings in the capital. Blocks of cut stone were shaped and stored in “bankers” at Swanage, prior to being manhandled into horse-drawn carts and driven into the sea for loading onto lighters and then barges. In 1666 much of London was destroyed in the Great Fire. Sir Christopher Wren’s decision to rebuild St Paul’s Cathedral substantially in Portland stone created a huge demand – nearly a million cubic feet of stone was used – and established a regular trade by sea to the Thames. Portland stone became the fashionable choice for notable Georgian buildings such as the British Museum, Somerset House, the Bank of England, the National Gallery, and Mansion House, official residence of Lord Mayors of London like Sir John. Chief architect of the Bank, Sir John Soane, was responsible for the present-day appearance of the 17th century Banqueting House when he decided in the early 19th century to clad it in Portland stone.

Banqueting House Whitehall
Inigo Jones’s 17th century Banqueting House in Whitehall, refaced in Portland stone in the 19th century

The links between Swanage and London were reinforced when John Mowlem (1788-1868), stonemason and son of a Swanage quarryman, moved to London in 1807. After working on Nelson’s Tomb in St Paul’s and on Somerset House, he set up a thriving business as a paving contractor and stone merchant, in which he was joined by George Burt (his wife’s nephew) and Joseph Freeman (Burt’s brother-in-law). Eventually Mowlem returned to Swanage and in the absence of any Mowlem heirs the company passed to Burt, while retaining the Mowlem name to the present century. It was Burt who, in fulfilling lucrative contracts to widen and resurface London thoroughfares, sent redundant items of street furniture (and sometimes whole buildings) as ballast to Swanage, where they were re-used, and can still be seen, in “Little London by the sea.”

J.E. Williams’s portrait of George Burt (1816-1894); Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre

Another Chance to See Tyler Photographs of Edwardian Shaftesbury

By popular request, Claire Ryley and Ann Symons are repeating their presentation of black and white photographs of Edwardian Shaftesbury from the Tyler Collection at Gold Hill Museum at 2.30p.m. on Tuesday 14 February. A number of people were not able to make the first showing in December 2022 and this is another opportunity to view a series of remarkable images captured by Albert Edward Tyler between about 1899 and 1916. As ever, Claire and Ann will welcome observations from the audience about exactly what is visible on screen. This show is free and open to members of the public as well as of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society.

Even better news is that Claire and Ann are checking through many hundreds of Tyler glass negatives in the process of compiling a presentation of photographs of the surrounding villages (e.g. Ashmore, above, in 1907) in time for Shaftesbury Library’s Local History Month in May 2023. S&DHS volunteers like this Ashmore image so much that it is planned to use it in a new Gold Hill Museum Guide, currently in preparation. The Museum has lacked a Souvenir Guide ever since it re-opened in 2011.

As Ann points out, many of Tyler’s photographs show evidence of careful planning and artful arrangement. There are at least 30 children on the ice, well spaced out so that they are safer but also all clearly in view. Presumably that guarantees more sales of the final print. On the far side of the pond, there are men attending three horse-drawn carts, one with an enormous load of timber requiring three horses to draw it. This is a recognisable view of a well-known Dorset landmark, but it is showing a different world.

Joan of Arc – Condemned to Death for Wearing Trousers?

On Tuesday 07 February at 2.30p.m. at Gold Hill Museum, French linguist Helen Jouahri will talk about “The Surprising Joan of Arc”. Members of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society were persuaded in a cogent lecture by Dr James Ross that Henry VI was indeed the “Worst King of England” – and Joan made a significant contribution to Henry’s ultimate loss of the French crown and lands, and the Hundred Years’ War. In the winter of 1430-31 Henry and Joan were in the same place, Rouen Castle, at the same time. However, it’s extremely unlikely that they ever met. Henry was aged 9 and very much under the control of his uncle, the Duke of Bedford, and his tutor the Earl of Warwick. Joan was about 18, a solitary female prisoner in chains, being examined for alleged heresy by a battery of male inquisitors.

