Friday, October 2, 2009

Shaftesbury, North Dorset, England - 2009

Shaftesbury is a small Market Town with history that goes back to medieval times.
Located in North Dorset, England 20 miles west of Salisbury. The town is built 750 feet above sea level on the side of a chalk and greensand hill.
It is one of the oldest towns in Britain. Population of 6,665 with 3,112 dwellings.

Earlier this year, when I was visiting my family in England, my sisters and I travelled to our cousin's house in Shaftesbury. This photo shows Sue's back garden which is typical in English homes. Most have plenty of flowers along with some tomato plants and runner beans.

This is a typical view of the English countryside which looks out across the Blackmore Vale and you can see the fields are broken by hedgerows in a scene that evokes the best of traditional English charm. In England we love our hedges which is the main method of indicating property lines which are designed for privacy.

When I visit this area I like to sit on the benches which are on the top of the hill. This view can throw a person into thoughtful reflections while viewing the limitless landscape. I try to imagine what life was like more than a thousand years ago in this little village.

Shaftesbury's recorded history dates from Anglo-Saxon times. Alfred the Great founded a Burgh (fortified settlement) here in 880 as a defense in the struggle with the Danish invaders. Alfred and his daughter Ethelgiva founded Shaftesbury Abbey in 888 and later the abbey became the wealthiest Benedictine nunnery in England.
Shaftesbury became a major site of pilgrimage for miracles of healing.

Tourism is one of the main industries in the town and people come from far and wide to
view Gold Hill, a steep cobbled street lined with uniquely individual thatched and tiled cottages. If this looks familiar to you this particular scene has appeared in several movies and has also appeared on the cover of countless books about Dorset and rural England.
The houses are built on a very steep hill and people still live in them. On a wet day walking on the cobblestones can be slippery.

At the top of this street is the 14th century St Peter's church, one of the few pre-18th century buildings remaining in Shaftesbury. This ancient cobbled street, running beside the walls of King Alfred's abbey, also features on countless chocolate boxes and calendars. In the Middle Ages the Abbey was the central focus of the town.

This is Sue's cottage. She and her family love living here and there is plenty of nostalgia that goes with living in a building that was designed and built so long ago. We had lunch and talked for hours, as we always do, when we get together. Catching up on family events and reminiscing about our childhood days.

Another happy day sharing time with family in a spectacular English village
with amazing scenery. It doesn't get better than that.

1 comment:

karima said...

hey sis!....

i say it all the time,-- YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS ARE FANTASTIC! favorites are "view from the top of the hill".....and "houses on the hill w/ cobblestone streets"....beautiful!!! :-)