Shaftesbury town

A small market town dating from Saxon times, Shaftesbury has yet to be spoiled by tourism and the high street businesses still serve mostly local clients. No Saxon and only one medieval building remain, most are Georgian (1714-1830), and the town evokes a small-town English atmosphere. A museum and garden mark the site of the medieval Shaftesbury Abbey, founded in 888 by King Alfred. Once one of the richest abbeys in England but destroyed by Henry VIII during the dissolution, most of its stones were recycled and two of its foot-worn stone steps found their way into our hosts’ staircase. The lack of medieval buildings, the destruction of the ancient abbey, the absence of major tourist attractions, and having been too steep a climb for the railway may have been a blessing. Shaftesbury retains the feel of a small market town, serving the locals, and avoiding a theme park atmosphere. Its major tourist attraction, Gold Hill, was made famous by a Hovis bread commercial and by a spoof of the commercial by The Two Ronnies (see video). The hill is a cobblestone lane leading between the 9th  century Abbey wall and a mix of 18th - 20th century homes and is impossibly picturesque. It was a steep but short climb from our cottage up to the town. We spent a day exploring the town, me photographing and Sheila shopping for souvenirs. Lunch at at Turnbull’s (once a cheese monger, now a specialty foods and café) where we had  an assorted deli cheese plate and an excellent goat cheese and onion marmalade tart. After lunch Sheila took me shopping to find a souvenir of Shaftesbury. At one shop we saw a woman using a needle to repeatedly stab what looked like dead mouse and I asked what it could possibly have done to provoke such extreme violence. She was an artist, Jo Lilley, and was working on one of her creations.  She explained the process of “felting”, shaping a bunch of wool fibres into a compact mass by repeatedly compressing and stabbing the wool with a finely toothed needle thus intertwining and matting the wool. Sheila ended up buying a delightful (if expensive) mouse called Oliver in honour of her mother who grew up in Oliver, BC. Dinner at the Ye Olde Two Brewers Inn, coffee and cake at Coffee One, and a roasted veggie panini at Gustos completed our exploration of local cuisine and an evening spent photographing the nearly deserted evening streets of Shaftesbury completed our exploration of the town but not its environs.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
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Shaftesbury town

A small market town dating from Saxon times, Shaftesbury has yet to be spoiled by tourism and the high street businesses still serve mostly local clients. No Saxon and only one medieval building remain, most are Georgian (1714-1830), and the town evokes a small-town English atmosphere. A museum and garden mark the site of the medieval Shaftesbury Abbey, founded in 888 by King Alfred. Once one of the richest abbeys in England but destroyed by Henry VIII during the dissolution, most of its stones were recycled and two of its foot-worn stone steps found their way into our hosts’ staircase. The lack of medieval buildings, the destruction of the ancient abbey, the absence of major tourist attractions, and having been too steep a climb for the railway may have been a blessing. Shaftesbury retains the feel of a small market town, serving the locals, and avoiding a theme park atmosphere. Its major tourist attraction, Gold Hill, was made famous by a Hovis bread commercial and by a spoof of the commercial by The Two Ronnies (see video). The hill is a cobblestone lane leading between the 9th century Abbey wall and a mix of 18th - 20th century homes and is impossibly picturesque. It was a steep but short climb from our cottage up to the town. We spent a day exploring the town, me photographing and Sheila shopping for souvenirs. Lunch at at Turnbull’s (once a cheese monger, now a specialty foods and café) where we had  an assorted deli cheese plate and an excellent goat cheese and onion marmalade tart. After lunch Sheila took me shopping to find a souvenir of Shaftesbury. At one shop we saw a woman using a needle to repeatedly stab what looked like dead mouse and I asked what it could possibly have done to provoke such extreme violence. She was an artist, Jo Lilley, and was working on one of her creations.  She explained the process of “felting”, shaping a bunch of wool fibres into a compact mass by repeatedly compressing and stabbing the wool with a finely toothed needle thus intertwining and matting the wool. Sheila ended up buying a delightful (if expensive) mouse called Oliver in honour of her mother who grew up in Oliver, BC. Dinner at the Ye Olde Two Brewers Inn, coffee and cake at Coffee One, and a roasted veggie panini at Gustos completed our exploration of local cuisine and an evening spent photographing the nearly deserted evening streets of Shaftesbury completed our exploration of the town but not its environs.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
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