Joan’s youthful star burned very brightly for a very short time. Though from a modest peasant background, in early 1429 Joan was able to convince the future Charles VII of France and his advisers that hers was a God-given mission to help him defeat the English and their Burgundian allies. No-one was greatly surprised that Joan heard saintly voices; the fundamental question was whether these voices were of heavenly or demonic origin. She later revealed that one of the voices belonged to Saint Catherine, a very popular saint invoked on both sides of the Channel, and represented in our Collection.

Alabaster altarpiece
Medieval alabaster altarpiece, probably from Shaftesbury Abbey, found concealed in a cottage wall in the town. Typical of the Nottingham School of Carvers, and thought to show the entombment of St Catherine.

When Joan’s presence inspired the Armagnac French to raise the siege of Orleans and to further victories in the Loire Valley, this was taken as proof that Joan had God on her side. In July 1429 Charles was duly crowned King at Reims, but Joan’s later military enterprises were not so successful. An attack on Paris failed in September 1429, and in May 1430 Joan was captured by the Burgundians, who ransomed her to their English allies.

Joan arrived as a prisoner at Rouen in December 1430. On 03 January 1431 an edict was issued in Henry’s name. Most scandalous, it would appear, had been her short haircut and adoption of male clothing:

It is sufficiently notorious and well known how for some time, a woman who calls herself Joan the Maid has put off the habit and dress of the female sex, which is contrary to divine law, abominable to God, condemned and prohibited by every law; she has dressed and armed herself in the habit and role of a man, has committed and carried out cruel murders and, it is said, has led the simple people to believe, through seduction and deceit, that she was sent from God, and that she had knowledge of His divine secrets, with several other very dangerous dogmas, most prejudicial and scandalous to our holy catholic faith.

There are no surviving contemporary images of Joan drawn from life, so we cannot be certain how she looked. The painting at the top of this blog was created over 70 years after her death, but is accurate in some respects. She led from the front in military encounters, wearing a custom-made suit of armour and carrying a holy banner. She put herself in the firing line and was wounded several times. We do know what she said in answer to her inquisitors, as detailed records were kept. For an unlettered teenager, she showed remarkable intelligence and resilience in the face of weeks of relentless hectoring and trap-setting. Joan was eventually browbeaten into submission. This she soon rejected and, having relapsed into heresy, she was burned at the stake in Rouen’s market place on 30 May 1431. Her remains were dumped in the River Seine.

This was the end of a brief life, but only really the beginning of Joan’s story. Helen’s illustrated talk is free to members of the S&DHS and open to the public on payment of £3 at the door.

King Henry VI – More Popular Dead Than Alive?

Dr James Ross, biographer of Henry VI, assesses the claim that Henry was “England’s Worst King” at 2.30p.m. at Gold Hill Museum, Shaftesbury, on Tuesday 10 January. Henry died in the Tower of London in May 1471, probably murdered on the orders of his Yorkist rival, King Edward IV. Henry was taken to Chertsey Abbey in Surrey to be buried …. not an appropriate burial site for a monarch: it was intended, presumably, to ensure his memory faded in this obscure abbey. If so, it failed. A cult to the king was already well established within two years of his death. (Ross, “Henry VI: A Good, Simple and Innocent Man”, p98)

In 1480 Edward tried to impose a ban on those “in going of Pilgrimage to King Henry” at Chertsey. In 1484 Richard III admitted defeat and had Henry moved to St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where he still lies opposite his Nemesis, Edward. Metal badges were made of Henry for pilgrims to buy. Almost 400 have been found, some in France. Henry’s nephew, Henry Tudor, pressed the Pope unsuccessfully on more than one occasion to canonise his uncle, who was credited with performing a total of 368 miracles posthumously. Some of these were quite local.

