Bradford Abbas is one of the satellites of Sherborne, cozily constructed out of the same gold Liassic limestone which is now, unfortunately, beginning to show its age. Some modern building has used the same soft stone but though the material can be matched, the artistry cannot. Bradford Abbas - a name derived from the land beside a broad ford on the Ivel, was given to Sherborne Abbey by King Alfred.

The 15th-century church of St. Mary is remarkable for good carved bench-ends, particularly near the chancel entrance. The ancient church is claimed to be one of the finest in the county, with a medieval tower ninety feet high, it looks like a miniature cathedral. Two of the eleven niches in the tower still retain there original figures. The canopy over the Jacobean pulpit was removed to make a table.

The Rose & Crown, Bradford Abbas, Dorset

The Rose and Crown Inn, built in the 15th century, possibly as a monks rest-house and afterwards used as a malt-house, but it has been much altered and is more characteristic of the 17th century. The magnificent stone fireplace, discovered in 1966, is not part of the original building and may possibly have come from Sherborne Abbey or nearby Clifton House.

One of the most common pictures of Dorset life portrays five old men who were from Bradford Abbas sitting in a line quaffing pints of ale. Originally published in a calendar it looked as if they were made up for a film. Filmed they were; the Lads, whose ages totaled 444 years, not only advertised the goodness of the ale, but became famous in the 1930s when a Newsreel Company screened them and they were portrayed nationally. Sam Ring (92), Thomas Coombs (91), James Higgins (89), George Chainey (89), and Sid Parsons (83) not only became celebrities but went to town to see themselves on the big screen. All had taken an active part in the life of the village. Tom Coombs had taken his rope in the church bell-ringing team and Sam Ring proudly carried the big banner of the Friendly Society on fete days.

 

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