Tradition has it that King Charles II stopped at a blacksmith's forge in Godmanstone and requested of the smithy a glass of porter. Quoth the blacksmith, 'I cannot oblige you Sire, as I have no license.' Then said the King, 'From now on you have a license to sell beer and porter.' I doubt whether the landlord will oblige with porter today, but you can still buy a glass of fine ale in the forge where horses once stood to be shod, but now there is a 20ft. x 10ft. bar invitingly comfortable and cozy. Neatly thatched with a colorful sign depicting a smithy at work, the old Smiths Arms - built of mud and flint - claimed itself to be the smallest pub in England.

In 1982 the licensee of the Nutshell at Bury St. Edmunds challenged the claim. The rival landlords decided to settle the matter with a football match which the Nutshell won, as they did the return match. For some reason there has been no further game, but the Nutshell is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest inn. Perhaps, however, the Smiths Arms is the most beautiful, standing on the banks of the river Cerne, which gently flows past and visitors sit at picnic tables and feed the Muscovy ducks who always play there.

The village nestles under Cowdon Hill and the church has seen worshippers for 800 years.

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