On 07 February 1486 Alice Newnett of Mere in Wiltshire apparently died of the plague. After a priest had administered the last rites, her grieving mother sewed Alice into her shroud, and the body lay for two hours on the ground. Suddenly Alice sat bolt upright. According to her, she had seen a vision of a holy man in dark silk and a gold crown, who promised to restore her to life on two conditions: one, that she lay in her shroud until he told her to rise; the other, that she make a wax candle as tall as she was and deliver it to the tomb of King Henry VI at Windsor. (Lauren Johnson, BBC History Magazine, February 2021)

Richard Beys, the victim of a profound miscarriage of justice, was hanged at Salisbury on 23 February 1484. He too had a vision of a tall figure royally dressed in a blue velvet gown, accompanied by the Virgin Mary. While Mary held up Beys’s body with her hands under his feet, the grey-haired royal figure had slipped his hand between the noose and Beys’s neck, thus preserving him from strangulation …. Beys travelled to Henry’s tomb to report his miracle and give thanks, leaving there the noose that had hanged him. (Lauren Johnson, “Shadow King: the Life and Death of Henry VI”, p546)

Dr Ross’s talk is free to members of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society and open to the public on payment of £3 at the door.

Rivals for the title of “England’s Worst King”

At Gold Hill Museum at 2.30p.m. on Tuesday 10 January 2023, Dr James Ross of the University of Winchester will consider the claims of Henry VI to be labelled “England’s Worst King.” As the author of Henry VI : A Good, Simple and Innocent Man in the Penguin Monarchs series, James is well qualified to judge. He is also highly regarded as a public speaker, having been awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2021 by the national Historical Association for his outreach work. His talk is free to members of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society and open to the public on payment of £3 at the door.

Henry’s long and disastrous reign began in infancy on the death in 1422 of his father Henry V, victor at Agincourt. By the time of his murder in 1471, the younger Henry had lost the English and French crowns, all of the English-held territory in France except Calais, the Hundred Years’ War with France, and a significant phase of the Wars of the Roses. On the plus side of the ledger there were some educational foundations, still in existence. You can read a more detailed account of his reign here.

But what about the claims to even greater infamy of “Bad” King John (reigned 1199-1216)? John Julius Norwich, writing in France: A History from Gaul to De Gaulle (2018), asserts that there is no doubt whatever that John was lecherous, duplicitous, faithless and cruel – worse even than his brother [Richard I], the worst king England ever had. John lost Normandy and most of the Angevin lands in France; he provoked a rebellion among the English nobility, leading to the forced concession of Magna Carta in 1215; and at the time of his death in 1216 at Newark, was fighting a losing civil war against English rebels and French invaders, during which the royal baggage train and crown jewels were lost in an estuary of the Wash. Since large parts of his kingdom were controlled by his enemies, he was interred at Worcester Cathedral. His effigy, (photo above) probably dates from 1228 and must have been approved by his son Henry III. According to 2015 biographer Stephen Church, it shows the king standing on a lion, which represents the temporal world over which John had ruled while he lived. The lion is not supine; its head twists to seize the king’s sword in its mouth and bend it. The world is in rebellion, resisting royal authority divinely appointed.

King or Prince John became an established villain in multiple re-tellings of the Robin Hood legend

Stephen Church writes: Within a decade of John’s death, the chronicler Roger of Wendover had made John not only a failed king, but also one who was positively evil. Roger’s successor, Matthew Paris, elaborated on this theme. John was a tyrant rather than a king, a destroyer rather than a governor, an oppressor of his own people, and a friend to strangers, a lion to his own subjects, a lamb to foreigners and those who fought against him … an insatiable extorter of money, and an invader and destroyer of the possessions of his own natural subjects … he had violated the daughters and sisters of his nobles; and was wavering and distrustful in his observance of the Christian religion. The perfect villain, in fact, for composers of ballads and fiction such as the legend of Robin Hood, told so many times that John’s foul reputation is etched into the popular consciousness. The stereotypical John character is patron of the equally villainous Sheriff of Nottingham, and the two often plot together to steal the crown from the heroic Richard who is away on Crusade.

