17 Facts About Shaftesbury


Shaftesbury is a town and civil parish in Dorset, England.

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Shaftesbury is the site of the former Shaftesbury Abbey, which was founded in 888 by King Alfred and became one of the richest religious establishments in the country, before being destroyed in the dissolution in 1539.

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Shaftesbury has acquired a number of names throughout its history.

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Edwardstow, Shaftesbury's oldest surviving building, was built on Bimport at some time between 1400 and 1539.

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Also in this period a medieval farm owned by the Abbess of Shaftesbury was established, on a site now occupied by the Tesco supermarket car park.

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Shaftesbury was a parliamentary constituency returning two members from 1296 to the Reform Act of 1832, when it was reduced to one, and in 1884 the separate constituency was abolished.

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In Survey of Dorsetshire, written in about 1630 by Thomas Gerard of the Dorset village of Trent, Shaftesbury is described as a "faire Thorough Faire, much frequented by Travellers to and from London".

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In local government, Shaftesbury is administered by Dorset Council a unitary authority, and Shaftesbury Town Council, which has responsibilities that include open spaces and recreational facilities, allotments, litter, street markets, public conveniences, grants to voluntary organisations, cemetery provision, bus shelters, crime prevention initiatives, civic events and the town hall, planning and the war memorial.

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The county council has 45 councillors and the Conservative Party has overall control, though the councillor representing Shaftesbury is a Liberal Democrat.

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The Conservative Party has overall control of the district council, though of the four councillors that represent Shaftesbury, one is a Liberal Democrat and one is an independent.

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Old centre of Shaftesbury is sited on a westward-pointing promontory of high ground in northeast Dorset, on the scarp edge of a range of hills that extend south and east into Cranborne Chase and neighbouring Wiltshire.

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The greensand is composed of three beds: the oldest and lowest is a layer of Cann Sand, which is found in the lower parts of the town, such as St James and Alcester, that are below the promontory; above this is a layer of Shaftesbury Sandstone, which generally forms the steepest slopes around the promontory, and on top of this is a layer of Boyne Hollow Chert, which is found on top of the hill and on which most of the town is built.

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Shaftesbury has two museums: Gold Hill Museum at the top of Gold Hill, and Shaftesbury Abbey Museum in the abbey grounds.

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Shaftesbury Snowdrops is a Diamond Jubilee Community Legacy with the aim of creating a series of free and accessible snowdrop walks by planting snowdrops within the publicly open spaces and along the pathways throughout the town.

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In 2014 Shaftesbury Snowdrops started a heritage collection of rare and unusual snowdrops.

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Shaftesbury is served by the A30 between Salisbury and Yeovil and the A350 between Poole and Chippenham.

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Shaftesbury has a non-League football club, Shaftesbury F C, who play at Cockrams.

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