Iwerne Minster — Dorset, England
Iwerne Minster is a small village in North Dorset located within the central southern Chalk plateau under Cranborne Chase in the Blackmore Vale, part of which comprises an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), with the West Wiltshire Downs.
During the medieval era Cranborne Chase was part of the hunting grounds known as the "Inner Bounds". Even today, much of this beautiful panorama remains remote and has the same intrinsic quiet character that prevailed centuries ago. These rolling hills, with high rises to the north have many niches of wildlife habitats which have remained protected by the ancient woodlands.
The River Iwerne, which lends its name to Iwerne Minster is an ancient river whose name came from the Celtic and a much older origin from this ancient language is believed to mean "yew-tree stream". In the Domesday Book of 1086 the spelling was Evneminstre; however a Saxon charter dated 871 refers to "ywen". The Old English "mynster" (church) is probably referring to the 10th century Abbey that was in possession of the church, at that time.
The Church of St. Mary's has been included in "England's thousand best churches" by S. Jenkins and it is well worth the visit. The church built by the Normans in 1100 was erected over an earlier church foundation and since that time there have been other restorations including the "halving" during the 19th century of the church steeple. The steeple must have been a stupendous sight prior to this restoration, although even being reduced by half; the spire still remains an impressive sight. The church tower is circa 14th century and was eventually surrounded by the 15th century octagonal stone steeple which is one of only three such ancient spires in Dorset.
This small pretty village is primarily an agrarian hamlet that is within easy access to the coastal towns, and close to the AONB which offers many fine wildlife habitats, trails and walks, hilltop forts such as Hod Hill, as well as opportunities for bird watching. There are many other attractions one can enjoy while in centrally located Iwene Minster such as Knighton House, Larmer Tree Gardens and The Dorset Steam Fair. The open countryside is a walker's delight, as it was for Thomas Hardy; this is Hardy country as fictionalized in "Tess of the D'urbervilles" whereby Hardy refers to Blackmore Vale as the "Vale of the little dairies".Where is Iwerne Minster?
Iwerne Minster is located in Dorset along the A350. The nearest towns include Shaftesbury to the north and Blandford Forum to the south.Have you ever visited Iwerne Minster?
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