In a memorable, 1991 scenery-chewing performance as the film-stealing Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Alan Rickman declares: Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas! The Trustees of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society, on the other hand, wish all their members, volunteers, friends, and readers of this News Blog a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

More of a Pit Stop than a Royal Visit

In October 1899 Shaftesbury Council built a temporary grandstand, capacity 800, opposite the Town Hall in anticipation of a Royal Visit. The streets were festooned with bunting, and a competition was held to encourage householders to add to the blaze of colour. They needed little encouragement, as patriotic fervour was at its height in the early days of the Second Boer War in South Africa. People flooded into the town from far and wide. Prime positions were reserved for local dignitaries, such as Lord Stalbridge of the Grosvenor family who owned most of Shaftesbury until 1919; the vinegar tycoon Mark Hanbury Beaufoy ; and the Mayors of Shaftesbury and Blandford. In the event, the Royal Visit lasted just seven minutes.

Iwerne House, built 1878 by Alfred Waterhouse for the second Baron Wolverton (George Grenfell Glyn); now Clayesmore School. Photo by Johan Van Dijk

The royal visitor, Edward Prince of Wales, had arrived in Dorset at Shillingstone Station on the old Somerset & Dorset line, to join a three-day shooting party at nearby Iwerne Minster. He was the guest of Lord and Lady Wolverton, George Grenfell and Georgiana Maria Glyn. The Glyns were part of a banking dynasty, and, until he succeeded to the Wolverton title, George was Liberal MP for Shaftesbury, 1857-73. In 1878 he employed perhaps the leading Victorian Gothic Revival architect, Alfred Waterhouse, whose work includes Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum, to build a splendid country house. The Prince of Wales became a frequent visitor, continuing later as King, and after the house had passed into the hands of the Ismays, owners of the White Star Line and ‘Titanic.’ This explains why Shillingstone, a modest country station, boasts a rather grand canopy.

Shillingstone Station
Shillingstone Station under restoration since 2005 by the North Dorset Railway Trust

Thanks to Press reports unearthed by Hilltop History broadcaster Dave Hardiman, we have been able to place the Tyler photograph, still displayed above the stairs in Shaftesbury Town Hall, in its historical context. According to the (highly deferential) reporting, the Prince had decided to return to London two hours earlier than planned doubtless owing to the troubled condition of state affairs. It’s true that the Boer War was going badly, and perhaps Queen Victoria in her advanced years had allowed Edward rather more access to government business. However, Edward was a notorious playboy, with more than 50 mistresses during a lifetime of over-indulgence. In 1901 his waistline reached 48 inches, and in 1898 he began a relationship with the Edwardian beauty Alice Keppel (1868-1947), great-grandmother of the current Queen Consort. In spite, or perhaps because, of this reputation, he seems to have been genuinely popular. There was a continuous demonstration of loyal affection from Iwerne to Semley Station, but at Shaftesbury the inhabitants quite excelled themselves in their efforts to do honour to His Royal Highness.

Two bands played the royal procession into the town. Shaftesbury Town Band were resplendent in new uniforms, while the 1st Battalion of the Dorset Volunteers provided both a military band and a 100-strong guard of honour, drawn up in front of the Town Hall. Accompanying the Prince in his carriage were the Wolvertons and the twenty-year-old Grand Duke Michael, who was the first of the Russian Royal Family to be murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Conspicuous by her absence was the much-loved Princess of Wales, Alexandra of Denmark. There can have been no time to alight, or for formal speeches; instead, printed addresses and handshakes were exchanged. After seven minutes the cavalcade moved off to Semley Station, where the 10.20 Exeter to Waterloo express made an unscheduled stop.

The future Edward VII on a seven-minute Royal Visit to Shaftesbury on 21 October 1899. A.E. Tyler must have been on the Town Hall balcony, and probably recycled the image at the time of Edward’s death in 1910.

The inhabitants of Shaftesbury managed to fill the rest of their special day with a football match played on the cricket field, which visitors Fordingbridge Turks won 2-0, and a great deal of celebratory dining. The day’s proceedings which will be long remembered by all who witnessed them, terminated with a magnificent pyrotechnic display in the cricket field.

Claire Ryley and Ann Symons look forward to observations from the audience about other images from the Tyler Collection at 2.30 on 06 December at Gold Hill Museum. This presentation is free to members of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society, while non-members may pay £3 at the door.

