Mention Cerne Abbas and thoughts turn to the very rude giant, carved into the chalk hills, Probably before the Romans came. The villagers are rightly annoyed that the giant is there main claim to fame, because Cerne is a very ancient and beautiful place with fine old streets, and was once a famous coach staging post. It seemed that Cerne was destined to become a leading West Country town.

But it was not to be. Cerne was disheartened when it lost its proud Benedictine Abbey in 1539, but tried to build up its industry with shoe making and the brewing of fine beers. But the final blow came in the 19th century when the railways came, or rather didn't. Cerne was bypassed and progress was virtually ended.

The Abbey was originally founded in 987 AD. Today it consists of a gatehouse and a guesthouse situated behind Abbey House and the end of a truly ancient street in which stands the church. The Abbey's 14th century tithe barn is at the southern end of the village. The mainly 15th century church, with a much older chancel, was restored in the 1960's, and the rotting pews replaced with chairs. The bells did not ring for over 70 years because the hangers were unsafe, but in 1974 the bells were recast and a sixth added to the peal.

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