The year that saw the birth of this village was a year of war for Alfred, but, between nine battles with the Danes, he founded an Abbey at Shaftesbury and made his daughter Abbess. The Abbey was endowed with the rich land around and, at the foot of Melbury Hill, now lies the village we know as Compton Abbas. A place of peace was born in a year of turmoil. The Saxons called it Cumb-Tun (a village in a narrow valley). In the 13th century it became Cumton Abbatisse.

Compton Abbas has two churches. At the old church in East Compton there is the stump of an old preaching cross in the churchyard, and a stone mounting block to aid a farmerís wife of long ago to get aloft on her horse, but the ancient church is no more. Only an ivy-covered 15th century tower remains and the bells which once rang there are now in the new church.

The church of St. Mary's with a pretty broach spire was, built in 1866 and is nearer the centre of the main village. It has a lovely view from the south doorway. There is a good apse with big foliage capitals, and an even larger one to the south aisle. The Norman font has running foliage, possibly recut in 1866.

Many of the building in the village are built with the local greensand. The main village is built on uneven ground with lots of cottages scattered about, many of which are thatched. The pretty 18th century farmhouse at Manor Farm is located next to the old church in East Compton and some of the farm buildings are of greensand too.

The peace Alfred hoped would always be here was shattered in the 1970s when a small airfield was established on the hill above the village. Although only used for light aircraft and the towing of gliders, the villagers started a long battle to prohibit flying, but they did not win their cause.

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