Trace Your Family Tree at Gold Hill Museum

A new Family History group starts at 10a.m. on Thursday 24 November in the Garden Room at Gold Hill Museum. Access to the Garden Room is via the path to the right of the Museum entrance, so please don’t be put off by the Closed sign. The aim is to bring together ‘Family Historians’ who may be just starting their research, or who having found lots of information, need help in collating it, putting it into perspective, and writing it up. Perhaps they have reached a point where they have apparently hit a ‘brick wall’!

Group Leaders Linda Wilton and Zoe Roberts will be drawing on their own experiences to offer practical advice and assistance in a relaxed setting. Click here to listen to Linda’s conversation with Keri Jones on The Alfred Daily

The Group will be run on an informal basis, with some structure and guidance from the Group Leaders, from 10.a.m. to 12 every Thursday morning during school term times. Access to Ancestry will be provided. Please bring, if you have them, your own Tablets/iPads, notebooks, pens and pencils. There will be a nominal charge of £5 per person, per session.

To book a place, either contact Linda and Zoe directly, or via enquiries@goldhillmuseum.org.uk


Turn of the Century Royal Visit Recorded by Shaftesbury Photographer

On Tuesday 06 December at 2.30p.m. at Gold Hill Museum, Claire Ryley and Ann Symons will at last have the opportunity to deliver their presentation of photographic gems from The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society’s Tyler Collection. Together with another S&DHS member, Chris Stupples, Claire and Ann have discovered that Albert Edward Tyler (1873-1919) was a butcher’s son from Shropshire, who became a photographer’s apprentice in Market Drayton, and who by the time of the 1901 Census had set up as a photographer at 53 Salisbury Street in Shaftesbury. In the years prior to the outbreak of war in 1914, he must have been a familiar sight lugging around heavy photographic equipment as he captured images of the district and its people, most of whom understood the need to stand still. Audience participation will be welcome, as the Tyler photographs often provide more questions than answers.

Claire-Ryley-left-and-Ann-Symons-right
Claire Ryley and Ann Symons, who will be delving into the Tyler Photographic Collection on Tuesday 06 December

Some of the Tyler images have been labelled by the photographer, but many have not. The reference to the Late King’s visit must have been added after Edward VII’s death in June 1910. The Prince of Wales’s Feathers visible on banners suggest that Edward was carrying out royal duties before he succeeded his mother Queen Victoria in January 1901. There was no certainty about the date, or the precise location, until it was noticed that there is a captioned enlargement of this photograph above the stairs in Shaftesbury Town Hall. The caption reads: The Prince of Wales handing his reply to the Address presented to him by the Mayor and Corporation of the Borough of Shaftesbury 21 October 1899.

Doubts remain as to what was being celebrated in October 1899, and exactly where, though clearly the photographer had an excellent, elevated vantage point, no small consideration when plate cameras were such bulky pieces of kit. We would be pleased to hear of any reports which shed further light on the context of this photograph. Likewise, Claire and Ann look forward to observations from the audience about other images from the Tyler Collection on 06 December. There are further details about Albert Edward Tyler (1873-1919) here.

This event will be free to S&DHS members and open to the public on payment of £3 at the door.

The Dorset Soldier Who Won The First World War

On Tuesday 01 November at 2.30p.m. Dr Rodney Atwood will talk at Gold Hill Museum about the life and career of Henry Seymour Rawlinson (1864-1925), created Baron Rawlinson of Trent, Dorset, in 1919. ‘Rawly’ (second from the left, above) was a career professional soldier who in 1914 commanded a significant part of the small British Expeditionary Force in Belgium facing the overwhelming numerical superiority of invading German armies. By 1916 he was in command of the new and inexperienced Fourth Army which was badly mauled on the first day of the Somme. The catastrophic losses – 57,000 in total, of whom 19,000 were killed – helped create a lasting perception of military incompetence on the part of British top brass. A succession of writers has reinforced this stereotype.

A decorated serving officer, war poet Siegfried Sassoon almost certainly did NOT have Rawlinson in mind when he wrote The General in 1917:

“Good-morning; good-morning!” the General said

When we met him last week on our way to the line.

Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,

And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.

“He’s a cheery old card,” grunted Harry to Jack

As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

In 1961 Alan Clark published The Donkeys. This was a lively, if not particularly scholarly, account of how the B.E.F was allegedly mismanaged to destruction in 1915. His memorable title was taken from a conversation attributed to two German generals:

Ludendorff: “The English soldiers fight like lions.”

Hoffman: “True. But don’t we know that they are lions led by donkeys.”

Clark claimed that the source for his quote was the memoirs of a third German general, Falkenhayn. As no-one subsequently has been able to find this quote, the suggestion is that Clark made it up.

By 1989 Richard Curtis and Ben Elton were able to construct an entire comedy series Blackadder Goes Forth on the premise that the strategy of Sir Douglas Haig (third from the right, above) was ‘to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.’ A walrus-moustached Stephen Fry portrayed the entirely fictitious General Melchett as a braying jackass.

General Sir Henry Rawlinson, later Lord Rawlinson of Trent (Dorset). A 1918 portrait in the Imperial War Museum collection

We are assured of a balanced assessment of Rawlinson’s career from Rodney Atwood, whose biography of General Lord Rawlinson – From Tragedy to Triumph was published by Bloomsbury in 2018. With the benefit of hindsight, we know that the Allies defeated Germany in 1918. This prospect was far from Allied minds when Germany, having forced Russia out of the war and no longer having to fight on two fronts, was able to mount a Spring offensive. Rodney will also give due consideration to non-military aspects of Rawly’s story. He was an accomplished artist and went on painting trips with another amateur painter, Winston Churchill, who acknowledged Rawlinson’s superior talent. He is buried in St Andrew’s Church, Trent, in the Yeo valley near Sherborne.

This illustrated lecture is free to S&DHS members and open to the public, on payment of £3 at the door.

There are biographical entries for most of the First World War Fallen named on local War Memorials at Shaftesbury Remembers The Great War

“William Beckford After Fonthill” Lecture at Shaftesbury Town Hall

At 7.30p.m. on Tuesday 27 September Dr Amy Frost, (above, centre) Curator of Beckford’s Tower and Museum, will deliver the annual Teulon Porter Memorial Lecture on behalf of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society at the Town Hall. Two hundred years ago, in September 1822, 700 sightseers a day were flocking to Fonthill Abbey, the Gothic folly created by reclusive slaveowner William Beckford in west Wiltshire and filled with valuable works of art. By 1821 he was unable to pay the interest on debts calculated to be £145,000 – about £15 million at today’s values. Reluctantly, Beckford put the sale of Fonthill in the hands of auctioneer James Christie and decamped to Bath, where he began yet more grandiose building. The auction date was set for 17 September 1822.

The story of the sale is told in “Fonthill Fever”, an impressive free exhibition curated by Sidney Blackmore which can be seen daily at Gold Hill Museum Shaftesbury until 31 October.

Sidney Blackmore with Michael Bishop’s scale model of Fonthill Abbey

The sale did not take place as planned, much to the annoyance of the wealthy would-be buyers who had paid for expensive catalogues and tickets. In 1823, however, there was a second chance to view the art treasures, as Beckford’s private buyer, the nineteenth century equivalent of an arms dealer, had decided he didn’t want the contents of the house. This precipitated a second scramble to bid for highly desirable objets d’art. Even Beckford decided to buy back some of his old stuff.

The story of Beckford’s life of building and collecting in Bath, where he lived in Lansdown Crescent until his death in 1844, will be the subject of Dr Frost’s illustrated talk. Amy is the go-to expert on William Beckford, as the Curator of Beckford’s Tower and Museum, and Senior Architectural Curator of the Bath Preservation Trust. With his fortune restored, conceivably with a profit, Beckford could not resist altering the urban and rural landscape, and skyline north of Bath. It is not giving too much away to presume that he had something of an obsession with towers

Admission to the lecture is £5 at the door and free to members of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society.

Spiral Stairway leading to the Belvedere at Beckford’s Tower